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Thursday, July 26, 2007

When New Wave Happens To Old Artists - Sheena Easton

Sheena Easton, the adult comtemporary pop princess of the early '80s, got a bit of a makeover in 1984 with her album, A Private Heaven, thanks to the Top 5 hit, "Strut", and the Prince-penned ode to, um, anatomy, "Sugar Walls", which hit the Top 10. While Heaven's first two singles had a decidedly dance-pop feel, the album's third single had a New Wave pedigree.

It wasn't Sheena's first flirtation with New Wave - that would probably be the 1982 single "Machinery" that sputtered at #57 on the charts, while shmaltzy ballads like "Almost Over You" did considerably better. Either undettered or simply unable to learn her lesson, Easton dipped into the New Wave pool once again for Heaven's third single, "Swear", an almost note-for-note remake of an underground hit Tim Scott had released two years prior. The Scott version got a bit of club and college radio play, so maybe 1985 was the right time for the song to get its long-awaited crossover time in the sun.

Nope. "Swear" was Easton's lowest-charting single (among her singles that actually charted). To be fair, it did better in dance clubs with its extended Dance Mix, but Top 40 radio just wasn't havin' it. The bland video didn't help matters either:

Having said all that, I love this song. It's so of its time, and the rap is unintentionally hysterical, but what else can you expect from a New Wave Sheena tune?

"Swear" peaked at #80 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and at #43 on the Hot Dance Music Sales Chart in 1985.

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posted by John, 12:17 PM