"Before my review I want to answer a question that comes up a lot about greatest hits albums:
In the days of Digital Downloads why do people buy greatest hits?
Here are some of the reasons why I still like Greatest Hits packages: 1) The best songs remastered; 2) A great way to thin out my collection by replacing albums I may have liked just one or two songs from anyway; 3) The liner notes; 4) In the days of shuffling music on iTunes it is nice to have the volume at the level of most modern CDs; 5) The compulsion to buy something "new" from a favorite band.
I think Boston's Greatest Hits fits all of those reasons I listed above. For those of you who may not know, the leader of this band Tom Schulz recently remastered his first two albums and now he went back and remastered this Greatest HIts that was originally released in 1997. Also included are great liner notes and it's fun to read his commentary of the tracks he selected. The remastering does sound pretty good but it is just a subtle difference considering these tracks were already remastered in 1997.
The track list from this set is a little different from the original list. Some of the tracks were dropped and replaced by other tracks that more accurately represent Boston's history. The tracks added to this set are "I Had A Good Time" form Boston's last album "Corporate America" and this song is by far the only real classic Boston track from that album and is a very welcome addition. The other added track is from the "Walk On" album, "I Need Your Love". Though it doesn't feature Boston's long time lead vocalist, Brad Delp, it has a classic Boston sound and really keeps this set rockin'. Another change is none of the songs bleed into each other. On the original version "Don't Look Back" faded into "Cool The Engines". Now both of these tracks stand on their own.
With any greatest hits album there will always be a fan favorite or two missing. For me there are two that I really wish were included, "Livin' For You" and "We're Ready". "We're Ready" was a top 10 billboard hit so it would have been great to see it remastered and on this set. "Livin' For You" was on the original greatest hits and to me I think it is a great power ballad that if it was recorded in the 80s would have been a pretty big hit. I can understand why it was removed since it is a slow song. Replacing it with the upbeat "I Need Your Love" was a good move. With that said, what is included are some truly classic songs and it is easy to forget what is missing and enjoy what's there.
Though I am more likely to play their original debut album, when I am interested in listening to Boston's 30 plus year history this is a great enjoyable sampler. With only one slow song it is a perfect road trip album."
Good, but could be better
Darwin Gushard | Ralston, NE | 03/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A good compilation, with all the Boston songs that most people would know. But as a major fan, it would have been nice to fill the extra 10+ minutes of the CD with another song or two. I'm still not sure why the #9 hit "We're Ready" from the Third Stage album was left off, unless Sony didn't want to pay MCA the rights to use it. It would have been nice to include "Hitch A Ride" from the debut, too, but I guess they couldn't have TOO many songs from the debut, else there'd be no reason for people to buy it! I also would have hoped that the re-release would have had a new cover, as I don't care much for it."
Most of what I want from Boston
jblyn | Maryland, USA | 11/16/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Boston was always a guilty pleasure of mine. I say "guilty" because I like to think that good RAWK music, in whatever subcatagory, also means the presence of good songs. The component parts of Boston are exceptional, particularly the late Brad Delp's formidable vocal range and Tom Scholz' swirling concoctions of layered guitars. So how come such a great SOUNDING band has such (mostly) lame songs? Come on, if your idea of great SONGWRITING is "Smokin'" or "I Need Your Love," you really need to get out more.
That said, this collection, beautifully remastered by Scholz himself, has more songs on it that hit the mark than don't, even with the aforementioned, "Smokin'" and "I Need Your Love" included. The title track from the band's 2nd Album, DON'T LOOK BACK, is one of their best from their "classic years," and such songs as "Cool The Engines," "Higher Power, "Foreplay/Long Time" and "I Had A Good Time" feature all the audible reasons why the lyrics don't matter. The two songs where both lyrics and performance mesh great are---what else?---"More Than A Feeling," the classic Scholz signature song with the most unmistakable guitar hook in the world (next to Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water"), and "A Man I'll Never Be," which for my money has some of Scholz' most powerful guitarwork and Delp's finest vocal, with the best lyrics on a Boston song to boot.
The two omissions that seem bizarre to me are "Hitch A Ride," featuring one of the best guitar solos ever, and "We're Ready," also a scorcher. But, hey, what IS here is just fine, mostly, and for this non-raving fan is just the ticket when I want to hear the guys from Beantown."
LESS OF A FEELING
Jukebox Dave | RECORD TOWN, USA | 08/04/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"BOSTON-GREATEST HITS: You can wade through this 16 track testimony to 70's high tech and soaring harmonies for the decent tunes, or you can simply slap on their debut album BOSTON, because that's where all of the good stuff still is, even three decades after the fact. Aside from the near perfect pop power of MORE THAN A FEELING, LONG TIME, and the autobiographical ROCK & ROLL BAND, this career review rounds up limp retreads from second album DON'T LOOK BACK (advice Boston svengali Tom Scholz apparently did not heed), and semi-elevator rock from THIRD STAGE. Even worse, the "band" attempts abominable new stuff without key vocal slayer Brad Delp, and there's a version of THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER that's about as necessary as a greatest hits collection after the first Boston album. Spare me. RATING: TWO SLICK "