Like The Definitive Collection (2005) before it, 16 Biggest Hits fails to fully summarize the highlights of the Patty Loveless catalog. That's because rival majors Universal and Sony BMG each own a key half of her prime recordings: her MCA Nashville albums, from Patty Loveless (1987) to Up Against My Heart (1991), are Universal property, whereas successive albums, beginning with Only What I Feel (1993), were released by Epic Records, property of Sony BMG. The Definitive Collection, a Universal release, sought to remedy this somewhat by including a couple licensed Epic hits ("You Can Feel Bad," "Lonely Too Long") alongside 20 of her MCA hits. This amounted to a great CD, but it only told half of the Patty Loveless story, for those two licensed songs were only a tease of the treasures held within her vast Epic catalog. 16 Biggest Hits, a Sony BMG release, inverts the formula, including a couple licensed MCA hits ("Timber, I'm Falling in Love," "Chains") alongside 14 of her Epic hits. Likewise, it amounts to a great CD -- a nonstop hit parade, in fact -- but only tells half of the story. Ideally, it's best to couple these two complementary compilations, because each side of the Patty Loveless story is compelling and unique. As for this side, the Epic story, Loveless came to the label as an already-established hitmaker, in addition to her credentials among critics, who loved her. Her Epic debut, Only What I Feel (1993), was a huge success, returning her to the top of the charts, where she hadn't been since Honky Tonk Angel (1988). Three songs from Only What I Feel ("Blame It on Your Heart," "You Will," "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye") are showcased on 16 Biggest Hits. Thereafter Loveless continued to enjoy varying degrees of success with her successive releases for Epic, and her next two albums, When Fallen Angels Fly (1994) and The Trouble with the Truth (1996), were particularly successful. They're well represented here: four songs from the former ("I Try to Think About Elvis," "Here I Am," "You Don't Even Know Who I Am," "Halfway Down") and four from the latter ("You Can Feel Bad," "A Thousand Times a Day," "Lonely Too Long," "She Drew a Broken Heart"). 16 Biggest Hits more or less ends the story there, tacking on a few songs from later albums for good measure: "You Don't Seen to Miss Me," from Long Stretch of Lonesome (1997); "That's the Kind of Mood I'm In," from Strong Heart (2000); and "Lovin' All Night," from On Your Way Home (2003). It's a shame there aren't more inclusions from these latter-day albums, not to mention others like Mountain Soul (2001) or Dreamin' My Dreams (2005), because these are all great albums. However, that's another story, one that is best told by the individual albums. 16 Biggest Hits is great for what it is. There's not a bad song here, and it covers her early-'90s heyday thoroughly. But these 16 hits are only some of Loveless' biggest. To gather up all of them -- that is, other big hits not found here like "Blue Side of Town," "A Little Bit in Love," "Hurt Me Bad (In a Real Good Way)," "I'm That Kind of Girl," and "Jealous Bone" -- you'll also need The Definitive Collection, or another MCA-era best-of like 20th Century Masters (2000) or Greatest Hits (1993), in addition to 16 Biggest Hits.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
feat: George Jones