An emancipated minor

Nineteen eighty-seven was my first year at university. Like a lot of people at this stage of life, I struggled a bit. I moved to a big city, and into a share house. I received a very modest government stipend: $87.30 a week, which even in those days was not much. Rent was $45 a week, and most of the rest went to support various breweries.

0038 Tiffany 1987 AI was a bit lost and a lot insecure, and a tad pretentious. I was into earnest, save-the-world journalism, high literature and alt-folk music. Nothing wrong with any of that, but there is a lot wrong with sneering at what you dismiss as commercial, popular, mainstream. I don’t remember this record, but if I noticed it I would have responded with an eye roll and some choice adjective. Probably “derivative”. That was a safe, one-size-fits-all putdown.

Embarrassing memories, but I had the good fortune to work through all this stuff with only family and friends to notice. Unlike Tiffany.

Tiffany Renee Darwish is almost three years younger than I am. So when this record came out, she was not yet sixteen. That would be tough even if you were supported by parents who managed to be both caring and streetwise. As it was, Tiffany Darwish’s parents had divorced when she was a baby, and her mother and step-father struggled for control over her career, and her cash. At one stage she took legal action (unsuccessfully) to be recognised as an “emancipated minor”.

This record was her biggest hit, an eighties-pop reworking of a sixties number, Tommy James’ “I Think We’re Alone Now”. It is a teen love song about the need for privacy. The lyrics are pretty lightweight, and the arrangement is standard pop-rock of the era, but it is well sung by a teen who can have had very little time properly alone.

That Tiffany Darwish’s career suffered as a result of her family dramas is not surprising. What is commendable is that she has persevered singing, song writing and acting, at times to critical acclaim though without much commercial success. She supports gay rights, and does not appear to have become bitter and twisted. To have done all that after growing up in public: that really deserves respect.

And the song? It is derivative, but it is a nice, danceable pop song. Well done to an emancipated minor.

  • Artist: Tiffany
  • Title: “I Think We’re Alone Now”
  • Format: 7” 45 rpm
  • Label: MCA 7-53167
  • Manufactured in: Australia
  • Year: 1987

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