The Sleeper Hits

Back when I bought albums, rather than downloads, I usually bought an album because there was one song I absolutely had to have…and I was hoping that the rest of the album would be worth it. When I’d get the album home, I’d play the hit song, and then I would start the process of exploring the rest of the songs, hoping that they’d be worth my time.

That first song, the one that hooked me onto the album, I’d play that one about a zillion times. But as the weeks would pass, songs that I hadn’t noticed that much – the ones that weren’t as flashy — often ended up grabbing my attention. Sometimes, with repeated listens, the “hit” would get old, while that shy one on track 3 revealed more and more layers. And those would be the ones that stayed with me, week after week, month after month, year after year.

In praise of the Sleeper Hit!:

Album: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill / Lauryn Hill

Song I bought the record for: Doo-Wop (That Thing)

Songs I fell in absolute love with: Ex-Factor and I Used to Love Him

Best Line: “Tell me who I have to be / to get some reciprocity”


Album: New Non-Fiction / Susan Werner

Song I bought the record for (and still love): May I Suggest

Songs I fell in absolute love with: Pretty much the whole album, especially “Stationary,” “Misery and Happiness,” and “Barbed Wire Boys”

Best Line: “Tough as the busted thumbnails / on their weathered hands / they worked the gold plate / off their wedding bands”


Album: Hits / Joni Mitchell

Songs I bought the record for: Big Yellow Taxi, The Circle Game

Songs I fell in absolute love with: Carey and California

Best Line: “So I bought me a ticket, I caught a plane to Spain / Went to a party down a red dirt road / there were lots of pretty people there / readin Rolling Stone readin Vogue”


Album: Mama’s Gun / Erykah Badu

Songs I bought the record for (and still love): Bag Lady

Songs I fell in absolute love with: Penitentiary Philosophy, Didn’t Cha Know?, Time’s a Wastin

Best Line: “Bag Lady, you gon’ miss your bus / you can’t hurry up, ’cause you got too much stuff”

By Sofia Echegaray Posted in Music

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