Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hanging On

First Hit #1: June 6, 1987

Yesterday, U2 abandoned trends. Kim Wilde, meanwhile, seems to be parodying them, possibly unintentionally. Now, You Keep Me Hanging On is a girl group classic, and there’s really nothing about it that says “know what this needs, synthesizers and electric guitars!” It was a well realized song, thematically clear and extremely well done.

Kim Wilde’s version is… not that. It’s taking every trend of the era and taking it to its nadir. It’s actually, unintentionally, completely hilarious. It’s trying so hard to be cool and modern, trying to make a dark and edgy version of a girl-group classic. So the production is going balls to the wall with the contemporary references. Meanwhile, Wilde and her backup singers are doing a sort of reverent homage to the original, and – as much as I hate to say it – sound sort of like a group of high school girls at a karaoke night. Talented high school girls, maybe, the voices aren’t bad, but it does sound like plucky amateurs trying on their mother’s clothes. I can’t help but laugh a this thing, it’s so stupid, but has no real awareness of how stupid it actually is. Every time some complicated electric guitar breaks through the mix while Wilde and friends go through the motions, I realize that I am listening to accidental comedy gold, a song that has been put together by people who don’t quite know what they’re doing, but have the misplaced confidence to keep stubbornly following that muse.

I don’t know much about Kim Wilde, I’m sure she’s done better things, but this is a joke. Whether or not the joke is good or bad is up to the listener, but this thing is impossible to take seriously.

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One Response to Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hanging On

  1. RBerman says:

    The only other thing of note Kim Wilde did was “Kids in America,” which like this song has a heavy Bangles “early 60s in the mid 80s” vibe. It ditches the telegraphic guitar work of the original in favor of keyboard sequencing and gated drums. Wilde’s vocals area marginally better than Diana Ross’ originals, but like Ross, Wilde’s vocals are not her primary asset.

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