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Intermittent Rock Report – December 2003

Posted by December 5th, 2003 No Comments »

Being dead sucks!The Intermittent Rock Report
December 2003
By Adam Lawrence, Music Editor

In light of the recent passing of Fred “Rerun” Berry, I thought I’d pay tribute to the music industry’s version of the rerun, namely the Greatest Hits collection. I delved into my personal CD collection and pulled out my favorite career-spanning, be-all-end-all retrospectives. Click below to find out what my top choices are.

Being dead sucks!The Intermittent Rock Report
December 2003
By Adam Lawrence, Music Editor

In light of the recent passing of Fred “Rerun” Berry, I thought I’d pay tribute to the music industry’s version of the rerun, namely the Greatest Hits collection. I delved into my personal CD collection and pulled out my favorite career-spanning, be-all-end-all retrospectives.

1. Bob Dylan – Biograph
2. Journey – Greatest Hits
3. Rolling Stones – 40 Licks
4. Talking Heads – Popular Favorites
5. Marvin Gaye – Every Motown Hit
6. Mozart – Amadeus Soundtrack
7. Pink Floyd – Echoes
8. The Clash – Essential Clash
9. Al Green – Take Me To The River
10. They Might Be Giants – Dial A Song

And here’s a list of artists or groups I think are prime subjects for such a treatment:

1. Beck
2. Radiohead
3. Foo Fighters
4. Wilco
5. Guns n’ Roses
6. Frank Stallone
7. AC/DC
8. Replacements
9. Afghan Whigs
10. Jonathan Richman

New Releases 10/28 – 11/18

One of my personal sociological theories is that the world can be divided into two parts – Those who like “Everybody Hurts” and those who don’t. See where you fall in the equation with the release of REM’s In Time: The Best of REM 1988-2003. Make sure to check out the special edition, complete with a second disc of b-sides and rarities. Give this one a spin and you’ll remember that Michael Stipe’s politics are actually quite separate from the music.

If you’re like me, your knowledge of Billy Bragg is limited to the two Mermaid Avenue albums with Wilco. Must I Paint You A Picture? The Essential Billy Bragg will expand your horizons with two discs chock full of hardcore, left wing English politics.

In light of the recent child molestation allegations lodged against Michael Jackson, you may want to steer clear of Number Ones. After all, this is Ashcroft’s America and you could end up on a list somewhere of pedophile sympathizers.

Every recipient of Columbia’s “Essential” treatment has been worthy of the honor. Except Kenny Loggins. The roster gets even better with the recent release of The Essential Bruce Springsteen and The Essential Simon And Garfunkel. The “Essential” series is a step above the usual contractual obligation Greatest Hits package. Each compilation feels like it’s put together by actual fans who know the artist and care about the catalog. Except the Kenny Loggins one.

I’ve always been a pretty big Tori Amos fan, but her new collection is a bit puzzling. First off, there’s the title Tales of a Librarian: A Tori Amos Collection, but that’s par for the course for someone who makes sure to thank the “faeries” on each album’s liner notes. The rather sparse DVD/Super Audio bonus disc makes me wonder why they even bothered. Ultimately, the track listing is the most confusing part. Why include several fill-in tracks from Boys For Pele while ignoring one of her biggest hits, “Caught A Lite Sneeze”? And why nothing from her last two albums?

My object of ridicule this week is I Ran: The Very Best of A Flock Of Seagulls. Finally, we can clear some shelf space up in the “F” section!

Sometimes an artist’s catalog cannot be confined to mere single CD form. This is when the Box Set must be utilized. Sometimes, as in the case of The Beach Boys or Velvet Underground, this means we get several versions of one album. Not so with Texas’ ZZ Top, who believe they have 80 “Greatest Hits” on Chrome, Smoke and BBQ: The Best of ZZ Top.

Talking Heads’ box Once In a Lifetime finally re-masters the seminal band’s back catalog and throws in a few rarities and alternate takes along the way. For too long, David Byrne has treated his band’s existence as some kind of unpleasant phase, but Talking Heads has been screaming to be brought into the 21st century. The DVD containing all their videos is a nice touch.

Before Johnny Cash’s death, but probably because of his declining health, Lost Highway began compiling an ambitious project of putting together the best of his American Recordings series, complete with unused tracks. The result is UnEarthed, a huge 5 disc set, which is a nice exclamation point on a remarkable career.

What A-Law Is Listening To

A couple weeks back, on the recommendation of Nada Overlord Matt Ashworth, I picked up My Morning Jacket’s new album It Still Moves. Recorded in an empty silo, the album’s ever-present echo should have been credited as an instrument. Occasionally, they drift toward jam-band silliness, but they always rein it in, resulting in a remarkable collection of dreamy and melodic fun. I have no idea what “Magheetah” means, but I’m drinking their Kool-Aid.


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