I recently had a debate with a few of my friends — is there something inherently time-specific about the one hit wonder (do they merely capitalize on the current pop trends?), or is there something greater at play; are these songs so good, that it doesn’t really matter whether or not they fit in that particular era?
I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days, I decided to chart the progression of one hit wonders over the past 20 years — taking a notable song from each year, and compiling them into a master playlist. Although the selection was pretty arbitrary and incredibly unscientific, there were a few (highly subjective) things I’ve noticed.
- One hit wonders sometimes come in bunches. I.e., the Pop-Punk Early 2000s bunch (Fountains Of Wayne, Bowling For Soup), the late 90s rock bunch (Flagpole Sitta, Wherever You Will Go) and the attractive dude who might’ve been in a boy band bunch (James Blunt, Ashley Parker Angel)
- Some don’t feel like they’re really a part of their era (Chumbawamba, Len), but are so good that they’d probably be pretty successful no matter what time period they were released.
- Probably increasingly, some will primarily be the product of viral sensations (Harlem Shake)
Since you’re now in the proper one-hit-wonder mindset, here’s 20 solid one-hitters from the last 20 years. Obviously it’s a little too early too tell whether or not the more recent artists will remain one-hit wonders, but we’ll temporarily operate under the assumption that we’re all gonna be extras in a Tom Cruise-starring apocalyptic movie starting tomorrow.
1. The Rhythm Of The Night – Corona (1994)
2. I Wish – Skee-Lo (1995)
3. I Love You Always Forever – Donna Lewis (1996)
4. Chumbawamba – Tubthumping (1997)
5. Flagpole Sitta – Harvey Danger (1998)
6. Steal My Sunshine – Len (1999)
7. Who Let The Dogs Out – Baja Men (2000)
8. Wherever You Will Go – The Calling
9. Heaven – DJ Sammy (2002)
10. Stacy’s Mom – Fountains Of Wayne (2003)
11. 1985 – Bowling For Soup (2004)
12. You’re Beautiful – James Blunt (2005)
13. Let U Go – Ashley Parker Angel (2006)
14. Pop, Lock, Drop It – Huey (2007)
15. That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings (2008)
16. All The Above – Maino (2009)
17. Teach Me How To Dougie (2010)
18. Blackout – Breathe Carolina (2011)
19. Somebody That I Used To Know – Goyte ft. Kimbra (2012)
20. Harlem Shake – Baauer (2013)