I have recently been watching episodes of the 80s cartoon show Jem. Although I was born about a year after the last episode aired, it wasn’t hard to learn about the show. All thanks to Wikipedia and Youtube. I have been enjoying the show as the characters are interesting. The plots are amusing too. Yet, the best part of Jem is the show’s music.
There are a lot of great songs; so it will be hard to write about one specific song. I will have to write a blog series on Jem songs because I love each one. But for today’s post, I picked a song from Jem’s band and one from their rivals, the Stingers.
What is Jem?
If you don’t know the story of Jem, let me give you a quick summary! It is center around a young woman named Jem, who goes by the real name of Jerrica, and her sisters. They come together to form a musical band called “Jem and the Holograms”. Jerrica, with her three sisters, stumble on Synergy — a program that was created by Jerrica’s father and can produce holograms anywhere — who helps Jerrica transform into Jem.
The original purpose of the band was to beat The Misfits, Jem’s rival, in a “Battles of the Band” contest. This was because Jerrica wanted to regain total control over her late father’s music company. Afterward, the band continued on as they enjoyed performing. Jem and the Holograms became very popular and starred in photoshoots, performed overseas, and starred in films. They continue to do these activities while encountering more problems from their rivals.
Jem & The Holograms’ “Time Is Runnin’ Out”
Like I mentioned above, there are so many great songs from Jem! But, I can’t talk about all of them! One of my favorites at the moment is “Time Is Runnin’ Out”.
The first thing that I like about “Time Is Runnin’ Out” is the opening. It starts off with the soulful female “woos”. Because of this, “Time Is Runnin’ Out” reminds me of a song from Teena Marie‘s discography. Maybe it`s just the brazen vocals or maybe the funky beat melded into the tune.
“Time Is Runnin’ Out” is a definite 80s funk tune. The clues are found in the background vocals singing the “woos”. Also, in the starlight synthesized two-beat sound that is sliced in-between notes in specific periods. Finally, you can hear the funk in the prominent use of the bass, electronic drums, and synthesizers.
The other thing that catches my ear is the lyrics. Now, most Jem songs were written to be part of the plot. As for the case of “Time Is Runnin’ Out”, it about was saving Synergy from the CIA or rushing to design outfits before a big contest. However, the lyrics can apply to real-life situations. For me, I think the message is essential: you cannot give up, you have to try your best.
The Stingers Want a Perfect Match With Jem
Continuing on the funk “train”, let me introduce “Perfect Match” by The Stingers. I am pretty much indecisive between this song and another Stingers’ song named “Destiny” when it comes to a favorite piece by the dramatic band. “Destiny” reminds me of something that Barry Manilow would sing: a little rockish, a little popish, and mellow.
However, as I sit here and write this blog post, “Perfect Match” keeps on playing over and over in my head. The piece seduces me with the soulful yet funky vocals by Vicki Sue Robinson (who sang “Turn the Beat Around”). The blazing guitar riffs playing during the sub-chorus is a really nice touch, it adds something unique yet not too over-the-top.
Jem’s Songs Were Much More!
Not all the songs from the cartoon were all funk. Some were rock, some were pop, some were power ballads, and even some were freestyle.
If you think of a genre, style, or singer that was popular in the 80s, you can hear that sound incorporated into a Jem song. And, even to this day, these tunes are still an earworm for those who grew up with the cartoon and those who are discovering it for the first time.
What is your favorite Jem song? Tell me in the comments below!