311

Greatest Hits '93-'03

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From the chunkheaded rap-rock beta tests "Down" and "All Mixed Up" through the blue-eyed make-out reggae of "Amber" and on to latter-day stuff like the underrated Soundsystem single "Come Original," 311 spanned the nascence and ultimate codification of the alternative nation. "F*ck the naysayers 'cause they don't mean a thing!" -- if you went to college in the 1990s, 311 was on your radar. Greatest Hits '93-'03 remasters the highlights from those years, includes the Omaha group's graceful cover of the Cure's "Love Song," and pads the set with two new songs. As for the unreleased material, "First Straw" is a pleasant enough reggae-rock jam of the variety S.A., Nick Hexum, et al., have grown skilled -- if not necessarily better -- at writing, while "How Do You Feel" is a muscular rocker with the usual eager rap/triumphant chorus dynamic. Other highlights include a version of Grassroots opener "Homebrew" remixed for added punch and grit, and the diametrically opposed Evolver cuts "Creatures (For a While)" and "Beyond the Gray Sky." While "Do You Right" is the only representative from 1993's Music, it's nice to remember that it sounds like Fishbone playing Love. In short, Greatest Hits '93-'03 is the perfect time capsule for the casual 311 fan. It might even shake loose the name of that stoner kid from freshman year.

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