The Best of James (1998)

Categories: 1998 and Music.

I’m not going to go into how I got my hands on this, but let’s just say it wasn’t a deliberate decision; it literally fell into my lap.
And I had no idea who James was until I heard that hit single I remembered from my youth (“Laid”) and I was like “Oh, these guys.” And I wondered aloud about why I was bothering with them.
But, funnily enough, after listening to it my requisite three times, I found myself enjoying a lot of it – not all of it, mind you, especially the sub-Smiths stuff – and being pleasantly surprised by the songs and the relative diversity of the music.
But Greatest Hits compilations are the worst way to get to like a band (unless they were a bad with strong singles and bad albums) as they are arbitrary and so I have no idea if this really is a good selection of their music, but I’m intrigued, which is more than I thought I would be when I
started listening.
The problem is that this album is sequenced horribly. I have no idea what albums these songs come from (it’s a long story but I only have the disc to listen to, no liner notes) and it’s obvious to me that they are sequenced completely out of chronological order. That would make sense if this was a compilation of songs from a band like AC/DC, whose sound never really changes, but for a band who clearly had a drastic change from sub-Smiths to Baggy (or from Baggy to sub-smiths, I have no idea), it’s a bizarre idea. And it makes it frustrating. I can’t tell if they were stylistically all over the place (cool) or if they drastically changed their sound over time (could be cool, depending on which direction they went).  And I find myself frustrated and annoyed that, in order to find out which James album(s) to check out, I now have to go out and do research I wasn’t planning on doing.
And how many people were in this band? Seriously.
6/10

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