"Body Mind Soul signalled the end of Debbie Gibson's chart life, but it's not the music's fault. This record was one of the casualties of the paradigm shift that had turned New Kids on the Block fans into Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and even Pantera fans -- a generation had started to grow up, and Gibson's music was left behind.
But this is one fine record. Even when I was a teenager back in 1993, this record sat in comfortably in my CD walkman along with Pearl Jam's Vs., R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People, and other songs by far more "respectable" artists. And this is the record on which Gibson didn't sound like a talented teenager, but a fully formed artist with depth and complexity. She'd just done an overhaul in her music, choosing new collaborators (Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, of Rythm Syndicate, which had one big hit in "P.A.S.S.I.O.N.") and a new, more grown-up image. Rythm Syndicate wasn't exactly the most respected band around, but Rogers and Sturken proved highly catalytic to Gibson as co-writers and co-producers.
Lead single "Losin' Myself" was possibly the sexiest single of that year. Maybe it wasn't a great idea for Gibson to play a stripper in the video, but the single is still a marvel, an engaging mix of dance song and ballad, a track that just keeps building up higher and higher rhythmically, with great backing vocals, a killer bassline, a bridge that Prince might've cooked up, and a varied, sensual lead vocal by Gibson. "Free Me" melds a heavy club beat to a great pop song and effectively caps off Gibson's artistic intent; "Do You Have It in Your Heart?" signals Gibson's new approach towards ballads. She now sounds fully mature and this song easily makes us forget the overt sentimentality of "Lost in Your Eyes"; and "How Can This Be?" harkens back to her older songs, but with more maturity and better lyrics. The only dud is "Shock Your Mama", which does nothing of the sort, pretty flat and uninteresting even as a joke.
This album fell into bargain bins about a year after it came out. But it's easily the strongest album in the Gibson catalogue, better than Gibson's plethora of semi-independent albums throughout the '90s, and a record that would be good by anybody's standards."
A solid album
D. Mok | 01/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's beyond me why some people choose to judge this immesely talented recording artist! There are not many people who have her skills & ability to create various songs and fabulous backing music! This album is everything a solid album should have. The songs are expertly written & produced, the vocals suit each song, there is consistency, the songs have good remixablity potenial & everything song sounds fabulous many years later! In my mind, she is every bit as talented & has good taste in music like Madonna. I love every songs on this CD. Recommended."
How Can This Be
Michael Anthony Sanchez | 09/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"2 years after the disasterous album Anything Is Possible, Debbie decided to move into the R&B/New Jack Swing to fit the trends. Overall this isn't a bad record. It was her last effort and eventually she left Atlantic Records.
Love or Money: great opening track with great new jack swing movements and lyrics. So I would give it a 10/10
Do you Have it In your Heart: one of the three ballads off the album, which sounds like L.A. Reid/Babyface style and something TLC would Sing which sounds Like Baby Baby Baby. I will give it 9/10
Free Me: her least successful single, I would give it 2/10
Shock Your Mama: another New Jack track produced by Teddy Riley himself and very silly lyrics. 8/10
Losin Myself: Best track of the album even the Masters at Work is awesome. The album version is very Melancholy and a cry for help which the song starts slower then comes from down beat to the highest beat and slows at the end. Now the upbeat sounds like Madonna'a Rain the video fits the song which can be seen as a strip club song.the MAW mix has an alternate ending. Song will receive 10/10
How Can This Be: a look back at her previous singles Foolish Beat and In Your Eyes which shows a mature vocals and great ballad. 9/10
When I Say No: a Prince-esque type of song speaks about date [...] which something Britney needs to hear and learn from Deborah. 9/10
Little Birdie: too cheesy and too silly, what was she thinking? 5/10
Kisses 4 One: Another Prince-esque. This is a very serious song which speaks about the dangers of AIDS and telling them they should stick to one love and tells all races (black white brown) all seeing red. Great track Debbie. 10/10
Tear Down These Walls: sounds like a leftover of Electric Youth but with mature lyrics and great beat. 8/10
Closing out this album is Goodbye: great way to end the album. 9/10
I would give this album a 9/10. Good album but it needed Losin Myself MAW 12" as a bonus track"
The Debster's Third-Best Album : Pure Audio Gold
Cabir Davis | 05/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you're Debbie Gibson, chances are that you often wonder why your music wasn't more successful, considering how GOOD you were at it. While Miss Gibson did have a huge hit on her hands with her sophomore album "Electric Youth" (which ironically remains her best CD in terms of musical value), critics often forget that she had a huge body of work post-"Electric Youth", most notably the classic "Anything is Possible" album from 1990.
Often compared to Tiffany, Miss Gibson's later career slump is actually quite comparable to Tiffany's. Both their 1990 albums were huge flops (though Tiffany's 1990 album "New Inside" is still a minor pop classic), and their albums in the 2000s, while good, didn't quite bring them back the way they expected. However, both these ladies released some pretty good albums in the 1990s - its a pity that none of these really took off.
"Body Mind Soul" was recorded in 1992 and released in 1993. At a time when grunge and alternative music was taking over the world, the album seems an oddity even within its 'pure pop' genre. I first had this on cassette back in 1992, but recently got a fresh copy of it on CD (and at these throwaway prices, I should have gotten at least three copies of this, come to think of it). "Body Mind Soul" was an album before its' time, in my opinion. It had shades of neo-soul before 'neo-soul' was even a properly understood genre, and it had traces of jazz and funk as well.
"Love or Money", the addictive opening track, long remained my favorite due to its insanely funny opening dialog, and the simply breezy "Losin' Myself" (try tracking down the equally cool video) was an underrated pop gem that reminded me of Martika's "Love thy Will be Done". Along the way, there are some smash songs that should have been singles. "Free Me" sounds like something off Vanessa Williams' amazing "The Comfort Zone" CD, and "Kisses 4 One" uses a change in musical tone halfway through the song - this reminded me of the similar transition used on "Don't Take me Down" from the Wilson Phillips second CD "Shadows and Light" (another underrated classic).
"Body Mind Soul" is timeless pop. Debbie Gibson sure knew what she was doing, back in the day, but many people forget that she was an artist first and a commercial entertainer second. Many of these 'teen pop' princesses are often maligned/mocked due to these associations, but the fact remains that Debbie Gibson was an honest and really solid songwriter. I believe she still holds the Guinness Record for youngest person to write/perform/produce a No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. And that was in 1987!
I urge you to get this. Along with "Anything is Possible" and "Electric Youth", this remains one of her best albums. Later efforts, such as her more 'serious' attempt entitled "Deborah", as well as her syrupy love album "Think with your Heart" are all good, but none of them are as essential as the afore-mentioned trio of albums.