23
Jan 14

PETER ANDRE – “I Feel You”

Popular62 comments • 4,141 views

#752, 7th December 1996

peter ify To forget one Peter Andre number one might seem a misfortune. To forget two… yet here he is, sneaking into the rather congested pre-Christmas schedules with a song that, strictly as a song, isn’t so horrible.

“I Feel You” is a Michael Jackson pastiche – the route to credibility for at least one future star. But this isn’t biting “Off The Wall” or “Billie Jean” – it’s trying something more ambitious, going for Jackson’s limpid, mother-me ballad style. And the writer – ultra-minor late 80s act Glen Goldsmith – has a decent day in the office putting a song together that might pass for a distant, impoverished cousin of “She’s Out Of My Life”. “I feel you running away from my love” – that’s an OK place to start a sad song from.

The problem – and this really could have been predicted – is that Peter Andre is utterly unequipped to go anywhere near a Jackson ballad, even a really ersatz one. The big hook – “IN my heart I –“ gets strangled again and again until listening starts to feel cruel. He puts the pathetic in sympathetic. And the simp, to be honest.

But that’s not even the really feeble thing. On the comments thread for “Flava”, Weej correctly noted that Peter Andre always felt a bit wrong as a pop star, like he should have been playing a streetwise dude on a daytime soap and there’d been a horrible mix-up. And this sense that the guy had been promoted above his natural vocation continues here, when, searching for an ad lib that’ll communicate his heartbreak and abjection, Andre repeatedly goes for “Well, well, well”. “Well, well, well” is not a thing bereft R&B lovermen say, it’s a thing ruddy-faced policemen in the 1950s say. And even if lovermen did say it, they wouldn’t say it quite this weakly. It’s like placeholder “ooh, ooh” or “yeah yeahs” have been through Google translate and back: pop as second language, and second rate.

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Comments

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  1. 31
    Erithian on 24 Jan 2014 #

    And there’s Georgie Fame and Alan Price’s “Rosetta” from 1971: “Rosetta, are you better, are you well, well, well?” of course I mainly knew that song from the Pinky and Perky cover version.

    Peter Andre? Not at all my genre, but for what it is it’s passable and listenable enough, even if the Michael Jackson template is all too obvious. No way can it be grouped alongside the insults to music that were the Outhere Brothers. AMZ #5 is right – first-week marketing is becoming a fine art and the era of the weekly change at the top is on its way.

  2. 32
    Rory on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Here ends the run of alternating high scores and low scores, I’m guessing (poking Mr S. Bunny mischievously with a stick).

  3. 33
    thefatgit on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Arctic Monkeys enablers/landfill indie band, Milburn’s “Well Well Well”.

  4. 34
    lonepilgrim on 24 Jan 2014 #

    there are a few ‘well, well, wells from Muddy Waters
    here

  5. 35
    JLucas on 24 Jan 2014 #

    RE One & One, are people aware that it’s actually a cover? It was written by Billy Steinberg and Rick Nowells, who penned a number of hits for the likes of Bon Jovi and Belinda Carlisle, and was released as a single by Polish singer Edyta Gorniak – who got a sizeable (but largely unsuccessful) international push in the mid 90s.

    She has a lovely voice, and I like her version just as much as the more famous version. http://youtu.be/YOwzstVmea0

    Gorniak’s international album also contained the first recording of a UK number one single, but one we haven’t arrived at yet so I’ll say no more…

  6. 36
    James BC on 24 Jan 2014 #

    It’s a bit unfair to single out pop acts for front-loaded first week sales. Some of the most death-defying chart plummets in that era were by indie bands who became very good at mobilising their fan bases to get their singles in the first week. There weren’t often enough of those fans to get to number one, but entering around number 5 and dropping to 20-something was quite common, I think.

  7. 37
    Steve Mannion on 24 Jan 2014 #

    #36 Morrissey is the most blatant example there I think e.g. ‘Picadilly Palare’ seemed notable in falling from 18 to 39 in its second week and then out of the top 75 altogether. Curiously his longest stay in the charts with any one single was ‘The First Of The Gang To Die’ (a mere seven weeks).

