Best of - it's sometimes a paradox isn't it? Barely decent tunes produced by bands who haven't quite nailed the success of other hit singles and the record company decides to cash in by releasing a mish mash of decent material, crackers and fillers while others are full of extras, demos and hidden gems that really do make a Best Of.
Well, this isn't too far off the mark of cashing in due to the choice of material by the record company as this was not a release with consultation from the band. There's even glaring errors in the liner notes concerning band members, nothing extra for the exisitng fan nor any different versions but let's not dwell on those annoyances and have a look at the music itself included on this disc.
It's pretty good the opener is 'I'm Sorry' - the gospel, rootsy soul stomper that opened the debut album 'People' - and not the most popular or predictable 'Don't Go'. The singles from second album 'Home'; 'Give It Up', groovy 'Movies' and ramping to a crescendo cover'I Can See Clearly Now' are obviously a good choice for a floating fan of the band and 'Home' is a truly beautiful song - indeed, one of the best - the possible extra enticement for a buyer to dig further into the back catalogue.
'Hallelujah Jordan' had to be in and it's still in the live set now - an album track from the debut album continuing to evolve 20 odd years later. Brilliant. First single 'Love Don't Work This Way' lies well beside it.
As for better choices, I would have included way more from the third album 'SOngs From The Rain' - truly a phenomenal album from start to finish. Bizarrely, only one song from that album appears here; 'This Is It (Your Soul)'. Yes definitely, this should be included but why anthemic 'Thing Of Beauty' or singles 'One Tongue' or 'An Emotional Time' aren't is a mystery. The almighty bass line groove of visceral 'Isn't It Amazing' doesn't get a look in either. Pfft. 'Giving It All Away' and 'Give It Up' could make way, as too 'The Older We Get'. Alas, one man's fish is another man's poisson so forgive me for having my own favourites. However, I'd still like to challenge London Records on their choices.
Two songs are taken from 'Born'; single 'You Can Love Me Now' (obvious choice being a single but also a great song) and 'Forever More'. Yeah good - not great but good -'At Last' and 'Find The Time' are better as there's rolling dynamics in Peter O'Toole's songwriting, more soul from lead singer Liam O'Maonlaí's voice. Again fish v. poisson I suppose.
Looking at it from album contribution:
People - 6
Home - 5
Songs From The Rain - 1
Born - 2
That's a poor decision - it looks like the quality of songwriting declined which is far from the truth as previously stated, the third album is arguably their best. So for me the count goes like this for the 'Oh yeah! Hothouse Flowers they had a few good 'uns. What's the Best Of like?'
Classics and can't miss = 7
Hidden gems = 1
Fillers = 4
Take or leave = 2
It is obviously extremely hard to produce a Best Of to please everyone as someone somewhere will always prefer a different list. This isn't too far from my Best Of the Hothouse Flowers but still London Records - See me. Could do better.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 I'm Sorry
2 Don't Go
3 Give It Up
4 Giving It All Away
5 I Can See Clearly Now
8 Hallelujah Jordan
9 Love Don't Work This Way
10 Older We Get
11 It'll Be Easier In The Morning
12 This Is It (Your Soul)
13 You Can Love Me Now
14 Forever More