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performed by Debbie Gibson
written by Debbie Gibson
released on January 24, 1989
Imagine in your mind’s eye a young pop princess with the charisma of Britney Spears and the songwriting talent of Taylor Swift. Inject horns and the occasional sax solos into the music equation. Now let me introduce you to Debbie Gibson at the height of her power.
Zappin’ it to you
The pressure’s everywhere
Goin’ right through you
The fever’s in the air, ooh yeah, it’s there
Don’t underestimate the power
Of a lifetime ahead
Feel the power, you see the energy
Coming on strong
The future only belongs
to the future itself/in the hands of itself
and the future is
It’s true you can’t fight it
Live by it
the next generation…
We’ve got the most time
To make the world go round
Oh, can you spare a dime?
Place your bet on our sound, come back to town
Don’t lose sight of potential mastermind
Remember when you were young
We do what comes naturally (naturally!)
You see now
wait for the possibility
Don’t you see a strong resemblance
to yourself? (oh…)
Don’t you think what we say is important?
Whatever it may be…
The fun is gonna start with me
’cause I’m bringing it back…
it’s electric, it’s electric, it’s electric
an electric youth!
Electric Youth is the title track from Debbie Gibson’s second studio album. It’s fair to say that “the future only belongs to the future itself” is one of the finest pop lyrics of all time. You could also argue that Gibson predicts the nature of the next generation in this album. Electric is a metaphor for power, vigor, and optimism, but it also describes the digital age. Within a decade of this song’s release, the internet and video game age were alive and well. “The next generation – it’s electric.” She was right. For those that were not born yet, or do not remember, the album was a massive hit in the United States. From wiki:
Charts and certifications
|Year||Weekly Charts||Chart Position|
|1989||Australian Albums Chart||10|
|1989||Canada Albums Chart||11|
|1989||German Albums Chart||48|
|1989||Japanese Oricon Albums Chart||15|
|1989||New Zealand Albums Chart||47|
|1989||Swedish Albums Chart||43|
|1989||Swiss Albums Chart||21|
|1989||UK Albums Chart||8|
|1989||US Billboard 200||1|
In the US, the album was certified 2× Platinum by the RIAA and sold over 4 million copies worldwide. Gibson promoted the album with “The Electric Youth World Tour” in 1989. In parallel with the album, she created an Electric Youth perfume under Revlon, and various makeup essentials for young girls through Natural Wonder Cosmetics, one of her sponsors at the time, distributed throughout the U.S.
The album also inspired an original stage musical of the same name which premiered at the Starlight Dinner Theatre (formerly Mark Two Dinner Theatre) in Orlando, Florida. Dean Parker wrote the book and Gibson co-produced.
Gibson wrote all of her songs, including those on this album, and she also single-handedly produced six of the tracks for Electric Youth as well. She is a musical genius who walked so that Taylor Swift (born the year this album was released) could run.
If you want a heavy dose of 1980s nostalgia, I highly recommend that you check out the music video. The wardrobe, the dancing, the production…. *chef’s kiss.*
Gibson had her hand in the direction of the video as well. From Wiki:
In 2006, elements of the music video (particularly the silhouette dance clips) were parodied by Cobie Smulders in the sitcom How I Met Your Mother for her character Robin Sparkles’ own 1990s (“The 80’s didn’t come to Canada ’til like ’93.”) hit single, “Let’s Go to the Mall.”
Whether through parody, or taken seriously, the message continues to resonate today, and we’d all be wise if we heed the song’s final admonition:
Remember when you were young.