Single Review: Debbie Gibson “Staying Together”

Staying Together
Album: Out of the Blue
Year: 1988

While two people should work their hardest to maintain and keep a healthy relationship sometimes when it isn’t working and the people have done everything they can, it’s time to let go. Debbie Gibson, who was 17 when she wrote the fourth single “Staying Together,” obviously didn’t realize the complexities of relationships yet.

Naive and full of schoolgirl optimism, “Staying Together” is a cheery dance pop single about what not do in a relationship. Somehow, Gibson manages to do it all in under 4 minutes. In the spoken intro, she forces her guy to stay with her, even if he would want to leave (“you can’t go, boy/…this time i’m not asking what you think/I’m telling you/we’re staying together/whether you like it or not”) In the first verse, she starts by reassuring her guy (and thus, taking the song in a saner direction) However, it quickly becomes about her again (“I won’t say goodbye without a fight/’cause you and me are staying together.”) Then, in the chorus, her insecurity sets in as she pleads “don’t say goodbye to me, boy” and “if you would go/my heart would leave me.” In the second verse, she’s perfectly content to just be his girl (“Oh, if you thought that i would stand by your side/you know me, boy/I never lied”) The bridge brings more begging and desperation (“don’t take my heart away from me”) And towards the end, a very psycho Debbie says “don’t even think about it” With a threat like that, he will be too afraid to decide where to go out eat on a date with her.

Despite the psychotic lyrics, “Staying Together” is a great example of 80s dance pop. Although her music is not as sophisicated as Madonna, it is however, less computerized and natural than today’s dance pop. The saxophone actually serves a purpose by being in the dance break and then it blends well with the rest of the single.

Gibson’s voice is pitch perfect and easy on the ears. Although she is not a great singer, she can belt the notes without it being grating. But she lacks richness in her vocals, which makes them plain.

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