Terence Trent D'Arby

Do You Love Me Like You Say: The Very Best of Terence Trent d'Arby

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Sporting the same cover art if not the same track listing as the 2002 U.K. double-disc compilation Greatest Hits, Columbia/Legacy's 2006 Do You Love Me Like You Say: The Very Best of Terrence Trent d'Arby is the first American TTD collection, so it's not surprising that it's targeted toward a U.S. audience, removing some British hits and playing up his soulful side while running through all of his American hits, including such sings as "Delicate," which barely scraped the Hot 100 in 1993. As such, it's a tighter collection than its U.K. counterpart, but that's only when judged on a relative scale, since this 17-track overview not only is heavy on B-sides and obscurities, but it's bursting with the stylized eccentricity that doomed TTD to be a cult act. When his career is condensed to a single disc he more than ever comes across as a self-conscious English Prince wanting to make music halfway between Sam Cooke and the Rolling Stones as fronted by Michael Jackson -- an amalgam that is certainly interesting, but isn't necessarily for a wide audience. His 1987 debut, Introducing the Hardline, was big hit in both the U.K. and the U.S., but its 1989 follow-up, Neither Fish Nor Flesh, was a legendary exercise in self-indulgence, a great leap forward to a place few listeners wanted to follow. From there, his albums got progressively more ambitious and convoluted, sometimes soaring and sometimes stuttering, so it would be useful to have a concise collection of the big hits and highlights -- which Do You Love Me Like You Say is not. It's as muddled, ambitious, and incoherent as any album he made after Hardline, which makes it an accurate representation of his art, even if it's not the most convincing argument for it. That said, there's plenty of exciting music here -- not just the hits "If You Let Me Stay," "Wishing Well," and "Sign Your Name," but the dynamite gospel-soul of "I'll Be Alright" and the psychedelic "She Kissed Me" -- and when taken together, it's easy to see both d'Arby's appeal and missed opportunities. And if that doesn't make for a comp that's all killer and no filler, at least it's more honest than most greatest-hits are -- and, besides, the good stuff really is killer.

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