Thursday, September 17, 2020

"Sugar Free" by Wa Wa Nee

Song#:  3260
Date:  09/12/1987
Debut:  91
Peak:  35
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Synthpop, Electro-Funk

Pop Bits:  This Aussie band was formed by lead vocalist/keyboardist/songwriter Paul Gray and guitarist Steve Williams in 1982. Over the next three years the pair filled out the other positions in the band, began working the club circuit, and recorded a demo. In 1985, the band got signed to CBS Records. The label tested out the band by releasing a single titled "Stimulation" in April of '86. The song took off reached #2. On the heels of that hit, a second single, "I Could Make You Love Me," also did well getting to #5. The band assembled a self-titled debut album and by the time it was ready in November of '86, "Sugar Free" was issued out as a third single. The track made it to #10 while the LP peaked at #29. A fourth single made the Top 20 early in '87. The success at home prompted the label to expand the band into other territories including the US where "Sugar Free" was issued out as a first single. It got a little bit of attention and ended up cracking the Pop Top 40. The album sold a minor few copies and made it to #123.

ReduxReview:  This was a blast from the past. The title/band name sounded familiar, but I couldn't even remotely remember the song. Yet it immediately came back to me once I heard the chorus. This was a fun track and I'm not sure why I didn't hook into it more back in the day. It was a goofy funk tune that was in a similar vein as "Funkytown" by fellow Aussies Pseudo Echo. Not surprisingly, the two bands shared the same bill on tours. I prefer the funk-based pop of Wa Wa Nee over Pseudo Echo's synth-rock. Wa Wa Nee had better, catchier material that grooved along quite well. This track is a bit of a lost gem from the decade.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  What's in a name? Apparently not much for this band. According to a 1987 article about the band that ran in the Los Angeles Times, the name Wa Wa Nee has no particular meaning. Nothing was mentioned about how the band chose the name. The article also mentioned that Wa Wa Nee was the the first Australian band to have two singles ("Stimulation" and "I Could Make You Love Me") reside in the Australian Top 10 at the same time.


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