Assembled by producers and kneecapped by the departure of their most distinctive singer, Dawn Robinson, En Vogue remains the definitive diva-soul harmony group of the '90s, less on the strength of their meringuey harmonies than on their extraordinary material. This collection, cannily sequenced to hide later, lesser tracks between the hits, skims the cream from their three albums and EP, throws in 1998's "No Fool No More" single, and generally opts for album versions rather than EV's spiffy single remixes. It reveals an act that went from pleasant Soul II Soul-ish fluff to real soul power when it dedicated itself to updating R&B and funk traditions: quoting Funkadelic (and later paraphrasing their "Knee Deep" as "Let It Flow"), harmonizing over a stuttering James Brown riff, and getting their slow jams by way of '60s deep-soul ballads. --Douglas Wolk
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from BILLINGS, MT
Reviewed on 6/29/2011...
The "best of" the FUNKY DIVAS... nice collection, feels like it's missing a couple of tracks, but by no means a "rip off".
Still waiting for a GOOD EV Greatest Hits disc.
V. Suzukawa | Los Angeles | 12/23/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I suppose if you must, this is the best of your available choices in terms of hard-to-find material. There's four songs not available on any proper EV album; it contains soundtrack single No Fool No More, the radio version of Love Don't Love You (with a much better beat), plus two hidden bonus tracks: the radio remix of Let It Flow (previously unreleased in the US), and a completely new extended remix of Hold On (which is NOT the same as the remix on the Very Best of En Vogue--it's updated, more house-like).
Everything else can be found on their albums, and unfortunately the single versions were often preferrable--EVERY song here once had a different radio mix. There has NEVER been an En Vogue compilation with all the single versions, and it's irritating. I keep hoping they'll release one eventually.
So you could buy this and get mostly album tracks that aren't necessarily what you remember off the radio; or you could buy their full-length albums and explore their other good "filler" tracks, like Yesterday, Hooked On Your Love, The Right Direction, and Fallin' In Love.
This set also lacks You Don't Have To Worry (one of the surprisingly few top 40 pop hits they had, I don't know why it's not here), Don't Go (a fairly major R&B-only hit), and Riddle (from the subsequent Masterpiece Theater album).
The ONLY advantage "The Very Best Of..." has over this is that the Very Best Of has liner notes with a fairly thorough group bio, chart positions, promo photos, and album references. This comp has pretty much nothing of interest in the liner notes. I don't honestly know who reads these besides me, though.
So, yeah. The Best of En Vogue is adequate, but not great, and the other compilations honestly aren't any better.
For the record, the single versions were as follows:
1) My Lovin': less one chorus and half the annoying "you bet!" bridge, although the heavily sampled Hyperadio remix was also popular
2) Hold On: additional instrumental bridge, different fade, sometimes without the a capella intro (for better or for worse)
3) Whatta Man: snappier remix, additional/CLEARER adlibs by En Vogue, earlier fade
4) Free Your Mind: chopped two choruses, and it honestly needs the edit. There were various R&B-oriented radio remixes, too.
5) Don't Let Go: shorter intro and fade, chopped some adlibs
6) No Fool No More: slightly more poppy remix
7) Whatever: minimal edit to intro
8) Giving Him Something He Can Feel: edits to the intro and spoken bridge
9) Lies: completely overhauled music, more danceable beat
10) Give It Up Turn It Loose: they got rid of that ANNOYING spoken intro
11) Runaway Love: earlier fade
12) Too Gone Too Long: earlier fade
If they could just put out a comp with the radio versions of 1-5, and 8-10, it'd be so much more worthwhile."
Where is Theme From Roc?
PaganDeva2000 | Jamacia, NY United States | 06/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In my eye, this CD is NOT complete because the theme to 'Roc'...'Live Your Life Today' is not on here, or anywhere. Actually, watching reruns of Roc reminded me that their 2nd theme song is beautiful, and they should have promoted that song. Sad...
But, I love those funky divas!"