Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What's YOUR Favorite Singles Collection?

With the release of Couple Tracks by Fucked Up this week, it got me to thinking: What is the greatest all-time singles collection?

When I say "singles collections", I don't mean this:

I'm talking about a collection of 7" records or other non-LP tracks and/or b-sides, not greatest hits packages. The old belief, even The Beatles believed this, is that you put out albums but you don't put your singles on your albums. "Hey Jude," is a non-album track, for example. Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," is their most well-known song but it was not on their Closer album, despite being recorded in the same year.

So, here is the list of my favorite singles collections:

Black Flag
The First Four Years
Recorded 1/78 - 4/81
Released 1983

Though widely regarded as the best era of the band, no full length album was ever recorded with singer Keith Morris. Nor with subsequent frontmen Chavo Pederast and Dez Cadena. Not until Henry Rollins joined the band did the final record their first LP. But by that time, the sheen had already begun to fade on the hardcore legends whose fans would always clamor and long for the days of "Nervous Breakdown," and "Jealous Again,".

Singles Going Steady
Recorded 11/77 - 7/79
Released 9/79

A stellar collection with all of the A-Sides on, well, the A-Side with the B-Sides of the corresponding singles on the B-Side. Doesn't get much better than "Orgasm Addict"/"Whatever Happened To...?".

The Beatles
Past Masters
Recorded 9/4/62 - 1/4/70
Released 3/88

As I mentioned before, the classic "Hey Jude," was not any of their studio albums. Hard to believe, maybe, but neither were "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You", "We Can Work It Out", and the definitive Lennon anthem "Revolution,".

Jay Reatard
Matador Singles '08
Recorded 4/08 - 9/08
Released 10/07/08

What a great talent. The first four tracks are as strong as anything. The record consists of 7 singles and their B-Sides with one extra track. In a few years, this may be my favorite singles collection. It's still a bit soon.

The Jesus Lizard
Touch & Go
Recorded 8/1/89 - 3/25/99
Released 1/18/00

Bang has a great mix of original B-Sides, covers, and previously unreleased tracks. "Glamorous", "Deaf As A Bat", "Chrome", and their version of The Dicks' "Wheelchair Epidemic," were all concert staples as last year's reunion tour. Personally, I enjoy the cover of Trio's "Anna," featuring ex-Big Black/Naked Raygun guitarist Santiago Durango on vocals.

Joy Division
Recorded 12/77 - 3/80
Released 7/88

In my opinion, Joy Division's best songs were non-album tracks. The great "Novelty," was the B-Side to the classic "Transmission,". The wonderful "Dead Souls," was originally a B-Side in a France-only released single with the heartwrenching "Atmosphere," as the A-Side.

Fucked Up
Epics In Minutes
Recorded 5/02 - 2004
Released 3/16/04

Before Couple Tracks, there were Epics In Minutes. The band thinks this compilation is a bit incomplete as there is a Japanese singles comp that is more comprehensive. But many of the tracks missing from Epics In Minutes have been added to Couple Tracks. So, in essence, the two are companions. Either way, it's good to be able to listen to "Police," in the car.

Dead Kennedys
Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death
Alternative Tentacles
Recorded 6/79 - 1987
Released 1987

The Dead Kennedys B-Sides were better than most bands A-Sides. "Too Drunk To Fuck," is some kind of anthem and Jello Biafra's fresh take on Sonny Curtis's "I Fought The Law," is another in the long line of off kilter DK covers.

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