Hothouse Flowers

The Best of Hothouse Flowers

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London Records reportedly put this retrospective album together without involving anyone from Hothouse Flowers. That undoubtedly explains the rather bizarre track selection and the almost insulting emphasis on the band's first two albums. The 14-track compilation features more than half of People (1988) and more than a third of Home (1990). But there are only three tracks from the group's second pair of albums. It's not surprising that the producers were not as keen on the 1998 comeback attempt, Born, a U2-esque modern rock record that constituted a major stylistic departure for the band. It sold poorly in the U.K. and is the only Hothouse Flowers album that has never been released in the States. But it is harder to understand why "This Is It (Your Soul)" is the only representative of the fine 1993 effort Songs From the Rain. Several singles from that record ("An Emotional Time," "Isn't It Amazing," "One Tongue") are completely ignored here in favor of earlier album tracks, giving The Best of a monochromatic feel that is unusual for a retrospective. That said, the compilation does include several indisputable Hothouse Flowers classics and only one song (the title track from Home) is completely undeserving of inclusion. It's not really fair to call this The Best of, but it certainly captures the free-spirited, open-hearted, soul-inflected folk-rock sound of the early days.

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