Rick James

Greatest Hits [Universal International]

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Shortly after Motown compiled its first Rick James best-of, Reflections (1984), the label issued a nearly identical compilation titled simply Greatest Hits. Like Reflections, Greatest Hits compiles several of James' biggest hits to date -- "You and I," "Mary Jane," "Give It to Me Baby," "Super Freak," "Dance Wit' Me," "Cold Blooded," "Ebony Eyes," "17," and "You Turn Me On" -- while passing over many songs such as "Love Gun" and "Big Time" that didn't chart quite as well but were great regardless. Unlike Reflections, however, there aren't any new recordings here among the nine inclusions, giving existing fans little reason to bother -- then or now. In the end, Greatest Hits became an obsolete title once better-compiled collections like Bustin' Out: The Very Best of Rick James began to be released in the mid-'90s. While the songs compiled on Greatest Hits are still an enjoyable -- if painfully selective -- listen by any measure, the compilation itself remains mainly fodder for absolute completists. Everyone else will find Greatest Hits of little use when measured against the bounty of other, more readily available James best-ofs, which are generally more balanced and of better value.

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