5 Ways Bands Could Make Compilations Actually Interesting

Categories: Whatever

Recently my colleague Nathan Smith cobbled together the Destiny Child's compilation Beyoncé doesn't want you to see and it gave me an idea. Compilations are both the most necessary and aggravating albums in an artist's catalogue. One the one hand, it's always nice to have a good, definitive greatest hits album. On the other hand they are by nature money grabs designed to either get fans to buy the same song twice on different albums, or draw in new fans with the promise of not having to sit through the stuff the market forgot.

Hell, in many cases compilations aren't even put together by the band. They're put together by the record label in order to get a product on sale to capitalize on Christmas or recent events. Meat Loaf had a string of these starting with Hits Out of Hell, and you've seen legions of them in the impulse section of Walgreens and convenience stores. Even when the bands do get involved most comps have this weird fatality about assuming there will either never be a future song worth including, or just flat out admitting another comp is down the road.

Which is why I came up with five ways bands could make comps that really break the mould.

The Best of Not the Band in Question: Sometimes an iconic band spawns equally iconic solo projects. The best example of this would probably be Bauhaus. Peter Murphy, David J, Daniel Ash, and even Kevin Haskins went on to do notable, or at least interesting stuff (Did you know Haskins composed the music to Myst III?). It might be interesting to get the four members in a room and put together a Best of Not Bauhaus allowing the four to showcase what works they most appreciated outside of the band that got them started. Locally, you could get a killer version of this idea from the members of Deadhorse.

A Super Concert Album: One of my favorite Meat Loaf albums is Live Around the World, where dozens of different takes from concerts all over the globe were cobbled together to make a super mix. It's an awesome album, but you could go so much further. Take a band like Kiss or the Rolling Stones who have recorded probably thousands of their concerts over the course of their careers. Wouldn't it be neat to edit them together with the absolute most perfect takes ever done across a decades-old career?

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A few bands have done the "re-jam the classic album" thing and it's typically terrible.  Gang of Four, Fear, 'Don't Stand So Close To Me '86.'


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