One Hit, No Wonder: The Outfield

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There are some bands that have long and fabled careers. Artists who consistently top themselves or, at the very least, continually put out good work. We spend a lot of time talking about the greatness of these bands without putting much thought into the other guys, the guys who seemingly use their lifetime’s worth of creative force just to create one memorable song and then were banished into the void after a few weeks on the charts. Sometimes these bands go on to write 6(!) more albums; sometimes those bands are called The Outfield, and sometimes I listen to them to see where it all went horribly wrong. 

The 80’s seemed to produce a lot of one hit wonders. Perhaps it was the cocaine, the neon, or the terrible hair that kept distracting people, but the 80’s ran through bands like Donald Trump goes through spray tan. In recent years some of those bands have been given a second look by a younger generation and heralded as more than just their hit single (Duran Duran did more than “Hungry Like the Wolf” and people will kill you if you talk shit, apparently). One band that has yet to receive that kind of second chance is The Outfield. You know them for writing possibly the greatest 80’s song of all time “Your Love” and probably not much else. Today I will investigate their, uh…seminal debut album Play Deep to see if these gentlemen were really pop rock luminaries who were unfairly buried by the sands of time.

As opener “Say it Isn’t So” kicks on I’m immediately impressed. “How was this not a hit!?” I say to myself, but google quickly tells me that it actually kind of was and reached #18 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. I choose not to believe it though because the internet is bullshit and those kinds of facts don’t fit my worldview or the narrative I’m trying to create here, so I continue listening to the anthemic chorus of “Say It Isn’t So” and refrain from making a Weezer joke. Up next is the classic “Your Love.” I will give all one hit wonder bands this: Their sequencing on albums is brilliant. One pretty catchy song, the hit, then all of the rest that nobody will listen to. They lull you in, give you what you want, then run away screaming with your cash as you try to figure out who poured this molten fire garbage in noise receptacles.

As I arrive at song 3 I am shocked to discover that I’m actually enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would. Am I still just riding high from the righteousness of “Your Love”? Or is this the point in my life where I realize that I am a legitimate garbage person? ARE THE OUTFIELD CHANGING MY LIFE RIGHT NOW? I’m shaking, partially from fear and partially from rage. I silently hope that this album turns into trash soon because there is simply no way I can live my life non-ironically defending an album by The Outfield. It’s just no way to live. Luckily the next song answers my prayers.

“Everytime You Cry” is a massive step down in quality akin to falling off of a plateau and managing to land in the only pile of wildebeest dung in your immediate vicinity. This is telegraphed from the start as the song opens with the standard issue reverb laden, jangly guitars and synth backing. The drums roll in just before the rest of the band and you know exactly what to expect. This is every 80’s ballad you’ve ever heard, but made so much more formulaic and boring. Imagine if Night Ranger let a group of soulless replicants who weren’t any good at music write “Sister Christian” and you’re on the right track.

If I’m being honest, I completely forgot what the next two tracks were. I must have spaced out due to boredom or an overdose of generic 80s pap, but I was confused for a few minutes as to why I had skipped from track 4 to track 7. The key to time travel is not a flux capacitor, but the deep cuts of The Outfield. “All the Love” picks up a little momentum with a decent chorus and not much else. It’s the following track, “Talk to Me,” where they bring out another infectious jam that makes me question if I’m really just a sentient pile of turds.

I can’t help but wonder if The Outfield really has my best interest in mind, as right after making me feel horrible about myself they unleash the worst song on the album. “Taking My Chances” sounds like the blueprint for Simple Plan. It’s the unholiest matrimony of vintage pop rock and pop punk vocals, almost as if someone had tossed them in a blender after misunderstanding that you wanted the bands themselves thrown into the blender. The grand finale, “Nervous Alibi,” opens with what could easily pass for the intro riff to any thrash song of the same era. Luckily for me and the 13 other people who have managed to make it this far into this album, this riff is roughly 80% of the song. There is one brief moment of respite from this funeral dirge where it feels like things might finally go off the rails into some gnarly Steve Vai wankery, but that hope is extinguished in record time as the song returns to its natural form of slowly rotting apple and fades away into oblivion.

