Various Artists

Total Rock

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Although it suffers from a complete lack of common sense (U2 sits next to Incubus?), this is actually a very complete two-CD compilation of popular rock songs from 1999-2001. A lot of the tight-fisted rap-rock is missing, which only makes the compilation that much better. Despite the short shelf lives of most of these artists, they have all at least managed to release very radio-friendly pop/rock. The compilation does occasionally travel farther back in time for a few songs, but nothing is too old to sound out of place. The energetic "Hanging By a Moment" by Lifehouse begins the album quite nicely, and it's followed by the awesome Counting Crows-lite of Train's "Drops of Jupiter" to provide an excellent introduction to this period of music. Former metal heads Incubus deliver their poppiest single with the shuffling "Drive," and then U2's amazing summer anthem "Beautiful Day" kicks in and the album reaches its high point quite early. Still, most of the songs featured here are quite good and memorable, and, most importantly, they are songs that are at least mildly recognizable. Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy," Smash Mouth's "All Star," Fuel's "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)," SR-71's "Right Now," Vertical Horizon's "You're a God," Wheatus' "Teenage Dirtbag," the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' "The Impression That I Get," Buckcherry's "Lit Up," Papa Roach's "Last Resort," Jerry Cantrell's "Cut You In," and Days of the New's "Touch, Peel and Stand" are all here in their poppy, radio-edited glory. Although the quality is varying on these tracks, few compilations can offer so many of these popular tracks in the same place. And the filler is of higher quality than usual, especially tracks by Oblivia, Lo-Tel, Queens of the Stone Age, Jeff Buckley, Semisonic, Kent, and the Guano Apes. There are some obviously bad songs here, but overall this is a great way to collect a lot of big hits from this era, and with some clever programming this can be a killer hour of music.

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