Many years ago, I wrote and published a piece here called Personal One Hit Wonders. My premise was as follows:
Everyone knows about “one hit wonders:” bands who have one great, popular song, and then vanish into cult obscurity as soon as it falls out of the charts. But what about “personal one hit wonders:” groups that may have a ton of popular or well-regarded songs, only one of which appeals to you or me or anyone else as a specific listener?
I provided a list of a dozen songs that met the defined criteria in that post, and then moved on. Fast forward a dozen years, and as I was driving to the grocery store this morning, the iPod queued up the song “Baby Ran” from the 1986 eponymous second album by the Canadian group 54-40. I adore that song, and I adore the album it came from (it’s on my Top 200 Albums Of All Time list), but I’ve never really engaged or connected with the dozen subsequent records that the group have released. I’m sure there are wonders to be found therein, but they’ve not been my wonders. It’s not them, it’s me. For reals.
This got me to thinking about other groups and artists where one album stands out as a titanic classic in my personal pantheon, with all of said groups’ and artists’ other albums fading into background blur for me, regardless of how sales charts and critical consensus value the rest of those albums. And that thought experiment, because I am me, had to then become a “Top Ten” list, which I share below. I note the artist, the album, and provide a link to the best (or at least a representative) cut from each record, to assist in any explorations you might to embark upon.
Do you have your own Personal One Album Wonders? Hit me up in the comments section if so, especially if there are things you think I need to hear!
54-40, by 54-40 (1986):
Catastrophe Ballet, by Christian Death (1984):
Pre-Emptive False Rapture, by Chrome Hoof (2007):
Flan, by Dogbowl (1992):
Desperado, by Eagles (1973):
Üdü Ẁüdü, by Magma (1976):
Bat Out of Hell, by Meat Loaf (1977):
Exile in Guyville, by Liz Phair (1993):
Spot 1019, by Spot 1019 (1986):
Tall Blonde Helicopter, by Francis Dunnery (1995):