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- Posted by Spinner
Do you remember that Madonna song 'Hollywood'? Neither do we. Which is why it's surprising to see it on her recent greatest-hits collection, 'Celebration.' Of course, it's not the first time an artist has messed with the best. Now, best-of records can be wonderful. And they simplify life by keeping us from buying more than one Steve Miller record. Still, performers and labels often find ways to take the "great" out of greatest hits, which is why we count down the 10 worst greatest-hits album mistakes.
10. Omission of Key Songs
Unless you're the Beatles and can't possibly fit all your greatest hits on one record, your best-of better include all the best. On 'The Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates,' the duo's yearning single 'She's Gone' -- one of their top three songs -- is noticeably missing. Yet, the inferior 'Wait for Me' is there. Of course, 'She's Gone' was included on subsequent greatest-hits albums, which leads us to ...
9. Too Many Greatest-Hits Albums
If you thought John Mellencamp's 'The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988' would be followed by a similarly priced 'Best That I Could Do 1988-,' you probably felt like a sucker when he released 'Words and Music' instead. That more expensive collection contained everything from the first greatest-hits album, plus songs that would have filled a follow-up, setting up the question, "Why didn't they just release 'Words and Music' to begin with?"
8. The "Previously Unreleased" Single
Bands want to make you think you're getting a bonus by adding a new song to a greatest-hits record. But acts always save the good stuff for the next studio album, so the "previously unreleased" songs are usually terrible. The Red Hot Chili Peppers had the sense to put 'Save the Population' at the end of their 2003 best-of compilation. Sugar Ray weren't as considerate: In their case, new songs were probably needed to fill the album, leading us to ...
7. You're Not Worthy!
When a band releases a best-of record, there's a presumption that the band has has lots of hits. But let's face it: Many musicians have no business pretending to be that good. Smash Mouth's 'All Star,' 'Walkin' on the Sun' and 'Why Can't We Be Friends?' were all good singles. But can you name another Smash Mouth tune? And, don't forget, 'Why Can't We Be Friends?' was originally a War song.
6. Inclusion of Cover Songs
Granted, Smash Mouth's cover song was technically a hit. But in many cases, artists include versions of other people's hits to fatten a thin package. So it shouldn't surprise you to know that Sugar Ray's greatest hits includes covers of Cyndi Lauper's 'Time After Time' and Joe Jackson's 'Is She Really Going Out With Him?' It'd be different if the remakes were better than the originals. But you're better off hearing Simple Minds sing 'Don't You (Forget About Me)' than Billy Idol.
5. B Sides and Rarities
If you're U2 or Bruce Springsteen, even your rejects are wonderful. But for most bands, there's a reason some songs never made it to an album. Faith No More's also-rans, added on a second CD of 'The Very Best Definitive Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection,' prove that some songs are better left on the shelf. We recommend you exercise caution with Snoop Dogg's upcoming 'The Lost Sessions, Vol. 1.'
4. Lack of Chronology
Listen to 'The Very Best of Marvin Gaye' and you'll note the progression of the his music -- from formulaic hitmaker to socially conscious soul pioneer. When greatest-hits albums include tracks in chronological order, not only do you get a sense of the artist's growth but also the music just flows better. 'I Just Called to Say I Love You' simply doesn't sound right coming just before 'Superstition' on 'Stevie Wonder -- Song Review: Greatest Hits.'
3. The Late-Era Song
While nobody wants to hear anything Boston did after the '70s, the band felt compelled to bog down its greatest hits with 'Livin' for You,' a sappy track that didn't even feature the voice of Boston, Brad Delp. Acts need to know when they've jumped the shark. So, Phil Collins and Elton John? Hold the Disney songs, please.
2. The Same Song Twice
Labels, please -- just give us the best version of a song. Sheryl Crow's cover of 'First Cut Is the Deepest' was unremarkable to begin with. But on her 'Very Best of Sheryl Crow,' it actually appears twice: once as the "country version." A&M rightfully rereleased the Police's 'Every Breath You Take: The Classics' with the original version of 'Don't Stand So Close to Me.' But it goofed when it kept the lackluster, slowed-down 1986 version on the record as well.
1. The Live Version
Sure, there's a place for live singles -- on live albums. Greatest-hits albums should include only studio recordings. On one of Foreigner's best-of albums, 'Hot Blooded' -- one of the band's finest moments -- appears as a meth-paced live track, taking all the muscle out it. While the Grateful Dead were famous for their live shows, the two live tracks from 'Skeletons From the Closet' seem out of place grouped with cleaner studio tracks.