I wanted to share something special for Christmas and I couldn't think of anything better than my favourite album by any Jackson! La Toya's opus, "Heart Don't Lie", would easily make the list of my 10 favourite albums of all time. In fact, statistical research (carried out by yours truly) suggests that 4 out of 5 Sydney drag queens prefer "Heart Don't Lie" to Michael Jackson's "Thriller". If that isn't reason enough to get you downloading, I don't know what is! I'm going to post the album in full because I truly believe that every pop fan should own this masterpiece in one form or another. The album was only released on CD in Japan, and if you want a copy, expect to pay up to $US 300.
"Heart Don't Lie" was released in 1984, THE glory year for the Jackson family. Michael was still riding the "Thriller" tidal wave, Jermaine had top 10 success with his "Dynamite" album, Rebbie unexpectedly hit the R'n'B top 5 with "Centipede", Janet launched her second solo album "Dream Street", and The Jacksons embarked on their hugely successful "Victory" tour. In the midst of all this, La Toya served up her third album, "Heart Don't Lie". Toy turned her back on the R'n'B sound of her first two albums (see the November and December archives) and fully embraced the synth-pop movement that was currently exploding in popularity all around the world. The result is one of the best albums of the 1980s and one of the most sadly forgotten albums in musical history. "Heart Don't Lie" was more successful than her previous releases and the title track was a minor hit in the US but this should have been La Toya's "Thriller" or "Control". I'm not being sarcastic, I prefer it to both.
"Heart Don't Lie" kicks off in fabulous style, with the upbeat pop song, "Think Twice". The warm sound of 80s pop music suits La Toya's unique vocals superbly. This is what La Toya's collaboration with SAW in the late 80s should have sounded like. "Think Twice" would have made a great first single, as it is somewhat more representative of the album than the title track. "Heart Don't Lie" blends reggae with bubblegum pop and the result is sublime - but unusual to say the least! The backing singers are Musical Youth, those "Pass The Dutchie" boys. This is one of my personal favourites, not in the least because of the craptastic 80s video.
The next song is another straightforward pop anthem. "Bet'cha Gonna Need My Lovin'" is a true 80s pop gem. This is better than anything Madonna managed in the decade that taste forgot, and I love 80s Madonna! Speaking of 80s icons, La Toya's amazing cover of Prince's "Private Joy" is definitely one of my top 5 Toy songs. I'm convinced this song is really about La Toya's extensive collection of vibrators but I could be mistaken. Pop heaven!
"Hot Potato" has become a cult classic over the years and Toy's fans recently voted it their equal favourite La Toya song. This song has everything - hilarious lyrics, barking dogs, gangster boyfriends and a spoken interlude by La Toya's bodyguard. "Hot Potato" is essential La Toya! "I Like Everything You're Doin'" would not sound out of place on Janet's "Control". The song incorporates more elements of 80s R'n'B than most of the album but remains very much "pop".
The standard of the album is so high that the quality had to slip eventually. "Frustration" is the only song on "Heart Don't Lie" that I don't love. However, I still enjoy it. Blame Tito, who produced this number with his father, Joe Jackson. The album ends with one of La Toya's notoriously unique ballads, "Without You". It seems a strange choice to end such an upbeat album with a ballad but "Without You" is such a jewel of 80s decadence with its elaborate spoken intro and vocal hystrionics that you wont mind a bit.
I hope La Toya gives your Christmas a sparkling "pop trash" gleam! Have a great day and save some pudding for me! See you soon for Blog Land's most craptastic end of year countdown.