Question Of The Week: Greatest Greatest Hits?
There’s an old joke that slices through the silliness of the Greatest Hits collection: Each should be re-titled Songs You Know Beside Songs From Albums Now On Sale. That’s always true, but in rare cases that’s just fine — a hits collection can be an awesome listen. It might provide fresh context or a snappy remaster. It could kinda de-stem albums for a cleaner, sweeter buzz. Maybe it’s simply that you don’t want the artist’s deep thoughts, just the hellos, hugs, chit-chat, and goodbyes. Best of all, it might serve as a gateway to full-blown addiction! Will you help us round up all of these special collections in today’s MetalSucks Question Of The Week? Gosh thanks!
Inspired by a hilarious collection from a side project with two real albums, we asked our staff:
What’s your most valuable greatest-hits album?
Also: What’s your fave potpourri, appetizer sampler, cumshot compilation? lol Have an awesome wknd!
DAVID LEE ROTHMUND
Megadeth‘s Greatest Hits: Back to the Start. We know that each Megadeth album has only a few good songs — and that many have none. So, might as well skip the shit and listen to the hits, amirite? I mean, some Megadeth songs are fucking timeless and worthy of preservation. Whoever selected these selected all the right ones.
Mötley Crüe‘s Greatest Hits from 1998 (the second such collection from the band, but the first to be titled Greatest Hits). It’s a good-enough argument for the band’s career, I suppose, were you trying to introduce them to a noob … save for the THREE songs from the disappointing Vince Neil reunion album, Generation Swine. Really, I like this collection for two reasons, and two reasons alone: “Bitter Pill” and “Enslaved,” its new songs. Swine, by the band’s own admission, was a failed attempt to sound modern and trendy; released just a year later, “Bitter Pill” and “Enslaved” prove that the band DID have the ability to write the album fans wanted (that is, a proper follow-up to Dr. Feelgood). Those songs are everything you love about The Crüe, but they don’t sound overly self-conscious about trying to be hip or about trying to recreate the band’s glory days, like the material on New Tattoo and Saints of Los Angeles. Why they were never able to record a complete album of songs this good has always been a mystery to me. They’re the last really good songs Mötley Crüe ever released.
In early adulthood, I experienced one of those attitude adjustment-type things. Like, a few minor changes in perception and a cluster of good luck kinda re-perked my vibe n stuff. A big part of that was my new acquaintance with Humble Pie (1969-1975), a proto-metal stadium rock act led by powerhouse songwriter Steve Marriott (and Peter Frampton at his most vigorous). Even today, their appeal is mostly unspoiled cuz dad-radio doesn’t beat their jamz to death, and under such conditions, classic rock is not annoying (??!!). My superfandom started with their 2CD Hot ‘N Nasty: The Anthology, and I pushed on to their nine marvelous major releases, each riveting when fancy and irresistible when dumb, together drawing an arc that kinda predicts the routes travelled by Iron Maiden, Opeth, and Gojira?
We Sold Our Soul For Rock ‘n’ Roll by Black Sabbath. I grew up in the ’90s with a very vague knowledge of Black Sabbath until I was a teenager, when I bought this best-of. It’s missing some classics –“Electric Funeral,” “Hand of Doom,” and “Into The Void” to name a few — but Soul covers all the basics and provides a solid introduction to Sabbath. It’s the kind of collection that will hook anyone; the songs thereon are so accessible it’s scary. And the more I’ve listened to Sabbath, the more I’ve noticed the filler on them. It’s worth hunting down its omissions, but if you had to buy one Sabbath album, it should be this.
There’s nothing wrong with being a “greatest hits band.” If your albums include a few incredible songs and seven that I’ve already forgotten about, why not collect all the incredibles? Amon Amarth have great songs on some albums that merely support them. Latter-day Darkthrone could collect the greatest stuff from their last six-seven years and that would be one of the best metal albums in ages. But the gold standard of hits collections is pretty far outside the confines of metal: Journey. Every song is recognizable and great. The band never went through any weird, stylistic shifts (well, once they stopped sounding like this), so there are no violent changes of sound or approach; Journey’s consistency resulted in some overstuffed albums but some great songs. No song is worth skipping. When you cut to the chase, Journey could go toe to toe with any motherfucker packing a stadium. That includes Metallica, whose best stuff from the last 20 years would make a nasty EP.