Rick Astley's debut single, "Never Gonna Give You Up" contrasted the singer's expressive, soulful baritone with synthesized dance-club backing, and while the highly processed quality of the latter sometimes seemed to overwhelm the former (no easy task), the song became a wildly popular smash, winding up as the biggest hit single of 1987 in the U.K. and topping the U.S. charts in early 1988. The song was driven by a busy rhythm track and a synthesized string section strongly reminiscent of late-'70s disco productions, while Astley's distinctive voice boomed over the top. Perhaps the most memorable flourish on "Never Gonna Give You Up" is the way Astley handles the chorus, which alternates rapid-fire 16th notes with longer, off-the-beat triplets; his delivery is impeccably smooth, navigating the rhythmically shifting melody with ease. It's not difficult to see, in retrospect, why Astley eventually grew tired of the Stock, Aitken & Waterman production team's work; while the slick sheen doesn't exactly rob Astley of his personality, the layers of echo don't really do much to accentuate or humanize it, either. Still, the song does demonstrate that Astley has a flair for up-tempo dance tracks, and it's such a well-crafted piece of music that the partnership between singer and producers seems fruitful enough to overlook any shortcomings.