Hits! The Very Best of Erasure

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An early track record of releasing one glistening single after another made Erasure's first compilation, Erasure Pop!: The First 20 Hits, a no-brainer to compile, but what to do with the duo's spotty later years? Hits! The Very Best of Erasure puts the old hits with the new ones, adds some rarities and remixes, and keeps with Pop!'s chronological structure. The first 13 tracks on Hits! The Very Best of Erasure cover the same, more successful, time Pop! did, and after that it's all moody epilogue. Later tracks like "Always," "Freedom," and "In My Arms" don't have the name recognition of "Chains of Love," but they do show a more mature Erasure in both delivery and composition. The problem is that no one ever wanted them to be Dylan or Radiohead, and the kind of albums they put out post-Pop! don't lend themselves well to greatest-hits collections. The later tracks at least answer the "whatever happened to" question for most people, but what's really confusing is why the four-song Abba-esque EP is overly represented by three tracks while the sparkling Wonderland album gets covered in only one and Cowboy and 1995's self-titled album are ignored completely. Despite the mishandlings, there's an incredible amount of great pop and dance music here, and you can program out the fluff if you want. Just know that even as a casual fan you will at some point in your life have to get back in the car, head to the store, and buy the other Erasure collection.

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