Happy 30th Anniversary to Taylor Dayne’s second studio album Can’t Fight Fate, originally released October 7, 1989.
Not simply one of the world’s greatest vocalists, Taylor Dayne has firmly been a part of my life and musical journey for as long as I can remember. From the moment she burst onto the scene in 1987 with her debut single “Tell It To My Heart,” the music world was to be forever changed. Her powerful and incredibly soulful vocals would go on to help secure her as not only one of the ‘80s strongest voices, but also one of the strongest of all time.
Just a year after the release of her smash debut album, also titled Tell It To My Heart, Dayne went on to do something that most artists struggle with: she released an equally, if not better, follow up album. Like its predecessor, Can’t Fight Fate also delivered ten strong tracks, this time with the likes of the legendary hitmaker Dianne Warren penning three of the album’s singles, with “Love Will Lead You Back” not only going on to be one of Dayne’s most synonymous songs, but also becoming the first time the singer achieved a Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit.
Can’t Fight Fate gently tried to move away from the dance tracks that Tell It To My Heart had cemented Dayne in previously. There was a much more adult contemporary feel about this album and if the legend is to be true, certain tracks from this album had supposedly been offered to Dayne’s peers at the time (Tina Turner springs to mind, maybe Whitney Houston too), but were ultimately turned down. If true, Dayne not only gained some incredible songs, but she now had the music and production to sink that enormous voice into.
Although the album is set in the adult contemporary genre, notable tracks like “I’ll Be Your Shelter” sit firmly in the pop arena, but with Warren’s artistry, they paved the way for Dayne’s vocals to remain unrestricted. The album’s lead single “With Every Beat of My Heart” appeared as if it was designed to capitalize on the formula that had so clearly worked prior, and it did. The song soared to the #5 chart position and confirmed that Dayne was anything but a one hit wonder with a big voice.
One standout track for me is “Heart of Stone.” It not only again showcases the strength and soul in Dayne’s vocals, but one can’t help but imagine the legendary Tina Turner also doing something with this song. “You Can’t Fight Fate,” also penned by Warren, and “Ain’t No Good” continue with this adult contemporary feel, heading into rock territory, something that worked wonders with Dayne’s voice. The dance floor was not forgotten either and “Up All Night,” a pure club classic, is yet another reason why this album is so incredibly delicious. The diversity in the music is strong and yet the fluidity of the album is consistent.
After many, many listens to both Dayne’s debut and sophomore albums over the last few days, it is unfathomable to realize that even with all the talent, solid writing and production surrounding her, she would not go on to achieve the same commercial success that both of these albums, in particular Can’t Fight Fate, went on to achieve. Even the phenomenal balladry that Dayne delivered on “Love Will Lead You Back” was not enough to see the singer secure the same commercial success she had become accustomed to. In fact, it could almost be perceived as unjust given the immense amount of talent she so clearly has.
Can’t Fight Fate proved to be so much more than just a follow-up and closed out the late ‘80s and entered the early ‘90s as an album that has not only stood the test of time and created some timeless classics, but it is also home to some of Dayne’s finest work to date. Even though the album’s ten tracks may not seem much to many artists these days, it is that age-old adage of “quality over quantity” that has never seemed more appropriate, something that some of today’s younger artists would be wise to take heed of and something that Taylor Dayne achieved with great ease on this album.