This is a phenomenal compilation released at the turn of the 21st century, exploring the music of 16 highly talented artists. A keeper for any music collector, the record features some of the most successful musicians of the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. Peter Gabriel shines during the opening tune, an eloquent, reflective look at his split with the band Genesis. It was "Solsbury Hill" that brought initial success to Gabriel's first self-titled album. "Building a Mystery" became a hit single from Sarah McLachlan's fourth album, Surfacing. "Back in the High Life Again," an enriching tune by songwriter Steve Winwood, has shimmering faith and sincere optimism. "High Life" was the title track off Winwood's best-selling solo album from 1986, which both captured the assertiveness and practicalness of the '80s. The crafty and renowned veteran songwriter Paul Simon adds appeal to this record with a zesty tune from the Grammy-winning Graceland. The song mixes in a little bit of everything, including the influence of zydeco, Elvis, and '50s rocker Rick Nelson. The band that pushed the envelop of '80s pop music, Roxy Music is granted a track, the swan song "Avalon," one of many of their elegant and seductive creations. "Running up That Hill" was a dark and sensual single that made the name Kate Hill popular in 1982. Without the help of John Lennon's sentimental single "Jealous Guy," this album would not have nearly half the flair it needs to be expressed as a solid compilation. A song filled with rich and elaborate piano chord changes, the addition of angelic strings, Lennon's lyrics still shine through with great clarity and confession. This song sincerely reveals his enduring feelings for wife and fellow collaborator Yoko Oko. The Cowboy Junkies proudly display their lead singer Margo Timmons' haunting vocals, soft-textured folk guitars, and harmonica elements in the dreamy "200 More Miles," a smashing hit for the Canadian quartet during the mid-'80s. Other surprises that fail not to inspire include the passion of Sinéad O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U," Heart's "These Dreams," and the immensely appealing "Don't Dream It's Over," a definitive late-'80s pop tune by the band Crowded House. Don't forget to catch one of Top 40 radio's all-time playlist favorites, Don McLean's "American Pie," a 1971 timeless classic that chronicles the history of rock & roll beginning with Buddy Holly's death in a 1959 plane crash.
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AllMusic Review by Shawn M. Haney