In the end, it may be a little unfair to label The Outfield as a “one hit wonder.” They clearly had at least 2 hits with a third waiting in the wings where it eventually died. They do offer exactly what you expect though: A few memorable sing-along numbers peppered in quite a bit of unremarkable dreck. Is it any surprise then that their legacy boils down to the popularity of “Your Love”? Not really. As long as we continue to make raunchy 80’s comedies and like our girls a little bit older, “Your Love” will continue to thrive at the expense of the rest of their catalog. If Play Deep is their high watermark album, then that fate is for the best.


Are there any other one-hit wonders you’d like to see here? Joe was adamant about doing one for Baha Men. Hound him about it and fight that one guy who loves Duran Duran in the comments!

  • COAL ROLL

    Ugly Kid Joe

  • Dubs

    And somehow The Outfield have over 100k likes on FB.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      The world’s a twisted cunting place.

  • DVRKBEVRD

    one of JJDs favorites

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      I prefer Cutting Crew.

      • DVRKBEVRD

        thats 2 Cs

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          Am I never going to live this down?

          • Dubs

            Only if Ghost saves metal.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            No, no you should not.

          • DVRKBEVRD

            REVERSE RICK ROLL
            https://youtu.be/qb_hqexKkw8

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Yay! I love this song!

          • DVRKBEVRD

            i knew you would

  • Your Love is one of my mother’s favorite songs. Ever time it comes on, she lights up. Every time I hear it I think of her. Sweet song for sure. Sweet write up, MustacheBear.

    GL

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=4N1iwQxiHrs

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Did you really just post a video that was in the article?

      • Hell yeah I did. For easy clicking pleasure!

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        GL just doesn’t give a shit anymore.

        • There are not many more shits I have to give anymore, yes.

          • Dubs

            Dad life.

          • Also, being a dad is great. Baby smiles are unreal.

            #realtalk

          • DVRKBEVRD

            any chance to use this clip!
            https://youtu.be/AB_BpneV6IY

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Well, you are a family man now. How much more down can you go, honestly?

          • COAL ROLL

            six feet.

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            Mom dads dragging his naked ass on the rug again…ewwww.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            GAAAAHHH

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I never gave any shits. I say what I want to say and that won’t ever change.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            WELL THANKS FOR STATING THE OBVIOUS!

          • DVRKBEVRD

            thanks for stating the obvious, ksofm

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            SURE THING BEARD OF DARK!

          • RJA

            I’m reminded of somebody else who does what they want to do and says what they want to say…..
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUMzdSqxDpA

          • ME GORAK B.C.™

            ME SAY MANY STOOPID CAVEMAN THINGS!!!!! UNGA BUNGA!!!!!!!! OOGA BOOGA!!!!!! UGG UGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            I prefer taking shits, as opposed to giving them.

          • Pentagram Sam

            Made me think of an old AVGN fanmail reading: “Don’t take shits from anyone, only give shits, and see futures in balls!”

          • Well said.

          • When I go bankrupt from Disqus destroying my monthly hosting plan, I’m coming after you IRL.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            I’ll bring the popcorn.

          • I actually feel bad for posting all those “..”‘s earlier. I knew I as walking a fine line. Sorry Joe 🙁

          • COAL ROLL

            dude we hammered out almost every Dokken/Lynch Mob song title from the 80’s

          • I didn’t know when to Walk Away!

          • COAL ROLL

            If you do, you’ll be Alone Again

          • That’s a very “refreshing” statement.

          • DVRKBEVRD

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            HAHAHA.

      • Owlswald

        To be fair, the small video thumbs are annoying. I want to see his mullet in full screen HD and be whisked away by his angelic voice.

      • Bro, did you see that they did an article on The Outfield over at TOH?

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          HAHAHAHAHAHA. FUCK!

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    I love Duran Duran. Fight me.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Just stick to your counting.

      • DVRKBEVRD

        thats 2 Durans. you need 5 more or the world will flip upside down

    • brokensnow

      Rio is a great song.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        Same with Come Undone.

    • Sir Tapir The Based

      I’ll kick you in the ribs.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        I’ll kick you in your nads.

        • Sir Tapir The Based

          Don’t have them. You lose.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            So you’re a woman?

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            I’m a eunuch.

          • DVRKBEVRD

            its how he hits those high notes with that vibrato

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Ken doll’s are rad.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Hmm, well…..hmmmm…..

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Also, do the people who sang Afternoon Delite. I think they’re the Starland Vocal Band.

  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    I am fully prepared to fulfill that Baha Men request. Did they even have other songs?

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      Not that I know of.

      • YourLogicIsFlushed

        Fucking hell. I recant my application. I just picked a song from that album at random and after 30 seconds I decided to burn my phone and cancel my spotify account so no one even knows I ever ventured into that hellfire.

  • Dubs

    Sisqo’s Thong Song is all you need.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      Exactly.

    • Useless story incoming: In fourth grade we had this thing where we made our own island nation for each classroom, then we had our own currency and jobs you got paid for. At the end of the semester, there was this market day where groups of 2-3 kids would each have their own goods or services they would sell to other kids for their currency. A couple friends of mine had a boombox and would take requests. They played The Thong Song for about 90% of the day. Just imagine a bunch of stupid 4th graders jamming to that shit.

      • Dubs

        Thank you for sharing this memory with me.

  • Owlswald

    Winner winner chicken dinner. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTlD4ELLZf0

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      Ultravox is good shit.

  • Duran Duran suck much ass. Message ends.

    • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

      Message received. Message confirmed.

    • Dubs
      • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

        This video is good because of Bruce Campbell not Duran Duran.

        • A recent episode of Venture Bros centered around Duran Duran. In it I was reminded of the notion that T. Rex/Marc Bolan influenced much of 80s synth-pop including Duran Duran, an idea that I find blasphemous at best.

          • Dubs

            Also, the fantastic intro to Season 2 was at least partially based on the video for “Hungry Like the Wolf.”

    • DVRKBEVRD

      i know it sucks being a teen during the nu metal craze. but at least i was too young to have to hear this shit all day every day

      • It was inescapable, true horror.

        • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

          Guess who apparently was a huge Duran Duran fan…

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            Kerry King?

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Nope. Fred the Durstmeister himself.

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            I beleeee dat!

        • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

          Especially when also getting sonically surrounded similar bands like Flock of Seagulls, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Fixx, Depeche Mode, A Ha…please no more. I cant take it….

          • Ugh, everywhere. People who think the 80s were awesome because of all the Metal didn’t have to actually live through that decade.

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            Rough. Preppies, BJ and the Bear, A Team, ABBA, Grease the movie, preppies.

          • more beer

            There was much that needed to be ignored in the 80’s. As long as you did that it was a very fun decade.

          • I didn’t start really enjoying the 80s until 1987(i.e. out of high school and working).

          • more beer

            I had been out of high school in 83. So I had a few more years of fun in the 80’s than you.

    • Sir Tapir The Based

      I approve this message.

    • I can take or leave Duran Duran, the use of “Ordinary World” in this scene works nicely though.
      http://youtu.be/k6WEatV1oEc

  • I think you need to listen to a band’s entire discography to make a true judgement.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      Do you really want to listen to all 9 Outfield albums?

      • Do I? Hell no. Do I want Leif to listen to all 9 Outfield albums? Yes, yes I do.

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          I wouldnt wish that on anybody

      • 9 ALBUMS? Jesus

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          I saw it on Wikipedia. The last one was in 2011.

  • Fun Fact: Before they were called “The Outfield”, this band was known as “The Baseball Boys”. They’re English.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Better than The Cricket Chaps I suppose.

      • DVRKBEVRD

        i was trying to think of something jingoist. good job.

      • Dubs

        The Quidditch Wizards

        • Snooker Squad

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            Footy Fellas

          • Dubs

            Polo Pals

          • Cheeky Chaps

          • Stanley needs to get up in hear…

          • Stanley

            Rugger buggers.

          • Stanley

            Marbles mates.

          • Dubs

            Bocce Buddies

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Fish n chips friends

          • Stanley

            Croquet chums.

  • RJA

    I always dug the opening guitar and first couple lines of the first verse of “Your Love” – it sounds as if the song could be kick ass – then the chorus and bridge ruin it.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      And everything else.

      • How do you keep your edge so sharp? Plz divulge your secrets.

        GL

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          GL, PLZ!

        • Satan’s ass crack is a sharpener.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            And my dick is sharper than ever!

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Do House of Pain or Vanilla Ice! Also, would MC Hammer count?

    • RJA

      Dude, Hammer had a list of hits like 3 deep.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        I forgot about his other hits.

        • RJA

          they are forgettable if you didn’t live through hammer time and have to hear his songs on the daily.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Also, C&C Music Factory is a good one because I’ve never heard any of their other songs besides Everybody Dance Now.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      How about Deep Purple?

      • any time a question ends with “Deep Purple?” the answer is YES!

    • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

      House of Pain actually made a decent hip hop album

    • House of Pain’s albums are all good. I’m up to the task on that one.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        They’re going to Irving Plaza.

        • They’re playing near me in Montclair, NJ. Supposed to be going.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Lucky. I would see them but I’m broke.

  • Here’s an 80’s hit for yeah.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knkMuj030j4

  • Now that I think about it, I am psure I have a “Best Of” cassette from The Outfield. I will have to check my chest of drawings when I get home…. I might have squirreled it away somewhere.

    • Dubs

      “Chest of Drawings?”

      • whoops. I meant drawers. I am doing engineering drawings at work atm.

        • Dubs

          I was wondering if you had saved all your dick drawings from when you were an adolescent. Most of mine have been lost to the sands of time.

        • Draugur Duð í Gleystormi

          You’re doing engineering in your drawers?

    • You have an Outfield tattoo on your chest?

    • J Pop Power Metal Hot Buns

      You have a chest tattoo of Outfield and a squirrel? Is this your prison tats?

  • But srsly guys, great article. It was definitely an unexpected neat read!

    GL

    • Yeah, The Outfield is neat.

  • The Jerky Boys shared this opinion about The Outfield. At around 4:50, the caller remarks he wants to play in the outfield. The reply goes “that was a band in the 80’s that no one gave a fuck about”.
    http://youtu.be/j-rcfsQvKWY

  • Guppusmaximus

    Great Album! A definite sleeper that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. ’61 Seconds’ is one of my favs. “Play Deep’ reminds me of ‘Business as Usual’ – Another album that was stronger than its hits.

  • Guppusmaximus

    Also, I guess I’ll be that one guy who digs Duran Duran
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJzotJUlQws

  • Waynecro

    This is an awesome article, dude. Thanks! “Your Love” is one of those songs I dig a ton but always forget about.

    • J Pop Power Metal Hot Buns

      Loves me some The Outfield, but it’s been ages since I heard them. Just like Alphaville, Modern Talking, A-Ha, The Tubes and many others, they’re one of the bands from the 80’s that simply got wrote off as a one hit wonder without actually looking over their whole catalog.

  • JWEG

    From my indie rock period, two OHW stand out as deserving far better treatment than were given: Nada Surf, and the only-slightly-better-treated Semisonic; both of whom got screwed over royally. Though I guess I wouldn’t have revisited either one if they hadn’t respectively (a) gone independent and (b) disbanded so that individual members could go independent.

    Similar to the article’s chosen band their North American “One Hit” s were wildly unrepresentative of ether band’s other tunes. Especially in the former’s case since Elektra basically screwed them into selecting a deliberately jokey intended-album-end-hidden-track (forced to earlier position) that I don’t even have to mention by name to draw immediate recognition and grimaces from anyone who lived through mid-90s MTV.

    If you’re outside the States you might know both to be at-least-two-hit wonders instead owing to Europe and Asia choosing different singles for both bands’ ‘one hit’ and follow-up albums. I’m not sure about Australia though…

  • Draugur Duð í Gleystormi

    I actually like Outfield. Keep in mind that Oingo Boingo and many other bands, including Alphaville (who Jay Z covered a couple years back), only had one hit over here. Modern Talking has sold 120 million albums, but almost no one here in America has heard of them. It’s not all America, folks. Keep in mind how big Mago De Oz, Sepultura, Angra, Soda Stereo, Jaguares, Hocico, Rata Blanca, La Renga, and many others are big not far from here. 🙂

  • Draugur Duð í Gleystormi

    This article definitely has me synthpoppin’. :-p

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ik2YF05iX2w