’90s No. 1s Revisited: “One More Try”
The thirty-third No. 1 song of the 1990s was “One More Try” by Timmy T, the stage name of Timothy Torres. This was T’s only No. 1 hit. He first appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989 with “Time After Time,” the title track off his debut album. “Time” reached No. 40 and was followed by “What Will I Do,” which stalled at No. 96. “One More Try” was the third release off that tape. The fourth and final single, “Over And Over,” would reach No. 63. T has not charted since, as a 1992 follow-up album flopped amid changing public tastes.
Two versions of “One More Try” were released simultaneously. The more popular version, like T’s other releases, had a distinctively freestyle flavor, with a fat bass line, electric piano, synthesized strings and Casio-sounding percussion. The other, more popular on Adult Contemporary stations, was piano-only. This would, in fact, be the last freestyle song ever to top the charts.
Let’s listen to both versions of “One More Try”:
From a songwriting perspective, “One More Try” is gorgeous. Thus so too is the acoustic version. The pop version suffers from somewhat inelegant production, particularly by modern standards. The vocal performance, which may have sufficed at the time, now seems overly dramatic and technically weak in retrospect. T wrote this song and perhaps should have given it to someone else to sing. This song would be a great candidate for a modern reinvention, because the core elements are solid.
Was it dope? To the extent that ballad composition was still respected, yes, this song was regarded as a very nice piece of songwriting, which it most certainly is. However, even this song at the time was not warmly embraced by MTV, whose taste by this point was evolving (or devolving, depending on your view).
Does it hold up? Not really, and here’s a telling story about that. When we were in 8th grade, in 1992-93, one of us (me, John) had to create a multimedia presentation for a school project, and, in a major foreshadow to this blog, decided to do one that included embedded audio of 15 songs — the Top 5 year-end singles of 1990, 1991 and 1992. To do this, I had to collect physical copies of the songs. The get the ones I didn’t have, the school let me put a request for them on the morning announcements over the PA system. I easily gathered every song I needed … except “One More Try,” which was the No. 5 song of 1991. It took weeks to find anyone who had it, and my difficulty in doing so almost ruined my project. Point being that even one year out, this song was of a bygone era. But it’s an era we’re fond of.
Dopeness: 3 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?