You would think the mp3’s emergence as the dominant musical format this decade would’ve opened more doors for one-hit wonders to burst onto the scene. However, the collapse of the record industry meant that marketing dollars were harder and harder to come by, and those promotional dollars that were available were generally focused on pushing singles from big-name artists with larger budgets that needed recouping to radio. So while we’ll likely never again see decades as rich with one-hit wonders as the eighties and nineties were, Billboard magazine just put together their comprehensive list of the decade’s 40 biggest oneders (thank you, That Thing You Do!).
Based on their time spent on top of the Billboard singles charts, here are five artists who made huge initial splashes but were never able to plant another song in our collective conscious:
5. James Blunt, “You’re Beautiful” and D4L, “Laffy Taffy” (tie)
4. MIMS, “This Is Why I’m Hot”
3. Crazytown, “Butterfly”
2. Terror Squad, “Lean Back”
1. Daniel Powter, “Bad Day”
Scrolling through the rest of the list, there doesn’t seem to be a unifying trend that can be used to rationalize each of the song’s respective successes. For every novelty dance hit like Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5,” there’s a cheeseball trance cover song that exists solely to help foster late-night drunken make-out sessions in sports bars (DJ Sammy’s “Heaven”); for every overly earnest power ballad (Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel”), there’s a zeitgeist-capturing smash collaboration like “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. The list is also populated with hip-hop protégé’s who never were able to live up to the successes of their mentors (Dream, Tweet, Lumidee, Cassidy) and also overly earnest white people with limited talent (Vanessa Carlton, Nick Lachey). While there were certainly a number of great songs and albums that were released this decade (as evidenced by New York’s list that appears in this week’s magazine), let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the next decade is able to produce one-hit wonders memorable enough to warrant their very own Vh1 special.
That said, what songs stuck out to you as being the best novelty tracks of the decade? Also, are you as pissed as we are that Katy Perry escaped the damning description of one-hit wonder? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Best of the 2000s: One-Hit Wonders [Billboard]