Four 1990s ridiculously good alternative rock one-hit wonders

One-hit wonders worth a deeper dive.

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Hum

Hum began their existence as a space-rock-leaning post-hardcore band from the college town of Champaign, Illinois in 1989. After releasing a few singles and its first proper album Electra 2000 in 1993, Hum was signed by RCA Records during the alternative rock boom and headed into the studio to record its major label debut.

The resulting album You'd Prefer An Astronaut was released in April of 1995, and after first failing to find an audience, Hum's second single "Stars" would be the big break the band needed as the song would become a hit on alternative rock-oriented radio stations, and its video played in heavy rotation on MTV.

"Stars' is a song that starts with clean chords strummed over quiet vocals. The lyrics, dreamy yet simple, set the listener up for a complete surprise once the sheer volume rings out at the end of the vocal introduction.

"She thinks she missed the train to Mars," sings lead vocalist Matt Talbot. "She's out back counting stars."

Following a massive tom to snare drum fill, Hum are off and running with a drop D-tuned yet melodic burst of guitars, drums, and tight rhythms. This was the kind of riff bands like the Deftones and Foo Fighters would perfect later on in the decade. Featuring a metallic barrage of riffing in a well-timed breakdown, Hum bring the song home with one more chorus. The results are nothing short of thrilling.

While Hum never had another single that received the airplay of "Stars," the band remains a cult favorite of music fans to this day. Hum last released the excellent comeback record Inlet in 2020, but the band's current status is unknown following the tragic passing of drummer Bryan St. Pere in June 2021.