Single Review: Tiffany “Radio Romance”

Radio Romance
Album: Hold An Old Friend’s Hand
Year: 1989

In the late 80s, pop music began to have a retro, wholesome feel to it. Madonna’s “True Blue” and Belinda Carlisle’s “I Feel The Magic” referenced the 50s. Tiffany’s management took their notes and had her release “Radio Romance” as one of the first singles off her second album.

Like most of her songs, Tiffany is in love with her best friend’s boyfriend. However, this time she’s making her feelings a bit more public. “Radio Romance” opens with the dedication she makes every night on radio (“From who? Just say from the one who loves you baby”). After a hyper drum beat, Tiffany starts singing. She sees her crush walking every day at school, holding hands with her best friend. But her crush doesn’t pay attention to her and she’s invisible to him (“I see you baby/Every single day/Holding on to my best friend/But you don’t see me”).

When she comes from school, she listens to the radio and dedicates the same song to him every night (“So I make the same request now/Every single night/Going out from me to you/On the dedication line”). She hopes her crush hears her dedication and falls instantly in love with her and dumps her best friend. (“I wonder if you’re listening/To the words that keep me wishing/That one day I’ll be kissing you”). She’s certainly a pleasant, sweet best friend. Except if the person blinks, she’ll steal her boyfriend away. Then, she’ll justify it by saying she didn’t really do anything.

She wants the fantasy to come true so badly. In the chorus, she sings “radio/radio romance.”

She doesn’t want to tell anybody. She knows it will cause a fight with her best friend (“My secret admiration/I won’t reveal/I wouldn’t want to hurt no one/By tellin’ how I feel”). She calls the station so much, the disc jockey knows it’s her and the song will dedicate. (“The dj knows my voice now/He even knows my choice now”). Her voice isn’t actually heard on the radio. It’s the DJ who says it and plays the song (“He never says my name/He just says from the one/Who loves you baby”).

She really wants him to hear the song, despite him not a) not knowing it’s her and not caring if she’s alive or not. While she’s actively wasting her time hoping the crush will get ESP and think “this song must be from the girl who hangs around with my best friend who I ignore. But you know, I think I’ll emotionally cheat on my girlfriend because I have this undiscovered love for her best friend.” (“One night you’ll hear a song/And then you’ll know just who it’s from”).

While “Radio Romance” is cheesy and immature, it does describe the competitive best friend who suddenly wanted everything the their friend had in high school. Then, tried indiscreet ways of taking it away and succeeded.

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