It’s been one year…
Ok, we’ve fallen off of the writing wagon. Learning new jobs and not being absentee parents takes up a lot of time. And so, as we’ve learned, does listening to albums and writing, formatting, coordinating and publishing reviews. In order to put the amount of care we wanted to put into the work, it took a lot of time. Will we ever make that time again? Hopefully we will – it is a lot of fun; maybe we won’t – it is also a lot of work.
All that said, we’re both quite proud of the work we did, and we wanted to recognize the first anniversary of our launch with a bit of a look back at the year that was.
Stats are fun!
Most viewed One Hit Wonder review: Blind Melon (Hi Troy!)
Least viewed One Hit Wonder review: Yello
Total # of Posts – 34 (That’s almost 3 per month. The pace!)
Countries from which we’ve had readers: 33 (Only 161 to go!)
Q&A With Q and Weh
We get so many questions from readers (we don’t), that we thought we would try to field some of them here (we will). If you don’t see your question, be sure to keep writing in and maybe it’ll make the Year 2 round-up!
What was the most surprising aspect of this process for you, personally?
I haven’t done anything like this for *cough* decades. Once upon a time I wrote and edited for a little Playstation website. It turns out the demands on my time in my 20s were quite a bit lighter than the demands in my 40s. The most surprising thing for me was how hard it was to stick to the work schedule we established. We did pretty well until we didn’t. Burnout’s a bitch.
I think I got two big things out of this. The first was that I started to understand that I knew more music than I thought I did. I’ve always considered myself musically…low-key. I would hear the music, but I was never listening to the music. I’ve started to listen to music differently now. I don’t just let it fade into the background, I now listen to it and wait for the reason for it. Why did someone make this song? What was the point? Why did they decide to make it sound like this? I’ve become more musically critical.
The second thing is that I’m far more active with music now. Even when I was going through my most experimental and edgy teen years, the music I was listening to was the music that my cool experimental and edgy teen friends were discovering for me. My brother is a lot like this, maybe more so. He famously listened to N-Trance’s “Stayin’ Alive” on repeat for an 8-hour road trip. My sister is better than us, thankfully. Now, if I want to listen to music when I’m working, I’ll throw on a discovery mix. Or I’ll just click-through “you might like” suggestions at random. Right now, I’m listening to Wet Leg’s Chaise Longue, and it’s good and amuses me. Next up, “Stayin’ Alive” by N-Trance .
Of all the reviewed One Hit Wonders, which album was your favourite?
This is a tough one. Yello’s Stella is a contender, as is (believe it or not) Right Said Fred’s Up. Stella came out of nowhere, as I had literally only ever heard “Oh Yeah”. I dig this album. I knew Up was good, but I’d forgotten just how good. It is so much better than it has any right to be. It’s pop, sure, but it’s very, very good pop.
But no, my favourite reviewed album ended up being First Band on the Moon by The Cardigans. I’ve since sought it out on vinyl and added it to my collection. I love its dark sparkly contradiction and have gone back to listen to it multiple times since the review.
I’m going to split this up between three albums because that’s the wishy-washy kind of person I am.
Right Said Fred‘s Up and Bobby McFerrin‘s Simple Pleasures were just… so surprisingly good and clean and refreshing and new and different for albums that are decades old). I can’t say enough good things about them.
Sinead with I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got will hold a special place for me, being the first album that we reviewed and the one that made us think “Holy crap, we could really do this!”
I lied, the top honour belongs to Enya‘s Watermark. I love that album and it means a lot to me.
Of all the reviewed One Hit Wonders, which album was the hardest to listen to?
This is an easy one. When we kicked off the site, I wasn’t sure I’d find something I liked less than Vanilla Ice’s debut. I was wrong – so very, very wrong. While I still enjoy White Town’s “Your Woman”, I found the rest of Women In Technology to be an exercise in cringe and disappointment. I have no desire to ever hear another song from this album again.
Oh. God. Look. This is like asking the gym teacher which kid they like the least. The answer is most of them. I’m never going to listen to a lot of these albums again, and some of them made it not easy to listen through the first time. How about I rephrase the question a little: Of all the reviewed OHWs, which album has made me not listen to the OHW anymore?
The answer to that question is The Verve‘s Urban Hymns. I cringe hearing “Bitter Sweet Symphony” now; I actively switch the station when it comes on the radio.
What was your greatest discovery, while going through the review process?
