Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
Location: California

uao is also a contributor to Blogcritics.org, Rhapsody Radish. and FIQL.com.

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A Sampling of Articles, Reviews, and Essays:

Feel free to dig through the Deep Freeze for more, but stuff dated before mid-March 2005 is still formative and impressionistic, and not really worth the effort.

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Note: the copyrighted audio material on this site is for listening only, and is not downloadable. It is provided as illustrations to the articles, and to interest people in the legal purchase of these artists' material. Any copyright holder who would like their material removed should contact me, and I'll remove it.

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Friday, June 10, 2005
 

Weekend Reissue Roundup #11 06/11/05

Pat Benatar: Greatest Hits (2005)   John Denver: Greatest Hits [Bonus Tracks] (2005)   Kiss: Greatest Hits (1996)   The Beautiful South: Solid Bronze: Great Hits (2002)


Pat Benatar: Greatest Hits (Capitol, June 7, 2005) ***
John Denver: Greatest Hits [Bonus Tracks] (BMG Heritage, June 7, 2005) ***
Kiss: Greatest Hits (Universal International, June 7, 2005) ****
The Beautiful South: Solid Bronze: Great Hits (Universal International, June 7, 2005) *****

This week's notable reissues, in stores this week:

Pat Benatar: Greatest Hits
Pat Benatar: Greatest Hits (2005)
This 20-song retrospective might be too much Pat Benatar for most people; even at her greatest, she wasn't really all that great. She is best known for her operatic, multi-octave voice, which was accompanied by competent but fairly unarresting arena rock featuring the guitar of Neil Giraldo, whom she married. Her best hits all came within a narrow period from 1979-1980, including "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", "Heartbreaker", "You Better Run" (a cover of the Young Rascals), all included here. By 1981, she was already approaching a more pop-oriented direction, and while she hit the top-10 twice, with "Love Is A Battlefield" in 1983 and "We Belong" in 1984, her rock fan base eroded fast. The hits dried up abruptly in 1985; her last top-20 was the forgettable "All Fired Up" in 1988. This collection rounds up all the hits, and near-hits, and a few misses; it certainly is the most thorough document of her career. However, cut-for-cut, her 1980 sophomore album Crimes of Passion is a far more engaging listen than this one.

John Denver: Greatest Hits [Bonus Tracks]
John Denver: Greatest Hits [Bonus Tracks] (2005)
This compilation was originally released in 1973, just as Denver (Henry John Deutschendorf) was reaching his peak; it includes his hits though "Rocky Mountain High" and cuts off before "Annie's Song"; thus, none of his #1 hits are here (they appear on Greatest Hits, Volume 2). Still, this does include the best of his early years, which were more consistent than his mid-late 70's output. Three songs have been added to flesh out the CD: "Daydream", "I Guess I'd Rather Be In Colorado", and "Sail Away Home". Denver has always been an example of MOR housewife music, with little rock credibility, but he did leave a few footnotes to music history, having written "Leaving On A Jet Plane", a hit for Peter, Paul, and Mary (his version is included), and as a latecomer to the Chad Mitchell Trio, a second-tier folk combo in the 60's. While this collection has always been a fan favorite, non-fans would probably be much better off with a career-spanning single disc collection, of which there are plenty; Definitive All-Time Greatest Hits on RCA is the best. Denver died in 1997 when his experimental aircraft crashed into the ocean off the coast of Santa Monica, CA.

Kiss: Greatest Hits
Kiss: Greatest Hits (1996)
This is a reissue of a no-frills 1996 collection of 20 hits, originally on Mercury, spanning Kiss' entire career to that date. As such, it is a handy sampler for those wishing to have the hits, without wading through a mountain of Kiss albums. The track selection is not definitive; missing are such hits as "Christine Sixteen", but some key album tracks like "God Of Thunder" keep the collection interesting. The programming jumps all over the place; the non-costumed 1983 hit "Lick It Up" is sandwiched between 70's warhorses "Detroit Rock City" and "Hard Luck Woman", but truth told, the casual listener would be unlikely to notice; Kiss has seldom strayed from their core sound in the last three decades. A couple of other oddball choices will make this a somewhat more engaging listen for fans than a straight hits collection; most of the best hits are here for the newbies.

The Beautiful South: Solid Bronze: Great Hits
The Beautiful South: Solid Bronze: Great Hits (2002)
This collection originally appeared on Polygram in 2002; Universal International has given it new release. The Beautiful South aren't a household name in America, but they had a number of hits in England during the 1990's, and were one of the best British alternative pop/rock bands of its day. Formed by Paul Heaton and drummer David Hemmingway of the Housemartins after that band's 1989 breakup, the Beatiful South's biggest selling point are the luscious vocals of Briana Corrigan (ex-Anthill Runaways) and Jacqueline Abbott. Their name is a joke; the Housemartins were from Northern England, which is often considered nowhereland by trendy Londoners. Their music featured jazzy, downtempo guitars and wry, subversive, sometimes violent lyrics; the juxtapostion of a fairly easy-listening sound and twisted subject matter made them unique. In America, only the early singles "You Keep It All In" and "We Are Each Other" managed to get token airplay; the latter isn't included here. However, all their best moments are here, such as "Don't Marry Her (Fuck Me)", "Song For Whoever", "A Little Time", and others. Well worth hearing, especially for Americans who might have missed them.

Weekend Reissue Roundup appears every Friday Night/Saturday AM.

A slightly modified version of this article appears at Blogcritics.org