Wednesday, May 6, 2020

"Funkytown" by Pseudo Echo

Top Ten Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  3125
Date:  05/16/1987
Debut:  83
Peak:  6
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Synth Rock, New Wave

Pop Bits:  After having some good success at home, this Australian band decided to give America a shot and pushed out a revamped version of their 1985 LP Love an Adventure. Its first single, "Living in a Dream," made the US Pop chart, but it stalled at a minor #57. Next up for single release was this track that was included on the US version of the LP. The tune had been recorded and released as a one-off single back in Australia following the success of Love an Adventure. It ended up being a massive hit spending seven weeks at the top of the chart. When released in the US, the tune took off and it landed Pseudo Echo in the Pop Top 10 while also reaching #4 at Dance. The hit would help the album reach #57. Unfortunately, it would be the band's last single to reach a US chart. Back home in Australia, their fortunes also dried up. Their 1988 follow-up LP Race could only generate a couple of Top 40 entries and it sold far less than their previous two efforts. By 1990, the band had broken up.

ReduxReview:  Pseudo Echo took a disco classic and cranked the volume on it for the late 80s. Blaring synths and screeching guitars overrun the production and an increased tempo made the dance tune even more urgent. Why the band chose this song to cover is a mystery, but it worked out well for them. Unfortunately for the US audience they didn't have any originals as captivating as this remake and they got ignored afterward. This is certainly a relic of its time and one you really don't hear anymore. You could say that the original was also of its time, but that track was a classic of the disco era and it continued to be popular over the years, especially in the mid-90s when the genre experienced a revival of sorts. Pseudo Echo's take was kind of fun at the time, but it just didn't play as well as time went by. It was an interesting hit, but one that has remained overshadowed by the original.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Despite having another minor charting single, thanks to this lone Top 10 hit the band would later be tagged by some as a one-hit wonder. However, some lists of one-hit wonders of the 80s often excluded the band mainly because their hit was a remake of one that had already been an even bigger one-hit wonder of the decade. The studio group Lipps, Inc. originally recorded "Funkytown" and it became a big #1 platinum hit in 1980. It was their only major hit and like Pseudo Echo, despite a second minor charting song, Lipps, Inc. was tagged as a one-hit wonder (#36 on VH1's list of Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s).


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