Sometimes a huge single with a overly familiar sample can be both a blessing and a curse. Look at P.M. Dawn or this week’s example, U.K. trio Soho, fronted by twin sisters, Jacqui and Pauline Cuff. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts on an indie label, they finally hit paydirt with their second major-label single, “Hippychick” (download), a fun track about an activist and her cop boyfriend who arrests her during a protest demonstration. Built around a sample from the Smiths’ “How Soon is Now,” the song caught on immediately in dance clubs and on modern rock stations before crossing over to the pop charts. I can personally attest to how huge this song was — I was DJing at the time, in Tongduchon, Korea, of all places, and I got requests for “Hippychick” nightly. In fact, in one of the most obvious DJ moves, I often mixed “Hippychick” into the instrumental break of “How Soon Is Now” then back again, creating a 12-minute or so megamix that kept the floor packed.
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So how could such a great song possibly be a curse for a band? Well, Soho got unfairly maligned as a group only as strong as that sample, a one-hit wonder that couldn’t write its own hooks, despite the fact that “Hippychick” had its own very strong melody. It’s an unfair assumption, especially since their album, Goddess, featured many other well-crafted pop songs, including the second single, “Out of My Mind” (download). It’s a sad, almost downer of a song lyrically (the protagonist has yet another loser boyfriend), but it deserved a better fate than being universally ignored. I once caught the video on AFKN (Armed Forces Korea Network), but have never seen it since and I couldn’t find it online anywhere.
Soho went on to record one final album, Thug, which only got a U.S. release — it’s not as good as Goddess, but it has a few fun songs — and hey, you can currently grab it for a penny on Amazon. Strangely enough, “Hippychick,” or any Soho songs for that matter, are not currently available on iTunes, probably since their label, Savage, was one of the more spectacular flame-outs of the early ’90s.
As a bonus, here are the remixes from the long out of print “Hippychick” CD single:
“Hippychick” peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #2 on the Hot Dance Music Club Play Chart in 1990.
“Out of My Mind” did not chart.
Get Soho music at Amazon.