The Damned

Neat Neat Neat: The Alternative Anthology

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With countless Damned compilations issued over the years, what exactly differentiates 2004's Neat Neat Neat: The Alternative Anthology from the rest of the pack, you wonder? This three-disc set spotlights the Damned's earlier "punk" years on the first disc and their more melodic '80s era on the second, wrapping things up with a third disc of live material. Although it may never be actually proven that "New Rose" was the first-ever punk single (an honor it often gets tagged with), it still remains one hell of a punk classic, and kicks things off splendidly. And it's followed up in quick succession with two other Damned gems, the title track and "Stab Your Back," all off the group's 1977 debut, Damned Damned Damned. The second disc doesn't exactly measure up to the early years (tracks such as "Stranger on the Town" sound as if the group was trying to mimic the Jam), while the third disc features live renditions of such latter-day favorites as "Wait for the Blackout." Neat Neat Neat: The Alternative Anthology covers all the bases, but as an introduction, newcomers may be better off with one of the group's single-disc "best-of" sets or the group's aforementioned stellar debut, Damned Damned Damned.

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