Released: 15th March 1999
Writers: Andy Caine / Martin Brannigan / Ray Hedges / Tracy Ackerman
Chart run: 1-9-14-19-24-35-44-60-70
Blame It On The Weatherman is an interesting prospect to revisit. It felt for quite some time that its success was almost entirely driven by B*Witched‘s fanbase owing to its drop from #1 – #9 in the chart. And it is perhaps true that the song didn’t really connect in a significant way at the time – certainly, the week it spent atop the chart felt very much like a by-product of the momentum from the group’s previous three chart-toppers.
However, Blame It On The Weatherman has blossomed with age – aided hugely by ITV2’s The Big Reunion, where it was somewhat unexpectedly revived for B*Witched to perform alongside C’est La Vie and Rollercoaster. Whilst you sense that it was picked solely for its obvious visual aesthetic, what transpired was a stage production that elevated the song better than anything seen during the 1999 promotional campaign for the single.
Looking at Blame It On The Weatherman in the context of B*Witched’s debut album campaign, you can perhaps see why it sat apart from the three singles preceding it. It was most certainly their least gimmicky release at that point; sure, there’s a flash of denim in the music video, but otherwise, it was a palpable step in a more mature direction for the quartet.
Pop music loves a bit of melodrama and Blame It On The Weatherman has it in spades. The verses are depressingly morose – in particular the: “Only clouds will see, tears are in my eyes, empty like my heart” section which, incidentally, marks one of the moments in the song delivered with a sincerity that feels truly authentic. For you do sense, understandably so, that B*Witched barely out of their teens (some of them not even) functionally performed the song in character, rather than using their own life experience to mark the delivery. That’s not to take anything away from the end product, but you do wonder how utterly miserable it could have been in the hands of an act who had been through the wringer.
Maybe it’s too late
Maybe it’s too late to try again
Maybe I can pray
Maybe I can wait
Maybe I can blame it on the weatherman
The track is something of a minimalistic composition and unconventional by ‘90s pop standards. The “Won’t blame it on myself, I’ll blame it on the weatherman” hook is peppered throughout the first verse teasing the chorus – which doesn’t arrive until almost a minute and a half into the song. And when it does…it’s not really a chorus at all, just: “The rain goes on (on and on again)” repeated twice. The only time the two elements flow into one another is at the very climax of the song. Like other aspects of Blame It On The Weatherman, it’s a concept that makes much more sense now than it did back then, particularly in a post-Girls Aloud world. In 1999 though, the track felt somewhat disjointed and repetitive – perhaps another contributing factor to its rapid disappearance from the top 40 just six weeks after debuting at #1.
The song did get one epic performance back in 2000 on B*Witched’s Jump Up Jump Down tour where the group stood under umbrellas singing the song whilst water literally poured down on them for four minutes. It’s understandable that the group couldn’t turn up to The National Lottery and Blue Peter in 1999 and flood out the studios for the sake of promoting a single – but any attempt to visually represent the song in some way would undoubtedly have enhanced it as a pop package.
Given our previous encounters with Blame It On The Weatherman in a live context, we weren’t necessarily expecting much from it during 2013’s The Big Reunion. But as the song reached its momentary drop before launching into the final chorus amidst a mountain of blue confetti showering from the sky, it finally all made sense. It was a moment of fist-pumping triumph for a song that had finally earned and owned its credentials as a chart-topper.
The music video for Blame It On The Weatherman was striking; if nothing else because it was a clear show of the investment that Epic was pouring into B*Witched compared to their earlier singles. We had no idea that an upside-down articulated lorry was a buoyant flotation device, but it amply allows the group to navigate around a flooded city as they perform the song. It’s not a particularly eventful video, but it definitely looks the part; you’d imagine the budget was fairly high in comparison to most fourth singles – mainly because B*Witched were chasing a record-breaking fourth consecutive #1 single.
And of course, they achieved it. Blame It On The Weatherman made B*Witched the first group to debut at #1 with their first four singles. They didn’t hold the record for long; the arrival of Westlife later in 1999 put paid to that (although they’re still the only girl group to achieve such a feat). But for the time being, it was a significant achievement – and in the years since, Blame It On The Weatherman has shown itself to be much more than a nominal chart-topper. It might not be the most famous B*Witched single, but it is quite possibly their very best.