The Best of the Standells

The Standells

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The Best of the Standells Review

by Heather Phares

1984's The Best of the Standells remains one of the best compilations of the proto-punk group's output, collecting their classic "Dirty Water" as well as "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White," "Barracuda," and "Why Pick on Me." It's true that nothing else matches "Dirty Water"'s impact, but the rest of the Standells' songs reaffirm what a solid and occasionally inspired band they were. "Try It," their theme song for Riot on Sunset Strip, and "Mainline" riff on the raunchy, sullen image that their hit created, while "Have You Ever Spent the Night in Jail" is still subversively funny. "Medication"'s droning, druggy love song could very well have been an influence on Jason Pierce's work with Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized, and "Black Hearted Woman" also sounds both of and ahead of its time. The group's psychedelic forays, such as "All Fall Down," now sound more dated than their surly, straight-ahead rock, but are still enjoyable. 1998's The Very Best of the Standells is also a good collection, but The Best of the Standells is worth seeking out.

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