Classic Rock Bottom

Yes, I'm ripping TageRyche off.  I'll admit it.  I was going to post these in his thread, but then I just decided to make a separate thread.  But as the title says, I'm specifically posting brief thoughts about only greatest hits compilations with a maximum of two discs (I already have a separate thread regarding multi-disc box sets).  These don't get a lot of attention since we typically deal with proper studio albums, so why not.  For some reason, I've been in sort of a greatest hits mood lately.  I also invite anyone else who wants to post a greatest hits disc review to do so here, even if it's a repeat of one of mine.  And I'll do like TageRyche, I'll just keep adding the new posts to this thread.  TR, you can have your people contact my people so we can get this worked out without involving the attorneys.

Ultimate Survivor is a one disc compilation released in 2004.  It contains 18 songs that cover the period from 1979 to 1988, with one song (Rockin' Into The Night) being previously unreleased.  That last song is a cover of the .38 Special song, and is nowhere near as good as the hit version.  Of course, the hits are here.  The songs that I had not heard were good for the most part.  There were a couple of non-memorable ballads (Across The Miles and Man Against The World).  Weirdly, the last four songs had a singer whose voice I didn't recognize.  Maybe someone that reads this can tell me.  It certainly doesn't sound like Jimi Jamison.  The songs are pretty good, but I'm not impressed at all by the vocals.

Personally, I would have liked for the two ballads to be replaced by Broken Promises and Popular Girl from the Vital Signs album.  Anyway, Survivor was very melodic and this was a pleasurable listen for me.

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Entry #11

I listened to The Best of Eddie Money a couple of days ago.  I've always been a fan, although I admit that my fandom stops with his hits.  I do own three of his albums.  I picked up one of those "triple feature" sets that contains his debut, Life For The Taking and No Control.  Problem is, I really haven't spent any time with that set.  The Best Of Eddie Money was released in 2001 and features songs across Money's career, from the debut through his first greatest hits disc from 1989, which featured three new tracks at the time.

As you can imagine, the big hits are all here.  Songs like Two Tickets To Paradise, Shakin', Take Me Home Tonight, Walk On Water, Think I'm In Love, Baby Hold On and I Wanna Go Back make this a worthy purchase on their own.  You can add to that some fine album cuts like the reggae leaning Running Back, the rocking We Should Be Sleeping and the totally soulful Maybe I'm A Fool.  That covers ten of the albums sixteen cuts.  And I would be remiss if I did not mention the spectacular album track Trinidad off of the 1980 Playing For Keeps album.  A couple of live songs and three other tracks round out the album.  These didn't get any traction for me, but hearing the album songs mentioned above tells me that Eddie Money's catalog needs a bit more research on my part.

The tracklisting on this offering does not follow chronologically, which for some folks is a positive or a negative.  I don't really mind either way.  At a current price point on Amazon of $6.99, you cannot go wrong in picking up this one.  I certainly recommend it as a greatest hits compilation.

Personal Rating - 8/10 Stars

Entry #12

The Cult are up next.  Pure Cult: The Singles 1984-1995 was released in 2000.  This was a reissue of Pure Cult: For Rockers, Ravers, Lovers and Sinners that was originally released in 1993.  As implied by the title, the album covers the band from the start up through 1995.  I have to be honest and say that while I do like The Cult, it's mostly for their hits and for the album Sonic Temple.  I also am pretty sure that I have heard (at least) most of Electric and I liked it too.  It' s on my list for pick up if I find it at a nice price.  

I certainly feel like the album does a nice job of covering the songs that I am most familiar with.  Songs like Fire Woman, Edie (Ciao Baby), Sun King and Sweet Soul Sister all represent my favorite Cult album Sonic Temple.  Of course, one of the coolest songs in the world, Love Removal Machine, is present and accounted for.  She Sells Sanctuary and Rain are here as well.  That pretty much sums up all that I'm familiar with.  As far as the rest of the tracks go, they are all very solid rock songs.  Solid enough that I may pick up the debut and Love as well.  I also currently have a copy of Ceremony from 1991 that I found very cheap a few years ago, but I have yet to carve out some time to listen to it.  I think I'll check it out soon based on listening to this.

