GIRLS NIGHT IN: Beloved five-tool player (composer, vocalist, arranger, producer, and multi-instrumentalist) Deborah Ann "Debbie" Gibson has once again raised the bar with the 15 May release of the answer song to her recent instant classic, Girls Night Out. The resultant Girls Night In offers a unique and engaging reaction to the ongoing pandemic crisis from a relatively upbeat perspective.  Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell takes a closer look at this unique example of thinking outside of the box below.  (Click on above image to enlarge).

By Michael McDowell

Jim Reeves mandated that He'll Have To Go. Jeanne Black countered with He'll Have To Stay. Claude King tried in vain to climb Wolverton Mountain. Jo Ann Campbell beckoned to him with (I'm The Girl From) Wolverton Mountain. Herman's Hermits serenaded Mrs. Brown's lovely daughter. The late Kenny Young fled from Mrs. Green's Ugly Daughter.

The so-called answer song has long provided both amusement and continuum for a given acclaimed musical work. But with rare exception, such answer songs to date have almost invariably come from other artists. 

In those cases, the artists either addressed and elaborated upon the subject matter at hand (as noted in the aforementioned examples) or confronted it. Witness the Spokesmen's The Dawn Of Correction in relation to Barry McGuire's Eve Of Destruction, or Jan Berry's The Universal Coward as it counter-punches Donovan Leitch's The Universal Soldier.

The latter examples were borne of ongoing acrimony, which was prevalent in society at large at the time of their creation. To be certain, with the ongoing pandemic at hand, we in turn are facing a level of societal upheaval and unrest heretofore not seen in our lifetimes.

In such cases, even the slightest word or inference has been known to escalate tensions. Sadly, humor and optimism remain at a premium when most are on the defensive. 

But once in a great while, in terms of the answer song, humor has been known to at least provide moments of respite, if not long term solutions. To wit, Bob Seger's early outing as the Beach Bums in his The Ballad Of The Yellow Berets, which managed to generate at least a bit of uneasy laughter on both sides in response to Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler's The Ballad Of The Green Berets during the height of the Vietnam war.

However, none of the aforementioned examples were initially released into a society in which exchanges of information via social media was the order of the day. With the power of communications now in the hands of the rank and file, emotional free for alls often ensue in various posts in response to any perceived slight and/or difference in perspective. 

It is in times such as these that a bit of optimism provides welcome relief. But given the circumstances, any artist endeavoring to do so would nonetheless do well to tread lightly. Relentless optimism would most assuredly be a prerequisite in such attempts. 

Moreover, a bit of self-depreciation would be in order to provide a buffer against possible retribution. Indeed, an astute artist who kept such guidelines in mind could provide a musical rallying cry that could well unite divided factions and inspire tangible solutions, possibly diffusing any existing caustic rhetoric in the process. 

Enter music's most beloved five-tool player (composer, vocalist, producer, multi-instrumentalist and arranger), Deborah Ann "Debbie" Gibson. With the 15 May release of Girls Night In, Gibson has done just that.

While her most recent creations have been all over the map musically (from an inspired take on A Cockeyed Optimist from the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific to her sublime original piano instrumental, French Carousel), Gibson earlier this year enjoyed tremendous acclaim for her celebratory Girls Night Out single, which is presently generating considerable enthusiasm in the UK. 

Moreover, Gibson is no stranger to the answer song. At the onset of the pandemic just weeks ago, she revisited her 1987 Atlantic label Shake Your Love single with a benediction to Wash Your Hands

In turn, Girls Night In provides a light hearted response to the ongoing societal shutdown by making the most of a trying situation. Whereas Girls Night Out found Gibson in fantasy mode, wandering triumphantly from scene to scene in a Las Vegas nightclub (only to wake up in bed with a reality check), Girls Night In borrows from a few of Gibson's recent social media posts and finds her at home, dealing humorously with such challenges as cleaning, Netflix binging, home recording, reaching out to friends online, and releasing pent up emotions on the punching bag in her home gym, with nods to her long time choreographer Buddy Casimano's acclaimed online at home workout program, as well as her three faithful yet beleaguered dogs, Joey, Trooper and Levi.

"Just suck it up, don't muck it up" Gibson cautions therein.

Not that Gibson is likely to fall prey to her own caveats. Astute to the point of being nearly impossible to second guess, she remains a visionary with few equals.

Moreover, Gibson is among the very few artists who are savvy enough to create their own answer song and make it a free standing statement in its own right. As always, she draws largely from personal experience to underscore the various points, with occasional exceptions.

"I don't drink gin", Gibson reassured, in reference to a particular couplet found at mid-point in the proceedings.

"I'm up at 5:00AM and in bed by 8:00PM. So it's more like a day in the life".

A life that continues to create, motivate and inspire at a level that raises the bar with each new contribution. And as Blitz Magazine has responded with increasing regularity in recent months, job well done, Deborah Ann.

(Here is a link to the video clip of Girls Night Inhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HE72DrFU2s ).