For those who missed out on New Edition's excellent Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 or their 2003 compilation simply entitled Hits, this 20th Century Masters collection is an economically sensible survey of the band's long and evolving career from their years as bubblegum kid crooners to serious new jack swingers to powerhouse R&B icons. All of the big hits are represented here: "Cool It Now," the Ray Parker, Jr.-penned "Mr. Telephone Man," "Earth Angel" (the big romantic number from The Karate Kid Part II that was overlooked in favor of Peter Cetera's juggernaut hit "The Glory of Love"), the quiet storm ballad "Can You Stand the Rain," and "If It Isn't Love" (erroneously but quite amusingly referred to in the liner notes as "If It Isn't Me"). It also features their two hit singles from 1996's Home Again, giving the compilation a greater sense of their creative evolution over the span of a decade. It's not the finest or most thorough compilation on the market, but those looking for simply the hits will be satisfied with what is put together here.
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AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston