from Pantperthog to Knockando

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

“Best of” compilations

I’ve been buying Garbage’s records since they first came onto the scene in 1995, even though their output has been inconsistent (stunning debut, uninspiring follow up, interesting third album, mediocre fourth). Along the way they recorded a Bond theme and released several funky limited edition singles.

There was a time when I bought their singles religiously, on every format. When I ripped them onto my computer I ended up with over an hour’s worth of ‘exclusive’ tracks (b-sides to those of us who still remember b-sides). But I have to admit there was a time, round about their second album, when I was a) a bit skint, and b) less than impressed with them, so there are a couple of gaps in my collection.

So when they recently sent me details of a ‘Best of’ I was mildly interested. But, apart from a new single there was nothing on there I hadn’t already got, and the remix CD which came with the limited edition version of the album was full of old remixes off singles anyway.

The additional problem, and this is always the case with ‘best ofs’ is that any ‘greatest hits’ compilation usually means a collection of singles, not the genuine ‘best’ stuff. When I put together a Garbage playlist on my computer about half of my favourite tracks were album tracks.

I expect, being the canny marketers they are, sometime in the next year or so, Garbage will release a ‘live album’ (aka a second version of a Greatest Hits album), and possibly an album of ‘rare and exclusive’ tracks. In the meantime, instead of buying the album, I went out and bought the new single, a sweeping orchestral track which sounded more like their third album, Beautiful, than their last album.

But better than the single, and kind of proving my point about why singles aren’t always the ‘best’ stuff to put on a ‘best of’, is the b-side (sorry, exclusive track) called ‘Betcha’. The lyrics are similar to the Pussycat Dolls ‘Don’t cha’, which it is obviously spoofing. But when Shirley Manson snarls “Betcha wish your girlfriend was a slut like me”, it gives me shivers.

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