The Audacity of Rock: Part 10

Why yes, I do know how to count.

Part 10 is inspired by the hundreds of times I've heard Plain White T's' "1, 2, 3, 4" on the radio at work. We have a limited number of radio stations to choose from that are "everyone" friendly, so sometimes it ends up on the recent, but bland music station that can be best summed up by saying they also play a lot of the Fray.

Anyway, a surefire way to make sure your song gets a lot of air time is apparently using sequences of numbers. Prepare yourself for some bubblegum, boy band pop.

"1-2-3 Red Light" by 1910 Fruitgum Company (1968)

This clip begins with an awkward interview in which the lead singer basically admits that you don't need a lot of talent to make it big in the music business, you just have a lot of promotion from the record company. However, if we draw a connection between the strictly tambourine guys in 1910 Fruitgum Company (in the following video) and the Jonas Brothers (check out the tambourine fail), we have hope that the Jonas Brothers phenomenon will die in a few years.

The following is a fluffy pop song that was the band's follow up t0--I kid you not--"Simon Says." (And, yeah, it cuts off, but that's basically the end anyway).

"You Got It (The Right Stuff)" by New Kids on the Block (1988)

This time it's the verse that gets the ordinal number treatment. Say what you will about NKOTB, but they had some catchy music. And hey, remember when white kids dancing was unironically awesome?

I take it back, these moves are still awesome.

"1, 2, 3, 4" by Plain White T's (2009)

This song sounds almost exactly like "Hey There Delilah," but with more Super Mario World instrumentation in the background. So basically, bubblegum pop that gets old after 2 listens, but since it's on an acoustic guitar, it's heartfelt.

Questions to ponder:
1. Could a government harness the power of repetition and numbers in pop songs to start an army of brainwashed youth? Also, was that an episode of South Park?
2. How dreamy and awesome of a dancer is Jordan Knight in this:

Did you catch the numbering in the bridge (minute 2:41)? Genius.


  1. The audacity of rock: part 11--Meta-rock?

  2. I'm disappointed that you cannot find anything to love about "1, 2, 3, 4" by The Plain White T's. Seriously. One of my new faves. Plus, "Hey There, Delilah" was actually inspired by an aspiring Olympian with a boyfriend, who nonetheless attended the Grammys with the band when the song got nominated. As per the agreement when they said they would write a song about her that would become a big hit. Good for her, because I'm pretty sure she missed out on the Olympic team.