Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Worst Single Of 2005

Drumroll please.

1. "That's My Goal" by Shayne Ward
There was always a place reserved in this list for the X Factor winner (if it had been unexpectedly ok then Westlife would have occupied the top two spots and by God, deserved them both), but the speed and commitment with which it grasped the crown surprised even me. For "That's My Goal" is an astonishingly terrible record on so many levels. Let's examine a few.

Imagine for a moment that you're Simon Cowell (just to practice, give a big evil laugh and try to smell of sulphur). The X Factor is your own personal money making machine. Quite apart from the revenue generated by those phone lines every week, the programme gradually builds up an audience's emotional investment in your artist. You even get your audience to select which one will sell you the most records - it's like having the world's biggest focus group that pays you for the privilege. Give another big evil laugh.

So there you have your ready-made millions of customers, and when your hapless winner comes to record their single, all you really have to do is avoid putting them off. So the question you need to ask is this: what's the blandest thing on the menu? What's the least offensive song you can come up with?

Well, you need a tune that you think you've heard before. Throw a rock at any Westlife album and you'll hit at least eight suitable songs (actually, just throw a rock at Westlife). So take those, cut them up into small pieces, throw them up in the air and arrange them in any order you like. Add a fairly meaningless yet life-affirming, winning-against-the-odds type lyric ("You know that I need you, And can't breathe without you, Live without you, Be without you etc") and you're away. Don't worry that the phrase "That's My Goal" is more suited to a management training day than a love song - just think of those extra royalties come World Cup time.

Of course, the great record-buying public is much more sophisticated than that, and will happily buy fairly left-field records by unknown artists (even at Christmas - remember Gary Jules and Mad World?). But you didn't get where you are today by not underestimating the proles. You evil, despotic, shameful excuse for a human being. OK, you can stop imagining you're Simon Cowell now.

You do have to feel slightly sorry for poor Shayne, a mere pawn in this debacle. If he has any lasting musical success, it will be in spite of, rather than due to, his reality TV success. Look at the last two reality pop winners - one is now back doing the South London Pub Singer circuit, and the other is now chiefly famous for not being quite as fat as she used to be. Both were launched in similar circumstances. Blandness may sell records in the short term, but it doesn't win respect, coolness or lasting wealth. But of course that doesn't bother Cowell, as he's busy planning next year's treadmill. So be afraid.

By the way, the worst single of 2006 has already been decided. Happy New Year everyone.

1 comment:

prolix said...

Painfully accurate and so very funny for it!