Anyone that knows me knows how much I love '80s pop-star Tiffany. So when I decided to honor some of my favorite albums from the past every Thursday, for #ThrowbackThursday, Tiffany's 1987 self-titled debut was a given.
There are a few things you need to know:
First, Tiffany will always sound like 1987.
Secondly, I was such a big Tiffany fan (a decade or so after she was actually popular) that I have collected most merchandise from her 'hey-day' at flea markets and eBay - it's almost unhealthy. Like I have the album andeach single on vinyl, cassette, CD (if it was available), '12inch, and the damn Pocket Rocker (thanks Amanda). I even have 3-inch CD singles from Japan. These were my prized possessions when I was thirteen.
Third, I kind of revived "I Think We're Alone Now" in Warren, Ohio for an afternoon when I was fourteen and performing at a city fest. I even had a group of much older girls follow me around - and there was a girl that totally looked like Tiffany that I fell in love with. Her name was Katelyn, but to me she was Katelyn-Tiffany. Oh, to be young again.
Anyway - I was obsessed with Tiffany, I collected all her stuff, I was performing her songs - totally confused teenager - and then I got laid.
Now when I look back at all my Tiffany stuff (and I am trying really hard not to set it all up and take pictures of it like I used to as a tween) - I smile. I run my hand over a record sleeve, or a tour book and I just think of the moments when I'd be looking through a pile of records at a flea market and finding that one '45 that I was missing; or the joy that listening to her music has brought me over the years. I still put on this record from time to time and itnever gets old to me - I just don't listen to it over and over like I used to. I kind of grew up. But as I press play and the synth of "Should've Been Me" fades in - it takes me back to those times.
Tiffany was released in September 1987 and was multi-platinum by 1988. On it's surface - it's totally teen fluff; but compared to a lot of the other teen fluff during its time and after, it's actually a classic teen pop album.
Tiffany's biggest influence, obvious on first track "Should've Been Me," is Stevie Nicks - as Tiffany's signature rasp sings about watching an old flame parading some hooch around town IN HER OLD JACKET!!!! THAT. BITCH!
"Danny" was the first single off the album and kind of failed. But it's still a really good song about some guy named Danny. Danny - nobody wins.
I remember loving "Spanish Eyes" when I was younger. I dunno - maybe Tiffany singing about driving late at night and taking the long way home was risky in my twelve year-old heart - and the whole "baby I'll stay devoted to you, dedicated" bridge was fun to sing. But now - ehhhh . . . it's pretty much a throw away track. Meh.
Holy crap. "Feelings of Forever" - such a cheesy song but at the time it spoke to my soul. Tiffany sings amazingly on this ballad about "making it through this night - togeeetthhherrrrrr" cuz "nothing can stop this feeling of foreeevverrrr - Oooo oooo ooooooo." Fun fact! Most people think it's a big deal that Tiffany got famous singing other people's songs (and while it's true - she made them so much better), people don't realize that her producer and manager, George E. Tobin, totally ripped off other '80s pop songs as well. For example! You can sing Bryan Adam's "Heaven" perfectly (all verse/chorus transitions are the same), to the music of "Feelings of Forever" - Not that I've done it or anything.
"Kid on a Corner" was not a single, nor is it necessarily one of the best filler tracks on this album. It still has it's charms. Basically, what saves this song is Tiffany's delivery, which is something that I always thought everyone looks over. Debbie Gibson was like her opposite but she wrote her own stuff, like "Shake Your Love" and "Electric Youth" - ya know - deep deep stuff. Tiffany did not write her own music; 40-something year-old men did. But Tiffany could take any of the material she was given and make it her own and believable.
One of the most sacrilegious things Tiffany did (or was forced to do?) was record a Beatles song - and even worse CHANGE a word in one of the songs. "I Saw Him Standing There" was actually one of her hits. Is it horribly cheesy and bad? Yeeaaaa - but it's so much fun that you can't be too mad. Although this is teen bubblegum we're dealing with here, there is a hit of pop country - like BAD pop country.
The worst song on the album is also kind of the coolest. "Johnny's Got the Inside Moves" would be the hipster song to like off this album. Tiffany kind of raps her way all stalker-like with the verses being no more than repeating "Somebody's got me lookin' for youuu." The best part comes during the bridge when she's like "Johnny moved on ahead when I was away. But you better step back girl - and WATCH IT!" (at least that's what I think she says). This all coming from a feisty redheaded fifteen year-old. Just listen to it. You'll love it.
"Promises Made" is pretty long and boring. I mean - she sings good on it, but besides the intro, it's nothing too special. I'll probably regret saying that later.
Now - "I Think We're Alone Now" was not the first song that got me into Tiffany. I was more coherent for Hold an Old Friend's Hand, her sophomore effort. Years and years later I discovered "I Think We're Alone Now" and from there - it kind of became my song just as much as it was hers. There's nothing that I can say about this song that everybody doesn't already know. It's a classic '80s song. If you've never heard it - definitely listen to it. It's a great summer jam no matter how old you are or when you discover it. And one day, when you want to - I'll show you how to do the Tiffany dance that she does in the video.
Tiffany was very lucky that she was given a song like "Could've Been," her other #1 hit. People can say all that they want to about how she was a puppet and not a real artist and just a teeny-bopper - but no one can say that she isn't talented because of this song. This is probably the best representation of what she could do with her voice and range at fifteen. It's a beautiful song and perfect closer to this teen pop classic album.
Now that I've just given Tiffany another listen, I want to tell you what the bigger picture was for me when I religiously, listened to this stuff. I wasn't listening to this stuff in 1988 or 1989. I was listening to it in like 1997, when it was not cool to listen to Tiffany. I was in high school, I got lambasted for listening to it. But I never stopped listening to it because it wasn't cool. I was pretty proud of it. It was music and music has never left me or let me down.
As I got older and started performing music that I had a part of writing, I'd always list my biggest influences as "Jeff Buckley, Butch Walker, Pat Benatar and Tiffany" - with a straight face. They could take that and think whatever they thought about that - but it's the truth and I didn't care. What was I going to say, "Uhhh - Led Zeppelin." Fuck that. That's everybody's biggest influence.
Anyway - hope you enjoyed my first #Throwback Thursday and that you decide to give Tiffany a listen.