I think I just threw up in my mouth watching this video clip. The first time I heard The Wanted on the radio, sometime towards the beginning of last year, the track was ‘‘ and, although vaguely interested by the way the lads started each line of their verse with the last word of the line that preceded it, I was particularly turned off by basically everything else. The cheesy Eastern European warped-harpsichord synths, the way that none of the fivesome give anything to their vocal performances, as if they were just reading them to get a feel for what the pronunciations might be like if sung by someone with any panache, the fact that the chorus slips in and out without any obvious musical shift to hail its arrival or departure. Honestly, I thought it was a joke. I recall the radio announcer saying something to the effect of ‘they’re the biggest thing in Britain right now and they’re set to take over the airwaves down under.’ Yeah, right, I likely rolled my eyeballs. There are some things better left to our Motherland.
And yet, the nameless disc jockey turned out to be stunningly, occasionally horribly, right. Not only have The Wanted sold 3 million copies in the US of the most mediocre party jam to ever be filmed in Ibiza but their latest single ‘Chasing The Sun’, from this year’s EP ‘The Wanted’ has hit #1 on the US Dance Club charts and has totally infested my car such that the beach, the shops, university, is never more than one short ‘oh oh oh oh oh oh’ away. And that video. That video. Now controlled by PSY and Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun (read: guy who somehow latches himself onto anything that might get stuck in your head, infuriate you ever) you’d think that the British-Irish boy band, in the vein of many other British-Irish boy bands before them, might have learned how to dance. Instead, they rely on brooding looks (not even good ones), semi-attractive vampire women and club scenes that obviously haven’t yet gotten hold of ‘Glad You Came’ and are thus at half capacity, to distract from what is some abysmally awkward collective bouncing on toes. We are not distracted.
The visuals, though (and the acidic bile that accompanied them), have not yet managed to cruel this song for me. For as much as I see right through the whole boy band experiment, as much as I think the boys only need choreographers about as desperately as they need new video clip directors and as much as I can’t stand the fact that the vocals are so frequently monotonous that developing any rapport with a particular voice is impossible (maybe that’s the point), there is nothing, nothing, you can say to me about that chorus. I had initial suspicions that Example (the guy behind the great ‘Kickstarts‘, some and much, much more) was somehow involved in this, an inkling confirmed by a quick wiki-nvestigation. The slightly weird phrasing on the verses (inevitably about chasing women) smacks of the London rapper (coming across as slightly disinterested by virtue of uninteresting vocalists) and the soccer hooliganism on the chorus as the chanting starts up and the way the lyrics actually become a secondary concern is straight E.G. It’s brilliant. It’s uplifting. It makes me forget that this is a track performed by what looks to be professional jump-ropers with a penchant for dance-pop and the means to buy producers who will make that happen for them. If it is possible to love a sliver of a song in the midst of so much boredom with the rest of a back catalogue, this is surely it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to skip.
The Wanted – Chasing The Sun