Apologies for the delayed results on this, which if your memories stretch back two weeks involved a match-up between The Paragons’ “Tide Is High”, Blondie’s cover, and Atomic Kitten’s expansion on same “The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling)”. Feeding three records into the Poptimizer is no easy task.

The most interesting thing about the feedback on this was how little delight a lot of people take in any of the versions of “The Tide Is High”. Why might this be? Perhaps there’s a contradiction between the slow rhythms of the romantic long game and the passion and heat we expect from pop: the mating strategy “The Tide Is High” recommends is waiting passively until “it’s my turn”. There’s something smug about that kind of passivity – assuming your intended will make plenty of mistakes before turning to you is hardly complimentary. To either party. The Paragons’ version, pretty though its violin is, has a woeful air which bolsters this impression of general wetness. (And where exactly does the tide come into it, anyway?)

Blondie at least sound like they have the self-belief to play the waiting game, rather than just treating it as the easiest option, so we’re left with the question – what does Atomic Kitten’s “Get The Feeling” interpolation add to the song? Some justification perhaps – if this person’s worth waiting for, there has to be a reason.

The crucial line in Atomic Kitten’s song is “A moment’s pain for a lifetime’s pleasure”. Assuming this isn’t just lifted from an unfinished song about piercings, this changes the context of “Tide” by truncating the waiting period dramatically. The song is now about a ‘moment’ – of decision, perhaps? This fits the Kittens’ song into an early 00s context – Blind Date, Big Brother, Reality TV in general.

“Get The Feeling” also completes the de-reggaeification of the song, breaking through the rhythm, asserting the Kittens’ difference. So it wins, right? No – for all that “GTF” adds to the song, the stitching between sections is botched, it feels like a poor quality mash-up. After much deliberation, the Poptimizer reluctantly settles on Blondie, passivity and all.

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