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For obvious reasons, this is the perfect place to start once you've decided to enter inside the warm and wonderful world of Holland's finest pop band, the Nits. While this two-CD set contains 44 of the Nits' finest singles and most popular tracks, it still doesn't touch the surface of their famously eclectic musical output. Trying to pigeonhole the band's sound is virtually impossible. At different times throughout their 20-plus year career, they've managed to sound like XTC, the Beatles, Gruppo Sportivo, 10cc, Elvis Costello, and Supertramp while maintaining a distinctly unique sound. Each and every album they've released has been completely different from the ones before it. The early years (1979-1981) were their quirky period, mixing Beatles-flavored melodies with peppy XTC-like arrangements. "Umbrella," "The Young Reporter," "Holiday on Ice," and "Red Tape" are a few of the key tracks from this period. After a year layoff, their next phase (1983-1986) was still quirky, but more introspective and earthy, with piano replacing synth sounds. From this period, one only has to hear such gems as "Sketches of Spain," "Vermillion Pencil," "Mask," and "Adieu, Sweet Bahnhof" to realize the deep-thinking musical genius behind this band. The band's next phase (1987-1988) was even more musically direct than before, stripping away studio overdubs and allowing the raw, yet well-produced, songs speak for themselves. Must-hears from this period are "The Train," "J.O.S. Days," and the huge hit "In the Dutch Mountains." Their next phase (1990-1995) still kept things basic, but brought R.J. Stips' piano and keyboards to the fore again, taking the band's sound to another dimension. "Red Shoes," "Soap Bubble Box," "Dreams," "Road Not Taken," and "Day & the Night" are highlights from this period. Since then, the Nits have been less than prolific during label and bandmember changes, but their past glories make up for any time listeners have to wait between their albums nowadays. The band's musical progression equals that of XTC, which started out quirky and wild, and developed into one of the most beloved and respected bands of the last 25 years. In a perfect world, the Nits would be mentioned in the same breath.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:22
2 2:45
3 4:09
4 3:11
5 2:30
6 4:35
7 2:03
8 3:25
9 3:53
10 3:57
11 3:33
12 4:32
13 4:42
14 2:30
15 2:37
16 4:47
17 3:17
18 4:18
19 2:51
20 3:57
21 2:09
22 3:31
blue highlight denotes track pick