In 1987 Tiffany became synonymous with ibubblegum pop music. With “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Could’ve Been” each topping Billboard Magazine’s HOT 100 Singles Chart, the then sixteen-year-old had gone from touring shopping malls to appearing on “The Tonight Show.” She followed up her quadruple platinum, self-titled debut album with “Hold An Old Friend’s Hand” in late 1988, another million-seller which generated the hits “All This Time,” “Radio Romance,” and the title track. Tiffany was riding high, but she wanted more. None of the songs on the albums had been written by her and she was basically a puppet under the reign of her producers.
Now nineteen-year-old Tiffany attempts to show us the person behind the voice on her latest release, “New Inside.” She co-wrote two songs on the album, which sports a funkier feel than her previous pop efforts. But just because she is “new” does not mean she is improved.
Tiffany tries to create dance-funk numbers similar to those of Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson, whose songs dominate radio airplay these days. But for the most part, the melodies are lacking, the lyrics are sappy, empty, and clich”-ridden, and a rap solo by guest Donnie Wahlberg only makes the album seem like a ridiculous parody of dance-funk. New Kids’ mentor Maurice Starr wrote and produced two tracks, including the egotistical “Tiff’s Back,” but apparently he has saved his best stuff for the New Kids.
There are a few bright spots on “New Inside.” The one true pop song, “Never Run My Motor Down,” is a fun sing-along and “Here in my Heart,” a love ballad penned by mega-songwriter Diane Warren (who has written smash hits for Belinda Carlisle, Chicago, Heart, and many others), stands out as the only song on the album that is truly poetic; the others are more scrambled thoughts set to an uninspiring synthesizer groove.
Tiffany’s new image has apparently found little favor with her fans as the record has sold minimally and the first two singles, “New Inside” and “Here in My Heart” have not received airplay. She deserves credit for taking some writing control and being savvy enough to know what is popular in today’s music, but her intentions far outweigh the quality of these songs. Tiffany may be “New Inside,” but the album is not really worth opening up to find out for yourself. n