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Why Is There So Much ‘Sexy’ On The Charts?

Intentional or unintentional, Right Said Fred have charted in the top three different times for “I’m Too Sexy,” thanks in part to Drake and Taylor Swift

Amit Vaidya Oct 26, 2021

Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" has found favor with everyone from Taylor Swift to Drake, keeping the U.K. pop duo in the limelight decades later.

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Let’s just make peace with the fact that 30 years ago, a little ditty became a big hit and well, it keeps charting…still. Just four years ago, Taylor Swift and then just last month, Drake (with a little help from Future and Young Thug) helped Richard and Fred Fairbrass hit number one for the third time.

What is it about “I’m Too Sexy” that it went from a novelty hit to a guaranteed chart-topper?

You have to wonder. In a world with no shortage of songs to sample, interpolate, cover, why would two of the biggest stars in the world, with an almost guaranteed lock for hitting number one with their first single from any era, want to share credits and royalties with Right Said Fred?

In a world where nearly every one-hit wonder tries to capitalize on their 15 minutes of fame and record and re-record versions of their hit song to keep profits running – which in fairness, the Fairbrass brothers have done on occasion, but for the most part, they’ve just gone back to their regular lives.

While far more successful beyond one single in Europe and Asia, “I’m Too Sexy” is what defines Right Said Fred and in many ways, its success emboldened an era of cheeky pop in the mid to late Nineties that then went on to include other one-hit wonders like “Scatman” by Scatman John, “Mambo No. 5” by Louie Bega, “Macarena” by Los Del Rio and of course “Barbie Girl” by Aqua.

Let’s take a look back for a minute at Reputation by Taylor Swift. The artist’s sixth album was a highly anticipated follow-up to the Grammy Album Of The Year winner 1989. Swift bagged her second AOTY trophy and there was bound to be backlash. Her further heightened level of fame meant more fodder for the tabloids and it seemed like every other day we heard about some fight the artist was in with another celebrity. In many ways, Swift needed the album to be a response to the haters and also chart-wise, she had to prove that the bad publicity and negative P.R. were not going to affect the numbers she hits.

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So perhaps the single and the chorus which interpolates the melody of “I’m Too Sexy” was a clever way to incorporate a familiarity for listeners to her most electro-pop leaning single yet. 

Or maybe it was a clever way to show and showcase that literally she could sing the phonebook or not even sing, but just be present and still have a number one record.

Whether either of those scenarios is true, the big winners were the Fairbrass brothers who laughed all the way to the bank.

While this justification may make sense for Swift, for many, it seems simply bizarre that Drake and two of the best rappers in the game, Future and Young Thug would want to feature the song so prominently in “Way 2 Sexy.” While “Look What You Made Me Do” just used the melody, here, the lyrics of the original are front and center. Even if Drake is showcasing his lighter side and “in on the joke,” you have to wonder, why this song?

Certified Lover Boy is Drake’s sixth album as well, his first full-length release since his blockbuster 2018 release “Scorpion” that included three number hits “God’s Plan,” “Nice For What” and “In My Feelings.”

Over time, the rapper has been featured on a great number of singles but he’s not been on top. Cut to the summer of 2021 and the public feud between Ye and Drake fires up with many speculating their albums clashing. While Ye got a one week start, Drake knew he’d have to beat every streaming record and chart record which the artist formerly known as Kanye West would have potentially broken.

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So perhaps what better way to guarantee a surefire hit than by including a cheeky single, featuring killer verses from two other top-of-their-game rappers, plus a hook that everybody knows (and those who don’t know will instantly love, since it’s been a guaranteed hit for 30 years!). Or maybe like Swift, Drake felt he could literally put out anything and still beat Ye.

While Drake’s intentions may not have been entirely pure (and we actually don’t know the reason), the song debuted at number one and has managed to stay in the Top 5 since then. What’s more surprising is that the song has found legs and currently is the number one Rap Song and it keeps playing ping pong for the top spot with Lil Nas X’s “Industry Baby” featuring Jack Harlow on R&B and Hip-Hop stations.

Intentional or unintentional, Right Said Fred have charted in the top three different times as songwriters for their one hit. They’ve also hit number one on the Dance, Mainstream Top 40, Rap, R&B/Hip-Hop with the same song. Most artists dream of having such crossover success and the Fairbrass brothers have gotten it thanks to a song they created while running a gym in London and saw a lot of posing.

Right Said Fred, regardless of the one-hit wonder tag we attach to them, have penned a song that keeps charting. It will be interesting to see who uses the track and collects a number one hit in the next 30 years.

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