Bush

The Best of '94 - '99

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Bush's gravelly sound was a staple of alternative rock radio in the space directly after Nirvana's popular breakthrough. And in a way, the U.K. combo became even more popular -- Gavin Rossdale's songs were arena-sized versions of Kurt Cobain's angst, mixed to FM perfection and matched to his good-looking mug on MTV. The critics weren't having it, but Bush still became grunge rock stars. "Little Things," "Everything Zen," and "Machine Head" were appropriately raw, but they were also full of bludgeoning hooks and weedling guitar solos. Like all of Rossdale's songs, they also spun off foggy non sequiturs seemingly cynical enough for the cutoff fatigues set, but that in retrospect are rather stilted. ("Minnie Mouse has grown up a cow/Dave's on sale again...We're so bored you're to blame," from "Zen.") Trauma's The Best of '94 - '99 captures these moments for posterity. The hugely successful ballad "Glycerine" is here with its brittle cellos and strained chorus shrieking, as are the less memorable singles from 1996's Razorblade Suitcase, "Swallowed" and the creepy widescreen version of the Pixies' "Greedy Fly." The set closes with the first three tracks from Bush's flawed remix album Deconstructed. "Everything Zen"'s samey big beat pulse can be dated directly to 1997-1998 and records from Crystal Method and Prodigy -- it's easy to hear how Deconstructed pleased neither rock fans nor electronic heads when it was released. Goldie does a better job with "Swallowed," splicing in a gloomy jungle bassline and skittering rhythmic patterns and isolating the lead guitar peels. Like hearing the studio versions of Sixteen Stone's singles ten years on, these late-'90s remixes are their own time warp. [The collection's second disc featured the audio of Bush's performance at Woodstock '99.]

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