Saturday, December 1, 2007

Stampeding Through the Decades

For the past thirteen years or so, I've been a huge fan of Rhino Records and their products. It started for me on my 30th birthday with their Have A Nice Day: Super Hits of the 70's collection - a twenty-five volume CD series that really covered all those niche and one-hit wonders of the 1970's very well. I was in a rather nostalgic mood at the time and this set was perfect for me. And it really was "love" at first

From there, I branched out into two 80's collections that Rhino also had: Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80's and Radio Daze: Pop Hits of the 80's. The former is a fifteen volume collection of some of the most known and quite a few forgotten new wave jems up through the middle of the 80's. The later was a five volume set that really featured some lighter pop hits of the same time - a nice compliment to the earlier 70's set. I was rather hoping this second 80's set would catch on and that more would come, but alas that wasn't the case. It must not have been as popular.

I was rather content with all of these disks, for they filled in holes in my CD collection rather nicely. As I said, a lot of the songs on these were hits by artists that didn't chart that often - so they were a nice alternative to hunting down any greatest hits sets. And, more likely, these collections are probably some of the only times some of these songs have even been made available on CD.

However, Rhino came back into my life again this past week. As you know, I've been prepping files on my PC from my CD collection so I'll be ready for my iPod come the holidays. What I realized, in going through my music, is that while the 70's and 80's were very well represented (and that makes sense too as that was my years of youth through young adulthood) I was lacking a lot of stuff from the 90's. In browsing around, I ran across another Rhino set - Whatever - the 90's Pop and Culture Box set. I luckily found it for half price so I couldn't resist getting this seven disk, 125 song set. Unlike the earlier sets, this 90's set seems to be more of a sampling buffet rather than a more focused, genre menu that the others provide. The 90's music scene included so many styles - pop, rock, R&B, rap, alternative, grunge, etc. - and this set tries to sample as much of those as it can. What you get is kind of a mish-mash of music that doesn't flow as seemlessly as other collections.

Some may look at Rhino's reissue offerings as sort of the K-Tel records of the 21st century (how many of you are old enough to get that reference?). For me, I'm okay with that. They've done the work to hunt down these various songs and make them available in affordable collections. Their selections may seem odd on the surface, but after many listening sessions you realize they've plucked some of these songs from the abyss for old fans and future fans alike to enjoy.

Now, I need to see what their 60's offerings are like....

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