At a price point of just under 14 dollars new or around 7 dollars used, I absolutely think this disc is worthy of a purchase.  That goes for fans as well as those that don't know The Cult's music.  It get's my thumbs up!

Personal Rating: 8/10 Stars

Entry #13

Billy Joel's Greatest Hits is a 2 disc compilation that was released in 1985 and covers his output from the debut through An Innocent Man in 1983.  It's put together as two separate discs, Volumes I and II, with Volume I covering from 1973-1977 and Volume II covering 1978-1985.  The second disc contains two new songs in addition to his hits.  This album sold like crazy, and with two discs being included, has been certified Double Diamond with 23 million units being sold.  I've said this before, but I don't think it's fair to count both discs.  Technically, the product sold 11.5 million units, but that gets doubled due to two discs being included.  Either way, there is no denying Billy Joel's popularity.  

What you get is a ton of great music here.  The first disc contains everything of note up through the amazing album The Stranger.  Prelude/Angry Young Man and Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway), both from Turnstiles, would have been nice additions, but it's hard to complain about what's here.  My favorites on the first disc are The Entertainer, Captain Jack, The Stranger and Scenes From An Italian Restaurant.  That being said, this first disc is a perfect ten.

The second album picks up at 52nd Street and carries through the two new songs from 1985.  Honesty, Sometimes A Fantasy, An Innocent Man and Keeping The Faith would be the songs left off and again would have been nice inclusions.  Especially seeing as how the two new songs don't register for me at all.  I'm not saying they are terrible, but any of the songs I mentioned would have been preferred as far as I'm concerned.  

So while I think Volume I is perfect and Volume II is fairly close to being the same, I'll tell you that I highly recommend this compilation.  It's still available on Amazon for under 16 dollars.  That may sound steep, but remember, you get two volumes of hits for that price.  You can probably find it used for even less.  I do think this is a must have, even for the casual Billy Joel fan.

Personal Rating: 9/10 Stars

I love this compilation. I had it on cassette for a very long time and then it wore out. But I couldn't find it anywhere for what I deemed a good price. Then the local music shop near me announced they were shutting down and I ended up getting a copy of this album for at least 40% (It might've been 60%) off of the marked price.

Much like you, I'd give it a 9 out of 10. It really does capture pretty much the entirety of the best material he did in the timeframe covered.

Man, it's awesome when we agree!

That's true!

Entry #14

Guns N' Roses released their greatest hits album in 2004.  That was sandwiched in between the band's first 5 studio albums and their sixth and final to date studio album.  In this day and age, six studio albums is not a lot for a band that's been on the scene in some way, shape or form for 31 years.  What does that have to do with anything?  I'll tell you shortly.

This album contains 14 songs.  The last track is a cover of The Stones Sympathy For The Devil, which originally appeared on the Interview With The Vampire soundtrack. The other 13 tracks cover those first five albums in a mostly chronological way.  For some reason, the squeeze one song from Lies in between songs from the band's debut.  

The thing I find strange is that 7 tracks are taken from Use Your Illusion I and II.  That is half of the track listing, with only three songs being pulled from the most classic of the band's albums, Appetite For Destruction.  Don't get me wrong, I think the Illusion albums are good, but I think the tracks could have been culled into one album that would have given AFD a run for it's money.  It's So Easy, Nightrain, Mr. Brownstone, My Michelle, Think About You and Rocket Queen could have all been included as far as I'm concerned.  Even Dust N' Bones, Perfect Crime, 14 Years, Yesterdays and So Fine could have been pulled from the two Illusion albums.  And I could have gladly done without the covers from The Spaghetti Incident? and the previously mentioned soundtrack.  But I will say that, listening to this again after quite some time, I realized how darn long the songs were on the Illusion albums.  

The album is less than 8 dollars on Amazon, which certainly is a good price.  But if you ask me, due to the fact that you can just pick up AFD, the two Illusion albums and Lies and have everything on those albums, my recommendation is to go that way instead of buying this greatest hits album.  

Personal Rating - 6/10 Stars

For me, their greatest hits album should pretty much be the AFD album and pick a couple of tracks from Lies and Use Your Illusion.

Other than Appetite and Lies, the rest of their output is so far apart in quality its embarrassing.


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