The recent news that the Coral are about to release a "singles collection" (read: best of) kind of pissed me off.
First off, this is a band that's still young and while they're productivity may have slowed down a little bit, it seems a bit premature to do a singles collection. Their first album was released six years ago... shouldn't there be like a 10-year limit before you go ahead releasing singles collections?
And of course, while most Coral fans will likely sigh at the news and say they'd prefer something new, the record label still will try to dupe us into buying the disc with the promise of a new track, which, sadly, sounds like a B-side from five years ago
Never have schemes been hatched on fans that are worse than the greatest hits with one or two new tracks. The completisits among us spitefully shell out full price for one song, and more often than not, it sounds like it was written and recorded under the premise of, "Hey I know you guys are on break and all, but we have the hits album coming in November and it'd be nice to have a new track to tack on to that."
The failures exist and exist at almost every corner: Blur's "Music is My Radar" sounds like a depressing afterthought after 17 other generally fantastic singles, people might argue the Stones' "Don't Stop" isn't SO bad, but sandwiched between "Beast of Burden" and "Happy" on 40 Licks
, it sounds dreadfully out of place... and I believe I've already committed enough bile to "All You Need is Me" and "That's How People Grow Up" to Mr. Morrissey's latest hits package in previous posts.
Then there are the artists who you wonder why they even have greatest hits... Lisa Loeb's could be 11 new songs around "Stay" for all I know, and even though you only know one song by the Crash Test Dummies, they have a greatest hits package with 13 other songs they consider just as valid.
But, of course, once in a great while, artists reach deep down and find the strength to write a song for a hits set that's just as potent and awesome as the other chart toppers it shares space with. For this month's Friday Five, we celebrate five such instances.
The Friday FiveAmong the Greatest: *New* songs for hits packages that were quantifiably fantastic in their own right Crowded House - Instinct
The recent Crowdies reunion might make you forget for a minute there that there actually was a decade that they didn't exist and Neil Finn was putting out fine albums under his own name and with his brother. When Crowded House first split in 1996, they didn't do so under the acrimonius terms other successful bands do, and actually gave their following a bunch of nice parting gifts, from a bigass farewell concert at the Sydney Opera House to the retrospective Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House
, which not only offered up the must-haves like "Don't Dream It's Over," "Something So Strong," and "Weather With You" -- it also offered up three solid new tracks. This was the first single pulled from the album and while it didn't have the same worldwide appeal as "Don't Dream It's Over" did 10 years prior, it did prove to be the boys' most certifiable chart showing since "Weather With You." Plus it's a very cool song.Earth, Wind & Fire - September
This might just win the award for best new song ever added to a greatest hits set ever. With EWF putting out The Best of Earth, Wind and Fire Vol. 1
in 1978, the soulsters tacked this track on for everyone who already had all their other stuff, and in a day and age before MP3s and instant new song availability, it helped move a hell of a lot of copies. "September" went on to become the group's most substantial hit, and not only is it pretty much a prerequisite for every wedding reception you might ever go to, it's placement in Old Navy ads will almost certainly have you thinking performance fleece and fairly priced T-shirts upon listening. Plus it's a very, VERY cool song.OutKast - The Whole World
While OutKast's popularity gained strength with each album they put out in the 1990s, it was 2000's Stankonia
that really blew the duo to astronomic heights on the back of "Ms. Jackson," "So Fresh So Clean" and "B.O.B." To put out a greatest hits set the following year was an obvious marketing ploy and considering it'd be another two years still before "The Way You Move" and "Hey Ya!," rather ballsy too. But Big Boi and Dre Present... OutKast
provided three great new cuts, and this track not only proved a certifiable hit, but also snatched the boys a Grammy.Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Mary Jane's Last Dance
This cut and cover of Thunderclap Newman's "Something in the Air" were the two new cuts used to round out 1993's Greatest Hits
, and with a catalogue as stacked as the Heartbreakers', it wasn't necessarily easy going to create something that would play nicely alongside "American Girl," "Refugee," "The Waiting," "Free Fallin'," and "Learning to Fly," but this cut still proves to be one of Tom's most enduring songs... and not just among potheads and Indiana residents, either.U2 - Sweetest Thing
I suppose it's kind of strange that this perennial college favorite would include a "new" song on a chronicle of their best 1980s work
, but then again, the fact that it was just a reworked version of a song from that era justifies it. As it turns out, this is really the only U2 song I actually have time for and even though it shares space on record with "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "With or Without You" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," this was the only track I saved to my computer before I dropped the damn disc off at an exchange. There's something very genuine, unpretentious and not preachy here that's almost impossible to find in every other U2 song.
Labels: Friday Five