The Knack

Very Best of the Knack

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Released to coincide with the group's 1998 reunion, Rhino's The Very Best of the Knack is designed to replace the 1992 compilation Retrospective: The Best of the Knack, and in many ways it does. Twelve of the 16 tracks are greatest hits, all but two of which were featured on Retrospective. Granted, "Rocket O' Love" appeared as a demo on the earlier compilation, and "Can't Put a Price on Love" is included here as a single edit, but it still contains all of the essentials -- "My Sharona," "Baby Talks Dirty," "Good Girls Don't" -- plus one strong song apiece from each of their first two albums ("That's What the Little Girls Do," "How Can Love Hurt So Much"), both of which probably should have been on the original compilation. Then again, Retrospective stretched to 17 songs, covering Round Trip and Serious Fun with some concentration, and Very Best contains no less than four new songs: the solid original "She Says," a winning take on the infectious mock-Merseybeat "That Thing You Do!," and strong readings of two Nick Lowe tunes, "Teacher Teacher" and "I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock & Roll)." They're good songs and good performances, but they make the album feel less like a compilation, for better and for worse. The Very Best of the Knack remains a good choice for most casual fans, but listeners who want a compilation that concentrates on the body of the band's career might want to seek out Retrospective.

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