Various Artists

Radio Waves of the '90s: Alternative Rock Hits

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Seeing budget compilations of '90s alternative rock might make the people that grew up with it feel old and sad, but not half as sad (or, more likely, confused) as seeing songs like Extreme's power ballad "Hole Hearted" or Ugly Kid Joe's hair metal snark-fest "Everything About You" on Radio Waves of the '90s: Alternative Rock Hits. This foray into pop-metal is a serious flaw in the collection, but fortunately not an entirely fatal one, as it redeems itself with more likely tracks such as the Gin Blossoms' "Follow You Down," Semisonic's "Closing Time," and Del Amitri's "Roll to Me." Despite the somewhat random song selections -- which, puzzlingly, also include Tears for Fears' bombastic, early-'90s single "Break It Down Again" -- the album does manage to feature three of the decade's best and most definitive alternative rock singles: Urge Overkill's surging "Sister Havana," the Cranberries' sweet first single "Linger," and the Stone Roses' "Love Spreads," which sounded somewhat disappointing upon its release but eventually proved to hold its own with the band's best material. A scattered and occasionally wrongheaded collection, Radio Waves of the '90s: Alternative Rock Hits is probably best avoided, despite some of the worthwhile songs it includes.

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