POP RESCUE: ‘Martika’ by Martika (CD, 1988)


Today’s POP RESCUE is the debut album 1988 eponymous album from Martika.

Martika - Martika (1988)This is not the first Martika album to be reviewed here, I’ve already rescued her 1991 follow-up Martika’s Kitchen.

This album is fantastically pop – much more so than her follow-up.

It spawned 6 singles (a mere 60% of the album) – Cross My Heart, More Than You KnowToy Soldiers (her biggest hit), the Carole King cover I Feel The Earth Move, Water, and Alibis.

Releasing six hit singles out of an album that only has ten tracks, pretty much leaves you with a near ‘greatest hits’ album. This album is going to fare well.

Opening with If You’re Tarzan, I’m Jane – a belting pop track, complete with some ‘oh-e-oh-e-oh’ Tarzan-esque male vocals. It’s up-beat tempo makes it a perfect opener to a debut album.

Then we’re in to single Cross My Heart, which continues the up-beat 80s pop-fest. It sits perfectly amongst its contemporaries – the likes of Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, even Kylie and Sonia. I could imagine any of them recording this track. Oddly, this debut single did not chart.

We’re straight into single More Than You Know, her second, and first to chart (video below). Musically and lyrically, this is a great track, and again completely on par with her contemporaries. Perhaps this track should have led the album, allowing Cross My Heart to earn the success that it deserved.

The brilliance that is Toy Soldiers comes along next, with that great childish vocal line ‘step by step, heart to heart, left right left, we all fall down, like toy soldiers‘, the slow ballad vocals, and then the great chorus with 80s guitar. This track is a classic moment from 80s music. It has remained her biggest hit, and one that she co-wrote. Rather than soldiers, the song is actually about her friend’s cocaine addiction.

You Got Me Into This is a return to the up-tempo pop, and it could easily have been a single for her. It’s a light and bouncy pop-by-numbers affair.

The Carole King cover of I Feel The Earth Move is up next. Martika rolls out some rockier vocals, which suits this track as it’s chugs along at quite a tempo. It was released the fourth single from the album, and resulted in Big Fun‘s cover being pulled from release.

Fifth single Water follows this. It’s a much slower tempo track, with a Spanish-inspired flavour, a little reminiscent of Madonna‘s La Isla Bonita.

It’s Not What You’re Doing is another nice little pop track, although musically it doesn’t really go anywhere underneath Martika’s vocals, aside from the chorus with its hand-claps. See If I Care follows, and is stronger than the previous track.

The album is closed by the sixth and final single, Alibis, with its sultry spoken opener and saxophone.

Most of this album may have been released as singles, but to be honest, I think all of the tracks could have worked as singles. This is more greatest hits than debut, and is well worth a listen.

where is martika now?

Martika was part of the group Oppera with her husband, and also recorded under the pseudonym Vida Edit. She continues writing, recording, releasing music, and touring but the success of her debut album has yet to be repeated, although she saw some success with her second album (reviewed hereMartika’s Kitchen.

In 2004, rapper Eminem sampled Toy Soldiers for his song Like Toy Soldiers.

  • POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 4 / 5
  • 1988 UK CHART POSITION: #11
  • POP RESCUE COST: £3.00 (from eBay)

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