Top 10 BoDeans Songs

BoDeans Songs

Feature Photo: Destin at English Wikipedia, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Our top 10 BoDeans songs list presents the music of an American rock band best known for its blend of roots rock, heartland rock, and alternative rock. The band was formed in 1983 by vocalist Sam Llanas and guitarist/vocalist Kurt Neumann. Sam and Kurt were shortly after joined by drummer Guy Hoffmann (who also played with Violent Femmes and Oil Tasters) and later bassist Bob Griffin.

Eventually, the band signed a recording contract with Slash Records after gaining popularity in its homeland Wisconsin. Other artists (once) signed under Slash Records include Faith No More, L7, The Chills, Rammstein, and Violent Femmes. BoDeans currently boasts fourteen studio albums in total. Nine of the band’s studio albums have made it to the Billboard 200. Let’s have a look at some of the most momentous albums by BoDeans.

A Quick Review of Some of BoDeans’ Most Successful Albums

In 1986, BoDeans released their debut studio album Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams. The album was issued through Slash/Warner Records under the production of Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter/guitarist/record producer T Bone Burnett. As a producer, T Bone Burnett has also worked with multiple artists including Counting Crows, Roy Orbison, Elvis Costello, Dirty Looks, Bruce Cockburn, and The Wallflowers.

Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams was a mainstream success rising to position one hundred and fifteen on the Billboard 200. The album also made it to the ninety-seventh spot on the ARIA Albums Chart. “Fadeaway,” “She’s a Runaway,” and “Still the Night” are some of the best BoDeans songs from the album Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams.

BoDeans returned in 1987 with their sophomore studio album Outside Looking In. The album was issued through Slash Records under the production of former Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison. Outside Looking In impressed in the mainstream charts becoming the band’s highest-charting album to date. The album made it to position eighty-six on the Billboard 200 Chart.

Outside Looking In was also a success in the ARIA Albums Chart where it peaked at number seventy-two. While the album was a success, some critics were quick to notice BoDeans’ move away from their roots-rock sounds. Nevertheless, the album featured several impressive musical gems including “Dreams,” “Only Love,” “I’m in Trouble Again,” and “The Ballad of Jenny Rae.”

Home, issued in 1989, marked the band’s third studio album. The album also marked the band’s third album issued through Slash Records, albeit the first under the production of Jim Scott. Jim Scott has also worked with multiple other artists including Wilco, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Mastersons, and Tom Petty among others.

Home made it to the ninety-fourth spot on the Billboard 200 Chart. Unlike its predecessors, Home failed to grace the ARIA Albums Chart. “Far Far Away from My Heart,” “Good Work,” “When the Love Is Goob (I Mean Good),” and “You Don’t Get Much” are the best BoDeans songs from the album Home.

In 1991, BoDeans issued their fourth studio album, Black and White. The album was issued through Slash Records with David Z tasked with its production. Other musicians who have worked with music producer David Z include Prince, Billy Idol, Neneh Cherry, Etta James, and Buddy GuyBlack and White made it to position one hundred and five on the Billboard 200 Chart. “\Good Things,” “Paradise,” “Naked,” and “Black, White and Blood Red” are the most popular songs by BoDeans from the album.

BoDeans returned in 1993 with their fifth studio album Go Slow Down. The album saw BoDeans work with producer T Bone Burnett once again issuing this record through Slash Records. Go Slow Down climbed to position one hundred and twenty-seven on the Billboard 200 Chart. “Closer to Free,” “Idaho,” “Stay On,” and “Feed the Fire” are the best BoDeans songs from the album Go Slow Down.

In 1996, BoDeans issued their sixth studio album Blend. The album was co-produced by BoDeans members in conjunction with Greg Goldman. Greg has also worked with a number of artists including Suicidal Tendencies, Anthrax, Vow Wow, Lisa Fischer, Scott Grimes, and Joe Cocker. Blend made it to position one hundred and thirty-two on the Billboard 200. The album is home to musical gems such as “Hurt by Love,” “The Understanding,” and “Hey Pretty Girl.”

