Saved by Zero

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"Saved by Zero"
Single by The Fixx
from the album Reach the Beach
B-side "Going Overboard"
Released April 1983 (UK); May 12, 1983 (US)
Format 7"/12" single
Genre New wave
Length 3:23 (Single Edit); 3:40 (album version)
Label MCA
Writer(s) Cy Curnin, Adam Woods, Jamie West-Oram, Rupert Greenall, Alfie Agius
Producer(s) Rupert Hine
The Fixx singles chronology
"Red Skies"
(1982)
"Saved by Zero"
(1983)
"One Thing Leads to Another"
(1983)

"Saved by Zero" is a song by British new wave band The Fixx. Released in 1983, it was the lead single off their second album, Reach the Beach, and is one of the group's best known hits. Their signature song is the follow-up single "One Thing Leads to Another."

An extended 4:24 version of "Saved by Zero" is included as a bonus track on the 2003 reissue of Reach the Beach. The song was featured in the fourth season of TV series Breaking Bad.[1]

Composition and meaning[edit]

"Saved by Zero" features a repetitive, jittery guitar riff and corresponding bass. It features a soothing yet haunting presentation with its ghostly vocals and dark atmosphere. Lyrically, "Saved by Zero" is a reference to the Buddhist mantra Śūnyatā. Fixx frontman Cy Curnin reflected on its meaning in a 2008 interview:

"It was about looking at your own life, not so much about amassing material things but about experiences that lend you to be blissful... The song was written from the point of view of the release you get when you have nothing left to lose. It’s sort of a meditation. It clears your head of all fears and panics and illusions and you get back to the basics, which is a Buddhist mantra, which I practiced back then, and which I still do. The idea of the song is how great it is to get back to zero."[2]

Music video[edit]

Brian Grant had been chosen by MCA to direct the music video for "Saved by Zero." While the label had previously been financially apprehensive with The Fixx, upon the rising commercial significance of music videos, a large budget was granted for "Saved by Zero," allegedly providing "lunches, massages, and fourteen stylists." The heavy price tag, however, ultimately persuaded MCA to financially lighten up in future endeavors.[3]

The beginning of the video pays homage to the 1941 film classic Citizen Kane by Orson Welles. The premise sees Cy Curnin playing a painter who creates the artwork for Reach the Beach. He is stranded at a flat, and he reminisces about his childhood. Another scene features Curnin painting his naked torso with white and red acrylic paint tubes.

Reception[edit]

"Saved by Zero" would become one of The Fixx's most popular songs and a concert staple. It has been described as having "acutely captured the paranoia of the Cold War in fearful lyrics."[4] Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine named it an AMG Track Pick and called the song a "cool, robotic slice of synth pop."[5] The song entered the charts on May 28, 1983 at #80.

Chart positions[edit]

Single - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1983 Billboard Hot 100 20
Mainstream Rock 9

Toyota advertising campaign[edit]

In 2008, a re-recorded version of the song was used in an American national advertising campaign for Toyota, touting a 0% annual percentage rate promotion. The ad was played at a high rotation during sporting events, being documented as having aired 42,000 times on October 26.[6] This resulted in criticism online as being overplayed and even motivated the creation of a Facebook group, "Stop Playing Toyota's 'Saved By Zero' Commercial", and "Toyota: Saved by Mitsubishi?" The overwhelming distaste for the campaign would also be documented by the likes of Time[7] and Esquire.[6] Despite the complaints, Toyota said that the ad was successful and that they would not cut short its scheduled run in November that year.[8]

Cy Curnin noted his amusement at the irony Toyota's using the song to boast 0% car financing. He enjoyed the royalty checks and renewed attention the song gave The Fixx, both good and bad, but disliked the rerecording, stating, "I would prefer to have been the one singing it... It’s a bit cheesy."[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Music From Breaking Bad Season 4". AMC. 
  2. ^ a b Fink, Jerry Fixx warms up for new album with shows in Green Valley Las Vegas Sun (November 6, 2008). Retrieved on 6-24-11.
  3. ^ Saved By Zero by The Fixx Songfacts.com. Retrieved on 6-24-11.
  4. ^ Lindblad, Peter Backstage Pass: The Fixx’s Cy Curnin Goldmine (April 21, 2010). Retrieved on 6-24-11.
  5. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas Reach the Beach - The Fixx: Review Allmusic. Retrieved on 6-24-11.
  6. ^ a b Schrager, Peter The Inside Story of "Saved By Zero," the Toyota Commercial That's Keeping You Up at Night Esquire (October 30, 2008). Retrieved on 6-24-11.
  7. ^ Gregory, Sean 'Saved by Zero': The Toyota Ad That Won't Stop Time (November 19, 2008). Retrieved on 6-24-11.
  8. ^ "Save us from Toyota 'Saved by Zero' ad, TV watchers complain". The Dallas Morning News. Associated Press. 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 

External links[edit]