Saturday, February 06, 2021

Acts Missing A Greatest Hits Album (Updated 2021)

"Unlike proper albums, which typically have some measure of artistic pretense about them, a greatest hits compilation exists purely as a commercial proposition: all the hits in one place, perfect for casual listeners and newbies. The worst of them feel like hastily tossed-together cash grabs, but the best are so well curated in presenting a fertile period of a career that they are arguably an artist's definitive work — Madonna's The Immaculate Collection, Bob Marley and the Wailers' Legend, Squeeze's Singles 45's & Under, ABBA's Gold and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Greatest Hits all immediately come to mind. The format is a gift to artists who are better at producing singles than coherent album statements, and for cash-strapped consumers who can't go from zero to completist for any given pop star who sparks their interest." - NPR's Matthew Perpetua (7/24/19)

Up until the 2010's, you could always count on a current hitmaker to release a Greatest Hits/Anthology/Compilation album. There were still hold outs.  From the 80's, Metallica and AC/DC have never released a compilation.  From the 90's? Beck, Phish. Sure, European labels continue to release compilations on acts that came before the 1990's.  But the streaming era has ended the need for listeners to seek out a hits album.  Even in the case of Metallica & AC/DC, you can now stream a playlist of their most popular songs. Spotify has This Is & Essentials playlists for most acts.

Record companies love Greatest Hits albums.  An easy way to repackage old songs into a one-stop shop for fans and casual record buyers.  There was a reason so many were released around Christmas time.  

My own record collection is full of Greatest Hits albums.  Even by acts that produced classic albums.  But it has been a few years since I added a 2000 era acts' greatest hits to my collection.  In 2019, Spoon put out a compilation, which is where I got the opening paragraph review from NPR. Finally in 2020, the White Stripes put out a hits collection. And in February 2021, The Weeknd, released a compilation. 

Below are some of my picks.  I've also included acts that were popular before the streaming age. And acts that have Greatest Hits sets, but whose last anthologies were years ago (e.g.Willie Nelson).  

Animal Collective
Anthony Hamilton
Arcade Fire
Ariana Grande
Avett Brothers
Black Keys
Bruno Mars
Daft Punk
Damon Albarn (a compilation of all his Blur side project bands)
Darius Rucker (solo Country hits)
Ed Sheeran
Eric Church
Fall Out Boy
Florida Georgia Line
Fountains of Wayne & Adam Schlesinger (music outside of FOW)
Frank Ocean
Gillian Welch
Good Charlotte
Jason Aldean
Jason Isbell
Jenny Lewis
John Prine (post 00’s)
Kanye West
Katy Perry
Kings of Leon
Lady A (Lady Antebellum)
Lady Gaga
Lana Del Rey
Lil Wayne
Little Big Town
Lori McKenna
Lucinda Williams
Luke Bryan
Mandy Barnett
Mavericks (post 00’s)
Mayer Hawthorne (including Tuxedo)
Miranda Lambert
Missy Elliot
My Morning Jacket
Neko Case
New Pornographers
One Direction
Raphael Saadiq
Rilo Kiley
Steve Earle (post 90's material)
Taylor Swift
TV On The Radio
Vampire Weekend
Van Hunt
Willie Nelson (post 00's)
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