Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Stupid Smart Thinking: Bands Should Only Release "Greatest Hits" Albums!

The other day, I actually had the good fortune to hear someone say, and I quote, "Bands should only release Greatest Hits albums."  My natural inclination was to presume the person was joking around, but then they continued. "Take Sugar Ray -"

Wait, what?  Okay, now I'm starting to suspect that they're either a masterful skewer of the human condition because nobody in their right mind would use Sugar Ray as an example of why bands should only release "Greatest Hits" albums.  Needless to say, this bedazzled stranger had my full attention.

"I got Sugar Ray's Greatest Hits album for Christmas and almost every song on it was good, but when I bought one of their other albums, the only good songs on it were the ones I already had on the Greatest Hits album."

It was at that precise moment that the skies parted and I was able to see how obtuse I had been all these years in thinking that "Greatest Hits" albums were merely the laziest of cash-grabs on the part of record companies looking to make a fast buck, or artists resting on past accomplishments.

And to think, all this time that I'd looked down my nose at retailers like Best Buy and Walmart for ignoring deep catalog titles in favor of hits collections, it turns out that I was the fool.  So, too, apparently were the now-extinct retailers who presumed the key to business success was to offer as large a selection of back catalog titles by as many artists as their bins could hold.

Silly out-of-business record stores.

Why waste valuable room in the bins keeping at least one copy of each studio album by The Band in-stock when you can simply carry a single copy of their "Greatest Hits" album and be done with it?

It's a real mind-blower realizing the real reason the musical landscape feels so cluttered with junk these days is due to the fact that thousands upon thousands of bands insist upon sprinkling the few good songs that they have over numerous studio albums instead of just giving the people what they want in the form of a "Greatest Hits" disc?.

Take the Eagles, for example.  Released in 1976, Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) has sold over 28 million copies in the U.S. alone, so why didn't the band just release that album first instead of forcing fans to buy one of the four studio albums they released between 1971 and 1975?

Instead of recording studio albums like Hotel California and The Long Run, perhaps the band could have just waited and put all of the good songs together on one album and called it Greatest Hits, Volume 2.

Will artists never learn?

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