For a brief, shining moment at the dawn of the '90s, it seemed that Arrested Development's debut 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of would have as lasting an impact as Nirvana's Nevermind, which also ruled the charts in 1992. As it turns out, Nevermind ushered in years of grunge, indie rock, and, sadly, terrible hard rock, but 3 Years wound up as the last big gasp of alt-rap before it was subsumed by gangsta after The Chronic. As such, Arrested Development's music has dated slightly, sounding like its time rather than transcending it, as this edition of Classic Masters illustrates. As a collection, it's quite good, containing not just every one of the group's hits and singles, but a B-side ("Southern Fried Funk"), a few album tracks, and Speech's 1995 solo single, "Like Marvin Said (What's Goin' On)." Several singles stand the test of time and emerge as classics, particularly "Tennessee," while several sound a little too closely tied to their time, but overall this is an excellent overview of the last great Daisy-Age era alt-rap crew. 3 Years remains definitive, but if you want a sampler, containing bits of Zingalamundi plus Revolution, this is the one to get.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine