I Don’t Want You. You Want Me.


Long-time readers of this blog know that while I often like pop music made by teenagers, I’m also very particular about it. Last year, the organizers of Rhode Island Pride decided to spend God knows how much of their relentlessly fundraised money acquiring Tiffany, the mall enthusiast who had a couple of hits in 1987 that sounded mildly tolerable then but which are completely unlistenable today to anyone over the age of maybe nine. (A friend of mine pointed out the fact that her appearance wouldn’t have been nearly as awful had she actually played inside the mall, as opposed to just across the street from it, and I’m inclined to agree.)

This year, in a story I kind of announced before they did, they’ve decided to up the ante by bringing in Deborah Gibson. Gibson, known in her Reagan-era heydey as Debbie, was a teen singer superior to Tiffany in several regards. Namely, Gibson wrote her own songs, and more importantly those songs weren’t terrible. She was the youngest person to ever write, produce and perform a number one single, and to this day nobody’s beaten that record. Also, the Pixies have a song about her, which automatically makes her cooler. (I mean, it’s a b-side, and it’s the only Pixies song that David Lovering ever sang, but still.) And then there was Electric Youth perfume, which many of my friends claim to have sworn by and which is somehow still allegedly for sale.

She’ll be performing tomorrow at 7:45 in Station Park, according the Pride Guide (which is worth picking up mainly if you’ve ever wanted to see employees of LaSalle Pizzeria wearing see-through underpants.) Though the show’s right across from the State House I’m guessing that Governor Carcieri, who should probably be back from his appearance on The 700 Club by then, will probably not be making an appearance.

After the jump, a quick little journey through her hits:

Here’s Only In My Dreams from Top of the Pops in 1987. (Youtube took down all of her original videos.) It’s still pretty catchy, and I’ve been known to throw it on a mixtape here and there over the years.

Here’s thirty seconds of her wearing her best Forever 21 frilly-garment-that-may-or-may-not-be-sparkly-thing performing Out Of The Blue at a mall in 2006:

From 1989’s Electric Youth tour, here’s Foolish Beat, a song that has not done such a good job of aging:

Here’s a really boring video of Jon Stewart, Janeane Garofalo, Chris Kattan and Dennis Leary talking over the Electric Youth in a demonstration of everything that has been wrong with MTV since about 1988:

The inspirational (and terrible) Anything Is Possible was her ninth and final top 40 single, from 1991. Here she is, performing it live:


Five to one that next year they hire Martika.

3 thoughts on “I Don’t Want You. You Want Me.”

  1. Oops. I meant to say that Talking Heads asked for $6K, not $6. It was early in their career, but not that early. We would have totally shared our ice cream with them, too.

  2. You’ve touched on several things on my mind lately.

    First, Gibson. Friends of mine in the Hartford area pointed out that they booked Tiffany, so they said that makes us better. But now it looks like they also got sloppy seconds. What it mainly reminded me of, though, was that my first college booked Gibson, for $16K, after turning down Talking Heads for $6. It was among the higher artist fees paid at the time, and cost us a later ice cream social, and we were not pleased about it. And what stuck in my mind was all the people who said, “That’s so gay,” when they learned about it. I’m not sure how I feel about it, it’s just weird now that she’s headlining the local Pride event.

    Second, Carcieri on 700 Club. I’m like, seriously? I thought we’d elected a sober, stodgy Catholic. How far is he now from drinking poison and handling snakes? And he’s of course totally wrong on the marriage thing, but worse than that, he’s out of line not only with the majority of people here, but with the culture itself. There’s always some sticklers, and always the darkly religious resistance, but must our own governor be a part of that? Who and what did we actually elect?

    I pointed out some years back, when amendment proponents in New England got their safety pants all damp with sweat and toil, that it was doomed from the start because it’s one thing to say you’re not enthusiastic about someone else’s civil rights, but a very different thing to commit yourself to denying them or taking them away. The Brown poll indicates that about 40% of Rhode Islanders are not crazy about gay marriage. But when it came time to stand up against gay marriage, Don and his wife were literally the only people who showed up for NOM’s big press conference. (And does anyone really believe she’d be there if he wasn’t?) He can’t get re-elected over this, and he ain’t running for president, so what’s in it for him? Is this just part of his larger campaign to do favours for friends, part of his personal career and retirement plan, or has he really gone over the edge? He’s become a nutty, increasingly unlikable caricature of himself.

    And third, I want to add that after mostly ignoring Pride the last few years, I’ll be working it tomorrow (oh, that does not sound right in context at all), pushing legislative postcards for Marriage Equality R.I. We’ve realised that a grassroots push is the best way to win our rights. Legislators need to hear from their constituents on this. So if you see one of us wandering around with a clipboard (I’ll be in black overalls and a frumpy white trail hat, with a clipboard), then please take a minute to fill out a postcard. We’ll take care of the rest. Thanks!

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