No. 43: Basshunter, “Please Don’t Go”

Oct 22nd, 2009 // 12 Comments

A penis-happy Swede making his bid for jock-jam supremacy by exhuming the already picked-over corpse of a disco band’s sad-sack ballad? What could possibly go wrong?

In 2008, Swedish dance-pop mastermind Jonas Erik Altberg, operating under the name Basshunter, needed to follow up his No. 1 single in the UK with something that would make people think of him as a musician, and not an amateur porn star. So he pulled the same trick as so many other well-intentioned but very wrongheaded musicians looking to hold on to the remains of their fame in this increasingly distracted age: He rush-released a cover, hoping that if people didn’t remember who he was, they’d at least remember the song that he was warbling. The song? KC and the Sunshine Band’s last-days-of-disco hit “Please Don’t Go”—which had the added advantage of hitting No. 1 around the world during both the ’80s and the ’90s. Cross-generational pollination! It’s brilliant! Well, until about 10 seconds in, anyway.

Listening to Basshunter’s version of “Please Don’t Go” is like listening to an answering machine that malfunctioned while receiving a call from someone at an inanely musically programmed minor-league baseball game; it stitches together the undeterred stomp of “Rock And Roll Part 2,” the keyboards of “James Brown Is Dead,” and the disembodied feel of those “Cha Cha Slide” bits that stadiums use when they want people to clap their hands. Add to that a half-felt vocal performance that’s treated with enough Autotune to make Cher choke on a Bob Mackie bead, and what you’re left with is… well, really nothing at all, the equivalent of a gun filled with Nerf bullets, the sort of song that wouldn’t even place at the AVN Awards in the special “Music By People Who Also Make The Movies You’re Honoring” category.

Basshunter – “Please Don’t Go” [YouTube]
Basshunter [Official site]
F2K: Idolator Counts Down The 50 Worst Songs Of The ’00s, One By Ear-Splitting One
Earlier: “Please Don’t Go” Gets Remade For The Jock Jams Generation (Again)

  1. My friend Joe Muggs has been responding to this choice with this tale:

    “Friends saw Basshunter in Glasgow recently. BH made INCREDIBLY inappropriate sexual comments to audience of under-16s…he recounted a tale of getting caught wanking, then did call&response w/ crowd: “don’t get caught…” “MASTURBATING” & kept asking them all if they liked “making hot love” etc. They were mostly aged around 14.”

  2. I’ve always felt very bizarrely about Basshunter. Because on the one hand, this whole era of crap totally encapsulates a period of time for my friends and myself of driving late at night for sixty miles to see bands play at two a.m. on a Sunday morning with this sort of thing as the soundtrack. But on the other hand, it’s all really soulless, even by dance music standards.

    What I find especially ironic is the advert for this as a ring tone, because (really) there is very little to distinguish this from the preset ringtones one finds on their mobile after purchase except for the afore-mentioned autotuned vocals. Brilliant choice, Maura.

  3. Once I was driving from Athens to Chicago and heard the “Cha-Cha Slide” on the radio 6 times. Six.

  4. Wow. Okay, THAT is worse than “My Humps.” Congrats.

  5. Please Don’t Go > My Humps

  6. @cryptosicko: Hahaha, are you gonna do that for every song?!

  7. KC and the Sunshine Band’s last-days-of-disco hit “Please Don’t Go”—which had the added advantage of hitting No. 1 around the world during both the ’80s and the ’90s.

    Wait, what? The version I know from the 90s is a cover of KC and the Sunshine Band? I never knew.

    As for this version, this is the first time I’d ever heard of it. In fact, of 8 songs so far, I’m only familiar with the Dynamite Hack and James Blunt entries. That’s only 25%, a percentage which, if kept up, will help explain why I liked the music of this decade so much, I somehow avoided the crap. (Fingers crossed.)

  8. @How do I say this…Throwdini!?!: You can regard KC’s “Please Don’t Go” as either the last No. 1 hit of the ’70s or the first of the ’80s, depending on how technical you want to get about it.

    It was released in late 1979 and topped the Hot 100 on the chart dated January 5, 1980. Of course, not only did the week ending on that date include a couple of days in 1979, but as I’ve discussed in my column before, there’s a big data lag between when Billboard collects sales and airplay numbers and the official date on the published chart. So effectively, KC’s final chart-topper dominated the final days of 1979.

    Which is kind of appropriate, because the original “PDG” is what they used to call a “disco ballad” (think Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love” or EWF’s “After the Love Has Gone”), a rather drippy slow-dance number tailor-made for coming down from a coke high at Studio 54. Honestly, it’s fine that you didn’t know it existed — it’s the least memorable of KC’s big hits. And truthfully the 1990 pop-house remake by KWS improved it tremendously, IMHO — removed the layers of schlock to reveal the really sturdy melody underneath.

    But this piece of shit? Ecch, the song’s not that sturdy.

  9. @How do I say this…Throwdini!?!: a chart-topper from 1980, and kc and the sunshine band’s last no. 1 before they broke up:

    the kws version is SO GOOD. it’s actually one of two covers that was a hit in the ’90s:

    (you’re probably more familiar with the kws version, as am i; that version was released as a single in the states)

  10. crosspost with chris, who has the numbers DOWN. (it did top the australian charts in february ’80, which means that it was actually a three-decade chart-topper!)

  11. @Maura: You’re right. I listened to all the versions you linked here, and the KWS is the version I know. I haven’t thought about this song in ages. So uh, thanks Basshunter for being so sucky. You’ve reminded me of a song I like and will go find on iTunes tonight. And now KWS will make like 3 cents.

    @Chris Molanphy: Man, “disco ballad” seems like such an oxymoron, but I can see why the term exists given the songs you listed. I actually don’t mind the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love,” although I think I like The Bird And The Bee’s cover better.

  12. Isn’t the synth line from this just “Yummy Yummy Yummy” by the Ohio Express?

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