Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

October 8, 2012

Tiffany ~ Dust Off & Dance

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: electronica
Label: Paradise
Year: 2005
Home: Nashville, Tennessee

Members: Tiffany ~ vocals
Joe Brooks ~ guitar/keyboards/b. vocals
Tim Feehan ~ guitar/programming/b. vocals
Janine Gobeil ~ b. vocals
Jawa ~ rap

Debbie Gibson just debuted a new song, sort of, it's a remake of her hit "Electric Youth". But, the 40-something Gibson has pumped up the beat, included a rapper singing about iphones & facebook, synthesized her own voice so heavy the computer does most of the work, while the video is obviously made for gay audiences. It's horrible. It's shallow. It destroys what was a fun song. Gibson's facelift to look as young & sexy as Britney Spears doesn't help either ... considering she just about succeeds, showing more cleavage now than she did at 18. In the 80's she was the young girl next door, not necessarily too sexy, singing feel good love songs kids could gather around. Her opposition was Tiffany, the red headed tight jeans wearing little "I Think We're Alone Now" vixen who played up the sex appeal. The two have switched roles now. Gibson is the vixen, though shallow & not natural, while Tiffany has become a 40-something mom & low-key country singer. I don't want to see Gibson acting too young, while Tiffany ... well, she did lose some weight recently ... but at least one comes off natural & relaxed & not desperate for a career comeback. I have no problem with musicians making a comeback, its just how they do it. Though, perhaps Gibson is copying what Tiffany did a few years. Both their careers simultaneously died after a few albums with a few dribbles coming out over the years to little fanfare. One of the dribbles was a new techno Tiffany with Dust Off & Dance. There was always a dance beat in her music, but now it was all super slick techno perfectly made for the gay dance clubs. The result isn't bad, but its a bit discomforting when compared to where she was. Her voice has changed with the raw edge gone & so has her music, the sexiness is now forced, the electric guitars occasionally come out, there's even some rap. Dust Off & Dance was self-released through CDBaby & dedicated to her gay fans who reminded her about how much fun it could be to let loose on the dancefloor, so the feeling is that this is not completely a comeback so much as a deliberate one-off thank you ... but for the unknowing it reaks desperate of a comeback. Though, liner notes don't show an image change & it was indeed a one-off techno moment, so it really does end up being a thank you. But, if there's any hits here it's not because the great Teen Queen has returned, it's just because the production is good & has a momorable melody line. I'd challenge anyone to recognize Tiffany's voice, though I give her credit for actually singing with the lightest touch of computer tweaking unlike Gibson's new song. Many artists have tried to reinvent themselves with a heavy dance album - for example, Chris Cornell, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper - with a few little hits coming out of the efforts, but its been a selection of alien cold hits compared to the personal intimacy of earlier songs. & always, the image has come off when the experiment was proven ugly ... well, Madonna is not giving up. The problem with these experiments is any value in the lyrics is lost behind the beats. Any personality is given a chill. The sex is no longer quaint, as "I Think We're Alone Now" was, but in your face & generic. Yes, Dust Off & Dance does have some variety, such as Indian music in "Kama Sutra" & rock guitaris in "Everybody Get Down" & "Artificial Girlfriend", plus rap on the first two of those. & it's far as strange as Cyndi Lauper or as cold as other albums out there & she's not even come close to the J-Lo hip-hop dance. If anything Cher's Believe comes to mind quite often ... though that proved to have its limits when its follow-up was a pale sister. For those that like dance music picking up a Tiffany album might seem a bit embarressing but she actually does a good job for the genre. It's a well-crafted album with all the obligatory tricks of the genre. Someone did her homework & some extra credit work. The result did give Tiffany a career boost with five songs charting on online radio before getting nominated for six JPF awards. In 2006 "Be With U Tonite" won best dance song of the year & the album was best dance album. I do applaud Tiffany for fashioning a dance album nearly as perfectly as one can & getting her first recognition in years and there's really not a bad since, for the style. But, I like my music with more personality & I feel sad as any artist can churn out shallow techno with more computer tweaks than R2D2. This isn't the Tiffany I remember, but just a girl recording her voice. Give me those cliched 80's synthesizers & electric drums anyday ... let alone where did the sexy rasp in Tiffany's voice go that made her sound unique? I thought singers tended to get a lower voice not get higher with age? All but one of those songs are new ... the cover being a new take on "I Think We're Alone Now." You'll never recognize it, though its the only song where her voices doesn't sound like its change so I wonder if its actually a remix not a new recording. I never review dance or techno albums, though I've done my fair share of dancing to them, but this isn't Tiffany's normal style so the abnormality of it gets mentioned under my goal of unique or interesting albums for artists. As for Debbie Gibson ... I hope she looks at Tiffany's career. Oh, maybe she did & saw Tiffany got a hit, even if the style of music was a one-off thing. Though, singing songs about facebook is probably not going to make it. For those that wonder where Tiffany is today ... she moved to Nashville in 1995 & has had a country music career since. But, Dust Off & Dance & the other bubbles that came out were anything but country, so until her Bonnie Raitt-esque 2011 country blues release Rose Tattoo it was a bit of a surprise what she was really doing on stage ... only proving that Dust Off & Dance really is a thank you & not a comeback. Though, considering how big country music was in the 90's I'm surprised she didn't take the risk earlier ... but she probably thought it was too big of a jump for her fans that were left. Though, considering this, maybe Madonna needs to take a page from Tiffany's book ... do the thank you & then go back making the music we generally prefer.

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