Hanson

REVIEW: Hit Zone 4 – Various Artists (1998)

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HIT ZONE 4 (1998 BMG)

“If You Could Only See” the reasons I own this CD.

Nobody buys a CD like Hit Zone 4 and likes every single track.  Stuff like this was popular because it gave kids an easy way to get a bunch of one hit wonders from the rock and pop genres without buying the albums.  There were also big names on board.  CDs like this were always on the charts, year ’round.  Today, kids just go to Youtube or Spotify.  But even a curmudgeon like me can find a few songs here to enjoy.

In particular, I bought this CD for a rare non-album version of “If You Could Only See” by the underrated Tonic.  This was their big hit, and the version on Hit Zone 4 is an alternate recording with a slightly new arrangement.  The liner notes lie and say it’s from their album Lemon Parade; this is obviously false.  In fact there’s no obvious way to tell it’s a unique version without listening to it.

What else is good?  “All Around the World” by Oasis (from 1997’s Be Here Now) is one of their more Beatles-worshipping moments.  Here it’s in the form of a radio edit (4:50).  I’ve never felt “All Around the World” was one of Oasis’ best tracks, and it works better in the context of its grandly overblown album.  However, “All Around the World” is like freaking gold, compared to Boyz II Men….

Other decent music:  I have a soft spot for Chantal Kreviazuk’s ballad “Surrounded”.  Jann Arden too, and “The Sound Of” is one of her very best tracks.  I’ve seen Jann live, and she did a fantastic show with stories and jokes and unforgettable songs.  Then there’s fellow Canuck Bryan Adams, with his excellent acoustic rocker “Back To You”, from his Unplugged album.  Few Adams albums from the 90s on are worth a full listen.  Unplugged is.  “Back To You” was the “new” track used as a single.  It’s bright and alive in a way that Adams’ later music is not.  Fiona Apple’s dusky “Criminal” is classic, of course.  Finally, who doesn’t still love The Mighty Mighty Bosstones “The Impression That I Get”?  They were one band that truly deserved their hit.  They’d been at it for so long, and this song is really just that one perfect tune for the right time.

Unless you were a kid in the 90s, you’ll find yourself skipping over ‘N Sync, Backstreet Boys, All Saints, Robyn, and even Hanson.  Young Hanson can be tough to listen to.  I mean, they were kids, making music that kids liked.  It couldn’t really be helped.  I also find myself breezing past Mase, The Verve Pipe and Imani Coppola.  One hit wonders, right?  Shawn Colvin’s OK, but Boyz II Men can fuck right off.  “4 Seasons of Loneliness”?  Maybe because you guys are all wearing matching sweaters.  You can’t win friends with sweaters.

Hit Zone 4 is the kind of thing you buy in a bargain bin if you find it for $1.99.  These were once front racked at the old Record Store for $16.99 because they had so many hits from the late 90s.  It really was great value, because really, are you going to listen to Imani Coppola’s whole CD?  Be honest!

2.5/5 stars

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GUEST SHOT! Part 319: The Musical Crimes of LeBrain (by Mrs. LeBrain)

I really had this coming.  In Part 314 (The Musical Crimes of Mrs. LeBrain) I exposed the somewhat embarrassing contents of Jen’s CD wallet.  I knew retribution would come.  Enjoy this penultimate episode of Record Store Tales, and its final guest shot, courtesy of Mrs. LeBrain.  (Warning:  LOTS of pictures!)

By MRS. LeBRAIN

RECORD STORE TALES Part 319: The Musical Crimes of LeBrain

#10 HIM – And Love Said No.  That deep dark gothic prince Ville Valo makes lonely girls swoon, but he is also hanging out on LeBrain’s shelf.

#9 Soundtrack – SMALL SOLDIERS.  I don’t know how this made it into the LeBrain home.  I understand his need for everything Geddy Lee has ever created, but “Mixed by DJ Z-Trip“??  Is that really worth it?  (Not to mention that you have to rock out to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to get there.)

#8 ROD STEWART – “If We Fall In Love Tonight” CD single.  Going through my adventure here, I came across this single, designed to get the listener to first base.  YOU’RE MARRIED. THAT SHIT DOESN’T NEED TO STAY.

#7 Soundtrack – THE KARATE KID, Part III.  “Wax on, wax off.”  The case and book for this CD do not meet the demanding criteria that LeBrain enforces on his collection, but neither does the track list.  (I don’t know who most of these people are, but I have heard of the Pointer Sisters.)

#6 WOODSTOCK 99 – Various.  Look at the first six tracks from crap bands, and try not to laugh (a challenging task).  The second CD is just as bad.

#5 Soundtrack – SON IN LAW.  The Pauly Shore franchise was known for making really bad movies.  The soundtracks are not much better and this shouldn’t be taking up valuable shelf space.

#4 ELMOPALOOZA – Various.  If LeBrain were a daddy, this CD might make sense (Steven Tyler has a song about trash).  But LeBrain is childless, and Tickle-Me-Elmo is pretty pointless here!

#3 ZZ TOP: A Tribute From Friends – Various.  Three words:

MIKE OWNS NICKELBACK!

#2 AVRIL LAVIGNE – The Lavigne Collection (see below).  In Part 314, LeBrain threw me under the bus for wanting to marry Joey Mac from New Kids on the Block, 25 years ago.  Payback time!  Just because he wanted to be her “Sk8tr Boi” doesn’t mean he needed to buy her entire repertoire.

And #1! HIT ZONE 4 – Various.  LeBrain’s messiest musical moments have been in his “Various” section, but this one takes the cake.  My husband owns tracks by NSync, the Backstreet Boys and Boyz II Men?  And to top it off this boy band festival, here’s Hanson!  Regardless, I think the most disturbing thing about this CD is cover.  Look at the scratches and scrapes on the case.  This tells me the CD has been well enjoyed.

CONCLUSION:  

LeBrain, with all the mess on YOUR shelves, you really can’t make fun of me.  But no matter what crap you listen to, you’re still mine.

– Mrs. LeBrain

NEXT TIME ON RECORD STORE TALES…

End of the Line!