Wilson Phillips – Hold On

First Hit #1: June 9, 1990

Being the daughter of a famous musician must be both easy and quite a challenge. Easy because, well, you’re the daughter of a famous musician, you’ve got money and connections already. A challenge because if you’re planning on becoming a pop star – or starting a pop group – you’re going to face comparisons to your famous parents, which is especially tough if said parents made some of the best pop songs in the ’60s.

Wilson Phillips doesn’t hide from their heritage. Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips put their famous names right in the name of the band, and even do harmony-driven pop music just like the Beach Boys and the Mamas and the Papas – the family bands, in other words. They don’t actually recall their famous family in any way however, and that trick is mostly a lucky twist of timing.

The greatest strength of Wilson Phillips is the women’s voices weaving together in harmony. The biggest separation from their ancestry is that they dive deep into early ’90s production. The song sounds very dated, and has that odd thin sound that early 90s AM rock all had, but in some ways the dated nature of the song is kind of a strength. It sounds unique to the group, and unlike many other tracks that are trapped in their era, it doesn’t actually detract from the song at all. Hell, if ’90s nostalgia starts to take root, it might actually be a strength, as people rediscover their favorite old songs. In fact, I think we would lose something if the song wasn’t so grounded in its era, since it’s actually a pretty good example of how these production trends can be used for good, not evil.

This entry was posted in 1990 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Wilson Phillips – Hold On

  1. RBerman says:

    Ethnic percussion, string pad, electric piano, sparse compressed lead guitar, synth bass, three vocals weaving in and out of unison. Acapella breakdown after the bridge. It works well, mainly from the obvious: Interesting melody (ear-catching syncopation abounds) with pleasing harmonies. The “encouraging a stressed friend after a breakup” lyrics also chide: “You got yourself into your own mess.”

    Petra Haden interpolated a snippet from the chorus into her low-fi but influential acapella cover of “Don’t Stop Believing” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw3GTTYgEV8 at the 3:40 mark), which sparked that song’s frequent inclusion in the TV show “Glee.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s