Where did it come from, where did it go?

April 1, 2014

Graphic by Tinkerbell

In what can only be described as a surprising turn of events, Billboard has announced an upset in the top spot on its flagship Hot 100 chart.

An unprecedented phenomenon has occurred. An oldie both re-entering the chart and climbing to the top of its 100 slots. The song in question is “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” by Rednex.

The 1994 song is a remake of the American South folk song of the same name from the band’s album “Sex & Violins.” The mix of synths and strings disarmed many listeners, who literally wondered, echoing the song itself, where this track could have come from. The answer is Sweden — it is a eurodance song.

In a press conference this morning, a spokesperson for the band appeared, looking frazzled, to answer questions of confused music journalists.

“We don’t know what’s happening,” the spokesperson said. “We’d like to take this time to remind listeners that Rednex has continued to make music throughout the 2000s. We encourage listeners to explore other Rednex songs and beware the catchiness of ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe.’”

As if on cue, the spokesperson began humming the song to herself absent-mindedly.

“Oh no, not again,” she was heard muttering under her breath.

As in 1994, the song has proved an international hit. In addition to topping the charts in the United States, “Cotton-Eyed Joe” has had a resurgence in Europe, hitting the number one slot in San Marino, Andorra, the Vatican, Washington, D.C., and Rednex’s native Sweden.

Fans of the annual competition Eurovision stand divided, judging by the organization’s Facebook page. Many are keeping fingers crossed for a year full of innovative covers, while others protest that there are many new Europop songs more deserving of attention.

“I’ve been waiting for months for Cezar [of Romania] to hit the top of the pops,” said a Facebook user who wished to remain anonymous. “His sensual slowness is very 2014. I love the madcap fun of ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’ but it is so ’90s. Over it!”

This surprising story has been compounded by the fall of Pharrell’s seemingly unshakeable “Happy,” which has dropped to number two on Billboard’s chart.

Through Twitter, the singer/producer offered his thoughts on the upset.

“So excited for @REDNEXOFFICIAL. Can’t wait to hear #cottoneyedjoe at the club in 2014.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 1 print edition. Tigger is the only tigger there is, and bouncing is what he does best. Email him at music@nyunews.com.

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