Sunday, 23 March 2008

Greatest Hits - Includes Previously Unreleased New Song...

Everyone but Alan Partridge seems to pretend not to like Greatest Hits albums.
Obviously he does kinda have a point, I mean 'Best of' albums do kinda have a lot of good songs on. On the other hand, of course they're kinda annoying, especially if you buy the greatest hits album first, and then want to get into the rest of the band's work, coz you feel like if you buy one of their 'ordinary'/'proper' [delete as appropriate] albums, then you've kinda got all the best tracks already. This isn't necessarily true of course, particularly on a compilation that's a bit skewed towards recent material like Morrissey's recent Greatest Hits.
Anyway, one thing a lot of Greatest Hits albums have in common is that they feature a previously unreleased, specially recorded new song, or maybe even two, one of which is usually a single. In a pre-iTunes age they were really annoying if you had the band's other albums already, coz if there was one that wasn't released as a single, you had to buy all the songs you've already got. It's not so bad now obviously.
But all this ignores the quality of the actual songs. Most of them seem to get slated, maybe partly out of that sense of snobbishness that Alan Partridge is so blissfully unaware of. Here's a selection:

That's How People Grow Up
All You Need Is Me (highly recommended)

'That's How People Grow Up' I don't really like, and I think the general consensus of most fans seems to be the same. That kinda makes me wanna like it, but musically it feels kinda - lazy? A bit standard, verse-chorus-verse-chorus, where the chorus is just him singing the title of the song and that's it. More importantly for me, I don't like the lyrics. Whether it's falling in love or "trying to fall in love" that he's calling a waste of time, it doesn't make me happy. Sure a lot of Smiths/Morrissey stuff is equally pessimistic, but usually in a wittier way. But I do like hearing Morrissey singing the word "sweetie".
'All You Need Is Me' is much better I think. I don't love it, but it sounds so much more focused, angry, driven. Less ordinary lyrics: "There's a naked man standing laughing in your dreams" is at the very least memorable, and at the end there's a rather Wildean paradox-y bit "You don't like but you love me/ Either way you're wrong". THPGU was the single, but AYNIM is much more interesting.
Morrissey - Greatest Hits

Manic Street Preachers:
There By The Grace Of God
4 Ever Delayed

NME gave the Manics' Greatest Hits, Forever Delayed a zero out of ten. The sentiment is fair enough, given that they (I think I'm right in saying this) said back in the early 90s that they'd never release a greatest hits album. 'There By The Grace Of God' is a decent tune, though nothing to make someone who'd lost interest in them rediscover their passion for the band. I remember liking it at the time. '4 Ever Delayed' is good too, but it was on Lipstick Traces, their b-sides and rarities album that came out the following summer. NME gave it an eight for music, and a ten (!) for looking inside themselves and seeing what was wrong or something like that. Then they released Lifeblood and everyone hated them again, and then came Send Away The Tigers and everyone decided that they were cool after all, perhaps mostly coz Nicky Wire decided to wear a skirt again.
Manic Street Preachers - Forever Delayed: The Greatest Hits

Red Hot Chili Peppers:
Fortune Faded

Not particularly 'cool', but whatever dude. It's a nice catchy poppy ditty. Sorry for the low bit-rate.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Greatest Hits

Ian Brown:
All Ablaze

Meh. A bit ska-ish, a bit Middle-Eastern-ish, but basically a typical Greatest Hits extra track - a bit uninspired.
Ian Brown - The Greatest

Girls Aloud:
Something Kinda Ooooh (highly recommended)

Yay!! Undislikeable. Being 'the pop band that it's ok for indie people to like' kinda makes me wanna dislike them, but they're just undeniably amazing pop, on the fast ones like this anyway. The ballads are distinctly 'meh'. Also, this has FOUR 'o's in "ooooh" - not for Girls Aloud the simple double-o of Mark Ronson's 'Ooh Wee' or 'Ooh La' by The Kooks.
From The Sound of Girls Aloud

Bad Day

Ooh, it's a bit political... Pretty good imho, but R.E.M. haven't really made me excited for a while. Is Accelerate any good? That's a genuine question, not a rhetorical one; I haven't heard it yet. Low bit-rate again, apologies. Also: my opinion is that Reveal is a really good album. Discuss.
From In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003

Electrical Storm (William Orbit Mix)

I kinda prefer the original actually, but I've only got it in low bit-rate. Yeah, U2 pretty much suck nowadays, but this ain't bad. Window in the Skies or whatever it's called off the new greatest hits (U218) is kinda cool, or the video is worth watching anyways. It's basically an excuse to show off their musical taste, but with Beck and Patti Smith in there, at least it's good taste. And besides, I'm writing a music blog, so to criticise the showing-off of musical taste might be a liiittle bit hypocritical :)
U2 - The Best of 1990-2000
(P.S. - wasn't this track from 2002, making the album's title a bit a of misnomer...?)

Kiss of Life (highly recommended)

Yay, everyone loves Supergrass's greatest hits, coz they're an awesome singles band. Or were anyway, I'm not sure anyone's that fussed anymore sadly. This album got ten out of ten in NME - it kinda deserves it too, actually. This is great, kinda U2-meets-Midnite-Vultures-era-Beck. Low bit-rate yet again, sorry (it's 80 kbps - not thaaat bad...).
Supergrass is 10 - The Best of 1994-2004

Well, that's it. Comments are obviously totally completely welcome, indeed I'd be unendingly grateful if anyone did comment coz that means that someone's come across this blog, which is a good thing.


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