If it were as easy to predict a hit as simply cueing up a particular sound, matching it to the right image, and letting it fly into the world, there would be far more million-sellers than there are. To be sure, there are predictors and bets you can make on the creative side to increase your chances of crafting a hit record, but there are still plenty of surprises that leap out of the ether and make you wonder, “what is this and and where has it been hiding?” A lot of these unearthed gems have a certain aura around them: Even if you don’t like “Royals” or “Thrift Shop,” it’s not hard to see why they became hits (even if part of that understanding is colored by the vision correction of hindsight).
London dance-rock quintet Fickle Friends’ “SWIM” feels like a hit. Catchy melody, great structure, and an overall energy that would lend itself nicely to film trailers, TV show soundtracks, car-radio sing-a-longs, and pre-games. It’s pop that doesn’t pander, relying on an old-school aesthetic without getting mired in anachronism (the band describes their sound as “80’s new-wave pop,” but that feels like more of a mission statement and inspiration than rigid classification).
Ultimately, “SWIM” is immediately accessible and enjoyable; whether it becomes a full-fledged hit is subject to the breaks of the game (and the marketplace). For now, just turn it up and learn the words before it’s too late and your friends know it and it becomes insufferable.