Hello, there, 80sxchangers. Johnny Caps here. I know it's been a while since I've written an article for the site. It's not because I've lost interest in the 80s. I'm still as into it as I've always been, but I've had to take care of a few personal matters related to things like my house and getting the COVID vaccine. That's why I've been absent for the past two months, but I'm back now, though, and today I would like to do another Track By Track review of an album celebrating an anniversary this year. Today, I'm talking about Samantha Fox's debut album Touch Me.
Samantha Fox started out as a Page 3 model in England, Page 3 being a feature in British newspapers showcasing lovely topless models. Needless to say, I can't share any of those pictures on this site, but that's how Ms. Fox started out. She was recording music as early as 1983 under the name S.F.X, but 1986 would see Samantha achieve global fame with her album Touch Me. Join me as I look at Touch Me, Track By Track.
We start off with the title track, Touch Me (I Want Your Body).
In the song's accompanying music video, Samantha Fox comes flying out on stage, a buxom blonde dynamo in torn denim, talking about how sexually excited she is. This is obviously a character Samantha was playing, but she did an amazing job at playing that character. The character made quite an impression on multiple generations of men, but many of them got the wrong idea of who she is. In real life, Samantha Fox is a out-and-proud lesbian whose major relationships, first with her late manager Myra Stratton, and then with her current fiancee Linda Olsen, have been committed and monogamous. That's fine by me. Love is love, I feel, and Ms. Fox has certainly had a rough life, so as long as she's happy, that's what matters.
As to the song Touch Me (I Want Your Body), it's a song of primal lust with some very intriguing lyrics. Samantha still performs it in concert to this day, and she still does an amazing job with it. Singers are also actors in the way that they perform words that they may not necessarily agree with, but give their all to the performance anyway. I find Samantha to be a gifted singer. Some may give her grief for the type of music she performs, but pop music can be just as difficult to perform as rock music. It's Ms. Fox's commitment to her performances that make her stand out as a performer even today.
Moving along, we come to the album's second track, I'm All You Need.
Quite a few of the songs in Samantha Fox's discography are about how she sees the object of her affection in a sad frame of mind, and tries to help them by simply loving them. This song is a perfect example of that lyrical conceit as she tells her lover that whatever they need, she has. I think we've all hoped for relationships like that, whether romantic or platonic. Ms. Fox does a brilliant job of delivering the song's lyrics.
Being able to support people, to be empathetic to them, is a wonderful gift to have. I actually got such support from Samantha Fox herself when I met her at the Chiller Theatre convention in April of 2019. It was six-and-a-half years after I did my first successful phone interview, with her as my interview subject, and she was wonderful to meet. She signed a picture for me with the personalization, "We should sing together soon", and she asked me to sing, so I did a few bars of Prince's Purple Rain for her, and she and her handlers applauded me. That felt wonderful. For more on that story, check out the article I wrote for Pop Geeks in 2019 about meeting her: The Weekend I Met Samantha Fox
Jumping back to Touch Me, though, we come to the album's third track, Suzie, Don't Leave Me With Your Boyfriend.
This bouncy tune reminds me of songs by Samantha's international contemporaries Sheena Easton and Olivia Newton-John, both of whom are also gifted singers. The lyrics are about how Samantha is warning her friend Suzie to keep Suzie's boyfriend away from her because of how interested she is in him. When I did my interview with Samantha Fox in 2012, I asked her about changing lyrics for international performances, but I never thought to ask her if she had ever considered changing pronouns in her songs to reflect changes in her own life.
Speaking for myself, when I sing songs as karaoke videos on my Facebook page, sometimes I'll change pronouns and other times I won't. For example, when Doris Day passed away in 2019, I did a karaoke video performing Que Sera Sera, and I didn't change the lyrical reference to words like "little girl". I just sang it as is. Could I have changed the lyrics? Maybe if I was fast enough. If I ever have the chance to interview Samantha Fox again, or at least meet her at the Chiller Theatre convention once more, I'll have to ask her if she's ever considered changing some of the pronouns in her songs.
