Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time


Two years before Canada’s Crash Test Dummies had a worldwide smash with “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” from their sophomore album, they released their 1991 debut The Ghosts That Haunt Me, which was a massive success in their homeland but flew under the radar everywhere else.  I already discussed this album, which is every bit as unique & wonderful as its follow-up, in the third Great Out Of The Gate post back in 2015, and I’ve included that write-up below.

For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.




Crash Test Dummies are widely regarded as one hit wonders, and that hit (1993’s “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”) is considered a novelty by many people. While it’s true that they only had that one hit single in the U.S., they enjoyed wider success in their home country of Canada, and there’s a lot more to their music than just one song. Lead singer Brad Roberts’ deep baritone is the band’s most prominent distinguishing feature, but it’s his quirky, thought-provoking and often humorous songs, along with the haunting backing vocals of keyboardist Ellen Reid, that make them truly special. I fell in love with them the first time I heard their debut and its leadoff single, “Superman’s Song.” That melancholy ode to the Man Of Steel was unlike anything I had heard before, and a similar mood pervades the acoustic waltz of “Androgynous” and the surprisingly uplifting dirge that is album closer “At My Funeral.” They also display an affinity for folk, country & Celtic music on tracks like “Comin’ Back Soon (The Bereft Man’s Song),” “Here On Earth (I’ll Have My Cake),” “Winter Song” and “The Ghosts That Haunt Me.” Prior to last week I hadn’t played this album in several years, and I was pleased to discover that everything I loved about it all those years ago remained. I was grinning ear to ear the entire time.


Who else still enjoys this band nearly three decades after their first record? If you first discovered them via the aforementioned hit single, did you ever check out more of their music? Their one-of-a-kind sound isn’t for everyone but, for many of us, once you enter their world you never want to leave.

10 comments on “Satur-debut – CRASH TEST DUMMIES “THE GHOSTS THAT HAUNT ME”

    • Nice write-up, Ward. Did you continue with them after the first two albums? I’ve got their whole catalog and while not all of them are classics they’re well worth checking out. For me they never wore out their welcome. I’m guessing when BNL shows up in this series you might not be as enthusiastic, based on the last line of your CTD review.


      • wardo68
        March 21, 2020

        I liked the second album somewhat, but it never grabbed me as strongly as the first, almost like it tried too hard to be eccentric. The third one got a few listens, but again, nothing.

        BNL is just one of those bands that always bugged me. A friend called them “music for people who don’t like music” — the type who have a small handful of the same CDs, like BNL, Steve Miller Greatest Hits, the second Dave Matthews album, etc.


      • The third CTD album sounded like they were trying to replicate the success of its predecessor, but later on they did some great stuff. As for BNL, I loved them right from the start, and saw them in small clubs in New York as they slowly built a following. Their first two albums were/are awesome but their third album was mostly a stinker, so I began to lose interest. A year later they became huge and lost me, but not because they “sold out.” The music just didn’t connect with me anymore. My wife & I love their holiday album and play it every year.


  1. christiansmusicmusings
    March 21, 2020

    Frankly, I only knew these guys from “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm,” which I kind of liked when it came out. There’s something weirdly catchy about that tune, as well as the tracks you highlighted here.

    Come to think of it, I really haven’t heard any other band that sounds like Crash Test Dummies. Even their name is odd!


    • I think “weirdly catchy” is a great way to describe much of their discography. That hit single was a fluke…who would have thought the mainstream would catch on to it?…but I’m glad it was a hit because at least people have some idea of what they sound like even if they never heard anything else they recorded.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. stephen1001
    March 22, 2020

    Rich Kamerman, now there was a real gent! Nice choice & well said about Ellen’s vocals


  3. Jim S.
    March 26, 2020

    Oh, boy. I haven’t heard that “Superman” song in ages. It brings back memories. I used to be a partner in a small computer company back in the day. We had a beautiful head-turning blonde woman working for us at the time. She liked this song and so it makes me think of her. Other than that, I don’t know much about these guys.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great memory to associate with that song. Probably not what the Dummies had in mind but they would be happy just knowing you remember it. Their sound is unique and not for everyone’s taste, but if you like the clips in this post there’s a lot more to check out in their discography.

      Liked by 1 person

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