Joan Osborne set the world on fire for a few minutes back in the '90s with her reading of Eric Bazilian's "One of Us," a single that dominated the charts for the better part of a year and continues to get radio play. The album, Relish, sold into the millions, making everybody and her brother (especially the folks at her label Interscope) think she was going to be a superstar. It didn't work out that way. Despite being one of the greatest R&B and soul singers around (before she played in the big leagues she issued a few independent recordings on her own Womanly Hips label that offer stellar proof of this), she got her rep as a pop singer; worse yet, as part of the '90s wave of female acts who dominated the charts for a little while and was a part of the first Lilith Fair, while singing pop songs at half power no less. She recorded one more album for Interscope (which is owned by Universal). Despite being an integral part of the film -- and soundtrack -- for Standing in the Shadows of Motown, no tracks from that fine score are here. Instead, There are five cuts from Relish, three from her sophomore effort Righteous Love, her own awful "Baby Love," from the soundtrack "For The Love of the Game" which was remixed a year later for Righteous Love, and a pair of covers that offer solid proof of Osborne's great gift: an unreleased cover of "Spooky" (demo-sounding) cut in 1998, and a live version of the soul classic "Son of a Preacher Man," from her own Soul Show disc that ended up being part of a hastily cribbed together compilation from her early records called Early Recordings. 20th Century Masters -- Millennium Collection is budget-cheap, but other than those looking for the hit, (which is available on any number of compilations not only by her, but in various-artists comps and hit singles sets galore) there is little reason to even consider this collection.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek