Various Artists

Double Shot: Pop Alternative

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Alternative pop/rock is as vague and far-reaching a term as new wave was in the late '70s and early '80s. In the 1990s, the term was used to describe everyone from No Doubt, Liz Phair, and Chumbawamba to Beck, Veruca Salt, Material Issue, and Ben Folds Five. A two-CD set that K-Tel put out in early 2000, Double Shot: Pop Alternative doesn't contain anything by any of those artists but uses many other artists to remind us just how broad a range of music was defined as alternative pop/rock in the 1990s. A few of K-Tel's choices were recorded in the late '80s -- including the B-52s' "Roam" and Morrissey's "Everyday Is Like Sunday" -- but for the most part, this compilation focuses on the 1990s. Anyone who seriously followed alternative pop/rock during that decade should be familiar with favorites that range from Letters to Cleo's "Here and Now," the Lemonheads' "It's a Shame About Ray" and Duncan Sheik's "Barely Breathing" to Belly's "Feed the Tree," Nada Surf's "Popular," and the Flaming Lips' goofy "She Don't Use Jelly." Female singer/songwriters aren't neglected on this collection, and the Lillith Fair crowd is nicely represented by Beth Orton's "Best Bit," Paula Cole's "Saturn Girl," Juliana Hatfield's "My Sister," and Jill Sobule's "I Kissed a Girl" (which became an anthem in the lesbian community). To really tell the story of alternative pop/rock in the 1990s, K-Tel would have needed to assemble a huge box set. But Double Shot: Pop Alternative doesn't pretend to tell the whole story -- instead, it touches on some of the decade's alternative highlights and does so with decent-to-excellent results.

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