Well that was quick, wasn’t it? Just four weeks ago I’d given you CraveOnline readers a guide to Cheryl Cole, under the knowledge that she’d be spending the following months in your company due to her judging role on the X Factor. Unfortunately for her, her services were deemed sub-par by Fox executives and she was sent packing after only a few days of auditions.
But don’t worry, Cheryl, you’re not the first Brit to fail at ‘Breaking America’, and by God you won’t be the last. Here are a few others who have ventured off to the good ol’ US of A only to be confronted by national rejection;
Here in the UK Robbie is a pretty big deal. He’s that big, in fact, that he’s referred to using only his first name, and Moms still fancy him despite him having the bugged out eyes of a particularly impatient crack addict. However, despite barraging the US with a conveyor belt of pop anthems such as ‘Angels’ and ‘Millennium’, he still failed to win over American audiences with his last album ‘Reality Killed the Video Star’ peaking at #160 in the charts.
In honour of his failed success across the pond, Robbie released a song entitled ‘Break America’. Listening to it, it becomes abundantly clear why he failed in the first place. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ga72Bxl0cg)
Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher and Those Other Band Members That No One Cares About started something of a musical revolution back in the 90’s, making guitar music accessible again just as Grunge was being squeezed out of its very last pennies. After finding themselves the subject of idolisation from every white male aged between 16-30 in the UK, it seemed inevitable that they would face the same level of success in the US. So what went wrong?
Well for starters the working class culture that Oasis embodies is a lot different around your neck of the woods than it is ours. You have drug-ridden ghettos and gun crime; we have warm beer served in shit-hole pubs. Secondly, Liam Gallagher is at constant war with logical thought and reason. Just as Oasis were about to embark on their first US tour, he decided he’d stay in England to go house-hunting with then-girlfriend Patsy Kensit, leaving Noel to play the venues himself and leaving American audiences a bit baffled.
Many consider Suede to be the band that kick-started the Britpop movement in the 90’s. If you’re unfamiliar with Britpop, it was essentially a subgenre that consisted of early twenty-something’s playing music on their guitars and singing about how bloody awful/fantastic it was to be British; kind of like The Smiths, but with the dark humour and acerbic wit replaced with terrible clothes and the faint twinge of embarrassment from all those involved. Due to Britpop’s inherent, y’know, Britishness, mostly all of the bands that spawned from it were unsurprisingly rejected by the US, Suede included.
Following a reasonable amount of success in the UK, they packed their bags and buggered off Stateside, where they were met with enough apathetic shrugs to warrant controversial frontman Brett Anderson to frequently leave the stage and force a member of support band The Cranberries to fill in for him.
As if that wasn’t enough, a lounge singer performing under the same name filed a lawsuit against them, forcing them to change their name to The London Suede. To summarise, if you’re a young, aspiring UK talent looking to break the US market and become a global megastar, simply take a long hard look at Suede and stay the f*ck away.
It’s a crying shame, this one. Whereas Oasis spent the vast majority of their career remaking their debut album to varying degrees of success, Blur always provided something fresh and new with their output and built up an equally large (but less vocal) following than their loudmouthed rivals. Unfortunately it appears that they’ll only ever be recognised as a one-hit wonder in America, with ‘Song 2’ from their self-titled fifth studio album being the only one of their singles to really break the US market.
On that very album was also a little gem called ‘Look Inside America’ that spoke of the melancholy the band felt whilst trying to promote themselves to a foreign and unreceptive audience.
Fortunately frontman Damon Albarn did manage to eventually achieve success in the US with his brainchild pet project Gorillaz, which has now become perhaps even bigger than Blur ever was. Still, a soft spot will always be held in my heart for the 90’s Britpop quartet, even if their brief ‘reformation’ consisted of them erratically prancing around on festival stages like your drunken Dad at a wedding.
Photo Courtesy of: Michael Carpen