She’ll Always Be Debbie To Me

Yesterday morning, we were treated to a rare viewing of “Lost in Your Eyes” on VH1 Classic. Michele suggested “Lost in Your Eyes” is Debbie Gibson’s best song. Although it is her most popular, I wasn’t so quick to accept this obvious choice. Instead, I retreated to my lab basement for a few hours of in-depth analysis. I decided to rank Debbie’s songs from best to worst. 

Ground rules: no covers, no b-sides, no imports—only U.S. album tracks from the albums between Out of the Blue and Deborah. I didn’t include M.Y.O.B. simply because I had quit paying attention by that time and never got around to buying it.

With that, I give you the list (with comments for selected songs):

  1. No More Rhyme: The last Top 20 single for Debs, NMR beat out Lost in Your Eyes by a squeaker. Early in my analysis, it seemed as though the little-known Goodbye might rise to the top. However, it was not to be.
  2. Lost In Your Eyes: Despite it’s No. 2 slot on the list, Lost in Your Eyes remains a classic. 
  3. Goodbye: Without question, Debbie’s ballads have always been better than her other songs. The final track on the Body Mind Soul album, Goodbye nearly pulled an upset, but ultimately fell to No. 3 on the list.
  4. Shake Your Love: Debbie’s poppiest song, Shake Your Love is also the best of her non-ballads. After hearing it, I just can’t shake the chorus—the sign of a great pop song.
  5. Let’s Run Away: The 1995 Think With Your Heart album had several strong ballads but none as strong as this track. 
  6. Ode To A Would Be Lover: The top-placing track from Deborah, Ode To A Would Be Lover charts high despite it’s lame title.
  7. We Could Be Together: If I hadn’t excluded remixes from the competition, the Campfire Mix of this song would have likely cracked the Top 5. 
  8. Between The Lines: Also the title of Debbie’s autobiography, Between the Lines also seemed like a stronger choice than Staying Together for the fifth single from the Out of the Blue album. Unfortunately, record labels are run by morons, so it remained an album track.
  9. Only In My Dreams: Any Debbie Gibson Top 10 without this song would be a sham.
  10. Out Of The Blue: Ditto.
  11. Foolish Beat: This is a controversial placing for Debbie’s first No. 1 single. I find it a tad overwrought.
  12. One Hand, One Heart: The No. 12-14 picks are the highest-placing songs from the Anything is Possible album. AIP suffered from being overproduced and far too long for its own good. Clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, the album was divided by two sides, NRG Up and Mood Swings. NRG Up pretty much sucks. Mood Swings contains all of the ballads and would have been a pretty solid album without the other eight tracks.
  13. Sure
  14. Try
  15. How Can This Be?: Getting dumped = good song.
  16. Dancin’ In My Mind: Have I mentioned that I really like the Think With Your Heart album? This ballad is another reason why.
  17. You Don’t Have To See: Much like better-known Debbie ballads No More Rhyme and Foolish Beat and despite being recorded in the mid-’90s, this song features that dependable staple of the ’80s—the sax solo.
  18. Who Loves Ya Baby?: The opening track from the Electric Youth album, Who Loves Ya Baby? is the highest ranking upbeat Debbie song never released as a single. 
  19. Where I Wanna Be
  20. Should’ve Been The One
  21. Wake Up To Love
  22. Cry Tonight
  23. Helplessly In Love
  24. Can’t Do It Alone
  25. Didn’t Have The Heart
  26. Think With Your Heart
  27. Only Words
  28. Deep Down
  29. Staying Together
  30. Where Have You Been?
  31. Two Young Kids
  32. I Will Let You Go
  33. Just Wasn’t Love
  34. Over The Wall
  35. This So-Called Miracle: This song isn’t bad, but it’s more than seven minutes long. I guess this is Deb’s Freebird. 
  36. Love in Disguise
  37. Red Hot
  38. Fallen Angel
  39. Losin’ Myself
  40. Shades of the Past
  41. Mood Swings
  42. Do You Have It In Your Heart?
  43. Another Brick Falls
  44. Naturally
  45. For Better or Worse
  46. Anything is Possible: Wondering which of Debbie’s songs has the worst production? With vocals alternating between channels early in the song, this one is the clear winner.
  47. Silence Speaks (A Thousand Words): The opening flute solo is enough to ruin an otherwise decent ballad.
  48. Tear Down These Walls
  49. In His Mind
  50. Free Me
  51. Love Or Money
  52. Kisses 4 One
  53. Give Me Your Love
  54. Electric Youth: This song was actually a hit. Wow.
  55. It Must’ve Been My Boy
  56. Play The Field
  57. Nobody’s You
  58. Dontcha Want Me Now?
  59. Stand Your Ground
  60. Negative Energy: The drum beat on this song sounds like it was produced on the Casio keyboard I had as a child.
  61. One Step Ahead: This is one of the dreaded Anything is Possible songs featuring Debbie rapping. Not a good idea.
  62. Lead Them Home My Dreams: Too much production for too little of a song.
  63. When I Say No: Debbie takes on date rape and teaches a generation of girls how to fend off advances from the quarterback.
  64. I Can’t: This song is just really dull.
  65. Shock Your Mama: Debbie’s mama was her manager. She should have been shocked at how bad this song was and pulled it from the album. Somehow it ended up as a single. 
  66. Reverse Psychology: Whoever encouraged Debbie to rap on the Anything is Possible album should be severely punished. 
  67. Moonchild: The title alone is enough to place Moonchild in the bottom five.
  68. Too Fancy: With sort of a cabaret vibe to it, this song is just too Broadway.
  69. Butterflies Are Free: Horrible title and horrible lyrics. Barely edged out for worst song by Little Birdie.
  70. Little Birdie: Despite a fairly decent chorus, every other part of this song is unlistenable. 

First Impressions

I’m usually pretty good at quickly figuring out people. When meeting a new coworker, I can tell whether he will be decent to work with, unable to play well with others or simply annoying almost immediately. My first impression is nearly always on target. Apparently this talent doesn’t translate to dogs.

When we began looking for a new boxer, the first dog we met was Zoe. She was sweet and affectionate, but I didn’t immediately see her as my dog. Maybe it was her rough exterior. She was recovering from neglect and mange that had left her skinny and spotted with bald patches. Maybe I wasn’t yet ready to commit to another dog just a couple months after Abby died. Whatever it was, I figured the hour or so we spent with Zoe would be the last time I saw her. 

We met several other adoptable boxers over the next few weeks. One needed way too much attention than we could give. Another had separation anxiety. And another was likely to pee in the house. None of them seemed quite right. Around the time we were becoming impatient, Zoe’s mange had subsided and was nearly ready to find a home. Michele convinced me to have another look. I’m so glad she did.

Zoe had put on weight—no longer scrawny. Her patchy coat had filled in and was shiny. And, most importantly, time had begun to heal my wounded heart.

A few days later, Zoe moved in. It turns out she’s the perfect dog for us. Every time she nudges my arm to request ear scratches or puts her head in my lap and sighs, I’m so glad my first impression was wrong.