Various Artists

MTV's Best of the Buzz Bin, Vol. 1

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MTV's Best of the Buzz Bin is a curious collection. In one sense, it sums up the post-Nirvana commercialization of alternative rock quite well -- there's the faux-grunge of Bush ("Everything Zen"), the dippy neo-hippie rock of Blind Melon ("No Rain"), and the PC jazz/hip-hop fusion of US3 ("Cantaloupe") sitting alongside the jazzy folk-rock of the Dave Matthews Band ("What Would You Say"), the campy metal of White Zombie ("Thunder Kiss 65"), and the Pearl Jam-as-arena-rock of Stone Temple Pilots ("Plush"), with Radiohead ("Creep"), the Cranberries ("Zombie"), and Danzig ("Mother") thrown in for good measure. In other words, it's a bit of a stylistic mess. Nevertheless, most of the bands are united by an affection for loud, distorted guitars -- it makes the light acoustic rhythms of Dave Matthews seem incongruous. Then again, mainstream alternative rock -- particularly the kind that MTV played frequently -- was dominated by heavy guitar bands. So, while MTV's Best of the Buzz Bin may be lacking both major artists and some interesting one hit wonders, it remains a good sampler and there are some great singles -- "Creep," "Thunder Kiss 65," "Plush" -- buried amidst some tracks that are nothing more than artifacts.