Exploring the Top 100 One Hit Wonders – Big Country – The Crossing

24 Nov

Before I go into this review, I need to clarify two things: 1) Obviously this is only a one hit wonder in America and 2) This is not my first listen to this album, in fact, The Crossing is my 22nd favorite album of all time.  Ok, are we good? Ready to continue?  Onwards!

What band is this album by? I can't find their name anywhere.

I hold many strange theories about music.  If the first line of a song is the name of the song, it is probably one of the worst pieces of music of all time, if a song name-checks the title of the album, it is one of the finest pieces of work known to man, if a band names a song after the name of the band, they are doomed to be a one hit wonder.  For the longest time, my two main examples of this were The Weather Girls (It’s Raining Men, can’t wait to hit that album up) and Big Country.  And then one day, a strange mood hit me, and I decided to check out the ratings for Big Country on Rate Your Music.  I was surprised to find that they were generally favorable, and with all of the weariness afforded an 80s album of this nature, I decided to suck it up and give The Crossing a chance.  I never looked back.

Have you ever heard of the e-bow? I hadn’t, not before The Crossing. What a fantastic little invention. If you don’t know what an e-bow is, a quick explanation from none other than Wikipedia:

The EBow or ebow (brand name for “Electronic Bow” or Energy Bow) (often spelled E-bow in common usage)[1] is a hand-held, battery-powered electronic device for playing the electric guitar, invented by Greg Heet in 1969. Instead of having the strings hit by the fingers or a pick, they are moved by the electromagnetic field created by the device, producing a sound reminiscent of using a bow on the strings.[2]

Exciting, no?  If there is any album with a better use of the e-bow, I’d love to hear it, seriously, please recommend one to me.  This album is littered with e-bow usage, it’s kind of Big Country’s signature sound.

Now to review the actual album.  Here we have 80s music at its best.  I guess this isn’t necessarily New Wave or anything, but I find it easy to throw it in with other bands of the time/nature, mostly for being relegated to 80s one hit wonder notoriety.  But it’s so much more than that.  It’s an actual album of good music for one thing.  Obviously “In A Big Country” is a fantastic song (The studio version is even better than the single version that I’m sure most people are familiar with), and I slight it none, but then there are other songs that are nearly as good, if not, possibly, better (I have a hard time ranking anything above “In A Big Country” as it is probably one of my favorite songs of all time…of all time).  “The Storm” immediately comes to mind as one of these possible tracks.  It is long, and that is probably its biggest weakness, giving it plenty of opportunity to stray from greatness, but it never really loses it for me.  I find myself rambling a bit about the album at this point, but there is just so much I want to say about it.  When you have an album like this with really only one pointless song ( “Lost Patrol“) it’s hard not to be excited.  Do yourself a favor, listen to this, I don’t know how you could regret it.  And if you have the opportunity to listen to the version with the attached EP, don’t pass that over thinking it’s simply bonus tracks, the actual song “The Crossing” is on the EP!  It greatly increases the run-time, but with songs like “All Fall Together“, it makes the experience all the sweeter.  Although it seems to be a popular trend over the last few years, I don’t see Big Country releasing any new material after the unfortunate suicide of lead singer Stuart Adamson, though they have released some material since his death in 2001, with Tony Butler (bass guitar) taking over vocals.


Travis, who has yet to actually introduce himself to the blog at large at this to say about it: Best use of bow-on-strings action I’ve yet come across. “Chance” was my fave.  3.75/5

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