Monday, February 25, 2008

Case Study: Hear'Say


The public loves to take an artist... bring them up and then watch their star fall... the harder it falls... the better.


One of the most prominent examples for this is with the band - Hear'Say from the Uk.
Am I the only one that liked them?! I mean ok their second album was crap... but who's to blame for that?! And you have to admit they sure did have a great use of the apostrophe in their name! No band had had such great use of an apostrophe since N'Sync.


Hear'Say was the first band created through the "Popstars" format. When the band won the television show back in late 2000 they were on cloud nine! When their debut single 'Pure and Simple' was released in March 2001 you couldn't go anywhere without hearing it. The single sold over a million copies and spent 27 weeks in the top 100. When the album was released 3 weeks later the band became the first british band to have a number one single and number one album at the same time.


The album was an extremely strong debut from a manufactured pop band. The entire album was full of good songs. I remember playing it for ages when it was released. By the time the second single was released there were hints that something wasn't right.


The second single was a remixed version of 'The Way To Your Love.' I just think if a record company has to remix an album track in order to release it, they must not have a lot of faith in the song. Nevertheless the single also went straight to number 1 in the uk singles chart.


Here's where things get fishy. After a second single the band went on tour and started to record a second album. There were no more singles released from their number 1 album - Popstars. It started to become clear that a lot of people were only looking to make a lot of money from the band and they had no interest in making smart decisions.


In November 2001 a new single was released, the first from their second album which came out in December.


In case you missed it lets look at this timeline again.


Debut Single - March 2001

Debut Album - March 2001

2nd Single from the first album - June 2001


Band goes on tour - No more singles from the first album


First single from second album - November 2001

Second Album - December 2001


THE SECOND ALBUM WAS RELEASED 9 MONTHS AFTER THE FIRST ALBUM!!


Does anyone else see a problem with this? Clearly the band had no control in what was going on. When the second album peaked at #24 in the album charts it was clear there was a problem. At this point lead singer Kym Marsh left the band after becoming the center of attention in british tabloids.


There were no further singles taken from the second album! An entire album with only one single?! What was the point of even releasing an album then?


So after Kym left the band did the next logical step... create ANOTHER T.V. show. It would put them back in the public eye and they would use the show to select a new member for the band.


Good idea? Perhaps... until allegations came out that the entire audition process had been rigged. Johnny Shentall was announced as the new member of the band... the problem? Johnny had worked with the band in the past as a dancer. Johnny had also been in a band himself previously. People that had auditioned said Johnny had bypassed all the line ups and was given preferential treatment throughout the entire show. It was said that the show was just a ploy to get more publicity for the band, that the band never intended to choose someone from the public.


Once Johnny was selected the band recorded a third album and went on a festival tour of the Uk. By this time the public had turned on the band. At every show the band performed at they were met with booing and abused by members of the public. At one point the band was actually threatened by an armed man on the highway. When the reports came out the public accused the band of making the entire story up to get publicity.


The band held things together and released a new single in August 2001 - Lovin' Is Easy. I always thought this was their best single. It was a more mature sound and should have been their comeback. The single entered the charts at #6... their record label wanted a top 5 hit. A month later the band announced they had split up due to negative public reaction and hostility and industry pressure. Although the third album had already been recorded it was rumoured that Polydor records had never intended to release the album after Lovin' Is Easy failed to meet expectations.


How does a band go from 2 number one singles and a number one album to basically being dropped by their record label 9 months later?!
They may be gone... but personally I will always remember them for their brief shining moment in the world of pop.
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16 comments:

John said...

Great post, and SO true. Except that Hear'Say were not actually the first group created out of Popstars. The first group was New Zealand's TrueBliss, followed by Australia's (fanTAStic) Bardot. And before Hear'Say was finished airing their Popstars show, No Angels had shown up in Germany as well.

Just, y'know, a little historical accuracy for you.

:-P

Troy said...

Oohh!! Thanks John!

You know what... I did know that... but had completely forgotten!

Ill update that soon!

John said...

This doesn't mean that there'll be a big ol' Popstars post at some point, does it?

Robpop said...

I loved this post!

This my similar one on it a few weeks ago:

http://dontstopthepop.blogspot.com/2008/01/i-wanna-be-popstar.html

Its more about the great music that came out of it.

Hear'say deserved much better. Kym is now very successful. I feel sorry for the boys though. They had some great lungs on them. I think Liberty X didnt help when they grabbed that song of theres and their record company did their best to make Hear'say look uncool.

John said...

Rob, meant to mention, that was a fantastic post. As a ginormous Popstars fan myself (50+ CDs from groups around the world), it was nice to see someone do a writeup on the show again.

