Released: 31st May 2004
Writers: Antonio Phelon / Stacie Orrico / Tasia Tjornhom / Tedd T
Peak position: #34
Chart run: 34-49
Stacie Orrico remains an unsung hero of ’00s pop music. Despite cracking the top ten with Stuck, her chart history seemed otherwise unremarkable. However, the #37 peak of the Stacie Orrico album belies the fact that it was a bit of a bubbling under success, amassing 19 consecutive weeks in the top 75. In that respect, a fourth single from the album was not a surprise.
However, somewhere between the third and fourth singles, there was a questionable shift in strategy. The start of the campaign had been perfectly orchestrated; Virgin Records created momentum by dropping three singles in the space of five months – and they duly reaped the rewards, modest as they were. But after that, they waited a further five months to release I Could Be The One. Presumably the reason this single was released at all is someone at the label felt like it because ascribing any other logical thought process here is extremely difficult. As if the odds weren’t already stacked against I Could Be The One, then it also veers into the Christian Contemporary market, a genre not exactly renowned for its commercial appeal in the UK.
While there’s every reason to be flummoxed at how this single ended up on the release schedules, that it did should be celebrated because I Could Be The One is a fascinating prospect. First and foremost, in terms of production values, this does not sound like a song causally being chucked out at the tail-end of an album campaign. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of sounds that are all cooked up together to create something that never quite sounds cohesive but works, nonetheless. The first 20 seconds of the track is a perfect pop music moment: the guitar chord loop, a fuzzy electro beat that would make Xenomania proud and Stacie Orrico’s dreamy vocals; the way the track thumps into gear at the 15-second mark remains utterly exhilarating. There’s considerable depth to the production on the single, and it certainly doesn’t sound its age.
Lyrically, I Could Be The One is also a more overt leaning towards Stacie Orrico’s origins as a Christian Contemporary artist. For her self-titled album, that aspect of her artistry had been downplayed somewhat. And taking this single at face value – particularly with a video revisiting the high school setting of Stuck – it could certainly pass for little more than standard teen-pop fodder. But looking more closely at the lyrics (and there are a lot of them given the tempo of the song) reveals a profound religious undertone to I Could Be The One: “But you tell me simple things, that I’d love the chance to bring, to a world of people who just simply need you”. Indeed, just in case there was any doubt, by the time she reaches the chorus, Stacie Orrico is readily declaring: “Lord, I’m ready and through you, I could be the one”. Although this is far from the first time religion had infiltrated a pop song, I Could Be The One is a little different in terms of the fact that the religious aspect isn’t dictating the sound or visuals as a gimmick. The only real impression it leaves is that it sounds more aligned to Christian pop radio than it does the UK charts.
The music video for I Could Be The One quite neatly ties the Stacie Orrico campaign together by returning to the same high school as featured in the Stuck video and also bringing back some of the same actors. The noticeable difference between the two videos is the odd pastel filter applied to I Could Be The One. Unlike Stuck, which was bursting with vibrant colours, everything here is comparatively muted and looks unnecessarily tired and dated.
The cafeteria scenes are brimming with Mean Girls-esque vibes, to the point where it’s almost a shame there isn’t a non-musical, scripted alternative. It’s well-directed, and Stacie Orrico manages to convey heaps of personality while never losing focus on lip-syncing along to the track. The dance battle during the mid-section of the video is impressively slick and could have been much more prominently realised considering the last minute or so literally features Stacie Orrico being carried around on a table.
To the surprise of absolutely no-one, I Could Be The One crept into the bottom end of the top 40, although in hindsight that should probably be considered an achievement given its distance from the rest of the album campaign and an absence of any significant promotion (the lack of TV performances is a shame because the song works well in a live context). The Stacie Orrico campaign might not have concluded on a high point and certainly made little sense from a commercial perspective, but I Could Be The One remains an unexpected treat. As pop songs go, it’s an absolute bop and remains an utterly fascinating curio that – even now – is largely beyond compare by ‘00s standards.