Unbelievable
by EMF

Album: Schubert Dip (1990)
Charted: 3 1
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is about a girl who is "unbelievable" in the sense that she is very demanding and offers nothing in return - the singer feels he can do nothing right when he's around her.
  • This uses a sample of raunchy comedian Andrew "Dice" Clay saying "Oh," followed on the album version by "What the f--k was that!" Clay also appears twice in the song saying, "It's unbelievable." These samples were taken from bits on his 1989 album Dice.
  • EMF was led by their guitarist Ian Dench, who is also their primary songwriter, although the entire band was credited on this track. Dench was in a band called Apple Mosaic, who had a contract with Virgin Records but little impact. He formed EMF with some spirited young musicians from around England, and their first album, Schubert Dip, placed four songs in the UK Top 40, with "Unbelievable" peaking at #3 in November 1990.

    Six months later, the song broke out in America, where its quirky charm was embraced by pop radio and dance clubs looking for a new sound. Their US success was short lived, as they did little promotion in the country (their mainman Dench didn't even join them for their tour of the States in the summer of 1991), and after the #18 charting song "Lies," they weren't heard from Stateside again.

    The band members who did come to America apparently had a pretty good time; their keyboard player Derry Brownson and bass player Zac Foley were just 20 years old, and their hedonism on tour was a common topic in interviews. The band's follow-up album Stigma was a more somber affair, but did produce two more UK Top 40 hits. The band charted nine times in the UK Top 40 by 1995.
  • On their only American tour, EMF played this multiple times at every show. It was the only song most of the audience had heard of.
  • Tom Jones played this at some of his live shows, to the delight of the band. Jones performed the song with EMF on a British TV show where he told them about how he sang it in Vegas. According to the band, Jones got them really drunk that night.
  • You might be able to guess the Top 3 soundtracks of the '00s: O Brother, Where Art Thou?, 8 Mile and High School Musical. But you probably wouldn't come up with #4, the Coyote Ugly soundtrack, which sold over 4 million copies in America. The official theme song to the 2000 film is "Can't Fight The Moonlight" by LeAnn Rimes, but the motif is "Unbelievable," which plays in key moments throughout.

    The movie stars Piper Perabo as a singer-songwriter who becomes a dancing bartender to fund her dreams. The new songs in the film are augmented by danceable favorites, including "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "The Devil Went Down To Georgia."
  • The CD single for this contains a song with no title, it only says "EMF live at the Bilson," and contained the lyric: "Ectasy Motherf--ker From us to you." This adds fuel to the rumor their name means Ecstasy Mother F--ker. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    chet - saratoga springs, NY

Comments: 12

  • Jeremy from Scottsdale, AzI think it is funny that this song got so much airplay with the sample "What the f--k was that!" repeatedly played in the background.
  • Daniel from Winchester, OhDid any of you guys know that the main singer of this band is DJ Milf
  • Bertrand from Paris, FranceEMF rode the British invasion wave that broke on U.S. shores in the wake of the U.K.'s infatuation with the Manchester dance scene. "Unbelievable" mixed intoxicating rhythms, sweet high vocals from lead singer James Atkin, and rousing shouts to storm the top of the pop charts.
  • Dan from Cinderford, EnglandEMF are from cinderford i know some of the band members they used to live by me and some still do ill ask one of them wat EMF stands for though...
  • Ewan from Gloucester, EnglandSorry Dave, Cardiff. Must correct you. EMF came from Cinderford, a town in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, not Epsom. The Bilson, mentioned in songfacts is actually a pub called The Upper Bilson, in Cinderford, which used to be a venue for local bands. As I recall, it was never confirmed what EMF stood for, very doubtful that it was anything at all to do with Epsom.
  • Axel Titus from Lake Forest, CaThe Epsom Mad Funkers had another US hit with "Lies." So they are not a one-hit wonder.
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrActually, EMF stands for Epsom Mad Funkers.
  • Ocean from Amsterdam, NetherlandsThey once said in an interview that EMF stands for 'Every Mother's Favourite'. Could be true, don't you think? Or... it couldn't.
  • Paul from Concord, Nhthis song features a sample from andrew dice clay's "dirty nursery rhymes". the person saying "OH!!!" after the dude says "unbelievable", that's the diceman.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesJust for the record, the band's name EMF stands for 'Epsom Mad F***ers", not 'Ecstasy MotherF***er'. They came from Epsom, a town in England.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesEMF made No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic with this song in 1991, but in fact it was not their only big hit - the follow-up "I Believe" also made the Top 10 later in the year. Additionally, in 1995 they also made the Top 5 with a cover of the Neil Diamond/Monkees 1960s classic, "I'm A Believer", in collaboration with the popular comic duo Reeves and Mortimer. Inclusion of words based on 'believe' in their song titles seemed to be a good omen for EMF, as these three records were their their only big hits over the world, although they did have a couple of lesser hits in their native Britain between 1992 and 1994, including "Lies", "They're Here" and "It's You".
  • Nora from Richfield, MnWhen I think of the early '90s I think of this song. Very big radio hit.
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