Thursday, August 5, 2021

"Better Be Home Soon" by Crowded House

Song#:  3573
Date:  07/09/1988
Debut:  85
Peak:  42
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Pop, Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  It would take nearly a year, but this Aussie band's self-titled debut LP finally clicked thanks to the single "Don't Dream It's Over" (#2 Pop). A second single, "Something So Strong," would also crack the Top 10 at #7. In turn, the album would be a #12 platinum seller. Lead singer/songwriter Neil Finn and his bandmates then had the arduous task of following up that success, which back home in Australia had been an even bigger hit getting to #1. Feeling pressure from the newfound fame and the band's label, Finn had difficulty trying to write songs for the album, but finally came up with enough to fill out their sophomore effort Temple of Low Men. This first single was released and in Australia it flew up to #2. The album would become their second #1, but it sold far less than their debut. In the States, this single would not do nearly as well. It stopped short of the Pop Top 10 while getting to #18 AC and #28 Rock. Another track on the album, "Never Be the Same," would briefly get to #45 Rock. No other singles would make the Pop chart. With those results, the LP would only get to #40 and fail to even reach gold certification.

ReduxReview:  This was a slightly unusual single in a couple of ways. First, it was a ballad. More often that not, an uptempo track is released first to generate attention and excitement. Perhaps due to the success of "Don't Dream It's Over," this song seemed appropriate to release. Second, it was the last track on the album. While not unheard of that a final track gets a single release, usually the first single from an album will fall within the first few songs on the album. On albums, CDs or even digital releases, it was quite common that the back half is where the "filler" tracks would reside. Even if those songs were terrific, most would not be considered single-worthy. However, in this case it was odd that the closing track was the first single. It was probably a good choice as the song is solid, but it wasn't nearly as strong or catchy as "Don't Dream It's Over." It might have done better if it was a follow-up to a hooky uptempo tune, but they just didn't have that surefire hit on the LP. With mixed reviews and minor sales, Crowded House experienced the sophomore slump in the US.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The band's debut album would go on to win three ARIA awards (the Grammy equivalent in Australia). It was nominated for Album of the Year but lost out to one of the biggest selling albums in Australian music history, John Farnham's Whispering Jack. It was sort of like going up against Michael Jackson's Thriller; everyone was going to lose. (Note that '87 was the inaugural year for the ARIAs.) However, the following year they were able to secure an Album of the Year award with Temple of Low Men, and that was even going up against Farnham's #1 follow-up Age of Reason. Crowded House's LP would generate three more ARIA wins including Song of the Year for "Better Be Home Soon." Over the years, the band would receive many more nominations and would win four more bringing their total to twelve ARIAs. In 2016, they would be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.


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