Pop Essays #24: Ed Drewett, ‘Champagne Lemonade’

With more hidden gems then you could find with a metal detector, it’s this week’s installment of my weekly music series Pop Essays. And let me say that I truly love the geezer behind this week’s featured song and his many other works – as I’m sure you will too…

  • Artist: Ed Drewett
  • Song: Champagne Lemonade
  • Release Date: 31/10/2010
  • Writers: Ed Drewett / Ash Howes / Tim Powell
  • Producer: Tim Powell
  • Chart Run: 84

I forget where my first sighting of Ed Drewett exactly was. I suspect, like most people, it was around the time that he appeared as a guest vocalist on ‘Need You Tonight’, the INXS sampling debut single from then up and coming Brit rapper Professor Green, in the spring of 2010, which peaked at #3 and spent eight weeks in the top 40.

It was a few months later. I was still writing for an online music website at the time, which I had been writing for for about five years at this point. One of the perks of this gig was being able to access what’s known as promo only releases; copies of singles and sometimes, if you’re lucky, whole samplers of albums, that are sent out to the media ahead of its full release for review and feature in publications, but which aren’t commercially available (except on eBay and Discogs).

It was a mightily privileged position to be in, and I must confess that I still have a handful of promos in my collection/old iTunes Library that never got returned. They’re probably worth a bob or two now. Anyway, it was on one such occasion that autumn that the sampler for Ed’s debut album landed in a handful of promos for me to sift through that week, and give my rating on. By this point however, it was becoming apparent this lad from Bishop’s Stortford was a bit of a double threat.

In the time since his Professor Green stint, he had signed to Virgin Records, and during the summer, along with songwriting heavyweights Steve Mac and Wayne Hector (Google them immediately if you don’t know who they are), had not long turned in ‘All Time Low’, a massive debut number one single for newly launched boyband The Wanted, which went onto be nominated at the BRIT Awards for Best Single the following year.

There was truly brilliant songs lying in wait on said sampler: ‘Keep Me In Mind’ (which I still maintain to this day was a massive number one hit in waiting), ‘Parallels’ (also a banger), and the song which eventually became his debut single, ‘Champagne Lemonade’. A song instantly brilliant on title alone, and co-written and produced by former Xenomania writer Tim Powell, it carries over from that team’s left-of-centre approach to pop with a storming electro beat.

Lyrically, we’re in biting breakup territory – the basis for many a great pop song – but it’s done so cleverly, as evidenced by the chorus: ‘All because he buys you Champagne / I buy you lemonade / Makes him something of a Casanova / Maybe you’re right, before tonight / You’re the one I’m getting over’. It’s even matched with a suitably fitting video set at a golf driving range.

And yet for all of that, and the evident promise he held which has since revealed itself with the volume of hits that he has turned out for other artists (Olly Murs, Little Mix, One Direction) over the last 10 years, it was cruelly the first of several false starts. After supporting Professor Green on tour that October, the single tanked out at #84 with Virgin eventually stupidly washing their hands of him.

Of course, even with what has happened in his journey to releasing his own music (a second major label deal and a stint on Britain’s Got Talent where the press royally screwed him over amongst them), it has worked out OK. Ed has not long self released a new EP just last month, called Jam Jar. That too is filled with some truly undeniably great pop songs (don’t just take our word for it, because it is). And one thing remains true a decade on from ‘Champagne Lemonade’: no one can do it like Sir Edward of Drewett.

Don’t forget to follow our brand new Pop Essays playlist on Spotify, which includes all the songs we’ve written about. What are your memories of this week’s featured song or band? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or message us on our Instagram.

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