Friday, 5 March 2010

Gina G - Fresh!

The sheer momentous opulence of Gina G's iconic Fresh! album was impossible to top. The fact that the strawberry blonde singer never got her shot to try is besides the point - combining coquetish glamour with radiant femininity and serving it with rampant, frothy Hi-NRG signified a unique liberation. Hook subsiding meaning notwithstanding, Gina's girly but never quite trite delivery always expressing erotic longing, an insatiable appetite for admiring hot boys, energetic distress and hair-tossing abandon Rita Hayworth style.

Camp emergency siren Ooh Ahh ... Just A Little Bit is every bit as gushing as I'm In The Mood For Dancing or Kelly Marie's Feels Like I'm In Love especially, but far more exuberant than both those acts would have found imaginable. Like those other singles, the song is uncoverable - the singers heartbeat-skipping theme tune whether she likes that we like it or not. The electric production travels fast, the beats violating your right for consent. The frolicsome, speedy carnage wouldn't mean a thing without Gina sucking us right in: 'you're my love, you're my sweetest thing' is delivered before you can catch your breath.

The scintilating Fresh! with aquatic male panting and rippling guitar riff, all deliberately echoing a jingle with 1950s catchprasing, conveying bathing suit glamour in heels. The funky Bayside Boys remix yanks the Macarena bassline from under your feet and it's a perfect fit for those revolving 'whoooh-oh-oh-whoah-oh-oh' bits.

Flemenco flutterer Ti Amo bats its lashes in the direction of La Isla Bonita, applying an extra layer of pining fantasia. The more bombastic Bayside Boys, more fiesty Basstown, and more better Metro 'Summer of Love' Edits infinitely indulge the sense of unrestricted romance. This is the song that evolved into Enrique Iglesias' solo career when Gina's record contract bound her to work with Motiv8 producer Steve Roadway and she refused, giving Metro free reign to spoil the Latin heart-throb with numerous scintilating soundalikes (Rhythm Divine, Be With You, Hero - just imagine if Gina had recorded them, and she didn't even have a mole).

The helpless Everytime I Fall (think Madonna's Pray For Spanish Eyes) assumes passive dependence into a lovers gaze. The Todd Terry and Metro remixes offer the song's definative experiences.

Emitting a cryptic and redemptive quality, Follow The Light is an arm wrestle between a ballad and a extravaganza, ruefully celebrating her music's escapist ideals.

The immodest hormonal desperation Gimme Some Love is standard fare gear-shifting Hi-NRG, no more no less, but the Eurobeat single edit remedies this with a flush of sweeping whoooshing disco lubrication. The perfect vehicle for a swift vocal style that craves a fast melody so you don't have to think about it too much. Gina effortlessly sustains her mortified giddiness, of which overcomes the paranoia of her not-so-quiet request.

Above: finishing 6th, Gina certainly never 'failed' at Eurovision, she got a UK #1, huge Japanese success and narrowly missed the US Billboard top ten peaking at #11)

The ecstatic disco heart-attack Rhythm of My Life, compels a lapse in diplomacy when Gina blurts out 'my brother doesn't like you, my sister thinks you're cool' which is on par with the magnificently pugnacious opening line to Jellyhead By Crush ('so what if your jeans are torn, they've been torn since Bros were cool'). Manufactured from Motiv8's already existing Rocking For Myself, one can't hold it against Gina when she's on particularly forthcoming form, having alpatations that have more inescapable pull than a black hole.

Soggy tampon soaker Missing You Like Crazy is the only deadweight and has no place on the album where she sounds a bit too accepting of her lovers absence to ring properly true. A prudish toilet flush - she might get it all out but doesn't half leave a big stink behind her and why should we all suffer?

The sumptuous I Belong To You treacles with glossy production wherein her unquenchable desire accommodates Roadways surfing electronica, as she blushes, 'like a river to the sea'. Like nature, you'd best not interrupt her and instead marvel at the breathtaking outcome no matter who dies from it. The telegraphic precision of the lyrics, usurping jaccuzzi of eurodance, and Gina's heartwarming reassureance all equal a nervous overload of vanishing point euphoria.

Gina's cool and enticing vocals hyperventalate once more on the anthemic elevation of the jerky kangaroo beat-driven Higher Than Love. One of the many opportunities for a single, the fact that she has this as a spare defies belief. Whereas her contemporaries (Kristine W, Ultra Nate, Tina Cousins) were swamped with filler, Gina simply elminates this concern, going too fast to get bogged down. The risky adrenaline makes it sounds like a breeze.

On an album largely consumed by an inability to control one's emotions, Gina's cautious guard on the galacial mild tempo ballad It Doesn't Mean Goodbye is the only song where she seems to reveal a genuine human being beyond the killer hook and killer heels. Not merely pretty (which it most definately is), the singer's inner turmoil is illuminated by beaming synths sharply ignited with a tender melancholy. It's an ironic send off, and whenever I hear Gina's final whispered 'it doesn't mean goodbye' my inner gay stereotype can't help but repeat out loud 'oh but it did Gina'. The track plays on her best qualities - her perfumy voice creates a genuine mist of pathos, severed romance, spirituality and antagonised sexuality searching for answers. This song only deepens my intense admiration for her gloss, artifice, sophistication, realness, intensity and fast-lane cravings. A smouldering come down.

The encore Ooh Ahh ... Just A Little Bit (Vintage Honey Edit) caramalises the song into a more wistful current. The outstanding campness of the original is relieved in favour of a simple and spaced out but lush groove.

Every track bar one executed as a sure shot dancefloor classic (or pretty floral petal-plucking ballad), the strength of Fresh! is never extinguished (bar the tempoaray dampner Missing You Like Crazy). Her pulsating rhythms could give a corpse a nervous breakdown - you'd better dance, you'd better be gay and you'd better be ready for album number two. If you are man enough to be 'gay' enough, Gina skimming the cream for intoxicatingly exuberant beatwise hooks is the sound of life itself with each song (bar one) circulating like fresh heroine into a junkie. And when 3 out of 4 ballads of lust and ineptitude are good enough to ignite tempestuous holiday romance memories you don't even have, it surely is worth it. Her only album, so just as well it surpasses most greatest hits collections.


Anonymous said...

Fresh was the first cd I bought back in spring '98. I still listen to it from time to time. It doesn't mean goodbye is a current favourite with the ageless Fresh. Those were the days... :)

Anonymous said...

i have several of her songs on my mp3 player. listening to it doesn't mean goodbye. still good song.

Diva Incarnate said...

I'm loving the appreciation of Goodbye from us all - it's perfection.