Squeeze

Big Squeeze: The Very Best of Squeeze

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Over the course of Squeeze's 25-year career, an inexplicable number of greatest-hits compilations have surfaced (seven, to be specific), and nearly all of them have suffered from a serious flaw, whether it's the exclusion of important hit singles or the inclusion of mediocre album cuts and B-sides. The only two worthwhile compilations -- 1982's Singles 45's & Under and 1994's Greatest Hits -- both suffered somewhat by not covering the entirety of the band's career. Big Squeeze is the attempt to remedy this mess, as it is the first hits compilation that covers the band from 1977 to 1998, including most of the important singles along the way, as well as tacking on a bonus disc of B-sides. Granted, Squeeze released some great singles -- enough to substantiate a straight-up two-disc singles compilation, really -- but for a casual fan, this is truly the best introduction. Big Squeeze includes the entirety of Singles 45's & Under (save for the substitution of "Labelled with Love" for "If I Didn't Love You"), and then goes on to pluck their more important later-day singles, including their biggest U.S. chart hit, 1987's "Hourglass," and their 1995 Top 20 British comeback, "This Summer." The second disc is an interesting, if flawed, journey through Squeeze's B-sides catalog. The band has a treasure trove of nearly 100 non-album cuts available, so it's surprising that Big Squeeze wastes space on throwaways like "Suites from Five Strangers" and "Squabs on Forty Fab," but most of the rest of the tracks live up to the high standard of the band's singles and album cuts. There is also an insightful track-by-track commentary written by both Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford, although it's poorly organized and inexplicably fails to identify who is speaking in each part of the liner notes. Qualms aside, the most significant feature of Big Squeeze is that unlike most of the other Squeeze compilations, this one makes sense as a retrospective. [Big Squeeze was also reissued in 2005 as Gold].

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