Belinda Carlisle: secret pop genius

After listening to “Mad About You,” “Leave a Light On,” “Circle in the Sand” (“…captures the chill of the abandoned beach with considerably more acuity than ‘La Isla Bonita’ — Marcello Carlin). “Summer Rain,” “I Get Weak,” and the heavenly “Heaven is a Place on Earth” in this order, I’m ready to defend Belinda Carlisle as a fantastic singles artist. That wobbly, tentative vibrato, cushioned by multitracked vocals arranged by Rick Nowels and Ellen Shipley, brought something believably adolescent out of her. When she falls in love, I feel it. Tom Ewing on “Heaven…”: “beyond the echo and the heads-down chugalong rhythm there’s hints of the spirit of ’84 about “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” – that giddy season of American music when rock and pop and disco and funk all melted together under the MTV studio lights; what the US did instead of New Pop.” Discuss?

PS: George Harrison, not known for kind words to pop dollies, played an excellent slide guitar on “Leave a Light On.”