Released in conjunction with the silver screen dramatization of the Runaways’ saga, Hip-O Select’s The Mercury Albums Anthology rounds up the group’s four albums - 1976’s The Runaways, plus Live in Japan, Queens of Noise, and Waitin’ for the Night, all released in 1977-- in a slick two-disc set. Anybody won over to the Runaways via the charms or Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning will find this to be much too much -- really, they’ll be satiated by a quick download of “Cherry Bomb” -- as this is intended for connoisseurs of sleaze and those under the impression that the female foursome were pioneers not at all under the skeevy thumb of Kim Fowley. Both groups may find what’s contained on Mercury Albums Anthology somewhat underwhelming: the Runaways plodded as much as the plundered, hammering out three-chord riffs that had more to do with frizzy-haired metal than any kind of proto-punk. Live, they had a modicum of energy, as evidenced by Live in Japan, but they wound up being highly polished and packaged in the studio, with Fowley steering them ever so slightly toward sticky, disposable bubblegum. Joan Jett eventually wound up digging in her heels, asserting control on Waitin’ for the Night, but by then, the band was straining under Fowley’s direction, and the end was near. All this is, of course, apparent on this de facto complete recordings -- they knocked out another record after leaving Mercury -- but the lasting impression of this double-disc set is that the Runaways’ myth is always better than their music.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2