Compilations That Should Not Be

IMG_0893Every year, I sit down and start updating my Amazon wish list before the holidays, with the same thought circling in my head: “I don’t need anything, really. I don’t want anything.” And eventually, after an hour or so, I have a respectable list of things from Amazon plus items I’ve noticed in various other stores over the past few months, creating a respectable wish list.

It was due to creating my wish list that a couple of new compilations caught my eye.

I’d know the new Jesus and Mary Chain compilation was coming out, but I wasn’t paying much attention. Yes, they are my favorite band in the whole world. However, the “what releases of theirs do I not have list” at this point is down to two very limited edition seven-inches with gatefold sleeves that had postcards tucked into them.

I am not impressed with phrases like “rare b-sides.” I HAVE THEM ON 7″ and 12″ and CD! Ahem. But while perusing my decade-old JAMC google alert, I came across a review, that as it skipped through the inevitable paragraph about all the things to ooh and ahh over on the album, casually mentioned that this CD will include one of the new, unreleased songs they’ve been playing live in their reunion shows.

After adding that to my wish list, a new title popped onto my recommended for you selections: The Best of Depeche Mode Vol 1. I clicked through to view the play list, and cackled. That’s right. Not only did I cackle, I had to read out loud the song progression and inclusions. Why? Because there wasn’t any flow. Opening with Personal Jesus and closing with Never Let Me Down Again is totally fine, but the order of the songs seemed as well thought out as a toddler pushing a random button seven times and going with it.

Oh yes, it certainly shows the way the music evolved from the synth-pop days to the harder hitting Violator and beyond somewhat sleazy (in a good way) music I love from them. But it doesn’t work. You can’t segue from Personal Jesus to Just Can’t Get Enough to Everything Counts to Enjoy the Silence. Why couldn’t they have even followed a great set list? Oh wait that’s because they already did that with 101, the live album from the famed Rose Bowl shows. But when you can already get the 1-CD singles collection, or the 3-box set singles collection, and the 3-CD re-mix album that has my favorite mix ever on it, who is the audience for this album exactly? And how do they justify including some truly meh songs and not including Policy of Truth and World in my Eyes? Oh right, they’ll be on Vol 2, presumably. Blech.

A much better compilation bet? The Creation Records story CD that is coming out at the end of November as a partner to the documentary film about a truly amazing record label.

What’re you wishing for this holiday season?

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