A Compilation of Warped Music is as good a compilation of the state of U.S. punk rock (and its ska pals) in the late '90s as you're going to see. Put together in conjunction with the 1998 Warped Vans tour, all the heavy hitters from that extended jaunt are here except Rancid, including top stars Bad Religion (a Stranger Than Fiction sessions B-side smacker, "Markovian Process"), All (the catchy "I'll Get There"), and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones ("Wake Up Call"). But anyone who has followed the genre knows the other 22 acts have roots in the sound and community far before and beyond the 1994 commercial Green Day/Offspring explosion, especially scene stalwarts NOFX ("It's My Job to Keep Punk Rock Elite" smokes), Pennywise, 22 Jacks (who nicely continue the guitar soar of bassist Steve Soto's former band, Adolescents), the fantastic Descendents (an unreleased track, "Gotto"), Swingin' Utters, old-style greats No Use for a Name, and the hot Man Will Surrender (a real find here, the best song aside from Bad Religion!). On the bass-booming ska sound, Dance Hall Crashers, Hepcat, Mad Caddies, and the less traditional Ozomatli sound bouncy and '60s-Jamaica authentic, while Smooths switch gears between the two genres well. No slip, either, on the rest, with Royal Crown Revue, the poppy Lagwagon, Red Five, Tilt, el Centro, Furious IV, and No Knife. Only the breakneck thrash of vets Sick of It All and to a lesser extent Bouncing Souls sounds out of date and thus forgettable. Otherwise, kowabunga! Punk's not dead, just hardcore is.
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AllMusic Review by Jack Rabid