(my collection of compilations -sorry for the crappy picture)
Today I’ve been thinking about music compilations. You all know what I mean with “compilations”. It’s a pet peeve of mine when you can find albums that say “The Very Best of…” whoever the artist is. Because, let’s be honest: who decides what songs are “the very best” of a singer/band? So, in my opinion, the album should be called “The Very Best of *insert artist* according to *whomever did the compilation*”
Yeah, that would be a bit ridiculous, though.
As a way of illustrating my obsession, that at the top is a picture of my collection of compilations. Like a moth attracted to the light, when I set foot on the music department of a store, I end up attracted to the compilations. They… kind of feel like personal mixtapes, right?? And, in a time when no one records mixtapes for others (SUCH A SHAME), I guess this is the only alternative.
Ok, I’ve got to admit compilations are a good way of getting to know an artist. If you don’t know anything about Frank Sinatra (for example), I guess that album will help you as an introduction. After that, you can find more of his own, in simple albums (so to speak). Therefore, are compilations the new resume of artists?
I’m not going to be a music snob and say people shouldn’t buy compilations -because I’m the first one who buys them… BUT I have to admit some of these have let me down (mostly because they use a couple of “important” names to attract the buyer and the rest of the songs are kind of unknown & weird –I’m looking at you, “Pure alternative 80s“)
There are some that are reaaally good (I recommend Bowie’s one -it explores each of his phases and the songs are organized by year periods). I also recommend Jeff Buckley’s (Lilac Wine will forever be my favorite).
A list of these (from left to right, up to down):
1) No1 Hits of the ’50s – 75 Original Chart Topping Hits — I bought this one at a Portobello Market stall. I like it, there are 3 discs and the songs are classics.
2) Louis Armstrong – Qué Mundo Tan Maravilloso — this was my dad’s attempt to collect the albums that a national newspaper was giving each week. He only got this one and Ella Fitzgerald’s.
3) The Platinum Collection – David Bowie — 3 discs (1969-1974, 1974-1979 & 1980-1987) –my favorite.
4) The Best of The Kinks – You Really Got Me — quite good, really. It contains Lola, You Really Got Me, Set Me Free and, of course, All Day and All Of the Night.
5) Lemon Popsicles and Strawberry Milkshakes – It’s a Girl’s World — songs from the “originators of girl power” (with singers such as Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Doris Day (!!!) and Marilyn Monroe). The pink cover and the alterated vintage photograph was what attracted me to it.
6) My Way – The Best of Frank Sinatra — shamelessly stolen from my dad’s stash, it’s one of my favorites. Well, Sinatra is one of my favorites.
7) The Jeff Buckley Collection — this is an example of an artist’s resume. I didn’t know Jeff Buckley until I bought this -and then, I fell in love.
8) Pure… alternative 80s — these compilations are quite popular. There are many “Pure… *whatever*”. This one I liked, but I think I won’t be buying more “Pure” compilations anytime soon.
9) Ella Fitzgerald – Lo Mejor (The Best) — I doubt that only 20 songs are “the best” of Ella Fitzgerald. A genious like her can’t be compiled in only 20 songs.
10) Sex Pistols – Agents of Anarchy — again, another cover letter. This was my first Sex Pistols album (and it’s dear to me because I got it at Camden Market). The songs have this raw sound that I like.
11) Marlene Dietrich – Lili Marlene — stolen from my dad’s too. Ever since seeing “Witness for the Prosecution” and “Golden Earrings”, she’s been one of my favorites. This album has 26 songs in total, and… well, they’re really good.
12) Rock ‘n Roll – New York Dolls — I actually bought this because I liked their song “Looking for a Kiss” and wanted to listen more of theirs. It’s a good one.
What do you think of music compilations? Do you buy them?