We now arrive at the album's fourth track, Wild Kinda Love.
The interesting thing about this song is that the background vocals are reminiscent of soccer or, as they call it in England, football chants. That's a rather unusual direction to go in, and truthfully, it throws me off a bit. Much of Samantha Fox's music is about romance of various kinds. I associate romance with love, and I don't necessarily associate sports with love. I'm not really a fan of sports of every kind, and I've seen how sports can turn even the most kind and peace-loving people into foaming-at-the-mouth, bleeding-in-the-throat wildmen and wildwomen.
Perhaps that's where the song's audio concept comes from. I should note that Samantha didn't write any of the tracks on this album, and wouldn't get any songwriting credits until the 1988 album I Wanna Have Some Fun, which I'll review when that album's 35th anniversary comes up in 2023. If I ever have the chance to do another interview with her, I plan on asking about her thoughts on this song, and on sports in general.
We're now at the album's halfway point with the fifth track, Hold On Tight.
I would have to say that this is one of my favorite Samantha Fox songs because it's rather unique in her discography. It's a rockabilly track that's up there with the best songs that The Stray Cats did. While Samantha would work in the rock genre on future albums, the rock was generally of a heavier kind than what Hold On Tight was like. After all, she counted the late, great Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead among her friends, and they were one of the heaviest bands of all time.
Hold On Tight, though, is a song I love because of the lyrics. It's all about Samantha Fox again assuring an uncertain object of affection about how things are going to go well. Samantha Fox really captures the lyrics well. When I did my phone interview with her in 2012, she was very accomodating of me as it was my first successful phone interview. She showed me patience and kindness, and without being told by her manager that she only did phone interviews, it's quite possible that I may not have achieved my greatest successes as a writer. I held on tight to the concept of phone interviews, and they've helped me out ever since.
Jumping to the sixth track, we arrive at Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me).
This song is also a rocker, but the rock in question is 80s pop rock. The lyrics and instrumentation are very pop-rock to my ears. The instrumentation has wailing guitars and energetic synths, in many ways reminiscent of Billy Idol's work. The lyrics are very intense about wanting pleasure from the lover in question. This was a theme common to many pop-rockers of the 80s from Motley Crue to Poison to Def Leppard, and this song ranks up there with the best from any of them.
I do have to say that I call it pop rock because pop lyrics are often about sex and having fun, and those lyrics were also common in a lot of 80s rock music. Many detractors of 80s pop rock call it hair metal, but I've always felt that the term "hair metal" reduces an entire genre of music to its' base visual aesthetics. As a writer, I've always been drawn to words, and that's why I prefer to go by lyrics than visuals when it comes to music. What's heavy metal to me, then? It's defined by the lyrics. When I think heavy, I think of serious, and that would mean lyrics about war, death, man's inhumanity to man...That's what heavy metal is to me. Of course, that's just my opinion, though.
We now arrive at the album's seventh track, Baby I'm Lost For Words.
The lyrical idea is something we can all relate to. We've all had to deal with being tongue-tied at one point or another. Maybe it's been with a parent who's demanding you to answer for something that can't easily be explained. Possibly it's been with a manager at work who's singled you out for something that you've seen other people do and get away with. Perhaps, in a more positive way, you've attended a convention to meet celebrities, and there are some names that, once you meet them, you're stunned to be in their presence. This song accurately reflects all those feelings.
Baby I'm Lost For Words was first performed by an early 80s British pop group called Tight Fit, as shown in the preceding video, and I notice a difference between the vocal stylings of the two songs. The singers of Tight Fit perform this song from a sense of uneasiness and worry, an idea reflected by the slightly jittery instrumentation. Samantha's version is performed more from a place of awe and admiration for her object of affection, reflecting the youthful feelings we've all had of pining for someone from afar. Both ideas for performance work well, and I wonder if Samantha has ever considered performing this song in concert with the Tight Fit instrumentation.
Returning to Touch Me, we now arrive at the album's eighth track, It's Only Love.
