Oct 162012

Cheap Trick‘s “Surrender” is the greatest late-’70s pure power pop/new wave song ever. This from someone who also believes it’s possibly the “Secretariat’s 30-length Belmont Stakes victory” relative to any other song in any band’s career. This is a testament to the song’s strength as much as it is my lukewarm appreciation for anything else Cheap Trick has released.

Mr. Mod said this in the recent power pop song argument, which was funny to me, because I’d been thinking about examples of this in my own music appreciation and thought there might be a post in it. Consider this a new RTH Glossary term, which we’ll call One Song Awesome or the Cheap Trick Effect.

Examples, that is, of that one exception to the rule of personal taste. To be clear, I’m not talking about one-hit wonders: artists that really did only have one good or one successful song. I’m talking about substantial groups with a dedicated following who I really don’t like at all – except for one totally awesome track that kills. Everyone’s list would be different, of course. People might even have the same group on their lists, but not the same song (see Cheap Trick, “Surrender” vs. “I Want You to Want Me”).

Here are some of mine:

T. Rex: “20th Century Boy”

REM: “Superman”

Stiff Little Fingers: “Suspect Device”

Motorhead: “Ace of Spades”

Bangles: “Going Down to Liverpool”

Portishead: “Glory Box”

What about you?


  26 Responses to “One Song Awesome or, the Cheap Trick Effect Revisited”

  1. cherguevara

    “Bittersweet Symphony” is one for me, but then, I think it’s also very out of character for The Verve. “Back In Black” is another, because I think it’s very awesome and it’s pretty much all the AC/DC I need.

  2. “Bus Stop” by The Hollies

  3. You don’t like Hero Takes a Fall by the Bangles? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WTjBdRtM2U

  4. Sister Havana by Urge Overkill – Fantastic song by an otherwise worthless band.

  5. misterioso

    Deep Purple, “Hush.” Though, if I am a particularly stupid mood, also “Highway Star.”

  6. “Photograph” by Def Leppard. “No One Like You” by the Scorpions (I put this one in the double bass drum thread). I don’t like much Metal but the occasional song gets through to me.

  7. “Teenage Kicks”

  8. machinery

    Great idea for a post. So many bad bands that only have one great song …

    I love the song “Radio” from Teenage Fanclub. It’s really the only thing I like by them.


    I also love that one Caught Stealing Porno of Pyros song … although I can’t stand that band one f’n bit.

  9. Where’s that middle finger icon when we need it?

  10. If it could be mathematically possible, I agree with you 1 zillion percent re: “Been Caught Stealing” relative to the entire Jane’s Addiction catalog. (Porno for Pyros – Farrell’s next band – was actually a bit better, if memory serves.)

  11. “Human Behavior” by Bjork, especially while watching the video.


    I didn’t know until now that Michel Gondry directed that one. No wonder I like it so much!

  12. Suburban kid

    Not sure if serious. But like the rest of their catalogue with the one exception…. meh.

  13. That doesn’t work at all, Oats. According to the heading, the song has to be “awesome”.

  14. I’m serious. I’m not a huge fan of theirs but it sounds like I like them more than you. And the one standout track for me is HTAF.

  15. misterioso

    “God Save the Queen.” I mean it, man. I really have no interest in anything else.

  16. I have a couple of gulity pleasures — probably because I like videos, but really listen to nothing else by these guys.

    “Learn to Fly” by The Foo Fighters.

    “Bing Bang Baby” by Stone Temple Pilots.

  17. WOW! Damn.

  18. cliff sovinsanity

    “One” by Metallica and maybe “Pokerface” by Lady GaGa.

  19. 2000 Man

    I like that one best, too!

  20. 2000 Man

    Hahahaha! Damn! I don’t slam the shithouse door that hard!

  21. 2000 Man

    The La’s – There She Goes. That album is like T. Rex’s Electric Warrior. The first time you listen, it’s a killer, fresh breath of air. The more you listen, that breath starts needing a Tic Tac. But There She Goes is terrific.

  22. The Smiths, “How Soon Is Now.” Johnny Marr’s just so friggin’ hardcore on that one.

    Sorry Moz fans. But I’ve been trying the catalog slowly all summer.


  23. BigSteve

    I totally agree about Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. It’s all the Motorhead I’ll ever need.

  24. cherguevara

    I don’t know if “Human Behavior” is her best song but I think that one Bjork song is enough for most people. She builds her songs on sonics and I don’t think she is a strong melodist or lyricist. However, her voice is very cool, so pick your song, close your eyes and swoon like you’re Wynona Ryder wishing you could be Bjork.

  25. 3 Doors Down, “Kryptonite”.

  26. Mentioned it on FB just last night, but: “You Were Right” by Badly Drawn Boy.

    Easily on my Top 10 songs of the early 2000s, but it’s the only thing he ever did that was worth a shit.

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