Category Archives: Damaged Notion

The One-Hit Wonder, Grammy-Style

No awards show build-up is complete without some snarking about winners past, and MSN.com’s wide world of marginally useful sites are always a good place to look for these “Worst Oscar Nominees” and “Where Is the Best New Artist Now” type lists. They didn’t disappoint on the eve of this year’s Grammy awards, trotting out a Remember These Grammy-Winning One-Hit Wonders? for the occasion.

Such lists are always subjective, and this one’s no exception. There were a few solid picks — I had to look up the Baha Men, so far have they fallen into obscurity — along with a few head-scratchers. Here are three that puzzled me:

Bruce Hornsby

By no definition could Bruce Hornsby be called a one-hit wonder. Hornsby’s been on the Billboard charts eleven times, in all; “The Way It Is” was followed by “Mandolin Rain,” which peaked at #4, “Every Little Kiss,” which peaked at #14. This, of course, is not counting Hornsby’s charting albums — an important distinction to make, considering that Hornsby has always been more an album artist than a singles artist. It’s not unlike calling the Grateful Dead one-hit wonders — yes, “Touch of Grey” was the band’s only charting single.

Marc Cohn

If a #1 chart position is the criteria for this list, 1992’s Best New Artist, Marc Cohn, isn’t even a one-hit wonder. He never reached #1, either on the albums chart or with “Walking in Memphis,” the song for which the author assumes he was nominated. Like Hornsby, though, Cohn is known as more of an albums artist — he’s had four albums chart on Billboard’s Top 200. He’s also charted several times with greatest hits collections, the ultimate irony, all things considered.

Jamiroquai

It could be just that I love Jamiroquai, but this inclusion offends me. To be sure, the band (or auteur Jay Kay, more like) is not a one-hit wonder; they’ve had songs and albums chart on no less than 14 Billboard charts, ranging from “Adult Pop” to “Dance/Electronic Albums” to “Hot R&B/Hip Hop.” Chalk this one up to xenophobia — Jamiroquai was never as popular in the U.S. as in Europe and Asia (big in Japan, for real).

Clearly Bruce Hornsby, Marc Cohn and Jamiroquai fail the one-hit wonder test — the question is why these three were included on this list when far more deserving artists were neglected. In that spirit, here’s a list of artists, a few of which won the Grammy for Best New Artist in the past. See if you can spot the winners:

The Swingle Singers

Starland Vocal Band

A Taste of Honey

Harper’s Bizarre

The Neon Philharmonic

Timbuk3

Shelby Lynne

Soul II Soul

Belly

Sisquo

Have fun!

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Damaged Notion: The Rolling Stones’ “We Love You”

We hope you love we too?

Vanilla Fudge.  Childproof cigarette lighters.  Doggie diapers.  The list of things that simply do not make sense is long and all-inclusive.  Hence “Damaged Notions,” otherwise known as songs, sometimes complete albums, that defy logic and good sense.

One of my favorite musical descriptors may be the word “menacing.” That I often gravitate toward songs that I then describe as “menacing” may be indicative of some defect in my personality, but I digress. Menacing often makes for the strangely beautiful, or the  beautifully strange, and either could describe today’s entry: “We Love You” by the Rolling Stones.

It takes only seconds of listening to “We Love You” to get the menacing vibe; as with many songs by the Rolling Stones, you may feel vaguely unclean after listening. Then, as you try to understand why you feel unclean, it occurs to you that there’s something wrong when a song stubbornly titled “We Love You” makes you feel as though you’re under siege.

There’s a part of you that understands this, that knows the Rolling Stones most certainly do not love you, no matter what they say. The Rolling Stones don’t love each other, they ostensibly don’t love children, so you can feel fairly safe in assuming that they do not love you.

Yet there those Stones are, insisting that they love you. They sing “we love you – of course we do,” as though you should have known this all along. And then they add:
We don’t care if you hound “we” and love is all around “we”
Love can’t get our minds off
We love you, we love you

It’s beginning to make sense now. This is love as only psychopaths understand it. And as though that were not crazy enough:

I love you. I love you
And I hope that you won’t prove wrong too
We love you. We do. We love you. We do.

Crazy, every one of them. Making a big deal out of convincing you they love you, then in the next breath insinuating that you’re the one with the problem, you treacherous vixen you.

Meanwhile the musical accompaniment that is so cacophonous, so sultry and depraved that you’re afraid not to believe they love you. Naturally. It takes the Rolling Stones to write a song called “We Love You,” then use it as a vessel to taunt and frighten you.

Ah, but the plot thickens.  You go straight to Google to get to the bottom of this, and discover that as though the Rolling Stones writing and performing any song titled “We Love You” is not a damaged enough notion, the song was written for those who supported Mick Jagger and Keith Richards after the infamous Redlands drug bust in 1967 that resulted in short stays in the pokey for both of the Glimmer Twins.

That’s when your hysterical laughter begins, and you decide that the Stones, in their infinite wisdom, decided to menace the public into supporting them. And it worked! Because, after all, who but the Rolling Stones can write an unabashedly evil song about love, then garner enough public sympathy that would-be poets accuse their tormentors of breaking a butterfly on a wheel?

Oh! Those dastardly Stones!

And just when it couldn’t possibly get anymore wonderful or awful, you find out that the Stones actually made a proto-video for “We Love You,” to further distress you, camping up the whole bust, and featuring prominently that girl who likes to wear fur rugs:

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