Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Compilations: The good and the not so good (A Music Review)

First Impression Review

The Jayhawks - Music From The North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology C

I'm not a big fan of "Greatest Hits" collections but there is a time and place for them. Since I've always been curious about The Jayhawks (other than what I heard on the radio) I thought this would be a nice teaser before I bought one of their critically acclaimed albums (like 2003's Rainy Day Music).

But unfortunately Music From The North Country was a disappointment to me. My first impression was that these songs are very "safe" and "clean" bordering on boring. It's nice, pleasant, Americana/folk rock but to steal the words of another music critic, "it's guaranteed not to wake the neighbors".

Neil Young - Greatest Hits A+
On the other hand, sometimes a "Greatest Hits" collection can really capture the essence of an artist even without some of the deeper album cuts. Neil Young's Greatest Hits collection from 2003 is such an album.

I was having a discussion with a couple of co-workers today about his best album and one mentioned this album. My first inclination was that compilations don't count, but a few hours later when she gave me a copy of this album I was blown away! I'd heard all but 5 or 6 of the tracks before, but some I hadn't heard in a long time -Hey, Hey, My My (Into the Black) & Ohio. While songs like Down By the River (from Everyone Knows This is Nowhere) and Comes A Time (from Comes A Time) sounded vintage and timeless.

This is a superior album and one that I highly recommend for anyone who craves a perfect Neil Young album from beginning to end.

My favorite Neil Young albums based on the ones I've heard/own (excluding compilations)

5. (TIE) Living with War (2006) & Greendale (2003)
4. Harvest Moon (1992)
3. Sleeps with Angels (1994)
2. Silver & Gold (2000)
1. Harvest (1972)

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