Parliament

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Parliament

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Choosing between the many Parliament best-ofs isn't an easy task; in fact, the single-disc collections are all so similar that it's barely even worth belaboring the task. But if you do want to labor a bit in hopes of getting the absolute perfect single-disc best-of, this is one of your best options. First of all, above anything, skip Greatest Hits (The Bomb); there isn't anything wrong with its choices -- they're perfect -- but that album runs only 55 minutes, wasting invaluable CD space. That's where this collection becomes a better choice, making the most of its length by adding "Testify," "Agony of Defeet," and full-length versions of songs such as "Flashlight." You could argue, of course, that The Best of Parliament: Give Up the Funk is an even better collection than 20th Century Masters, which it is (not having "Testify," but instead offering "Let's Play House," "Ride On," "Theme From the Black Hole," and "Do That Stuff"), but that's a near-futile argument since they are practically facsimiles of one another. If you can find The Best of Parliament, get it over this album; it's a better choice. But don't go out of your way to find that album, because 20th Century Masters is a fine best-of, filled with nothing but Parliament anthems. There honestly aren't any weak moments here, with the possible exception of "Agony of Defeet," a latter-day song by the group that would have been better off replaced. Still, that's being highly critical. This is a perfect starting point; pick it up and chances are that either you'll struggle to stomach Parliament's funk or, more likely, find yourself searching out the group's full-lengths.

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