After about eight years, BoDeans returned with their seventh full-length studio album Resolution. The album was the band’s first record issued through Zoë Records. Other artists who have (once) been affiliated with Zoë Records include Tracy Bonham, The Damnwells, Juliana Hatfield, Lisa Loeb, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Kurt Neumann worked on this album’s production works. Resolution climbed to position one hundred and ninety-four on the Billboard 200 Chart. “Slipping into You” and “Crazy” are the most popular songs from the album Resolution.

BoDeans returned in 2008 with their eighth studio album Still. The album was issued through He and He Records under the production of T Bone Burnett. Still matched Resolution’s feats on the Billboard 200 rising to position one hundred and ninety-four. The album is home to musical gems such as “Hearing,” “Everyday,” and “Round Here Somewhere.”

Mr. Sad Clown, issued in 2010, marked the band’s ninth studio album. The album was issued through 429 Records under the production of Kurt Neumann. Other artists (once) signed under 429 Records include The Constellations, Joan Armatrading, Dr. John, Steve Forbert, and EverclearMr. Sad Clown marked the band’s final album to have graced the Billboard 200 Chart where it peaked at number one hundred and seventy-two.

BoDeans’ post-Mr. Sad Clown records have barely achieved success. However, the last two albums have seen the band rekindle its lost spark. The 2017 album Thirteen might not have earned massive critical acclaim but featured several musical gems including “My Hometown.” BoDeans’ fourteenth (and most recent) studio album 4 The Last Time is also home to awe-inspiring tracks such as “Loved,” “Ya Gotta Go Crazy,” and “Come a Long Way.”

BoDeans’ Legacy

BoDeans remains one of the best Wisconsin regional bands by a long shot. The band has been permanently displayed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum as part of their Midwest Artists exhibit. More to that, BoDeans remains quite synonymous in the rock scene thanks to their striking live performances. BoDeans’ impressive live performances have seen the band earn support slots with Tom Petty, David Bowie, U2, The Pretenders, Chris Isaak, and Bob Dylan among others. Below is the list of our top 10 BoDeans songs of all time.

#10- My Hometown

There’s no better way to start our top 10 BoDeans songs list than with the hit “My Hometown.” Despite being one of the most recent tracks by the band, “My Hometown” proves to be a song worthwhile adding to any BoDeans fan’s playlist. The song is featured on the band’s 2017 album Thirteen.

As the title suggests, “My Hometown” is BoDeans’ tribute song to Waukesha, the town where the band formed. This beautiful song finds the singer crooning about his hometown—he cites it as his family and where he wishes to be. The vocal delivery in the song “My Hometown” resonates with its lyrical content making it quite a nostalgic (but beautiful) piece of music. Make sure you check out other songs with a similar theme in our Top 10 Songs about Home article.

#9- Hurt by Love

“Hurt by Love” is one of the best BoDeans songs memorable for its heartfelt lyrical content. The song’s lyrics perfectly capture BoDeans’ vulnerability with its theme centered around the complexities of love. Like the title suggests, “Hurt by Love” explores the pain associated a heartbreak and the year for love’s redemption. “Hurt by Love” is among the top songs by BoDeans featured on the album Blend.

The relatability of this song’s lyrics makes it quite a precious musical gem by BoDeans. However, it is the vocal delivery in this song that grants it a chance to solidly sit on our top 10 BoDeans songs list. The raw, emotional, and harmony-filled vocal delivery in this song is almost unmatched by most BoDeans songs. “Hurt by Love” made it to the Billboard Adult Top 40 Chart peaking at number thirty-three. The song also climbed to the thirty-ninth spot on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 Chart.

#8- You Don’t Get Much

Raking eighth on our top 10 BoDeans songs list is the hit “You Don’t Get Much.” The song is featured on the band’s third full-length studio album Home. “You Don’t Get Much” is emblematic of the band’s continued ability to release songs with tight harmonies and melodic hooks.

The infectious and upbeat instrumentation also adds to this song’s prodigious experience. “You Don’t Get Much” made it to the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart peaking at position twenty. The song also climbed the Billboard Alternative Songs Chart where it peaked at number fifteen. “You Don’t Get Much” is featured in the 1989 film The Wizard. Other artists whose songs were featured in The Wizard include Bobby Brown, Patsy Cline, Martha & The Vandellas, Sally Dworsky, and Paul Anka.

