Greatest hits packages. They're always a curious thing to consider. On the one hand, they can be an ace opportunity to get all "the hits" from a band you've had a marginal interest in over the course of their career or they can be the chance to get into a band you've respected from the past but never risked buying one of their albums. On the other hand, if it's an act that you've been raving about since they released their first album, the point of buying such a package can be minimal. Usually it amounts to a couple of new tracks, lazily interlinked with "the hits" and maybe the odd fan-favourite/live recording thrown in for good measure. Fair play, in recent years the industry has recognised this by releasing the now-standard "special edition" version with more of the aforementioned fan-faves, rarities and live tracks as a bonus. However, the main point, so beautifully captured by David Cavicchi's discussion of Bruce Springstein fans, stands: do you spend fifteen quid on a collection of songs you already own, just arranged in a different order?
This, Dear Reader, is the dilemma I face a t present, since the mighty Idlewild are set to release their 'Best Of' next month. To purchase or not to purchase? Well, unfortunately that's a foregone conclusion! For completist reasons I pretty much have to get it. The choice of tracks is not that surprising, being "Remote Part" heavy as that's their most popular album. However, whilst it's nice to see them not go for the "just the singles" approach by including some slightly obscurer tracks the choice of some of these is questionable. 'Let Me Sleep (Next to the Mirror)' stands out the greatest due to it a) not being one of the best songs on "100 Broken Windows" and b) being included at the expense of the awesome 'Actually It's Darkness', but including 'Make Another World' is also curious. Not that the latter is a bad song either, just curious as to why it was included and 'Ghost in the Arcade' wasn't.
Obviously, there are omissions. Significant omissions being 'Captain' (should've been there for old times sake and it's artistic shoutyness) and 'Everyone Says You're So Fragile' (the song with officially the best use of a scream in the history of music). Personally, I'd have liked to have seen 'The Bonze Medal', 'Quiet Crown', 'I'm Happy to Be Here Tonight' and 'Tell Me Ten Words' included, as well as the stonking b-side 'Poor Thing'. However, that's again the problem of a favourite band releasing a retrospective, you're faves are always a little more idiosynchratic than what the everyman requires. However, the real plus for the fans will be the special edition release, with it's inclusion of all of the band's music videos as well as a full live DVD. That's value for money, there. Usually they'd be three seperate releases for another band. However, Idlewild have decided to do them all together, and I for one shall not be complaining.
So there we are, Dear Reader, 'Scottish Fiction: The Best of 1997-2007' is out on the 1st of October. A chance to listen to a collection of brilliant songs by one of the best undiscovered bands of the last ten years. However, if I were you I'd just buy all their albums. And a few of the singles too...