Friday, August 19, 2022

"Toy Soldiers" by Martika

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3906
Date:  05/20/1989
Debut:  69
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  This former TV kids show star (Kids Incorporated) moved into a solo music career and her first single, "More Than You Know," did well getting to #18 Pop/#12 Dance. It was a good start and so her label, Columbia, decided to take a chance on this ballad as a second single. It ended up being the right move. The tune quickly found an audience and proceeded up the chart until it reached #1 (#37 AC). By the time it hit that apex, the single was already certified gold. The song's success boosted sales of Martika's self-titled debut album and it would eventually find its way to #15. The LP would also go gold.

ReduxReview:  Martika was still in her teens when she co-wrote this song and it was kind of a deep subject for a young artist. Teen pop stars like Debbie Gibson certainly weren't writing songs about addiction, so it was kind of refreshing to have Martika thinking beyond the typical subjects like boys and puppy love. The song was well-crafted and Martika turned in an excellent vocal performance. She set a high standard for herself with this tune. Unfortunately she wasn't able to match it again. Still, this song became a classic of the late 80s and that certainly wasn't a bad thing.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) Most of the songs on Martika's debut album were written by her producer Michael Jay. However, she did co-write four tracks on the album and "Toy Soldiers" was one of them. A friend of Martika's had been battling a cocaine addition and he was the inspiration for the song. Apparently the friend did eventually overcome the addiction.  2) Background vocals on this track were performed by some of her former Kids Incorporated co-stars including Stacey Ferguson, who would later be known as Fergie of Black Eyed Peas fame.  3) For his 2004 album Encore, rapper Eminem would sample "Toy Soldiers" for his track "Like Toy Soldiers." The song would be issued out as a single and get to #34 Pop/#64 R&B. While it fared okay in the US, it was a far bigger hit across the pond. The single would become Eminem's sixth #1 in the UK.

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