While working through our research on One Hit Wonders I stumbled upon New Clear Days by The Vapors. While we never did review this “Turning Japanese” One Hit Wonder, I did give the album a listen. It probably sits in my desert-island top 10 now – I love the whole album from front to back. Thankfully it just got a fresh new pressing in 2021 and I was able to import a copy and add it to my collection. If you dig New Wave at all, give it a try.
Listening to Bobby McFerrin and discovering Them Changes by Buddy Miles. Going down that rabbit hole was a fascinating education on how very cool jazz, R&B, and soul music were… Are. Plus we may eventually get Bobby McFerrin to follow us on Twitter, and that would just be awesome.
If you could change one thing about how you both went about the site and the reviews, what would it be?
I would either tone down our release schedule and/or bring in some other writers to help with content. Writing weekly was challenging. Ideally, I’d love to have some writers with dramatically different backgrounds and tastes. Variety is fun.
Without a doubt the release schedule. We mapped it out, and we agreed to it, and we pushed each other to meet it…but man, there were many weeks that I hated it.
Also, maybe we could figure out a less stylistic layout that didn’t require so much manual tuning to make it look right.
When did you and the other reviewer most see eye-to-eye and when did you absolutely not agree?
Eye to eye? Probably on the Right Said Fred album – “Deeply Dippy” specifically. We both loved the album and we both gave that song top marks. I think that it marks the only time this happened. Disagreement? The week previous to Right Said Fred we reviewed The Verve’s Urban Hymns. I really liked it. Weh-Ming really did not. Ah well – it takes all kinds.
I agree with Scott on this assessment most. We both loved other albums, but we were aligned on this one.
Will we see more writing over the next year?
Maybe? Hopefully? We’ll just need to find a way to make it sustainable. Maybe once a month?
I would like to write more. As Scott said, our professional lives took some major hits, so getting those on-track became the priority. Getting back into this would be a delight. Also, I bought a microphone.
You know. Just in case.
If it’s not obvious, I love the music. I love the creation process. I don’t love all the time it takes to format everything, coordinate everything, etc. It is very cool though knowing that people out there are reading what we’re writing – we’re creating something and that is immensely satisfying. Doing it with one of my closest and oldest friends is just the icing on the birthday cake.
He’s starting to wear me down on the possibility of doing a podcast. Maybe one, just for fun?
This site has been a lot of things to me: an exciting prospect, a daunting task, an eye (and ear) opener, a chance to share an honest opinion, a wait. Wait wait wait. Did Scott say he might do it? Because I really think this would be a lot of fun. I mean, I think we all know that if there’s one thing the world needs, it’s another a podcast.
Stay tuned for Yeah But What Else: The One Hit Wonder Audio Adventure Hour With Scott and Weh! (We’ll shorten it on the merch to “YBWE:TOHWAAHWSAW”)
Yeah But What Else
What am I listening to these days? I’ve started listening to some jazz. I guess it’s my prerogative as I approach 50. I’m really only scratching the surface and looking to pick up the usual starting points – Kind of Blue, Moanin’, Time Out – that sort of thing. Record collecting is coming along nicely – I’m loving the hobby. I haven’t abandoned CD yet though – they’re super cheap on the used market now. I prefer vinyl overall, but the value proposition of CDs is off of the charts at the moment.
I’m also been loving the Strong Songs podcast lately, hosted by Kirk Hamilton. I don’t know how it took as long as it did for me to find it, but I’ve been binging it pretty hard since I discovered it. If you’re a fan of understanding music, it’s a fantastic listen.
Weird Al is currently on tour with “The Unfortunate Return of the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour”, playing all his personal favorites, his originals, and covers. If anyone can gift me VIP tickets, airfare (business class only, I’m not an animal), and hotel accommodations (5 Star, all inclusive only, I have standards), please drop me a line and I will thank you generally in the comments. Only interested in a concert in Eastern Time as I don’t wish to have to re-acclimatize my internal clock again.
I’ve also taken the plunge into the world of electric car ownership! Well, “plunge” may be too direct. If I may define “plunge” as I have sent some money to Hyundai to place my name on a list of people who will, at some undetermined point in the future, get an IONIQ 5, then watch me Mom! So check out my new YBWE sister site, MIoniq.com! Soon. Soon-ish. Soon-adjacent. It will definitely be live before the car is delivered. Hopefully.