Sunday, May 17, 2020

"Why You Treat Me So Bad" by Club Nouveau

Song#:  3136
Date:  05/30/1987
Debut:  90
Peak:  39
Weeks:  13
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  This group headed up by Jay King scored an across the board smash hit with their remake of Bill Withers' 1972 #1 "Lean on Me." In addition to reaching #1 on the Pop and Dance charts and #2 R&B, Club Nouveau's version would go gold and win a Grammy. The song was the third single lifted from their debut album Life, Love & Pain. For a follow-up, this next track was selected. It would become their fourth Top 10 at R&B reaching #2. However, the song didn't have the same mainstream appeal as "Lean on Me" and it stalled just inside the Top 40 mark at Pop while getting to #22 at Dance. The album would end up being a platinum seller that got to #2 R&B/#6 Pop. Unfortunately,, the group's luck quickly ran out. Their next two albums failed to generate any major hits with none of their singles reaching the Pop chart and only 1989's "No Friend of Mine" doing anything at R&B (#12). Those results left them off the Warner Bros. roster and it seems that after a couple of indie LPs, the group stopped recording. A version of the group with Jay King still exists and continues to tour as of this posting date.

ReduxReview:  There is a lot to like about this song. The dramatic opening is really interesting along with the bassline and groove. The production is spot-on as well. It's a cool track that was miles ahead of their cheezy "Lean on Me" remake. It's a shame it didn't do better on the Pop chart. At least it made the Top 40. Of course following up a big mainstream hit like "Lean on Me" was going to be difficult with folks expecting another Pop-leaning single from the group. When this one showed up, it didn't really fit the bill. Its slinky R&B groove just wasn't what Joe middle-America was looking for after the band's goofy people-pleasing remake of a classic. I was never a fan of Club Nouveau, but they did have a couple of good tracks on their debut album including this one.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song has been sampled several times over the years. In 1995, hip hop duo Luniz sampled the tune on their track "I Got 5 on It." The song was the duo's debut single and it became a platinum #2 Rap/#4 R&B/#8 Pop hit. Unfortunately like Club Nouveau, Luniz became a one-hit wonder. It seems that Puff Daddy was a fan of the Luniz track and used the bassline and beats from that song, which included the Club Nouveau sample, in his 1999 hit "Satisfy You" (#1 Rap/#1 R&B/#2 Pop). Jennifer Lopez and Ashanti would also sample Club Nouveau's song for tracks they recorded.  2) This song served as inspiration for a rock diva's debut solo album. Gwen Stefani was having massive success with her band No Doubt. While on tour in support of their 2001 double-platinum album Rock Steady, Stefani happened to hear this song, which was one of her favorite tracks from the 80s. A light went off in her head and she told band member Tony Kanal that she wanted to record the song. Not truly do a remake, but capture the 80s sound of the track and then make it more modern. The inspiration kickstarted her solo project which would culminate in her 2004 debut solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. The disc would feature songs inspired by several 80s artists including The Cure, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Depeche Mode. The album would be highly successful hitting #5 and going triple-platinum. It would generate six Pop chart singles including the #1 hit "Hollaback Girl."


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