Picks and Pans Review: Out of the Blue

updated 10/19/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/19/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Debbie Gibson

Gibson is a 16-year-old wunderkind from Merrick, N.Y., who cracked the Top 5 with her dance-club hit Only in My Dreams. Infused with playful vocal sounds and driven by a Latin-tinged percussion section, the song revealed a musical sophisticate with an uncanny sense of melody. This collection of infectious dance tunes, all written by Gibson, shows off a pop phenom with promise. Her formula is simple: Find a neat little hook and give it wheels with a pulsating rhythm track. The title song is at once bubble-gum pop and streetwise club music. Staying Together could be a Madonna tune, rhythmically pushing until it shuts down with a tight ending by Jeff Smith on sax. Gibson's slick sound (arranged with producer Fred Zarr) is often calculated (Fallen Angel, for example, offers the right percussive elements to appeal to most urban FM program directors), and her worldly-wise lyrics are sometimes on the unsettling side. Can a teenager who is just old enough to qualify for a driver's license convincingly sing such forlorn lines as "I could never love again the way I love you?" But these are minor faults. Parents can breathe easy for a change when the kids bring this album home instead of the latest chainsaw simulation from the heavy metal kingdom. Mom and Dad might even mutilate a rug or two themselves when the needle touches down on this catchy LP. (Atlantic)

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