    This is the ONE 90s #1 I cannot quite recall at all other than knowing it was a slow jam (or at least slow paste) although I do remember it on Top of the Pops as one of a few performances to cause a small stage invasion of fans at the end such was its (and Pete’s) apparent gravity.

  8. 38
    Tom on 24 Jan 2014 #

    #37 You’re absolutely right – front-loaded sales tended to benefit acts with a fanbase, regardless of genre. In 1997 there are number ones of high critical reputation whose route to the top was absolutely identical to Peter Andre’s – get the fanbase buying in week 1. If you’re part of that fanbase – or listening to the sources catering to it – then the several-week build up before release would feel natural and the record might feel like a “proper” hit, but that’s an artefact of proximity.

    (The era of the one-week hit means the Number One list gets a LOT noisier as an indicator of “ubiquitous/important/genuinely popular records”. It doesn’t mean that the signal drops away entirely. It is true to say that the major labels had the budget to offer the kind of discounting that encouraged one-week-wonders.)

  9. 39
    AMZ1981 on 24 Jan 2014 #

    #10 Over the next few years we’ll see a lot of records that meander around the top five while ultimately outselling the chart toppers during that time.

  10. 40
    punctum on 24 Jan 2014 #

    “Well, well, well”? How about almost the entirety of the 1974 classic Having Fun With Elvis On Stage, the King’s very own Metal Machine Music? The CD edition comes with bonus tracks, including the timeless classic “Bill Cosby.”

  11. 41
    Erithian on 24 Jan 2014 #

    #37 – so at the extreme end of this pattern, what’s the highest position reached by a track that only spent one week in chart? Bowie’s “Where Are We Now?” went in at number 6 (IIRC) this time last year but went straight out of the 40 the next week; but then a few months later “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” went straight in at 2 and straight out again after Thatcher’s death. The ultimate would be one week at number one and nothing else – the bunnied reissues which included the 1000th number one could have achieved this since they were designed to hoover up one week’s sales, but in practice enough copies hung over to give them a second week in chart, even if only at number 20.

  12. 42
    Rory on 24 Jan 2014 #

    #41 Digital-only releases could lead to some stunt number ones that disappear immediately afterwards, if companies are willing to make them available for one week only as a gimmick.

  13. 43
    Matt DC on 24 Jan 2014 #

    I have no memory of this at all, even from discussions about forgotten Peter Andre songs.

  14. 44
    mapman132 on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Chart stats: my specialty!

    I believe the highest true one-week wonder was “Forever Yours” by Alex Day (one week at #4, out of the Top 75 the following week).

    “Ding Dong” almost beat this, but managed a second week somewhere in the 60’s.

    On the Hot 100 by comparison, the two highest one-week wonders were at #11. One of these (“Mean” by Taylor Swift) eventually picked up airplay and re-entered the chart, so perhaps doesn’t count. The other one, by a highly bunnyable act, has not and likely will not re-enter, but it was just two months ago so I guess we can’t call it over just yet.

    On the Norwegian chart (yes, I’m getting obscure now), “Kids” by MGMT spent its one and only chart week at #1. BUT…Norway only has a Top 20. A far more spectacular fall was achieved in Australia in 2012 where a local The Voice winner had a single drop from 1 to 54 in its second week. Can anyone top that?!

  15. 45
    Steve Mannion on 24 Jan 2014 #

    I love the idea that in its second chart week most people were downloading ‘Ding Dong…’ on more of a “hey this is actually pretty good” basis rather than out of Thatch-hate directly.

  16. 46
    Erithian on 24 Jan 2014 #

    It should have been “Tramp The Dirt Down” anyways.

  17. 47
    Izzy on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Jagger weighs in with a “well well well well well well well ah” in the gorgeous Winter.

  18. 48
    Speedwell54 on 25 Jan 2014 #

    Kind of following Erithian and Mapman132 (good stats btw)

    – excluding the reissues you mentioned the biggest fall from Number 1 in the singles chart is not surprisingly bunnied. A Jellyfish cover from 2007 which went 1 to 20. I think they fit “the act with a fanbase” perfectly.

    Albumwise I think it was Christina Aguilera with Bionic 1-29 in 2010 but this may have since changed.

