Various Artists

The Classic Chillout Album [1 Disc]

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Not just another downbeat collection, The Classic Chillout Album is afforded a special status for a simple reason: standing behind it is the licensing weight of the Sony Corporation. The collection balances a spate of restful electronica hits (Moby's "Porcelain," Massive Attack's "Teardrop," Dido's "Here With Me," Delerium's "Silence") with various crossovers -- Charlotte Church, Eva Cassidy, Andreas Vollenweider, James Horner, Jill Scott -- from classical to R&B, all pulled from associated labels. The Classic Chillout Album is refreshingly wide ranging, with great choices from Tangerine Dream ("Love on a Real Train" from Risky Business), William Orbit's Strange Cargo ("She Calls Your Name," with an early appearance from Beth Orton), Maxwell ("Ascension [Don't Ever Wonder]"), and Sade ("No Ordinary Love"). Still, there's little to disguise the fact that merely invoking the name of a hip style is enough to lend a certain coolness to what is essentially an updated form of adult contemporary. Anyone under 40 would call "chillout" a post-millennium code word for easy listening, but the good outweighs the bland over the course of 18 tracks.

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