I don’t know about you people, but occasionally I buy albums by performers that have released many albums, and for one reason or another, I haven’t bought any other albums by that performer. It could be, of course, that the album I bought sucked, but it’s not always the case. Occasionally, of course, the albums got out of print, and that’s a thing, as I tend not to search too much on digital platforms because like I have that kind of time. Occasionally, of course, the albums I get are really good, and I often wonder why I don’t get more by the performers. Usually, this happens because I get the album long after it came out, even after the band has broken up, so there’s nothing reminding me that, hey, yeah, they released other things, too. Such is life.
I have several of these kinds of albums, but a few stand out to me as the best ones. People in Planes released Beyond the Horizon in 2008, and I got it a few years later. They had released two albums prior to that one, and it turned out to be their last one. The other two appear difficult to find, so maybe I’ll get them, maybe I won’t. Beyond the Horizon is an excellent album, though, so I’m glad that I bought it, at least. It begins with the pounding “Last Man Standing,” which feels like Simonson’s use of “Doom!” on his Thor run, it’s that throbbing. “Pretty Buildings,” Flesh and Blood,” and “Know by Now” are highlights, and the album’s penultimate track, “Vampire,” is probably the best song on it. It’s just a superb album.
If we go a bit old-school, Who’s Next would make my list. Yes, it’s the only album by The Who that I own (fun fact: I own zero (0) Rolling Stones albums!), and it’s pretty great, isn’t it? The worst song on it – “Going Mobile” – is still pretty good, and it has a bunch of stone-cold classics: “Baba O’Riley,” “Bargain,” and “Love Ain’t For Keeping” are the first three songs, and it ends with “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and that’s not bad at all. Why don’t I own more albums by the band? I can’t say. Oh well.
The next one might be a bit surprising, not because of the artist, but because of which album I own. Neil Diamond has released dozens of albums, but when I was growing up, I didn’t think he was someone whose albums I needed to own because his songs were so ubiquitous, right? Plus, while I didn’t mind his music, I didn’t love it, either (I like it more now that I’m an oldster). However, I read some good reviews of 12 Songs, his 2005 album, and how it was produced by Rick Rubin and was a bit of a departure from his usual stuff, so I bought. It’s excellent. Neil was 65 at the time of its release, and his wonderful voice is tempered nicely by both a world-weariness and the hope that comes from surviving through the shit. “Hell Yeah,” for instance, is a hopeful song that could only be sung meaningfully by someone with many years behind them. “I’m on to You” is a nasty little break-up song that doesn’t let Neil off the hook, “What’s it Gonna Be” is a call for trusting someone other than yourself, “Man of God” is a nice spiritual, and “We” is a charming love song. The best song on the album is the sad “Evermore,” another song that only a person looking back on a long life can imbue with such feeling. It’s just a wonderful album, and I always think I should probably get more Neil Diamond albums. But I haven’t.
My favorite album by someone who has released multiple albums but I only own one is, however, O.G. Original Gangster by Ice-T. Ice is doing laundry detergent commercials and cereal commercials these days, but man, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s he was hard, and O.G. is excellent. This album came out a few days before I turned 20, so I was kind of the perfect age for it, and while I’ve never been into rap as much as some of my friends, I still like it perfectly well, and a few of my college friends listened to this a lot, and I just loved it. It’s probably most famous for “New Jack Hustler,” as that was used in the film New Jack City, but it has a bunch of great songs: “Mic Contract,” “Mind Over Matter” (“I can drop rhymes in twos and threes and fours / And still have much shit left for encores”), “Escape from the Killing Fields,” and my favorite, “Pulse of the Rhyme”: “I break ill in extra-large portions / Where’s your parents, I’ll make you an orphan.” I don’t know why I never got any other Ice-T albums – I hear he’s much more about sex on his other albums, while this is more political and violent, so maybe that’s it. But either way, it’s a terrific album. (Remember: there’s some bad language in the videos below!)
So those are some of mine. Am I the only one who does this? What are some of your favorite albums of a band from which you only bought one album? Don’t be shy!