Various Artists

Ultimate 16: Buzz Rock

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Madacy's Ultimate 16 series successfully walks the line between a crummy budget collection and a decent-to-good collection for a couple of reasons. Despite the lousy artwork, uninspired titles, and arbitrary and sometimes meaningless style groupings (like Buzz Rock, Body and Soul, Pure Moods), the song selections are usually strong and the collections hang together well. All of which means for a fair price you can luck into some really good music. The Buzz Rock entry has a nice mix of earnest rockers (Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train," Screaming Trees' "All I Know"), smooth alterna-pop (the Verve Pipe's "The Freshman," the Spin Doctors' "Two Princes"), and bands that had hits but you'll be hard-pressed to remember (Vertical Horizon, Lit, Diving for Pearls). The only track that doesn't work in Pseudo Echo's cover of Lipps, Inc.'s "Funky Town" as it is from a totally different era than anything else included on the collection. Otherwise, this disc, and most of the rest of the Ultimate 16 series, is a cheap and entertaining stroll down nostalgia lane.

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