Giving new meaning to the phrase "embarrassment of riches," this compilation assembles three complete LPs by California housewife Elva Miller, arguably the worst singer ever signed to a major-label deal. (Yes, even worse than Scott Stapp.) One surefire way to avoid to a sophomore slump is recording a debut as jaw-droppingly awful as the cult smash Mrs. Miller's Greatest Hits. If nothing else, its follow-up, Will Success Spoil Mrs. Miller?!, is bound to be a mild improvement, if only because listeners know to expect the worst the second time around. While the previous album focused almost exclusively on contemporary rock hits, Will Success Spoil Mrs. Miller?! encompasses a broader stylistic palette that includes more traditional pop fare like "Strangers in the Night," "Moon River," and "Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home?" As a result, the joke doesn't seem quite so cruel this time around, because at least Mrs. Miller is performing the music of her own generation. Far more than her pop LPs, The Country Soul of Mrs. Miller is clearly a labor of love, and that makes the record all the more poignant and painful. Her renditions of Nashville perennials like "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail," "There Goes My Everything," and "Oh, Lonesome Me" exist somewhere between opera, yodeling, and the blood-curdling screams of Guantanamo torture victims. It's still better than your average Toby Keith record, but not by much. The Mike Curb-produced Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing emerged at the apex of the counterculture movement. Naturally, the cover features our heroine extending an offer of brownies and tea, while songs include "Mary Jane," "The Roach," and "Tiptoe Through the Tulips." Of course, even if Mrs. Miller is in on the joke (a most unlikely development), there's nary a trace of either conspiracy or outrage in her typically apocalyptic performances. The woman's simply high on life, although the average listener will require medicinal marijuana just to make it through her caterwauling without suffering permanent damage.
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