REWIND: 5 so-bad-they’re-good one-hit wonders to take your mind off things

t.A.T.u, tATu, Julia Volkova, Lena Katina

t.A.T.u, Courtesy: NatureBoyMD/Wikicommons.

Listen, I watched and read the news. I know what happened on Friday. We all know, and we know what the effects can be. We know the nightmare we’re in for until the inauguration. So I’m not going to reiterate any of that, but I will say that we need to take to the streets to oppose any effort to use this tragedy to further pack the court. It’s no exaggeration to say that three Trump appointees, combined with the two sympathetic Justices already seated, could irreparably harm American democracy. They can rule that Trump’s fabricated claims of cheating are true and invalidate a Biden win. They can rule that Trump’s claim that he should get an extra term because the first doesn’t count are valid and grant him 12 years. And there’s nothing any of us could do to stop it.

But you’ve likely had enough of that, and I don’t want to add to your tension any more than I want to add to my own. So I’m going to ignore all that for now so I still have the energy to fight another day.

For now, let’s talk about satellite radio. It occurred to me that I’m still paying for my SiriusXM subscription despite rarely—if ever—actually driving anywhere these days, so I should listen to it streaming while I work. And while browsing for stations I found ONEderland, a station that’s entirely one-hit wonders.

It’s terrible.



There’s really no doubt why most of these were one hit wonders. They’re all novelty songs. There are very few songs on the station that I would qualify as objectively great by themselves.

So, of course, I can’t stop listening. It’s musical junk food. Every hook is catchy and every lyric is stupid in the most amusing way. It’s basically an eight-hour playlist on shuffle and I’ve had it on every day for like two weeks and counting. I can’t bring myself to turn it off. So this week I’m letting them do my selection. Enjoy five terrible/wonderful one-hit wonders I heard on the future-radio.


Peter Schilling — “Major Tom (Coming Home)”

I’ll start off with a genuinely good song, made better because of its brilliant inclusion in “Umbrella Academy,” which has the best soundtrack since “Luke Cage.”

It takes guts to write a sequel to one of David Bowie’s most legendary songs, to say the least. But somehow Schilling pulled it off. I’m not saying this is as good as “Space Oddity,” because few things are, but it’s a really good song that translates the spirit of the original to the emotion of a return trip. Which is just astounding. Doubly so since Schilling never had another hit, so apparently either he got lucky or he expended all his creative energy all at once.




Enur — “Calabria”

Technically Enur had two hits. Unfortunately for Enur, they were both “Calabria.”

In 2003 they had a sleeper hit with “Calabria,” a song that was originally supposed to be an instrumental but had lyrics added even though nobody has ever figured out what they mean. And it’s catchy in an awful, early ’00s dance music sort of way. Then in 2007 they released… “Calabria 2007,” which is the same song but remixed slightly and remastered. And it was also a hit! So good for them, I guess. Find out what works and stick with it.


t.A.T.u. — “All the Things She Said”

I genuinely do not remember “All the Things She Said” being this good.

Seriously, this is a great song! Legitimately, unqualified great. And I have no recollection of it being this good. I just remember pretty girls in wet clothes kissing, because I was young and stupid, and the backlash about them being “fake lesbians” when one of them started dating a guy, which in retrospect is extremely gross erasure of bisexuality. The year 2002 was a really long time ago.

Speaking of homosexuality, one of the two women from t.A.T.u. is a vocal homophobe now! That’s right, one of those women kissing each other hates gay people! Well, just gay men, because that’s different somehow. But at least the other one is cool.

Poppy covered this song on tour last January. Remember January?




Everything but the Girl — “Missing”

Maybe I’m remembering it wrong, but I remember this song being utterly inescapable for several years in the mid-’90s. Radio, MTV, TV shows, commercials, grocery stores. Then it was just… gone. Down the memory hole. As soon as it arrived it had vanished, and now 25 years later I play it for people and they remark that it’s good but have no recollection of having heard it before.

This would be a major Mandela Effect situation if I didn’t have a music video of it embedded just up there. You can hear it right now! It’s real! And it really is pretty good!


Los Del Rio — “Macarena”

I’m angry at the world so now, even if you didn’t play the video, you have “Macarena” stuck in your head. It’s going to be there for weeks and there’s nothing you can do about it. Try as you might to get it out, it won’t work, you are one with the “Macarena” now.

Also, did you know this song is vaguely creepy? For those who don’t understand Spanish, this is the chorus: “Give a little lovin’ to your body, Macarena/ Cuz your body’s made for love and feeling good; it’s a no-brainer/ Give a little lovin’ to your body, Macarena/ Heeeey, Macarena!”

Oh yeah. It’s two dudes encouraging a woman to put out. Heeeeeeey, Macarena!



Follow editor Daniel J. Willis and tweet column ideas to him at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.

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