Debbie Gibson

Electric Youth

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Following up her enormously popular debut, Out of the Blue, Debbie Gibson sought to grow from the teen fan base she had established, while not alienating those who made her a household name. The result is slickly produced teen pop, like her debut, but it's not as squeaky clean or as compulsively likable. That is not to say it's a bad album. "Lost in Your Eyes" is a pretty ballad that showcases her songwriting skills, her clear voice, and her talent on the piano. "Electric Youth" is a bouncy, frenetic song that is ridiculously sing-alongable, but at the same it is time hard to really identify with it unless you're 12 (or at least young at heart). "We Could Be Together," in which she basically tells her friends and family to go fly a kite, is practically anthemic in its joy at taking a risk on love: "I'll take this chance/I'll make this choice/I'll give up my security/for just the possibility/that we could be together/for a while." It's teen pop at its best: it makes you feel young, it makes you want to sing, it makes you want to fall in love. "Silence Speaks (A Thousand Words)" is a beautiful ballad about lack of communication that is vastly different from any of her other work, with a flute solo and lyrics that many adult songwriters can't nail. The same can be said for "No More Rhyme," a minor hit about a relationship's first hurdle. Gibson really exercised her writing chops on those songs, but much of the rest the album is only passable filler; "Who Loves Ya Baby?," "Helplessly in Love," and "Over the Wall" do little more than give her voice a reason to shine, while "Shades of the Past" is excruciatingly grating.

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