23
Jan 14

PETER ANDRE – “I Feel You”

Popular62 comments • 4,172 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. 1
    Tom on 23 Jan 2014 #

    The Pop World Cup will kick off tomorrow – so I thought I’d slip this one out in the meantime.

  2. 2
    To Mewing! (@tomewing) on 23 Jan 2014 #

    A number one so minor I’m slightly embarassed even to link to the Popular entry. http://t.co/Z6OE6wfSj8

  3. 3
    lonepilgrim on 23 Jan 2014 #

    there’s a passable tune in there somewhere but the production seems a bit off to my ears. The beat feels lethargic, the instruments sound woozy and PAs voice sounds more like a cartoon character than a man. I’ve forgotten it already

  4. 4
    hardtogethits on 23 Jan 2014 #

    3? Generous!

    And the chart facts? First single to go in at number 1 and plummet as far as 5 in week 2… as far as 18 in week 3. The poorest selling chart topper of the year – and quite possibly* the poorest-selling number 1 up to this point in Popular history.

    *it is contestable

  5. 5
    AMZ1981 on 23 Jan 2014 #

    #3 Agreed. I think at this point we’re starting to see the trend of first week discounts kicking in – singles priced at £1.99 for the first week then increasing to £3.99 the following week. For me I Feel You marks the start of another era- teen pop (ie records selling primarily to teenage girls) begins to go the way of heavy metal – selling out to its core fanbase in the first week and never outside of it hence some hefty second week drops. Fast forward a decade and McFly will be producing some chart collapses that probably appalled Iron Maiden.

    Going back to first week discounting; this sees the start of yet a third trend – a number one that simply doesn’t feel like a number one.

  6. 6
    thefatgit on 24 Jan 2014 #

    3 seems a bit generous. Unsurprisingly, I had to fall back to YouTube to familiarise myself with IFY. I really, really wish I hadn’t.

  7. 7
    Brendan F on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Ok – so with 2 #1’s missing from my memory bank I had to go and check them both out – the verdict – they don’t actually suck – both pleasant tunes that I wouldn’t have turned off if they came up on the radio – yes his voice is too girly, but unlike the charisma-free performances of Boyzone and R&J you can see that he was at least trying to do something interesting even if it ultimately turned out to be the kind of thing we’d all heard done much better many years earlier.

  8. 8
    Mark G on 24 Jan 2014 #

    There could be a series of “I (verb) you” songs.. I feel you, I kiss you, I love you, I.. Um…

  9. 9
    Chelovek na lune on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Almost comically bad. Just too, too, forgettable to be that, though.

    I think portraying it as Michael Jackson pastiche is a little ambitious: my thought was Alexander O’Neal (or even Karyn White) album track. Though of course PA’s voice is just not up to it.

    Back when Glen Goldsmith was…having one medium-sized hit (“Dreaming”, which is OK, I guess – watered down Keith Sweat. Ah. I see why Andre chose one of his songs already), and a couple of minor ones, Capital Radio used to play him and generally promote him, far, far more than this stature would warrant. I wonder if they did the same with this?

    It’s dreadful. Worse than the Outhere Brothers. I’d happily score it zero. Well well well.

  10. 10
    Billy Hicks on 24 Jan 2014 #

    One of the *only* number 1s for at least the next fifteen years that I have absolutely no recollection of. At all. Indeed had you asked me to name all the #1s of 1996 there’s no way I’d have remembered this one, probably after being too smug over remembering Flava.

    What’s especially irritating is that the top 5 that week contains two songs from artists who never got to #1 that deserved it much more. At #4, Toni Braxton’s ‘Un-Break My Heart’ who got a double CD release with two versions here, the original ballad version on CD1 and the Frankie Knuckles house mix on CD2. Both are glorious and one of those songs most would probably imagine was a chart-topper instead of this.

    And at #5, Robert Miles’s ‘One & One’. Seemingly forgotten after the monster that was Children, it’s one of the best dance tracks of the decade for me, truly magical stuff with his dream-house sound matched with somewhat heart-stopping vocals from Maria Nayler. That neither of these made it that week and an Andre album filler did instead is a shame.

  11. 11
    swanstep on 24 Jan 2014 #

    There’s a pretty decent underlying, Michael/Janet slowie here (close especially to ‘Come Back To Me’ I’d say). Contemporarily speaking, Bruno Mars or Ne-Yo or (especially my fave from last year) Autre Ne Veut would kill this (and produce the hell out of it). Peter Andre isn’t up to that, of course, but (at least on first few listens) he’s not *too* far away on this one (vocal is *much* better on IFY than on his previous #1). Possibly I’m a soft touch for this genre, but I find IFY perfectly listenable:
    5 or 6

  12. 12
    mapman132 on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Not terrible, just unmemorable. As others have said, we’ve clearly reached the point where just about anything could reach #1 if promoted and timed properly.

    #10 “Unbreak My Heart” was in fact #1 in the US, for 11 weeks no less.

  13. 13
    hardtogethits on 24 Jan 2014 #

    #10. I certainly wish we were talking about Unbreak My Heart. In many ways, UBH is not my kind of record. It’s astonishingly emotionally articulate though; to find a lyric which is so plain-speaking, universal and original* at this point (1996) is incredibly rare. Plus, it’s beautifully sung.

    *the “Out in the rain” line is a disappointment.

