Hi-Five – I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)

First Hit #1: May 18, 1991

The most interesting thing about hip hop is that it was much more influential to other chart hits than it was actually a hit-filled genre, at least in the early days. Take I Like The Way (The Kissing Game), which has a hip-hop inspired beat, which is one of the most distinct elements of the song. But, it’s otherwise some easy listening R&B, with a curiously innocent chorus – “The Kissing Game” just sounds like something from elementary school. The vocalist also sounds incredibly young, which further kind of emphasizes the innocent, youth friendly vibe that Hi-Five is going for. It’s kind of appropriating what’s cool, which is something that people often disparage, but the packaging is kind of interesting in itself. It’s little sister music, stuff that reaches for what they hear thumping out of their siblings’ bedrooms, but instead made a lot more clean cut, so it’s not jarring for the younger audience.

That makes it sound crass and commercial, and maybe it is, but I like the way it sounds when they’re singing the Kissing Game, so maybe I’ve been hooked in like everyone else.

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3 Responses to Hi-Five – I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)

  1. RBerman says:

    New Jack Swing was the “Urban Cowboy” equivalent of R&B. Once again the drum loop has some tuneful fake glass bottle sounds, and everything else was produced on a keyboard as well. The lead vocals are fine, with a clear Whitney Houston influence and melisma out the wazoo. The BGVs disappoint me, though. This band has give guys, right? Hi-Five? So why are they singing in unison 90% of the time? Also, the outro vamp is about two minutes too long on this version.

    Top-selling one-hit wonders of this era were more numerous than previous eras, yet have stood the test of time more poorly. By my count, the only #1 one-hit wonder in the year 1981 was “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes. Here in May 1990- May 1991 we’ve had Glenn Medeiros, Sweet Sensation, Nelson, Maxi Priest, Vanilla Ice, Stevie B., Surface, C+C Music Factory, Timmy T, Londonbeat, and now Hi-Five. It seems to me that of this latter list, only C+C and Vanilla Ice have survived as makers of songs for which people have even guilty affection in any measure today.

    • Rick says:

      The only one-hit wonders in your list are Timmy T, Londonbeat and Maxi Prest, the rest had more top 10 hits so no, they’re not 1 hit wonders. (Hell, C+C scored two more top 5 hits).

      • RBerman says:

        I appreciate the correction! As you can tell this is not an era in Top 40 with which I’m overly familiar. If you know more about it, perhaps you can tell me: Is my general premise sound? That is, would you classify someone like Glenn Medeiros or Surface into the “How was this person so popular?” category, or the “Not as big as Mariah Carey, but still a significant piece of pop history who deserved his moments in the sun” category?

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