The Second Disc

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Posts Tagged ‘Greater Hits

Greater Hits: Aretha/Arista

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Welcome to our latest installment of Greater Hits, where we scour an artist’s discography for compilations and pick the best one for your buck. Today focuses on Aretha Franklin’s fascinating third chapter on Arista Records and the multitude of compilations that it’s yielded.

Just as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Aretha Franklin’s sizzling 1967 album and first for Atlantic Records, was a shock to anyone who’d known her from her days singing solid if not transcendent soul on Columbia in the early ’60s, the Queen of Soul’s mid-’80s return with 1985’s Who’s Zoomin’ Who? was light years away from “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Today, we laud veteran comebacks that echo the songs that made us fall in love with artists in the first place. Aretha, however, did it on modern-day terms, pairing with producers like Luther Vandross and Narada Michael Walden to ensconce herself in the sound of the 1980s, never once compromising that multiplatinum voice we still adore today.

While Franklin’s work for Columbia and Atlantic have been the subject of many reissues and box sets, modern day representation of the Arista years has mostly been in the form of compilations, most recently Knew You Were Waiting: The Best of Aretha Franklin 1980-1998. (Although that trend seems to be changing, it’s an independent label handling an expansion of her work.) And what a list there is: prior to Legacy’s newest set, three major compilations of the Arista years have been released in the last 15-plus years.

Join us after the jump as we dive into each one and tell you which one should be zoomin’ into your collection first!

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 31, 2012 at 18:14

Greater Hits: Going Barenaked

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In one of our newest features, Greater Hits, we pit two greatest hits compilations by the same artist against each other and see which one comes out on top. Today’s installment: we take one of Canada’s most successful alt-rock bands, compare their compilations and figure out which one’s most worth your time, whether you have $1,000,000 or not.

It’s been just more than one week since the Barenaked Ladies’ Hits from Yesterday & The Day Before (Raisin’ Records/Warner Bros./Rhino R2 528614) hit stores. It’s been a little while since BNL were the darlings of rock radio – arguably, their commercial period began to wane with their exit from Reprise Records and took even more of a hit with founding member/vocalist Steven Page’s exit in 2009.

But when they were among the upper echelon of pop/rock artists – and jokey nature of their singles aside, they were an excellent band – they did a good job of closing off their first decade on a major label with Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits (1991-2001) (Reprise 9 48075-2). The question, of course, is how do these sets, a decade apart, satisfy the new BNL fan?

The answers are after the jump, under there. (Hopefully, I just made you say “underwear.”)

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 6, 2011 at 18:01

Greater Hits, Volume II: Three Times the Bob

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Our first installment of Greater Hits was a rousing success, and the big musical celebration of the day prompts our next installment of the series. Bob Dylan, 70 years old today, has been rhapsodized about all over the Internet. Rolling Stone made him the focus of their newest issue, while other publications have counted down the Bard’s best work (I’m of course partial to Popdose‘s write-up). And PopMarket, Sony’s beloved clearinghouse for box set deals, is offering the three-disc Dylan set from 2007 as the featured sale item through noon tomorrow.

Now, interestingly enough, PopMarket is also offering another three-disc Dylan set – the 1985 box set Biograph – as a standard deal for this week, at the same price tag. With that in mind, what better way to do our second installment of Greater Hits than set the two head-to-head?

The answers, my friend, are blowin’ in the wind…after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 24, 2011 at 15:13

Greater Hits, Volume I: The Sweetest Sade Set

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The Second Disc has always meant to be a source of decently-reported news and discussion on the goings-on of the music catalogue world, as well as a resource to the new fan on what catalogue product is out there.

With that in mind, today introduces a new feature that looks at one of the most common catalogue items: the greatest hits collection. It’s perhaps been outmoded by the ability to pick and choose tracks to download online, but when you’re a new fan of an artist, the compilation is usually the first way to dive into a band’s repertoire. It’s usually also a boon for collectors as well, since many artists add one or two tracks to a collection for completists.

Where things get confusing, however, is when an artist is popular (or exploited) enough to put out (or have put out by their label) more than one compilation. Especially in this era of Playlist and ICON budget sets, where does one begin? Enter Greater Hits, our new feature that provides a head-to-head (or in some cases, head-to-head-to-head) look at different collections by the same artist. We’re going to try to keep this a bit looser than Reissue Theory or Back Tracks, and hopefully you’ll enjoy the results.

This feature kicks off with Sade, who just released their second compilation last week. They’re two very different sets, but is one better than the other? The answer – after the jump – may surprise you.

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Written by Mike Duquette

May 12, 2011 at 13:48