  14. 14
    Cumbrian on 24 Jan 2014 #

    What’s the form for deciding who gets the little number 1 picture in the circle next to the Popular link and who doesn’t? Spice Girls and Prodigy got a little picture. R&J and Peter Andre didn’t. Is it a reflection of perceived quality – and thus a tiny little spoiler as to the likely direction of Tom’s mark before you get to read the entry?

    Boring and forgettable ballad by Peter Andre 3 times better than boring and forgettable ballad by Gary Barlow? Don’t think I agree altogether, though this is slightly better than Forever Love, principally due to it trying to be something that might have come out from a more interesting US artist, whereas Forever Love just sounds more like Richard Clayderman or someone similar. 2 seems about right.

    Unbreak My Heart knocks this into several cocked hats.

  15. 15
    Chelovek na lune on 24 Jan 2014 #

    #10 I absolutely agree with both of those. “One on One” is a gem (and will always recall for me a particularly bleak and windswept winter in a particularly windswept and landscapically bleak corner of the Scottish coast).

  16. 16
    wichitalineman on 24 Jan 2014 #

    No memory of this at all. I’m pretty sure I never heard it at the time, but then if it was only in the Top 10 for a fortnight that’s not surprising. Unbreak My Heart was inescapable.

    It’s… OK. Pitched between She’s Out Of My Life and You Are Not Alone, it’s a few years out of sync, just like PA’s previous two hits. Still the structure is decent enough, the melody moves about, there’s even a mildly surprising chord change (on “in my heart”, just ahead of the chorus); I agree with Swanstep that it could have made a decent Janet Jackson slowie. What kills it, several times over, is the simp Andre – the way he sings “I feel you” at the end of each chorus suggest a clammy hand extending out to stroke your forearm, while hoping you won’t notice.

    The one spoken line (“tell me it isn’t true”, an embarrassed mumble) is enough to explain why he wasn’t an actor in Neighbours.

    My favourite line, though, is “I’m thinkin’ ’bout the thing I’m going to do you as soon as you get home.” The thing? The curtain-haired boy has such a vivid imagination.

  17. 17
    Tim on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Other “well well well”s in pop which spring to mind are:
    (1) “Well Well Well” by the Woodentops
    (2) “Witness (1 Hope) by Roots Manuva.
    (3) “Summer Nights” at a push I suppose.

  18. 18
    Tom on 24 Jan 2014 #

    #14 – Steve has to make the pictures, so it’s his spoiler not mine! I think it’s just a case of the galloping pace of Popular taking everyone (including me) by surprise.

  19. 19
    wichitalineman on 24 Jan 2014 #

    There’s a “well, well” on the chorus of Gregory Abbott’s icky Shake You Down, which production-wise isn’t far removed from I Feel You. Maybe that’s where PA nabbed it from.

  20. 20
    Tom on 24 Jan 2014 #

    #17 Duffy’s flop comeback single was called “Well Well Well”. And there’s an Elvis Costello track where he sneers it but I can’t remember what else he does.

  21. 21
    Cumbrian on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Well Well Well also the opening track of Barely Legal by The Hives – released in only 9 Popular months time. Not that that scene (whatever the NME called it – New Rock Revolution or some such?) will be troubling Popular directly.

  22. 22
    Brendan F on 24 Jan 2014 #

    also there’s a ‘well, well, well’ in Funky President by James Brown

  23. 23
    leveret on 24 Jan 2014 #

    This is the first number one since I first became interested in the charts and pop music as a child in the mid 80s that I couldn’t remember at all. In stark contrast to #10 above, the charts from here on in are absolutely littered with number ones that I can’t remember at all. I think this record marks the beginning of my disconnection from the world of the Top 40, although it was probably W**t***e who tipped me over the edge. I’m interested to listen to the latter day number ones along with the Popular blog to see if I discover anything interesting that I missed at the time (though I retain a degree of scepticism).

    I have become so absorbed in the Popular project that I actually listened to this inconsequential wisp of a song ahead of Tom’s post! 80s MJ ballad was absolutely what I got from this too, with a vague hint of 90s R&B stylings, and the producers doing their best to coax some MJ-style vocals (at least if your ears are full of wax or water) from Pete.

  24. 24
    Tom on 24 Jan 2014 #

    #10 “One And One” is great – it felt like Miles had been listening to his ABBA records a bit.

  25. 25
    Kat but logged out innit on 24 Jan 2014 #

    I have racked my brains and finally remembered that it was Sam D (sat next to in Biology) that had “Peter Andre Is Fit” written on the inside of her ring binder. She also had a weird thing for dudes who drove VW Golfs.

  26. 26
    Kat but logged out innit on 24 Jan 2014 #

    I think there is a song called ‘Well Well Well’ on Le Tigre’s Feminist Sweepstakes?

  27. 27
    iconoclast on 24 Jan 2014 #

    And nobody’s remembered “Well Well Well” on John Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band”?

  28. 28
    Andy M on 24 Jan 2014 #

    @17 Robert Plant’s “Well! Well!! WELL!!! … so I can die easy” on ‘In My Time of Dying’ was the one that came to mind for me. I think some versions of the song (inc. a version by the Lovin’ Spoonful?) have been called ‘Well well well’.

  29. 29
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Fleetwood Mac: Oh Well

  30. 30
    Rory on 24 Jan 2014 #

    Late 1996 was a land of contrasts. 2.

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