Various Artists

Greatest Ever! Mum [2010]

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Anyone fretting over what to buy for a last-minute generic Mother's Day present could do worse than this generous three-disc Greatest Ever! Mum: The Definitive Collection, which thankfully realizes that not every mother worships easy listening crooners like Daniel O'Donnell and Cliff Richard, and instead focuses on 55 of the best soul, pop, disco, and MOR classics of the last 50 years. There may still be the occasional favorites such as Michael Bublé ("Me & Mrs.You"), Tom Jones ("She's a Lady"), and the Lighthouse Family ("Lifted"), but they are also joined by acts as diverse as Swedish indie poppers the Cardigans ("Lovefool"), heavy metal outfit Extreme ("More Than Words"), and country-rockers the Mavericks ("Dance the Night Away"). Although there isn't anything post-2003 (Appleton's "Don't Worry" is the most recent tune included), there should be something for everyone, whether it's the '60s lounge-pop of the Walker Brothers' "Make It Easy on Yourself," the '70s disco of Amii Stewart's "Knock On Wood," the '80s soul-funk of Level 42' "Running in the Family," the '90s boy band pop of Let Loose's "Crazy for You," or the 2000s melodic AOR of Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles." Highlights from the '70s soul-based Disc One include Michael Jackson's "Got to Be There," the Commodores' "Three Times a Lady," and Diana Ross' "Do You Know Where You're Going To?"; Incognito's "Don't You Worry About a Thing," Gabrielle's "Sunshine," and Mama Cass' "Dream a Little Dream of Me" provide the standouts for the '90s-centric second disc; while Shanice's "I Love Your Smile," Thelma Houston's "Don't Leave Me This Way" and Cher's "The Shoop Shoop Song" are the choice cuts from the more random third disc. Any mothers into thrash metal, happy hardcore, or gangster rap won't find much to suit their tastes, but for a middle of the road, hit-laden, and decade-spanning compilation, Greatest Ever! Mum: The Definitive Collection is one of the best on the market.

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