Monday, September 20, 2021

"Wild, Wild West" by The Escape Club

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3619
Date:  08/20/1988
Debut:  94
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  27
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  This British quartet first got together in London in 1983 when members of another band evolved into what became The Escape Club. Not long after solidifying the band, they recorded a one-off indie single titled "Breathing" and then spend the next year or so performing and developing their sound. In 1985 they secured a contract with EMI and recorded a debut album titled White Fields. It went nowhere upon release in '86, but it seems EMI gave them another shot and they recorded a second album. However, EMI didn't like it and it seemed like the album was going to get shelved. But then Atlantic Records scooped up the quartet and their album. Wild Wild West, recorded with producer Chris Kimsey, would be pushed out and the title track was selected to be the first single. It debuted near the bottom of the US Pop chart and slowly started to climb thanks in part to the increasing popularity of the song's video on MTV. It finally reached the #1 spot in its thirteenth week. The tune then remained popular enough to spend an additional fourteen weeks on the chart. It would also get to #3 Alt Rock, #36 Dance, and #45 Rock. Sales were strong for the hit and it would become a gold record. The album would also do well reaching #27 and going gold.

ReduxReview:  I don't mean to be so harsh, but the only word that comes to mind when I think of this song is "stupid." Yet I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way. It was a stupid, silly, and annoying ditty that was so damn kooky and catchy that it was really hard to resist. It was different from other pop chart fare, which made it stand out (and the MTV video certainly helped too). I ended up buying the single. The tune was so quirky that I thought for sure the band would be a one-hit wonder, but low-n-behold they would find their way back to the Top 10 later in 1991. This tune with its very dated references is still a fun lark to listen to on occasion. I still find it stupid, but sometimes a little bit o' stupidity can be fun.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Back home in the UK, this single failed to chart. Follow-up singles didn't make any impressions either and therefore the album tanked. The same thing happened with their next albums as well. Because of that, The Escape Club holds a bit of an odd chart record. The are the only British group to have a #1 hit in the US, yet have zero chart entries at home in the UK. While it certainly is an interesting and odd distinction, it was one that the band would probably rather not have.


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