’90s No. 1s Revisited: “I’ve Been Thinking About You”
The thirty-fifth No. 1 song of the 1990s was “I’ve Been Thinking About You” by Londonbeat. This was the group’s first hit in the U.S., and their only No. 1. It was a smash all over the world, reaching No. 1 in 12 countries (although not their native U.K., where it peaked at No. 2). In the U.S., Londonbeat would follow the success of “I’ve Been Thinking About You” with “A Better Love,” a decent if forgettable track that peaked at No. 18. They graced the Hot 100 for the third and final time in 1994 with “Come Back,” which peaked at No. 62.
This song has echoes of fellow Brit Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” not exactly a soaring endorsement for either track. But both were worldwide hits, noisy and up-tempo with too much instrumental interference and a disconnect between romantic lyrical content and neutered performances. (As an aside, two weeks after Londonbeat hit No. 1 with “I’ll Be Thinking About You,” Astley peaked at No. 7 with his last U.S. Top 10, the very pleasant “Cry For Help.”)
Let’s re-experience “I’ve Been Thinking About You”:
This song is capably constructed but relentlessly annoying. It drove us stone crazy in 1991 and still does. Sure, it’s tightly and confidently executed. The production is professional, and it should be credited for crossing genres. But successful execution of bad inputs results in a bad output. Even more egregiously, it contributed to keeping “Hold You Tight” by Tara Kemp, one of the best pop songs of all time, at No. 3. That we’re talking about Londonbeat instead of Kemp in our ’90s No. 1s Revisited feature is a crime of music history.
We’re straining to remember or imagine what kind of person would have wanted to listen to this song. Maybe it was embraced by radio and music channels because of its absence of anything self-evidently objectionable: It’s not cheesy, offensive, cheap, dorky or controversial. But it’s also not cool, innovative, important or pleasant. It’s the musical equivalent of the kid in school who was neither popular nor picked on. He was just there.
Does it hold up? No, the track sounds like dated Euro-dance. Because it is.
Dopeness: 1 out of 5 Birkenstocks
’90s No. 1s Revisited is a regular feature on “Was It Dope?” where we walk through every No. 1 song of the 1990s on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in order, give it another listen, and answer two critical questions: Was it dope? And does it hold up?