Episode 6. Atze de Vrieze of Weird Hit Wonder

“Weird Hit Wonder. Rare hits… songs that you perhaps never want to hear again or perhaps at some moment you do!”

A co-production of Dutch broadcasters VPRO and Radio 2, Weird Hit Wonder is a podcast featuring unusual Dutch hit songs from the 1990s. Music journalist and presenter Atze de Vrieze speaks with the artists and industry influencers associated with each song to uncover the cultural context and secrets behind each hit.

The podcast features five songs that achieved some level of commercial success in The Netherlands during the 1990s. Weird Hit Wonder demonstrates that weirdness has no boundaries when it comes to the musical genre. There’s something for everyone whether it’s the pulsing electro “gabber” trash of “Alles Naar de Klote,” the dorky, clap-alongs of “One Day Fly” and “Mooi Man” or the bouncy “bubbling” of “Meisje (Zo Lelijk als de Nacht)”.

Beyond the Dutch borders, Atze is interested in the stories behind odd international hits like “Barbie Girl” by Aqua or “Cotton Eye Joe” by Rednex. A unique sound and sense humour are important criteria for “weird” hits, but equally important are the historical context and deeper layers that form hits. Weird hits are also songs that you wouldn’t play at your funeral, according to Atze. “I will not play “Barbie Girl at my funeral – of course I won’t”.

“I want something more to be in the story than just a weird hit,” he told us. “There’s a lot of stuff in the 90s that I still like and there’s also stuff that I hated and now like or the other way around – that’s interesting about these weird hit wonders.”

In this episode of MetaPod, we talk and laugh with Atze about the songs of the Weird Hit Wonder podcast and other popular one-off hits from around the world. We also discuss how nostalgia and the total availability of music since the Internet have led to a re-evaluation of music from the 80s and 90s. Furthermore, we talk about manufactured pop, music critics and COVID-induced creativity. There’s even a bit of Depeche Mode and Anton Corbijn.

Show notes for Weird Hit Wonder

About Atze de Vrieze

Atze de Vrieze is a music industry journalist based in The Netherlands, working for Dutch broadcasting network VPRO and its music platform 3VOOR12. He is the host of the podcasts Weird Hit Wonder and De Machine. Atze is a frequent commentator on the music industry, festivals and the cultural sector in The Netherlands. In 2014 he won the Dutch Pop Media Prize.