Friday, September 16, 2011

Revenge of the Thirty-Day Song Challenge - Day 15

Day 15 - A One-Hit Wonder

The term "one-hit wonder" is a bit annoying, because it is terribly vague. Is it only an artist that had one, and only one, single? Perhaps an artist that only had one single in the Top 40? Maybe the artist had other singles, but they were all overshadowed by their grand uber-single. It's a rich tapestry. Regardless, today's entry is on a band primarily known for one, and only one, ultra-ubiquitous single.

Crazy Town – “Butterfly” 

I was ragging a bit on the 90’s the other day; I’ll add a few more qualifications onto it. I don’t think I’ll mind too heavily when 90’s nostalgia comes back in, but I think, musically, I’ll be much more receptive to tracks from the late 90’s and early 00’s (The Offspring, Coolio, Good Charlotte, etc.) than from the early 90’s (Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Milli Vanilli, etc.). There are a few reasons for this, the largest one being that I did not listen to much music from the early 90’s, and thus have no prior attachment (another smaller one: I hate that stupid keyboard sound). Ah, but the late 90’s, now we have some semblance of awareness on monsieur Testerman’s part (hell, I’ll even be cool with Cleopatra).

One late 90’s song that I will be receptive to entirely without irony is Crazy Town’s number-one hit, “Butterfly.” A staple of middle school dances and house parties everywhere during the days of Palm Beach County, “Butterfly” is one of the only songs I can think of where the rock/rap genre of music actually sounds fun. Consider: Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit (gah, those names), Saliva; all were angsty buggers with copious amounts of yelling thrown into their lyrical flow. Great for dudes who were into ostensibly heavier music (like me), but not so awesome for folks who were already sold on the concept of “constantly sounding angry.”

“Butterfly,” on the other hand, has a playful, light delivery, and its white-boy cadence sounds much more appealing since it lacks any pretensions of being “hardcore.” The song’s instrumentation is pretty damn catchy too, with its slightly-hypnotic bass line and dreamy guitar riff acting as the melodic center points. Coupled with the turntable interlude and serviceable drums, and it’s perhaps the most conceptually-pure form of the dreaded late 90’s rock/rap, and its lack of drop-D chugs make it all the more satisfying.

Lastly, and I’m giving it its own paragraph to mark its importance, is the chorus. If the success of “Butterfly” can be attributed to any one element, it’s the chorus, a smooth-as-1999-will-permit series of corny lines that gel into one big, satisfying slice of Just Go With It (as opposed to Just Go With It). Perhaps it’s a generational thing, but singing along with “Butterfly,” especially with other people, feels incredibly cool (it also feels incredibly stupid, but the two emotions create a nice synergy together).

Crazy Town, for all intents and purposes were never heard from again. They released a follow-up album, Dark Horse, in 2002, and a total of four more singles, but none of them ever charted on the Billboard Hot 100. Apparently they are fixing to release a new album for the first time in nearly ten years. If they end up touring to promote it, I bet I can guess at least one song they’ll play at their show.

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