Poster Girl said...

Troy, talk about an epic post!

I really didn't know any of this, so it was a fascinating read--thanks for all the information!

Troy said...

Hey John...

I actually did a massive posting of various popstars songs back when I first started the blog...

I would defintiely do another write up of some sort if there is enough interest though! It seems that everyone has done a popstars post at some point though... I try and make my posts a little different from everyone elses...

50 plus cds from various popstars bands?! That's a massive collection... who is your favorite popstars band?

John said...

My Favorite? Probably Girls Aloud, just cuz they're SUCH fun. And, for a tv-made group to end up with actual critical acclaim, you gotta respect that. But I also really liked EyeQ, TEARs, Bandana and T'de Tila. Of course the No Angels ladies...

Paul said...

I have my own theories on how Hear'say's career should've been handled and i think (modestly :P) that it might have gone a little better. Stick with the first and second singles (i think they remixed the second cos the album was a record breaker at the time in it's first week so they figured everyone would have it) - they should have gone for the lovely balled Carried Away as the third single in september and Love Never Ends/Dies what ever it was called with AA side Boogie Wonderland over Christmas.

COuple of months off and they should then have come back with Everybody in March, followed by Suddenly, Angel In My Heart and the other song with Angel in the title backed with their cover of I knew you were waiting. (my memory is so bad). Much more sensible i think.

I did think Loving Is Easy was ace. Did you ever hear If You Wanna Roll that leaked on the internet a while back??

Tenos said...

See HERE

Troy said...

Paul.

I think you have it exactly right with those single choices... Carried Away would have made a great ballad single.

Then a bit of a break before doing everybody and angel in my heart!!

I never heard If You Wanna Roll... was it good?

John: See i dont think ive heard songs from most of those bands. Girls Aloud by far are the best POPSTARS band... they've really broken the mold in every possible way!

John said...

I'm gonna hane to jump on the Carried Away bandwagon. It was a cryin' shame that never got released, since it was easily the best ballad on the album, and one of the strongest tracks overall. But, I guess since we're not running the game, we have to live with the mistakes other people make. :-P

And, to respond to Paul (by the way, also a great blog. I read it all the time... Your Six Malmqvist 'old ropey schlager singers' post was great!), I actually have heard If You Wanna Roll, which was the track that made me reasonably hopeful for a third H'S album.

Additionally, since we're on this whole Popstars kick, has anyone heard the Rouge (Brazilian popstars group) version of Hear'Say's Angel In My Heart? I like the original, but I think Rouge actually did a far prettier one.

John said...

My god! Apologies for my horrid typing today... "I *HAVE* to jump on the Carried Away bandwagon"... "your SIV Malmqvist post"...

Geez, it's like I'm typing with my feet.

Sorry, guys.

John said...

Okay.

It's official.

I'm having a stroke today. I need to stop posting at, like, 8am when I get into work and haven't had enough coffee.

So this is my last for the day.

Revision to earlier posts. Paul, my bad, it was Jamie's Poplicious blog that did the Siw Malmqvist post. You did the really good one on Idina Menzel's new CD, which I actually just picked up.

I promise not to confuse bloggers, post before I know what I'm saying, or post a run of messages again.

:-P

Robpop said...

OMG! Its all about Sweet Alibi!! I so expected that to be the next single. Carried Away was sweet but boring. As a young gay teenager i loved Make It Happen! I used to sing the mylene class bit.."LIKE A SUPER SONIC BOO CARMAN RAT YA" right at the start of the song like my life depended on it. And then the noel bit..."eyes move into dilation...no need for complication...." no need to learn the lyrics. I fancied Noel so much. Damn school-boy crushes!

Can i just say how odd the line "eyes move into dilation" is. Am I hearing it correctly. Its quite unusual.

So back to subject....For me it was all about Sweet Alibi. Oh that song makes me go weak at the knees. VERY weak at the knees. "You got ya voodoo on ya policy". What is that? all about!? The lyrics mean just anything. Beautifully constructed and wonderful vocals. I loved that song so much. "Got ya boo boombox in ya cherokee" and ya "Call ya baby on the megaphone". Just wackey.

Following Sweet Allibi it was all about Not That Kind. Mainly cos Noel sings quite a lot. But also cos it really is a collective piece. Yes its a bit Janet Jackson but it makes me soooooooooo warm inside. I heart those Noel adlibs and Danny's "doododododoo's".

Its so odd that Noel hasnt got a solo career. Yes i am biased. A tad. Ok a lot!

Ok enough of me.

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