Despite some unnecessary problems, The Best of Pete Townshend: Coolwalkingsmoothtalkingstraightsmokingfirestoking is a good sampling of Townshend's biggest solo hits, as well as some of the songwriter's personal favorites. One of the major problems of the collection is Townshend's inability to leave the original mixes alone -- for instance, there are two versions of "Let My Love Open the Door" and neither of them is the original version. Furthermore, some tracks have longer mixes, others are shorter, and occasionally the mixes are significantly different than the album. Even with these problems, the album provides a good idea of the arc of Townshend's solo career, making it an adequate starting point for neophytes. For dedicated fans, it's a very frustrating release -- not only is it baited with the unreleased Psychoderelict outtake "Uneasy Street" and the "E.Cola Mix" of "Let My Love Open the Door," the remixes and edits are awkward for those intimately familiar with the tracks. Which means The Best of Pete Townshend is best as a sampler, not as a definitive retrospective.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine