Song Review: Lisa Stansfield – “This Is the Right Time”

“This Is the Right Time” was released as a single from Lisa Stansfield’s 1989 album, Affection. In the North America, it was released as the third single for the album, during the late summer of 1990.

I was 15 years old and just starting into the 10th grade when this single was released in North America. Lisa’s previous two singles didn’t grab me right away, and it took a little bit of time before I came to like them. But with “This Is the Right Time,” I fell in love with the song the first time I heard it. There was something about the musical arrangement that stood out from the previous two singles and appealed to me. When you compare “This Is the Right Time” to the other two singles from Affection, you can hear a major difference in the production and feel of the song. I think the lyrics to “This Is the Right Time” were also more relatable to me at the time. A little over 25 years later, and “This Is the Right Time” is my favorite Lisa Stansfield song, both from the Affection album and from her entire career.

My memories of the music video are rather hazy, though. Unfortunately, the only version I could find on YouTube was the UK version. While the North American version has been uploaded, it has been blocked from North American YouTube users. But I watched the UK video, and the main thing I got out of it by the end of it was one word: “blue.” There was a major emphasis on blue, to the point where there was a blue background and a bluish tint on all of the footage that appears in the video. It wasn’t a great video, but it worked for what the director was going for.

Song Review: James Ingram – “I Don’t Have the Heart”

“I Don’t Have the Heart” was released as the fourth single from James Ingram’s 1989 album, It’s Real. The single was released on August 25, 1990, and it peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

I was 15 years old and just about to start the 10th grade when this single was released. My main knowledge of James Ingram prior to this song was his duet with Linda Ronstadt (“Somewhere Out There”), from the film, An American Tail. I liked “Somewhere Out There,” but didn’t consider myself a fan of James Ingram from that song. But I ended up falling in love with “I Don’t Have the Heart” the very first time I heard it. It’s a beautiful ballad with bittersweet lyrics that listeners can relate to. I also think that James’ vocal performance perfectly conveys the mood of the song; in fact, whenever I hear the song, I believe that he genuinely understands the emotions and feelings behind the words that he’s singing. The combination of the lyrics, music, and vocal performance make this song stand out and withstand the test of time. It doesn’t sound dated at all, and the song holds up just as well now as it did 25 years ago. I still love this song now as much as I did when I was a teenager.

I never saw the music video for “I Don’t Have the Heart” during the time that the song was on the charts. I watched it for the first time on YouTube right before writing this blog post, and I can see why MTV didn’t play it. MTV didn’t avoid because it was a bad video; they avoided it because it didn’t fit in with the look and feel the channel was going for in 1990. The video for “I Don’t Have the Heart” is very simple, and it’s basically James Ingram and the musicians rehearsing the song inside a building. It’s a simple video that works for this song, but it just didn’t look “flashy” enough for MTV.

Song Review: George Michael – “Praying for Time”

“Praying for Time” was released as the lead-off single for George Michael’s 1990 album, Listen Without Prejudice. The single was released on August 13, 1990, and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

I was 15 years old and enjoying my summer between ninth and tenth grade when “Praying for Time” was released. It’d been about two years since George Michael’s single, “Kissing a Fool,” was released from his highly successful Faith album, so anticipation was very high for something new from George Michael. While “Praying for Time” wasn’t what I had expected, I still fell in love with the song the first time I heard it. Musically, it really stood out compared to the other songs being released to pop at that time. And as a 15-year-old, I found the lyrics to be rather deep. It’s been a little over 25 years single this single was released, and I like this song just as much, if not more, than I did back in 1990. To me, “Praying for Time” is a song that doesn’t sound dated and stands the test of time. The lyrics of the song apply just as well today as they did 25 years ago.

The music video for “Praying for Time” was also different and unexpected from George Michael, and it was the first one released during the era where George didn’t want to appear in his music videos. All the video has is a black background with the lyrics to the song appearing on the screen. Honestly, even if George wasn’t going through his phase of not wanting to appear in music videos, this was probably still the best way to go about releasing a video for the song. Let the words speak for themselves.

