The single-disc distillation of the triple-disc 2007 set Dylan weighs in at 18 tracks -- considerably shorter than the 51-track box -- but it covers the same ground, beginning with "Blowin' in the Wind" and ending with "Someday Baby" from his 2006 album Modern Times. That's a lot to cover in one disc, so it's inevitable that some details are glossed over. Still, this isn't intended to be a thorough introduction, the way that the triple-disc set is. Instead, this is a basic primer built upon the standards -- "The Times They Are A-Changin'," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Like a Rolling Stone," "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35," "All Along the Watchtower," "Lay Lady Lay," and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." This doesn't make for a deep introduction, but it's not intended to be: it's merely a disc with all of the biggest Bob songs, the first ever to be released, actually. On that level it works as either the simplest introduction to Dylan ever, or as the best all-the-hits collection he's ever had.
Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine