One Hit Wondering – Luscious Jackson
One Hit Wondering is a series of columns where I listen to the album of a one hit wonder, and find three songs, other than the hit, that people should hear.
When choosing artists for this column sometimes I have a moment where I say to myself – “I can’t believe this band only had one hit.” Usually it’s because the band in question has an album, or albums, I think of as classics. This is the case with Luscious Jackson.
I’ve always considered Luscious Jackson a musically groundbreaking band, and feel their second album, 1996’s Fever In Fever Out, should be in everyone’s collection. That said, “Naked Eye” was their only Top 40 hit.
Maybe I was just watching a lot of MTV at the time (spoiler alert – I was watching a lot of MTV at the time), but I feel like the video for “Naked Eye” was on all the time, like whenever I turned on the TV. With that in mind, I have to assume I’m not the only one who fell in love with the Luscious Jackson sound, which featured elements of downtempo, hip-hop, and jazz.
Based on album sales, I was not alone, as according to Wikipedia, Fever In Fever Out, which features “Naked Eye,” reached gold status (500k copies sold) four years after its release. FYI, people continuing to discover their music years after the fact is actually a good thing.
Back in 2016 I wrote a feature on eight wildly underrated albums from the ‘90s (link here), and Fever In Fever Out was on that list, so, obviously, I feel the entire album is well worth your time. Keeping with the theme of this column, however, here are three songs from Fever In Fever Out, other than “Naked Eye,” that you should check out.
“Don’t Look Back”
On “Don’t Look Back” Luscious Jackson embraces such a cool vibe. One part serene beach scene, with its guitar and drums, and one part dimly lit after hours bar, with the music of the chorus giving the feel of late night anticipation, it doesn’t just set the mood, it has the ability to set multiple moods.
Speaking of moods …
Normally if someone is having mood swings you’ll want to keep your distance, but in the case of Luscious Jackson, their “Mood Swing” is a jazzy gem you’ll be quick to embrace.
Personally, I think this should’ve been the follow up to “Naked Eye,” because it would’ve opened them up to a different audience, and potentially expanded their fan base, while still hitting the mark for those who loved the album’s first single.
A wise man once said, “I gotta have faith,” and while Luscious Jackson’s “Faith” doesn’t involve a leather jacket, or a jukebox, it features a sublime sound … and a bit of a Sublime sound if you think about Bradley Nowell-led band’s slower, more groove-oriented material.
Production-wise, “Faith” is one of the darker tracks on Fever In Fever Out, but the lyrical content is beautiful.
Until next time, here’s to discovering more great music from one hit wonders!