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Half-hit wonders

17 Jul 13 | Re: Modernistic chart quirk | Link-U-Post

Of all the chart lists you can make – and I know interest in chart for chart’s sake isn’t what it was, but it is to me – one hit wonders are the most appealingly pure. One number one hit and nothing else, ever. Each entry is the start of a mystery: why did these people never chart again? Were they not interested? Did they try and fail? Did they chart under another name? Was the initial success simply a bizarre fluke?

(All those can and do apply: see Mash, Ricky Valance, the Timelords and Althea and Donna respectively, for example.)

But in today’s utopian wonderland of unprecedented generosity and cooperation between artistes, where everyone loves to collaborate with everyone else, you can go even better than a one-hit wonder. Having a whole number one hit is a bit large-scale, after all; how about having just a co-credit on a number one, and nothing else ever?

How about that, eh?

There are actually quite a few of these half-hit wonders around. As far back as the early 90s you have the KLF featuring the Children of the Revolution, although since the Children of the Revolution were pretty much made up I’m not sure that quite counts. But more recently, we have (half-hit wonders in bold):

...and I’m sure the list goes on. In the best of these cases, it’s not even clear what the co-credited act’s contribution to the track was. DJ Mental Theo must be doing something on that Basshunter tune, though it’s hard to believe it would be worse without him. Goonrock I find most beguiling of all: I like to imagine he’s the guy who says “Every day I’m shufflin’,” in which case I’m rather disappointed by the non-emergence of solo material. Imagine a solo album consisting entirely of iconic little interludes like that. What a thing it would be.

But I ought to admit that what’s got me thinking about these wonders is the number one from two weeks ago, I Love It by Icona Pop feat Charli XCX. Our newest half-hit wonder, Charli XCX, seems to be credited on that mainly as a thankyou for writing the song – you can sort of hear her voice but it’s down in the mix backing up the two lead singers, and she doesn’t get any lines to herself. The thing is, Charli is massively deserving of a number one single in her own right, just not with this track. I Love It is pretty OK, but it’s nothing compared to anything on her own album, True Romance (which I got before this single came out, by the way). That album is a masterpiece of woozy, fearless pop, effortlessly modern but comfortably timeless, which I can’t believe hasn’t been a smash.

And I know it’s a bit teenage and I’m 31. I don’t care – I love it.

Posted by MANOLIS at 21:14

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