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DEBBIE GIBSON: Only In My Dreams (7″, Atlantic A 9322, 1986)

Debbie Gibson - Only In My Dreams

It’s not all super-hip underground noisemakers and whacked-out psychedelic mayhem with me, you know. I am a big fan of proper, no-messing pop music. And regardless of whatever any number of ‘top XX’/’the best XX of the XXs’-type TV shows might suggest, the mid-1980s was a prime period for pop music. Or maybe it wasn’t. However, it was slap bang in the middle of my adolescent angst years, and therefore I was a prime target for the hitmakers of the time. When I was thirteen, Debbie Gibson was my ideal: totally clean cut, but with a hint of naughtiness in there somewhere. Maybe I had dreamt up the naughtiness, but that’s what adolescent boys do.

Pop music of the 1980s, despite being so blatantly manufactured and contrived, often had a simplicity and innocence about it. Okay, okay, it was designed to come across that way, everybody knows that with hindsight, but it worked. I prefer that to the relentless sexualisation and faux-‘grown up’ pop music of today. Production-wise, it was as shiny as it gets, too. Perfect teenage school disco fodder.

This single reminds me of a couple of things:

  • The film Pretty In Pink: the song is nothing to do with it, but that film was a big part of my teenage years. Probably the film I have seen more than any other.
  • Smash Hits: everybody says “yeah, Smash Hits used to be great”, but it really did. I distinctly remember reading about Talulah Gosh, Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, The Wedding Present and no end of other ‘cool’ bands in amongst the mainstream pop, whilst at the time not knowing who these weird bands were, and wondering where the ‘Only In My Dreams’ lyrics were to be found.

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