#7- Dreams

BoDeans’ knack for memorable melodies echoes through our seventh pick “Dreams.” The song is featured on the band’s sophomore studio album Outside Looking In. “Dreams” has one of the most driving rhythm sections thanks to the tight drum strums and thunderous basslines. The song features relatable lyrics that address the chase of one’s passions and aspirations.

“Dreams” also bring the best out of Kurt Neumann’s raw and gritty vocal delivery. The song went ahead to rise to position thirty-two on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. “Dreams” remains one of the band’s concert staples to date.

#6- Still the Night

Ranking sixth on our top 10 BoDeans songs list is the hit “Still the Night.” The song is featured on the band’s debut studio album Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams. “Still the Night” is among the captivating picks that showcase the band’s blend of alternative rock and roots rock soundscapes. The song finds the band’s vocalists exchanging lyrics that allude to endless desire and pursuit for a life-long connection. “Still the Night” features an infectious chorus which makes it quite memorable.

#5- Only Love

“Only Love” is by far one of the most popular songs by BoDeans of all time. The song is featured on the band’s sophomore studio album Outside Looking In. “Only Love” is a heartening pick delivered in an inviting and infectious melody. Once again, the band is not afraid to go vulnerable with its lyrics in this song. “Only Love” finds the band showcasing the redemptive abilities of love.

Through the song, BoDeans members showcase their belief in love’s power to bring hope and healing to the masses. This rich-textured catchy track was a mainstream success rising to the sixteenth spot in the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. The song also made it to the ARIA Singles Chart peaking at number ninety-five. “Only Love” featured a music video that achieved some rotation on MTV.

 

#4- Far Far Away from My Heart

Despite not impressing (as expected) in the mainstream charts, “Far Far Away from My Heart” remains one of the best BoDeans songs of all time. The song is featured on the band’s 1989 third studio album Home. “Far Far Away from My Heart” is an emotionally-charged pick that finds the band reminding us of its roots-rock beginnings.

The soulful and emotive vocal delivery makes this track one of the band’s most memorable tracks. “Far Far Away from My Heart” also features powerful harmonies and catchy melodies, just like most songs in this list. The song’s poignant lyrical content finds the band exploring the theme of heartbreak with the singer expressing his desire to escape this pain.

#3- Fadeaway

Ranking third on our top 10 BoDeans songs list is the breathtaking track “Fadeaway.” The song is among the hits that introduced BoDeans to the world. “Fadeaway” is featured on the band’s debut studio album Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams. The song issues us with the band’s succulent blend of roots rock and heartland rock sound influences.

“Fadeaway” also gives us a taste of Kurt Neumann’s evocative vocal delivery. The rhythm section in this song adds to its undeniably anthemic and catchy feel. “Fadeaway” never made it big in the US mainstream. However, the song became BoDeans’ first single to make it to the ARIA Singles Chart peaking at position seventy-six. The song featured a music video directed by Matt Mahurin. Matt has also directed music videos for John Fogerty, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Lyle Lovett, Alice in Chains, and Disturbed.

#2- Good Things

“Good Things” is by far one of the most momentous singles ever released by BoDeans. The song serves as the album-opening track to BoDeans’ fourth studio album Black and White. This lively and catchy track finds the band expressing lyrics with a sense of optimism in a situation. The singer promises to offer love, attention, and time to one heart.

“Good Things” gives us yet another chance to listen to Kurt Neumann’s impressive lead vocals. However, the epitome of this song’s vocal delivery is the vocal harmonies by Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas. Unfortunately, “Good Things” is among the most popular songs by BoDeans that barely made it big in the mainstream charts.

#1- Closer to Free

Ranking first on our top 10 BoDeans songs list is the alluring hit “Closer to Free.” The song serves as the album-opening track to the band’s fifth studio album Go Slow Down. “Closer to Free” finds the band expressing lyrics that allude to breaking free—that’s personal freedom and the sense of liberation. This spirited song is emblematic of the band’s blend of roots rock and heartland rock soundscapes.

“Closer to Free” is the band’s most successful single on the mainstream charts. The song rose atop the Canadian RPM Singles Chart peaking at position sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100. “Closer to Free” also climbed to the eleventh spot on the ARIA Singles Chart. The song was used as the opening theme song of the teen and family drama TV series Party of Five.

 

Top 10 BoDeans Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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