I re-watched this video shortly before working on this blog post, and it hit me that the “Praying for Time” video could be seen as the early predecessor to the “lyric videos” that pop up on YouTube. LOL!

Song Review: Depeche Mode – “Policy of Truth”

“Policy of Truth” was released as the third single from Depeche Mode’s 1990 album, Violator. The single was released on May 7, 1990, and peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

I was 15 years old and enjoying the summer between 9th and 10th grade when I first heard “Policy of Truth” on the radio. It wasn’t surprising to me that I liked the song the moment I heard it, since I had enjoyed the previous two singles from the album. There’s just something about the musical arrangement that made it stand out; however, it didn’t stand out so much that it didn’t fit in with what was going on in pop music at the time. I also found the lyrics to be relatable. I still enjoy this song now as much as I did when I first heard it about 25 years ago.

The music video tries to tell a story, but I’ve never been convinced that the story is conveyed as well as it could have been. But this is a video directed by Anton Corbijn, and I have yet to see a video of his that has truly made much sense. But even with its faults, the look and cinematography still manage complement the song.

Song Review: Indecent Obsession – “Tell Me Something”

“Tell Me Something” was released from Indecent Obsession’s debut album. The album was released under the title, Spoken Words in most of the world; however, in the United States, the album was released as a self-titled album. “Tell Me Something” peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Unfortunately, this ended up being the band’s only hit in America.

I was 15 years old and enjoying the summer between 9th and 10th grade when I heard this song on the radio for the first time. I fell in love with this song immediately. While it fit in with the pop music of the time, you could also hear some inspiration that came from the synthpop of the 1980s. Musically, it’s very upbeat and catchy. It was one of my jams that summer, and it’s a song that I still enjoy 25 years later.

The music video definitely has a Euopean vibe to it, and it’s also rather bright with its colors. Admittedly, there’s nothing terribly special about the music video, but it fits with the mood and feel of the song. Whenever I see this video, I have to remind myself its from the early 1990s, since most of the band members look like they adopted hair styles from the early 1980s.

Song Review: After 7 – “Can’t Stop”

“Can’t Stop” was released as a single from After 7’s 1989 self-titled album. The single was release on May 16, 1990, and peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

I was 15 years old and finishing up the ninth grade when this single was released. Even though the single was released in May, I didn’t actually start hearing it on the radio until over the summer. “Can’t Stop” allowed me to hear a different side of After 7, since the only other song I had heard from prior to that was the previous single, “Ready or Not.” While “Ready or Not” was a ballad, “Can’t Stop” was a much more uptempo number. I liked this song the first time I heard it, and I think that was due in large part to how catchy this song is musically. While I still enjoy the song 25 years later, I have to admit that I don’t like it quite as much as I did back then. It’s not a bad song, but it doesn’t stand out quite as much now to me as it did when I was 15.

The music video is a rather standard for R&B, except for the fact that there were times that the director would change the speed of the footage or pause the footage briefly. These effects were kind of interesting when they first showed up, but they ended up being overused in the video and stood out too much. I couldn’t help but think that the director found a new toy in the editing bay and decided to use it. Unfortunately, the fashion in this video, especially the clothing worn by the members of After 7, date this video. In the end, it’s a video that really didn’t withstand the test of time.

Song Review: Dino – “Romeo”

“Romeo” was the lead-off single from Dino’s 1990 album, Swingin’. The single was released on September 7, 1990, and peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

I was 15 years old and just starting the 10th grade when this single was released. I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it, and I think that was due to its catchy beat and lyrics that could make any female listener think Dino was crooning especially for them. I have to admit that, 25 years later, I don’t like the song nearly as much as I did when I was 15. I still think it’s got a great beat, but the lyrics just aren’t doing much for me now. It’s one of those songs that just didn’t withstand the test of time.

Although I have to say that the song managed to withstand the test of time a little better than the music video. The fashion and cinematography choices for the video date this video. Anyone can view it and immediately tell that it came from the early 1990s. And the music video is rather cheesy as well.