Tuesday, 18 August 2009

81: Wheatus - Teenage Dirtbag

Another divisive choice. 'Teenage Dirtbag' arguably became more successful than the film in which it featured, the Jason Biggs/Mena Suvari rom-com, 'Loser'. Whilst the movie grossed $2m less than it cost to make, Wheatus' single was an international smash hit. Straight from the "where are they now?" category, Wheatus followed it up with a moderately-successful cover of Erasure's 'A Little Respect' and have never had a charting single since. Amazingly they're still going, no doubt living off the continued royalties of 'Teenage Dirtbag'.

The song itself is a Noughties pop version of Radiohead's 'Creep'. Brendan B. Brown's slightly nasal, whiny vocals are sung in the first person about how the girl of his dreams doesn't even know who he is. But there's a happy ending, because... guess what? Deep down, she's an Iron Maiden fan too, as she tells us when she offers him her spare ticket for the gig.

The song's central story is largely unrealistic. Hollywood lives and dies on this kind of crap, but we all know that in truth, the coolest chick in class, the pretty cheerleader type is never going to be a secret Iron Maiden fan. Nevertheless, teenagers across the world identified with the loser character, and the song became one of those crossover hits - the sort of song that is allowed to be played at school discos, so that the kids can jump up and down, because 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' is just too violent.

Come to think of it, I don't know why I like it.

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