  19. 49
    Steve Mannion on 25 Jan 2014 #

    Pete got his banner image now – enjoy it while you can!

  20. 50
    Auntie Beryl on 25 Jan 2014 #

    Whilst week one marketing is prevalent in 1996 it isn’t new at this stage: £1.99 singles in counterboxes were in all the record shops in Lancaster as early as 1994 (Girls & Boys by Blur springs to mind) and by the time I started working in the shop later that year there was almost no counter space left. Andre, being on an indie, wouldn’t have been able to get into those label-specific displays.

    Not to say Mushroom didn’t play with price, mind.

  21. 51
    AMZ1981 on 25 Jan 2014 #

    #48 This ties into my earlier point about teen pop becoming a niche genre from now on – the days where the Bay City Rollers could hold down the top spot for weeks on end are long gone. When this blog reaches M*F** it will be interesting to see how they score.

    I was going to make a comment on big no 1 falls but I will save it for a few number ones along.

  22. 52
    Tom on 25 Jan 2014 #

    #52 Hmm. The best-selling single by Boyzone (bunnied) outsold the best-selling single by the Rollers by around 250k copies. If teenpop is a niche, it’s a healthy one – very healthy, if the Spice Girls and post-Spice acts count. (I mean, on one level it always was a niche – the clue is in the name – but there’s little or no evidence that the Rollers’ peak fanbase was larger than Boyzone’s or Westlife’s)

    Looking at top-selling records around this time is instructive to this whole discussion (not your specific point!). If the theory that there were genuine, broadly popular hits (like Toni Braxton) kicking around that didn’t get to #1 holds true we’d expect to see these in the end-of-year bestsellers. But we don’t, or at least no more than in previous decades – there are always SOME massive hits which miss out for whatever reason. What’s happening at this point isn’t that the number ones list is becoming irrelevant, or not reflecting the songs people like, it’s simply becoming much noisier and more diluted – it’s still a reflection of the most popular records in the country, but there’s a lot of extra, less popular records getting in there too because record companies are savvy about release dates.

    Of course, downloads really do break the system. Even in the 2000s the vast majority of best-sellers get to #1. In the 2010s so far, though, you have a high number of vastly popular singles which don’t get there. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_singles_of_the_2010s_in_the_United_Kingdom – this is an existential problem for Popular in a way that dilution isn’t really (the main issue with the dilution years is that people who grew up in the 70s or 80s – me included – hate a lot of the records that get to the top, but that’s not an issue with “the charts” exactly).

  23. 53
    Steve Mannion on 25 Jan 2014 #

    There’s also the effect of big hits that miss the top but overtake number ones in ‘Best song ever’ lists where the mid-late 90s has some major examples (think of ten songs from that time you would expect to see in such lists – how many actually topped the chart?).

    Maybe now you can do the same for any point before but I do feel like the increased noisiness of the charts at this time (and we’re a couple of years away from most #1s in one year ever) saw this effect rise – chicken/egg wrt the value and meaning of being number 1 (which the web would also challenge further).

    Even in the case of Andre himself it’s clear that his debut single is more remembered than either of his two actual #1 hits (even by the end of the 90s). He might actually be the first pop act to have achieved that despite having TWO chart-toppers in quick succession? Hindsight factor extra-supportive here though admittedly. This might be more common with bands for some reason albeit not necessarily with debut hits (e.g. Oasis with ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Wonderwall’, Blur with ‘Song 2’?). I think in The Prodigy’s case ‘Firestarter’ might just about claim top spot in ‘best known for’ stakes ahead of ‘Out Of Space’ though it would be close.

  24. 54
    AMZ1981 on 25 Jan 2014 #

    #53 Just to nit pick, Mysterious Girl wasn’t Andre’s debut as he’d had one minor hit before then but I agree with what you say.

    #52 My Bay City Rollers comment, with hindsight, wasn’t very well put. My point was that over the generations the chart dominance of heart-throbs – for want of a better word – has gradually waned. Teen pop is still a healthy market but from this point on it begins selling to its core fanbase in the first week and dropping like a stone afterwards.

