7 Series Sampler: Hoobastank

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This limited-edition release from Island repackages Hoobastank's self-titled 2001 debut in a condensed format, as part of the label's 7 Series samplers. It includes the hit singles "Crawling in the Dark" and "Running Away," as well as the less successful follow-up, "Remember Me." Four other songs from the original release's complement of 12 make the cut, with a focus on the more hard-hitting numbers. It's unclear what Island was thinking with this release. The band sounds even more like an Incubus clone when stripped of its more introspective material, since those songs at least gave Hoobastank an identity. If it's meant as a teaser for Hoobastank's future sophomore release, won't that cut the legs off back catalog sales for the outfit's actual debut? After all, this abbreviated edition includes many of that album's principal tracks, and will satisfy any casual fan's Hoobastank jones. Ultimately, it's a confusing release that not only paints Hoobastank as even more of a commodity, but actually diminishes the band's credibility by slicing off pieces of its creativity in favor of something purely commercial.

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