Various Artists

Saturday Night Live: 25 Years, Vol. 2

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The second volume of Saturday Night Live: 25 Years is as much of as an enjoyable hodge-podge as the first. This time around, the focus is intensely on the '90s -- even veterans like the Pretenders ("I'll Stand by You"), Janet Jackson ("Any Time, Any Place"), Beastie Boys ("Sabotage"), R.E.M. ("Losing My Religion"), and Neil Young (whose contribution is "No More," from 1989, but it's from an album that set the pace for his '90s work) are represented by performances from the '90s. They're surrounded by a number of heavy hitters -- Nirvana ("Rape Me"), Oasis ("Acquiesce"), Dr. Dre ("Been There, Done That"), Green Day ("When I Come Around"), Beck ("Nobody's Fault But My Own"), Mary J. Blige ("Reminisce"), Arrested Development ("Tennessee"), Hole ("Doll Parts"), and TLC ("Creep"). Not only is it easy to argue that some bands were overlooked (Pearl Jam, for instance), but it's also easy to complain that certain songs don't capture the featured artist at their best. For instance, Young turned in a great performance of "No More," but in that same show, he delivered a storming version of "Rockin' in the Free World" that went a long way in making it a '90s rock anthem. Even so, Saturday Night Live: 25 Years, Vol. 2 is still very entertaining and even useful; while not every performance is classic, many are great and are of interest to hardcore fans of any of the featured artists. And for those less dedicated listeners, it's a cool portrait of '90s rock, SNL-style.

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