"Obsession" is a 1983 song covered in 1984 by the group Animotion. The song hit number six in the United States, and number five in the United Kingdom in early 1985, helped by a distinctive video that received heavy rotation on MTV. "Obsession" also hit the Top 40 on the US dance chart, twice, once in 1984, then in 1986 as a double-sided hit, along with the track, "I Engineer".
"Obsession" was originally written and recorded as a duet by songwriter Holly Knight and musician Michael Des Barres in 1983. This version was played in the 1983 film A Night in Heaven, during a scene in which Christopher Atkins bumps and grinds in Lesley Ann Warren's face in sync with the rhythm of the song. The song was featured on the film's soundtrack and was also featured in the theatrical trailer to the 1986 film 9½ Weeks, starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger.
The Los Angeles-based synthpop band Animotion recorded a version of the tune for their self-titled debut album, released in 1984. This version became a success, and it remains Animotion's biggest hit.
Animotion's version is featured in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as part of the new wave radio station Wave 103 as well as in a Strip Club in the game called The Pole Position Club. It has also been used as the theme song for WWF Saturday Night's Main Event (aired on NBC as the introduction theme from May 1985 - Jan 1988) and FashionTelevisionChannel, as well as MTV's House of Style. The song has been used as the opening theme for the internationally syndicated Canadian program FT - FashionTelevision since it premiered in 1986. The Animotion version was also featured in 1985 episodes of the daytime soap operas Days Of Our Lives and Guiding Light. It also featured in the 2016 video game Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare as a part of the soundtrack to the zombies mode map "Zombies in Spaceland".
The music video features the Animotion band members — focusing on the two singers, Bill Wadhams and Astrid Plane — dressed in various costumes (such as Mark Antony and Cleopatra) while performing the song next to a swimming pool and inside a luxury house.
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||12|
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||17|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||34|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||8|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||42|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||10|
|South Africa (EMA)||9|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||5|
|US Billboard Hot 100||6|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance/Disco chart||35|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance/Disco-Club Play chart||27|
|Song by Sugababes|
|from the album Taller in More Ways|
English girl group Sugababes covered "Obsession" for their fourth studio album Taller in More Ways (2005). Group member Heidi Range initially recorded it as a demo with Ashley Hamilton, although the Sugababes later decided to record it as a group. It was produced by Dallas Austin, one of the album's primary producers. The cover is similar to the original and had a polarizing effect on critics; some criticised it as mediocre, while others called it one of the album's standout tracks. The Sugababes performed it on their tours in support of Taller in More Ways and Overloaded: The Singles Collection (2006).
The Sugababes' version of "Obsession" was produced by Dallas Austin, who collaborated with the Sugababes on various tracks on the album. Group member Heidi Range initially recorded "Obsession" as a demo with Ashley Hamilton, although the Sugababes later decided to record it as a group. They spoke to Austin about their desire to record the song, and according to Range, "he was made up, because it’s one of his favourite songs." "Obsession" was mixed by Jeremy Wheatley at TwentyOne Studios, London, with assistance from Richard Edgeler. It was engineered collectively by Rick Shepphard, Graham Marsh (producer), Ian Rossiter and Owen Clark. Tony Reyes provides background vocals for the song. "Obsession" was recorded at DARP Studios, in Atlanta & Home Recordings, London. It derives from the genres of pop, synthpop, and electronic rock. K. Ross Hoffman of AllMusic described it as "sugary synth pop". Talia Kraines of BBC called the cover an "exact reworking" of the original. The instrumentation consists of a guitar, bass guitar, drums and keys. Alex Roginski of the Sydney Morning Herald noted that the song "thumps out analog synth and the glittering chord progressions of a 1980s nightclub".
The Sugababes' cover of "Obsession" had a polarizing effect on critics. Harry Rubenstein of The Jerusalem Post felt that the group added nothing new to the track and instead stuck to a "straight up" cover, which he considered disappointing. Nick Southall of Stylus Magazine regarded it as a "pleasant but unspectacular cover". A journalist from The Scotsman considered it a "less engaging non-song" and criticised the group's decision to cover it. Alexis Petridis of The Guardian felt that the Sugababes' version "sands off the edges rather than amps up the lunacy", and concluded: "what's left is like 1980s night at karaoke". On the positive side, BBC's Talia Kraines named it the album's standout pop track. Similarly, Peter Robinson of The Observer described the "spirited gambol" as one of the album's highlights. Anna Britten from Yahoo! Music thought that the cover was even better than the original, and appreciated the "gorgeous, perfumed menace on the song's subject" which she felt resembled Sin City's "gun-toting Valkyrie-hookers". Simon Price of The Independent praised the song as "instant pop", and a writer from The Liverpool Daily Post & Echo considered it a "brilliantly seductive reworking" of the original.
"Obsession" was included in the set list for the Sugababes' tour supporting Taller in More Ways. It was one of three tracks from the album that was not released as a single to be performed on the tour. Gurdip Thandi of Birmingham Mail regarded the song's performance at the NIA Academy as "polished". "Obsession" was also included in the set list for their 2007 tour in support of Overloaded: The Singles Collection, the group's 2006 greatest hits album.
A fragment of "Obsession" is heard on Moenia's 2012 track "La Ecuación '1984'".
In the 1990s Fox network comedy TV series Get a Life, the song was played in the Season Two episode "Girlfriend 2000" where Chris Peterson(played by Chris Elliott) falls in love with a woman named Tricia Paddington(played by Emma Samms), who hit him with her car and starts stalking her.