OK! It’s serious now. We are in Final Week Week. In just seven days! I can make you a defunct music blog!
One hit wonders? Are they just as good as the mega bands? When it comes to great songs. Sure. Why not? Let’s wax entry number seven on this (seemingly infinite) top ten songs of all time on a piece of fluff.
Bow Wow Wow and I Want Candy Because pop music is supposed to be catchy, simple, silly and fun! Even when it’s arty, subversive and actually pretty punk. Never mind the fact Vampire Weekend stole their whole sound and made a mint out of it in the first decade of the 20th Century. This band were rad.
OK so they’re not completely a one hit wonder. If their other top ten hit Go Wild In The Country is anything to go by. Or perhaps their other other sort of hit C-30, C-60, C-90, Go! which was a song all about how Home Taping Is Killing Music. So these Cassette Pets were not purely even one album wonders. They were a kooky little New-Wave pop group put together by industry moguls to sell sell sell.
Still they have had huge reach with I Want Candy since the era of the actual hit. I know it’s a cover. I’ve never actually heard the original I don’t think. Even though it was a top twenty hit in the US in the 1950’s. The 80’s New Wave version on the other hand. Everywhere.
For every “Uh Oh We’re In Trouble” or “Space Man! I Always Wanted You To Go!”. For every “I’d like to teach the world to sing” or “Here’s a drink a drink a drink for Lily the pink the pink the pink”. For every “Shalalala” and every “Mmm-Bop, Bop Da Oh Wop” let’s have a big dumb sexy tease of a tune that says nothing and gets to everyone.
Bow Wow Wow have been lurking at the bottom of my record bag since it started to fill up. I had no idea at the time of purchase that the lead singer was a 13 year old girl. I was a 11 year old boy. The song was already old. File this alongside Dead Ringer For Love, Hold On Billy by Shades and Love Missile F1-11 as records I have owned since forever. I liked that it didn’t have a B-Side. Just the hit single on side one. A big shiny logo on side two. That’s how you do a hit single. You want another song? Buy another record. The cheek of it.
In hindsight Malcolm McLaren sexualising a young girl for commerce and doing the sort of pop The Sex Pistols were supposed to destroy just to prove how easy this pop lark is can be ethically pretty shaky. It makes Britney Spears breakthrough Hit Me Baby Schoolgirl image seem tame in comparison. Damn, the 80’s had no moral compass at all.
But as a pop tune welded to my core programming. I Want Candy would take surgery to be dislodged.