“Baby, What About You”
Written by Josh Leo and Wendy Waldman
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
September 16, 1983
#1 (1 week)
September 24, 1983
Because some things are getting repetitive at this point of the series, let’s get the basics out of the way.
This is a record produced by Jimmy Bowen with Crystal Gayle as the lead singer, and both of them are at the top of their game here. Gayle’s vocal floats beautifully over a clean and crisp pop country arrangement. She never sounded better than she did working with Bowen, and “Baby, What About You” is a perfect example of how simpatico they were.
What I really want to focus on here is this record’s fresh and distinctive point of view. It’s such an interesting construct! A woman is being berated for falling in love with a guy who the chattering class thinks is just going to break her heart. She quotes them liberally: “The girl’s headed for a heartbreak. She’s going down.”
So she goes straight to the source, sharing their thoughts with the man she’s infatuated with, and simply asks, “Baby, what about you?”
There’s an effective callback to the opening line (“Everybody thinks I’m crazy, it’s going around”) where she simply dismisses their condescension and goes for broke:
I don’t really think I’m crazy for taking my timeI’m just looking for the answers I’ve gotta find They say it’s gonna be a long hard ride Baby, what about you?
My takeaway is that the naysayers are wrong, even if this guy isn’t interested in her, because they’ve gotten her wrong. She’s not crazy or self-destructive. She just doesn’t want to spend her life wondering what might have been, if only she’d had the courage to follow her convictions.
I’ll share my own conviction here: Crystal Gayle’s work during this time period is up there with the best of the women of the nineties.
“Baby, What About You” gets an A.
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