    I think it’s a fair comment that from the mid nineties the best indicator of a record’s success is not its chart position but how long it stuck around afterwards.

  25. 55
    Steve Mannion on 25 Jan 2014 #

    I should’ve added that there is the tendency for ‘best song ever’ lists and/or their makers to be @!$*-ist or indie-centric or in whatever way biased against teen-orientated pop and faster dancing hits generally – partly out of the idea that all that stuff was not meant to be taken seriously as art or with longevity or cultural legacy in mind I suppose.

  26. 56
    Tom on 25 Jan 2014 #

    #54 Re. teenpop – as we’ve been saying upthread, this starts happening to every genre with strong fanbases: teenpop, indie, dance music – it’s all subject to the “first week and out” syndrome.

    I’m going to push back on the last comment too – chart longevity (in an absolute sense – i.e. weeks in the Top 40 or Top 75) is simply making a different chunk of the audience the arbiters – instead of enthused first-week fans the audience a record needs to attract to become ‘popular’ by this model is casual fifteenth-week buyers. This has its own audience skew – maybe older, probably paying less attention to music, occasional record buyers, and probably listening to the kinds of radio station that keep things on the playlist for a long time. We’ll call them Snow Patrol Man.

    I personally don’t think a chart where “real popularity” is determined by the interest of Snow Patrol Man is any better than one where it’s determined by the interest of McFly Kid. (A lot worse actually, but that’s an aesthetic bias.) That’s one reason I would still say total sales is a better guide, where available.

    I do think a tight definition of longevity – weeks spent inside the Top 10, say – would be more useful, though, particularly in the download era. That would give you the best of both worlds – records that maintain their high sales, rather than one-week wonders or records that bump around forever at the arse-end of the chart selling a thousand or so copies a week to laggards.

    Wikipedia has started listing this (hooray!) so I may go back and add notes on some of the year polls. Annoyingly the data for 1996 isn’t up there yet, though.

  27. 57
    Alan not logged in on 27 Jan 2014 #

    Relevant to the talk of chart trajectory “in at 1, straight out” and turnover is this previous post plus graph

    http://freakytrigger.co.uk/ft/2009/01/the-strange-death-of-the-uk-charts/

  28. 58
    glue_factory on 27 Jan 2014 #

    Apologies if this has been mentioned elsewhere, but the other side of single-discounting was “CD2 out next week”, which presumably was intended to arrest the second-week sales decline. Although by the sound of things it failed miserably at that task, only appealing to a fraction of the fanbase who’d bought the single in the first week.

    This matches my own experience where I remember buying relatively few of the second-cd, mostly just those by the Pet Shop Boys who seemed to do them quite well (one cd of decent remixes, one cd of “proper” b-sides). I must have had a momentary lapse of reason the fortnight I bought both CDs of the Black Crowes’ Remedy which featured less that 10 minutes unique music across the set, thanks to some padding with interviews with the band.

    The b-side and remixes on CD2 of I Feel Love don’t look much more appealing

  29. 59
    Tom on 27 Jan 2014 #

    I can think of a handful of times I bought both CDs – Saint Etienne’s Avenue, for instance, the Pet Shop Boys occasionally, and I consistently did it with Aphex Twin who usually had a remixed lead track and different B-Sides, making the two CDs like a mini-LP (or double 12″ pack, in dancier terms). Mostly though I treated them like variant covers on comics or magazines – pick one and off you go.

  30. 60
    Mark G on 28 Jan 2014 #

    The one that brings it to mind is the “Hug My Soul” set, one was an old-fashioned 4 track e.p. and the other was the set of remixes. Yep, when it was right it was great, and yet more often than not it was a “woe is me I have to write 12 songs just to issue a single nowadays”

    (Thenadays obviously, now it’s all back down to one track!)

  31. 61
    mapman132 on 27 Mar 2014 #

    #44 And we have a new, uh, winner. “We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow” by Soko establishes a new record by spending its only Hot 100 week at #9. Youtube streaming strikes again!

  32. 62
    CriticSez on 3 May 2016 #

    A very obscure one. Almost nobody I know remembers this. One review I read derided this as “insipid tosh”. I’ll give my view on this one later, after Peter & Gordon etc.

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