Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Playboy Music

Teenaged rock-and-roll stars have become such a rarity that it was only after their albums went platinum that grownups paid Debbie Gibson and Tiffany any mind. Now the fun is to compare and contrast--which sexy ingenue would you like to date, or have a heart-to-heart with? Well, neither, but on the turntable, I'll go for the Californian who doesn't write her own material. Tiffany is convincing in the role of a solid kid who knows the location of her heart and her vagina. The strongest cuts on Tiffany (MCA) are the side openers: "Should've Been Me," which has her pining for her ex-beau's jacket, and "I Saw Him Standing There," which adds new touches to the Beatles' teen dream. Neither had been released as a single at the 2,000,000 mark. More platinum, coming right up.

As for Gibson, I ask you, is it really possible to be independently wealthy and a girl next door simultaneously? What an ambitious miss, and what a phony. If you're weak for the Latin-disco synth beats of "Only in My Dreams" and "Shake Your Love," which are definitely the best Out of the Blue (Atlantic) has to offer, try the real thing--at least one third of Expose is Latino.

While the females in the trio are even flimsier than Gibson personalitywise, they're magnanimous enough to segue their three best songs into one ten-minute megamix on the Seasons Change (Arista) 12-inch EP, which I recommend.

The three New York lookers who make up the Cover Girls aren't above sharing production touches with both Expose and Gibson or putting real phony pop songs on Show Me (Sever/Sutra), a debut album any Svengali would be proud to have produced. More platinum, coming right up.

Playboy, June 1988

May 1988 July 1988