Various Artists

Absolute 90's [MCA]

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Absolute 90's is a "joint venture" of MCA Music and Warner Music resulting in a '90s alternative-rock equivalent of those ubiquitous K-TEL 20 Greatest Amazing Explosive Stupendous Hits compilations of decades yore. (If it isn't enough that most of the recorded music accessible throughout the world is controlled by a handful of multinational conglomerates, now these companies are beginning to flaunt alliances of convenience!) That being said, the labels get it pretty well right here, delivering a judicious selection of name contemporary groups that walk a balanced tightrope between mainstream accessibility and underground hipness (at least, as represented by the MCA and Warner rosters). A total of 16 tracks gather the likes of Elastica, Stone Roses, Weezer, Sonic Youth, the Lemonheads, Porno for Pyros, White Zombie, Urge Overkill, Throwing Muses, the Flaming Lips, Filter, and King Missile. Canada gets a look-in with Sloan, the Killjoys, and the Gandharvas. Dinosaur Jr. offers the one previously unreleased track in "Just like Heaven." It's all very obvious and calculated, but makes for one heck of a driving or party tape.

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