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Jan 14

PETER ANDRE – “I Feel You”

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#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. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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/

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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!)

  11. 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!

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