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The Essential Mercury Rev : Stillness Breathes (1991-2006) (Best Of) CD, Edition limitée, Import
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Disque : 2
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Une collection des meilleurs Titres, raretés, reprises et inédits, résumant 15 ans de carrière ! Mercury Rev est devenu un groupe attendu au tournant, aussi bien par les médias que par les fans. Cette collection en deux cds est donc juste : INDISPENSABLE !
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Just weeks ago, I had wondered if career-overview/best-of/collection would ever appear for the Rev, and then out of the blue I stumble across this 2-disc set at an airport Virgin store. While already possessing all but the three previously-unreleased tracks on this set, I still had to shell-out the money. I've been faithful to this ever-changing outfit since first hearing "Chasing a Bee" in 1991, and consider their sizable, complete catalogue of albums, imports and singles one of the most-used sections of my cd-library.
My first thought on scanning the tracklisting is that they seem to have eschewed the typical "put-all-the-singles-on" format, and have instead placed what I presume to be some band-favourites on here instead. While that works for some tracks (ie. "Empire State"), it also means some less-than-stellar tracks are taking-up room that - in my ever-so-humble opinion - could be better used.
CD1: THE GOOD -- well, most of the disc is brilliant, of course. The tracks are not in any sort of chronological order, which works fine IMO, although there do seem to be a few lulls between certain tracks. It's great to see "Empire State" given star treatment, it's one hell of a great track. Also nice to see "Black Forest" - one of the better moments from "SECRET MIGRATION" - given a bit of respect. "Frittering" is also a very nice surprise, and it works great in amongst the other gems.
CD1: THE BAD -- while strictly my opinion, of course, I feel that the inclusion of both "Diamonds" and the cute-but-unessential "A Drop In Time" both suck-up valuable space from other neglected tracks. Several singles ("Bronx Cheer", "Young Man's Stride", "Little Rhymes", "Across Yer Ocean") are ignored altogether in place of these two tracks. And if the band was choosing simply great material over singles, I cannot fathom the exclusion of "Endlessly", "The Funny Bird" or "Lincoln's Eyes", among many (many!) other gems.
Ah, but that's all part of being a hardcore fan, isn't it?! :)
CD2: THE GOOD -- well the best part is, of course, the unreleased tracks! All three are great -- "Clamour" is a wonderful peek back in time to a rougher, more carefree 'Rev, and it's just plain great to hear. Aside from the three new tracks, many of the others are gems. A few of the more obscure inclusions (ie. the compilation-only covers of James Brown's "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" and Bowie's "Memory of a Free Festival") are very welcome indeed. Nice to have them assembled in one place.
CD2: THE BAD -- A case of missed opportunities, I guess. I very much wish they had included the Japan-only track "Cartwheel", as it remains one of their best non-LP songs (well it was on an LP, but only on Japanese versions of "SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE"). I'm sure many hardcore fans would have appreciated having it on here. As well, some old Peel Sessions would have been a great treat. Many of the b-sides on here are quite recent (from the "ALL IS DREAM" and "SECRET MIGRATION" singles, many still available), and as such this 2nd-CD feels like a lost opportunity to treat the long-faithful fans to a banquet of truly rare and obscure items.
Overall it's still a great compilation, one that will get some regular play-time in my house.
They remain one of my long-standing, all-time favourite bands, and I hold their music very closely to my heart. I can only hope that many new ears will be opened with this compilation, many new fans will be created, and M.R. continue to create wonderful swirling headspace music for many, many years to come.
The first disc contains some of the more poppy songs and the second disc contains oddball b-sides and such.
If you try this, and you must, you'll fall in love with them.
Then move onto to "Deserter's Songs", "All Is Dream", and "Boces", actually any of their cds will work for an intro as they are all pretty good.
Deserter's Songs was the New Musical Express's album of the year for 1997- so keep it real and check this and them out.