One of the top "best of" compilations in my collection. 75 minutes of underrated pop gems steeped in the great RnR traditions of Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, and Gene Vincent (think rockabilly meets power pop). Hooks abound. Notes on the back cover put it best:
Since 1981 Marshall Crenshaw's been churning out insanely catchy pop tunes that effortlessly encapsulate the best things about rock 'n' roll. The fact that songs like "Someday, Someway," "Little Wild One (No. 5)," or, for that matter, any of the other songs on this CD aren't pumping out of every pop radio station in these United States is not only a mystery but also a miscarriage of justice."Too much guitar and not enough synths for early 80s radio, I guess. Crenshaw was a critics' darling, even Robert Christgau has good things to say. Entertainment Weekly loves this compilation. To his credit, Crenshaw's lack of record sales didn't seem to get to him; he continued writing great songs and putting out great records regardless of sales. If I allowed "best of" compilations on my list of desert island CDs, this disc would definitely make the cut. Maybe I could bend the rules and make an exception in this case...
Typical fantastic song selection and great liner notes from the good folks at Rhino. Crenshaw keeps up a great website with lots of streaming music. Worth checking out: http://marshallcrenshaw.com/
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart
Tracks: 22 of 'em dating from 1981 to 1996. Not a bad one in the bunch, so I can't pick favorites. Crenshaw's biggest hit was Someday, Someway which peaked at #36 in 1982, but you can't go wrong with any of the tracks here. Pop bliss.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: In the mid-90's, I finally heard Someday, Someway on Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s, Vol. 5. Loved it immediately. Then I heard Whenever You're On My Mind on volume 9 of the same series. Loved it, too. Had to buy this compilation. I've since purchased some other Crenshaw releases. I'd love to find some of his early releases in a used bin, but, wisely, nobody ever discards his early stuff.
When I was trying to do some serious writing in grad school, this CD accompanied me on several of what I called "writing retreats" to a friend's vacation home on Matagorda Beach. Between enjoying great music on the deck, yoga, and long walks on the beach, there wasn't much time left for working on my dissertation, but I think I made good choices regarding my time on the beach, nonetheless.
Previously revisited for the blog: