The Stranglers

All the Best

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There are plenty of Stranglers compilations to choose from, but All the Best places in the upper half and maybe even the upper ten percent, although it still has its drawbacks. It opens with a killer trifecta of hits -- the lascivious "Peaches," the stomping punk rocker "Get a Grip (On Yourself)," and the beautiful harpsichord-led ballad "Golden Brown" -- before rolling through a set of punk and new wave standards for the remainder of disc one, with snotty numbers like "Something Better Change" and "5 Minutes" providing the perfect soundtracks for brawls or blows against the empire. Disc two has big ballsy hits like "Hangin' Around" and "No Heroes," and while there's a strong second line of tunes to enjoy, odd choices like "N'Emmenes Pas Harry" (the French version of "Don't Tell Harry") and "You Hold the Key to My Love in Your Hands" (an early demo) come right from the world of rarities and make the set's title entirely arguable. Still, this beats any of those "best-ofs" that replace the original recordings with live performances from the later band, but missing big numbers like "Skin Deep" and "Always the Sun" also came from these years when Hugh Cornwell was frontman, so All the Best is up for debate. Get it at the right price and you're in for a jackbooted, melodic, and wry time, or think of it as "Plenty of the Best, and Some Really Interesting Stuff Too."

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