K's Choice

10: 1993-2003 Ten Years Of

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The albums of K's Choice haven't always been perfect, but they have generally been enjoyable -- and whether lead singer Sarah Bettens has favored the hard, gutsy rocker-chick bravado of Shirley Manson (Garbage), Chrissie Hynde (the Pretenders), and Christina Amphlett (the Divinyls) or the more introspective singer/songwriter aesthetic of the Indigo Girls, Aimee Mann, and Sarah McLachlan, this Belgian outfit has often brought an attractive sense of melody to the table. Both sides of K's Choice -- the rocking side and the adult alternative/folk-rock side -- are nicely represented on this best-of collection, which was assembled in 2004 and looks back on the group's 1993-2003 output. 10: 1993-2003 offers many of the essential tracks from that ten-year period, including "The Ballad of Leo and Paul" from 1993's The Great Subconscious Club, "If You're Not Scared" from 1998's Cocoon Crash, and "Not an Addict" and "Mr. Freeze" from 1995's Paradise in Me. "Dad" is a heartfelt demonstration of how poignant K's Choice can be, while "I Smoke a Lot" is an effective use of dry humor. The latter doesn't make a case for smoking cigarettes -- it's impossible to make a good argument in favor of something that often causes lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, premature aging, and a long list of other problems -- but rather is an amusing acknowledgment of a bad habit and an example of Sarah and Gert Bettens being able to laugh at their own weaknesses. All of the albums that K's Choice recorded in the '90s or early 2000s are worth owning -- even with their imperfections -- but for the novice who has never acquired a K's Choice release, 10 would be the most logical starting point.

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