Fidelity Wars #108: Chumbawamba – “Charlie”

The band Chumbawamba is mostly remembered for the big international hit “Tubthumping”, a fairly obnoxious crowd pleaser from ’96. The band has been fairly productive since then, but never had a hit on the same level. They’ve also changed their sound quite a bit, and today they’re more of an acoustic folk band than an arena rock band, and far more enjoyable for it.

Their last few albums have been pretty decent. They do sound a bit same-y though, with vocals, melodies and instrumentations being fairly similar from one album / song to the next. So it was tricky choosing a song to feature, as the stand-out songs from each album don’t really stand out much from one another. So I guess I’ll just go for “Charlie” from their 2008 album The Boy Bands Have Won, which was one of the songs that inspired me to check out their more recent work.

Chumbawamba – “Charlie”

As is fairly obvious, it’s a song about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, and a very mild critique of the recent anti-evolution trend in the US:

See the dancing President, the congressman and teacher
Jumpin’ to the music of the wealthy Midwest preacher
Charlie come with a brand new dance, get on the floor and follow
Find yourself a partner and we’ll swing into tomorrow

One problem with the song though, as with many of Chumbawamba‘s other songs, is that the chorus is far too short and simple, and is repeated too many times without any variation. This song would have been much more enjoyable if they’d maybe lost a couple of the chorus repeats, or maybe if they’d varied the words some.

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