Greatest Hits = Greatest Mistake

After reading HiFi Dave’s blog post about digital downloads and the death of albums, I decided I’d do some what of a compliment post to that. Only I’m going to discuss the topic of “Greatest Hits”…

I have a huge problem with “Greatest Hits” albums, almost a hatred. First of all, Lindsay Lohan has a greatest hits album and she only has one or two albums, I find that hard to cope with… Not to mention she’s Linsday Lohan. Anyway, who gets to pick these “greatest hits” songs that go on this album? I’m sure it’s based off the “charts” that are diluted with garbage and corporate advertising. I used to buy a couple Greatest Hits albums. Mainly I got the artists who had a large collection. Recently, I looked over what artists I had a “greatest hits” album for and got the rest of their discography and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I missed out on.

As HiFi Dave talks about in his post, most albums have a type of flow it’s part of the creative process of creating the art that is music. It seperates the great artists from the good ones. I think the album that best shows this in my eyes is Thrice’s “The Illusion of Safety” I’ve heard so many people positively describe the flow on this album and I agree hands down.

An album could have good songs, but horrible flow and it is less likely you could sit there and listen to the whole album if the transitions in songs isn’t there. It’s like reading a book but reading the chapters in random sequence. Especially for artists like The Dear Hunter and Coheed and Cambria. These artists often do “concept albums” which usually tell a story.

I know another reason “Greatest Hits” albums exsist is so they artists can make more money… I can’t even count how many “greatest hits” albums Aerosmith has… I love Aerosmith but come on man, how many albums is Dude Looks Like a Lady going to be on?

Would you buy 1/12 of a painting? Would you buy 1 chapter of a book? Would you read 1 line of a poem?

If you answered yes to those questions, slap yourself.

Music is art, just like all those above… Treat it like art, embrace everything the artists gives to you. Listening to music is a gift.

Thanks HiFi Dave, for helping educate the masses.

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3 Comments

  1. Nice post Nate, and thanks for the reference. I doubt I’ll ever buy another Greatest Hits album. Like you said, the songs they put on them are pieces of the original album, and people miss out on the other great music that was supposed to go along with that one song.

  2. I know some greatest hits albums aren’t even the result of the artist – just the music company trying to make money. A few years ago a greatest hits album was put out for Tim McGraw. He actually asked his fans not to buy it because it didn’t have his blessing.

    I despise Greatest Hits albums even more that have one new song on them and the rest are songs found on other albums. Thanks to the advent of iTunes this isn’t so much an issue any more, but back in the day, you had to buy the whole thing if you wanted that one new song. This is why I’m the proud owner of the Curtain Call CD by Eminem (to be fair that had 3 new songs, but you get my point). Jerks.

    • I know what you mean Stacey! You can’t buy Michael Jacksons “This is it” song unless you buy the entire album on iTunes they have it blocked off! So lame! Thanks for commenting 🙂


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