To state the obvious, these kinds of Grammy-related compilations are always a mishmash, and generally not the good kind. Any compilation that aims to span the popular music landscape with all of its many niches is destined to be disjointed. For instance, when Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, and Bruce Springsteen share the same digital space as Kelly Clarkson, Rob Thomas, Gorillaz, and Mariah Carey, you can safely bet that the CD is going to be less than a seamless listen. That stated, there are a lot of good songs on this 21-song compilation. Sure, they're a mixed bag, but good is good, or so Sheryl Crow sings here. And besides, there's a certain perverse amusement in hearing Mariah's clubby "It's Like That" succeeded by McCartney's textbook pop/rock "Fine Line" (or Stevie succeeded by Kelly, or Neil succeeded by Beck, et al.). Transitions like these are so bizarre, they recontexualize the songs in ways that can be interesting. Well, not that interesting, certainly not enough to make this the sort of CD you eagerly burn for friends. And besides, a good half of these songs were so ubiquitous throughout 2005 that it seems unnecessary to repackage them yet again, because anyone who engaged in pop culture every now and then throughout the year surely got her fill of "Speed of Sound," "Since U Been Gone," and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," to mention a few of the more played-out songs here. Then again, the other half or so of these songs aren't all that familiar. "Devils & Dust," "From the Bottom of My Heart," "The Painter," "Fine Line," and other such songs here performed by "old" people were somewhat off the pop culture radar, not getting much, if any, airtime on music television or FM radio. So it's nice to have them here, or so one could argue if one were inclined to present this CD in a relatively positive light.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier