One-hit warning for Carly Rae Jepsen
When your retired dad, who rarely pays attention to pop culture, can recite the lyrics of Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe to you over the phone, you know the song has reached a certain level of public consciousness.
Basically, everyone in your life knows this song.
But will Jepsen's monumental success in 2012 lead to a lengthy career in pop music?
The same question could be asked of other artists with breakout tunes this year, including Gotye, The Wanted and Fun. Will we still be talking about these performers in three or four years, or will they slip into the peripheries of popular taste?
As a public service, then, here are some lessons that can be learned from recent artists who were unable to replicate the success of their breakout singles. You're welcome, Carly. No one wants to be known as a one-hit wonder.
Crazy Town - Butterfly
This song had everything going for it when it was released in 2000 - including a smooth bassline, a marketable rock-rap feel and a trippy video that featured the band members serenading women in a fantastical forest. But after Butterfly reached number one in 15 countries, the band's subsequent singles never even made an impact. And while you'll occasionally hear the song echoing through sports stadiums, frontman Shifty Shellshock's trouble with the law - he was recently convicted of cocaine possession and domestic violence charges - could stymie any hope of a comeback.
Lesson: Don't hire a frontman with the nom de plume of Shifty Shellshock.
t.A.T.u - All the Things She Said
Russian duo Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova found huge overseas success in 2002 once they decided to sing in English. Oh yeah, the controversial music video for All the Things She Said - in which they sang about forbidden love while wearing schoolgirl outfits and kissing each other in the rain - probably helped, too. Despite being considered one of the best-selling acts in Russian music history, the duo's career eventually fizzled - probably around the same time they acknowledged that the faux-lesbian thing was just an attention-getting gimmick.
Lesson: Don't assume the schoolgirl look will lead to a long-lasting career - even if it worked for Britney Spears.
James Blunt - You're Beautiful
Poor James Blunt. His bland 2005 single You're Beautiful - about getting high, riding the subway and spotting his ex-girlfriend with a new man - helped him sell 11-million copies of Back to Bedlam, earned him a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist and gave him the distinction of being the first British performer to top the Billboard Hot 100 in a nearly a decade. But can you name another James Blunt song? Exactly.
Lesson: Don't take drugs and ride the subway.
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Every car blasted it, every station played it and every performer covered it. This Grammy-winning song - which hits your ears instantly with a propulsive bassline, atmospheric synths and dark lyrics - owned the summer of 2006. While Cee Lo Green and Danger Mouse went on to fruitful careers separately, Gnarls Barkley's subsequent singles never even came close to the 'crazy' success of that breakout song. And it's a shame, because these two guys sound good together.
Lesson: Don't name yourself after a basketball player - even if Pearl Jam was once known as Mookie Blaylock.
Metro Station - Shake It
Metro Station burned out very, very quickly. Following a meeting on the set on Hanna Montana, Trace Cyrus and Mason Musso - who both had siblings on the Disney Channel show - started a synthpop group and released the insanely catchy song Shake It. After hitting No. 10 in the Billboard Hot 100 and opening for Good Charlotte and Simple Plan in 2008, the band's output sputtered, and they went into indefinite hiatus in 2010. Perhaps they realized that Miley Cyrus' brother didn't have a 'trace' of musical talent.
Lesson: Don't schedule band meetings on the set of Hanna Montana.