1990 saw the entrance of the bestselling all-female group since the Supremes. Their music has seen near immortality due to its tendency to be covered by other performers who aren’t necessarily musicians. Needless to say they were a powerhouse until they went on hiatus just a few years later. When looking back at the order in which singles are released, it’s striking to see the messages and emotions that juxtapose each other, even from the same album. Consistency, schmonsistency… (say that three times fast. Or once even!)
#77 “Release Me” by Wilson Phillips. Considering how popular “Hold On” was and still is today in one form or another, “Release Me” also did quite well and topped the Billboard and the Adult Contemporary charts. Wilson Phillips’ three part harmonies dominate the song, including some fancy schmancy synth echo effects.
The video, in classy black and white (must have been a trend at the time), takes place in what looks like the condo they supposedly spent writing the song, where it seemed to rain abundantly. The ladies of Wilson Phillips also took advantage of the high-rise seclusion to perfect their over-earnest head bop and nodding choreography, because *true* emotion is shown through precise and expressive cranio-cervical articulation. The cinematographer was also in love with taking footage of the expansive skyline, for whatever he thought that added to the video’s message.
Speaking of which, “Release Me” is obviously a break-up song. All this mention of “letting go” because it’s not “that easy” makes me wonder what caused such a drastic change in sentiment from the lyrics of “Hold On”. Where did the optimism go? What happened? Which lyricist forgot to take the prescribed lithium to prevent moodswings? Who stopped holding on!?
Considering the almost sickeningly sweet positivity of “Hold On” maybe someone thought that being morose would show Wilson Phillips’ versatility or something. Regardless, their harmonies mesh as beautifully as ever, and schizophrenic content aside, “Release Me” remains one of their stronger hits that sees little light of day anymore.