All Their Greatest Hits

Since the advent of iTunes and the iPod, I’ve turned into even more of a musical completist than I ever could have imagined.  While it’s certainly not the most prominent observation, one of the things I’ve noticed as my iPod becomes fuller and fuller is that I’ve regained an appreciation for greatest hits collections.  As much as I love listening to albums in their entirety, there are some bands that I’m more inclined to listen to if I have a greatest hits collection.  It’s a difficult task, choosing which bands aren’t worthy enough to have their whole catalogues carried around with me everyday.  After all, some bands’ albums have way too much character to be replaced with a compilation.  And so my dilemma begins.

I remember getting my first DiscMan and my first CD, which happened to be a greatest hits compilation.  Queen‘s greatest hits, to be precise.  As a budding music fan, I proceeded to get each and every one of the albums that were represented on this collection (although the version I had curiously excluded any songs from their debut).  Currently, my iPod carries Queen’s first eight albums.  While The Game was the last album of theirs that I really liked, I couldn’t think of not having all of Queen II or A Day At The Races at my fingertips.  Likewise, I have all of The Beatles‘ albums and a good lot of The Beach Boys‘ albums (up until 1977, of course).  Other bands whose entire catalogues find their home on my iPod include Belle & Sebastian, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Talking Heads and, while Belle & Sebastian have yet to release a proper best-of, I wouldn’t dare replace those bands’ classic records with a compilation if I had the chance.

So, who doesn’t get to have all their albums on my iPod?  Daft Punk, Alice Cooper, R.E.M., and a handful of others.  Any why those?  For the latter two, their best material is spread out very thinly over the course of a few decades’ worth of albums.  Even a music nut like me realizes that an album isn’t worth the space if there’s only one or two classics on it.  Daft Punk’s Musique Vol. 1 is a fine overview of their first three albums, which are so scattershot in themselves that I would imagine most fans skipping through the tone experiments and static clips just to get to a track they can dance to.  After all, greatest hits albums are tailor-made to bring you a concise collection of a musician or band’s output.  While I’m hesitant to dispatch entire discographies of some of my favorite bands, I’m sure that, as my iPod closer nears its capacity, I’ll be scrounging for anthologies and golden series in abundance.  Upon hearing of an upcoming Pavement compilation, I was initially taken aback, wondering “who in the hell makes best-ofs anymore?”  Now that I think about it more, I haven’t listened to all of Wowee Zowee in forever…

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~ by E. on January 22, 2010.

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