An underrated deep cut, this song has a very 60s Motown sound to it. With the lyrics about devotion to a partner, and with the swinging saxophone playing in the background, I could easily imagine this song being performed by The Supremes or The Temptations. This would be the first of multiple experimentations for Ms. Fox with the sounds of R&B. Her next two albums, for example, would feature collaborations with producers and singers Full Force, collaborations that would bring about some of her biggest chart successes.
I think Samantha Fox is a gifted blue-eyed soul singer, and I would like to see her do some more songs like that on future albums. I could see her collaborating with artists like Michael McDonald or Daryl Hall, both of whom are well-known blue-eyed soul singers as well. Of course, I would also like to see Samantha experiment with other genres as well. It's always interesting to play around with genres and see what you can come up with.
We're now at the album's ninth track, He's Got Sex.
This is a personal favorite song of mine. Although I can't go into graphic detail about it, I will say that I'm a big fan of 80s adult film, and I could easily imagine this song accompanying a scene of Ginger Lynn with Peter North or Christy Canyon with Herschel Savage. Of course, all men have sex on their minds. It's said that the average man thinks about sex every five minutes or so. Of course, there are some places where you need to keep a clean mind, like work, for example. When you're at home, though, the chances are that sex is a dominant topic in your thoughts.
On a side note, a lot of people who listen to modern music will say that the lyrics are filthy and depraved, and they'll look back on older decades of music and say it wasn't as dirty as it is today. Are you kidding me? Music has always been a sexual thing. From Shakespeare's sonnets to Mozart's novelty songs, from George Gershwin and Cole Porter to the Copulatin' Blues, from Sinatra to Elvis to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin to, yes, Samantha Fox, music has always been a sexual thing. You just weren't paying attention to the lyrics. You'd be surprised at how many songs are about sex. It's only natural to write about it.
Touch Me wraps up with the tenth track, Drop Me A Line.
On most of the album, we heard a Samantha Fox who was in love with her partner. This song is the other Samantha Fox, the woman scorned who now doesn't have time for an old lover because she's better off without them. This is a fantastic kiss-off song of defiance. We've all had relationships, or even regular friendships, rupture and collapse, and although it may hurt at first, you're a lot better off in many cases. That's the idea I get out of this song.
Of course, you can always come around to liking someone you ended a relationship with long ago and become friends with them again. Speaking for myself, I have two Facebook profiles, one for my pen name and one for my birth name. On my birth name's page, I count my ex-girlfriend, the only romantic relationship I've ever had, among my friends. I said some cruel and nasty things about her after I found out she had designs on my best friend, but in hindsight, I was wrong to be upset.
Being on the autism spectrum, I had a very childish idea of what relationships are like, and I didn't realize that there's much more to being in love than meets the eye. I now identify as aromantic, which, of course, means not having romantic interest in anybody, and as such, I'm now able to speak to my ex-girlfriend in a kinder and friendlier manner. That being said, I rarely use my birth name's Facebook page that often, so I'll have to see if my ex would be interested in being friends on my pen name's Facebook page.
As to Touch Me, though, I think it was an excellent debut for Samantha Fox. Every track had something enjoyable to it, and I would recommend tracking it down if you can. Also, if Samantha Fox appears at a convention near you once things get better, don't hesitate to meet her. She's a sweetheart, and as warm and friendly as you could imagine her to be.
When it comes to future 80sxchange article plans, in 2022, I'll be doing a Track By Track review of Samantha Fox's self-titled second album, and in 2023, I'll be doing a Track By Track review of her third album, I Wanna Have Some Fun. As to the 80s Movie Sampler, I'll be resuming that series of articles soon by covering the letter F in the next installment. I don't know when that will be completed, but it hasn't been abandoned. I just have so much going on between my retail job and my writing for Pop Geeks that it's sometimes difficult to keep up, but there's more to come from me.
One final question for all of you: Are there any 80s albums celebrating either 35th or 40th anniversaries this year that you would like to see me review? Leave a comment below.