Everything on The Virgin Years: Greatest Hits can be found on Fra Lippo Lippi's Songs and Light and Shade LPs. There are no 12" extended mixes, no B-sides, and no unreleased tracks. Serious collectors may frown at the absence of rarities, but this CD wasn't made for them. The Virgin Years: Greatest Hits encapsulates the band's post-gothic period; the bottomless despair of In Silence and the foggy landscapes of Small Mercies are excluded from here. When Fra Lippo Lippi signed to Virgin Records in England, the Norwegian group had already developed a taste for pop. Many of the tunes on this album, such as "The Distance Between Us," "Everytime I See You," and "Angel," were played incessantly on new wave radio stations in the Philippines during the '80s; this album provides the band's Filipino fans an opportunity to relive fond memories but it's also an accessible introduction to anybody unfamiliar with the group. Catchy songs are abundant, often impelled by piano or synthesizers. Fra Lippo Lippi were vivid, straightforward storytellers; each track unreels like a short film. The Virgin Years: Greatest Hits is completely free from filler. Although the tracks from Light and Shade were more jazz-influenced than the selections from Songs, the tunes flow smoothly into one another. America was completely oblivious to Fra Lippo Lippi; however, The Virgin Years: Greatest Hits offers an opportunity to hear a group that could've been superstars worldwide.
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AllMusic Review by Michael Sutton