Song of the Day #3,780: ‘Riptide’ – Vance Joy

I’m not sure why Vance Joy dodn’t come to mind when I wrote about future one-hit wonders a few weeks back. His ‘Riptide’ didn’t make a huge splash in the U.S. (it peaked at #30 on the Hot 100) but it got a lot of airplay and struck the same indie-pop nerve as ‘Somebody That You Used To Know’ and ‘Take Me To Church.’

In his native Australia, Joy has had a number of hits almost as popular as this one. That’s often the case with acts Americans consider one-hit wonders. They’re really big back home.

[Verse 1]
I was scared of dentists and the dark
I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations
Oh, all my friends are turning green
You’re the magician’s assistant in their dreams

[Pre-Chorus]
Oh, and they come unstuck

[Chorus]
Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you’re singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat cause
You’re gonna sing the words wrong

[Verse 2]
There’s this movie that I think you’ll like
This guy decides to quit his job and heads to New York City
This cowboy’s running from himself
And she’s been living on the highest shelf

[Pre-Chorus]
Oh, and they come unstuck

[Chorus]
Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you’re singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat cause
You’re gonna sing the words wrong

[Bridge]
I just wanna, I just wanna know
If you’re gonna, if you’re gonna stay
I just gotta, I just gotta know
I can’t have it, I can’t have it any other way
I swear she’s destined for the screen
Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you’ve ever seen, oh

[Chorus]
Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you’re singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat cause
You’re gonna sing the words wrong
Oh lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you’re singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat cause
You’re gonna sing the words wrong
Oh lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you’re singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat cause
You’re gonna sing the words wrong
I got a lump in my throat cause you’re gonna sing the words wrong

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,780: ‘Riptide’ – Vance Joy

  1. willedare says:

    There must be myriad stories behind the fates of “one hit wonders.” I recently read a great book by NYer staff writer John Seabrook called THE SONG MACHINE. Among the many things I learned was that the band Ace Of Bass (who experienced several huge international hits relatively early in their career) had at least one member who disliked flying. And after a year in which she had to fly hundreds of times due to their huge popularity, she decided she didn’t want to fly so much… Obviously this was just one factor in their evolution as a band — but a not insignificant one if your record company wants you to continue to be a global pop juggernaut. Thank you for this backstory on Vance Joy.

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    Well, labeling g Vance Joy a one hit wonder will likely drive another stake in Maddie’s heart.😊 But, as with FOW and Ben Folds, I would argue (as I. Sure Maddie would) that “Riptide” was not a big enough hit and Vance Joy will likely have a decent longer career of quality music to avoid one hit wonder status.

  3. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    I liked this song when I first heard it. Upon subsequent listens I have come to find it difficult to make it through the whole thing. This is nothing against Vance Joy or even his (somewhat objectionable to me) voice. It’s just I can only listen to ukulele strumming so much. This song is a testament to how a song can be not the biggest hit but still play with much frequency for certain people. For example on The Blend and The Coffee House (two of our favorite Sirius XM station) this song seemed to play as infinitum meaning to us that it must’ve been a huge hit. In reality, it’s place at #30 makes sense even if in the Gallup’s family mind it must’ve been higher

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