Capitol's 2005 Essential Collection compilation replaces their 2002 Classic Masters as the Motels greatest-hits album that's available in the marketplace in the 2000s. Essential Collection has 15 tracks compared to 12 on Classic Masters. All but three of the songs on the 2002 disc are on this 2005 comp, yet the new disc still misses their first and last charting singles -- 1982's "Forever Mine" and 1985's "Shock" -- as well as the 1983 radio hit "Little Robbers." None of these three songs was on Classic Masters either, so there really isn't much difference between the two discs, aside from Martha Davis' solid track-by-track annotation here. So, it's a good Motels compilation, covering all the major hits, but the original 1990 hits comp No Vacancy: The Best of the Motels remains the best, simply because it covered more ground and had more hits. Alas, that's now out of print, but truth be told, it's not really worth hunting down since Essential Collection or Classic Masters will give most listeners the Motels songs they want.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine