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I guess I just like liking things

Not just for Thanksgiving dinner anymore.

Not just for Thanksgiving dinner anymore.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine put together a CD for me of songs he thought I should be aware of. I don’t remember everything off that disc, but I do know I’ve bought a couple of albums because of it. The first was a Paul Simon album because of the song “That’s Where I Belong.” The most recent is Icon: The Cranberries. It was mostly because of “When You’re Gone,” which was on the mix CD, but it turns out I knew a couple of other songs by them (“Dreams” and “Linger”, I just didn’t know I did.

The album has been in my car player for a long time now and I like it quite a bit. There are only a couple of songs I tend to skip, and I don’t even do that all that time. I’m a sucker for female singers in general, and ethereal ones are even better. Add an Irish accent into that mix and now I know how Superman feels around Kryptonite. I’m a little surprised it’s taken me this long to hop on the Cranberries train.

But now I’m faced with a problem. Many people will tell you that buying a “best of” compilation album is the weakest way to like a group, and I can kind of see their point. At the same time, best of albums are a great way for people to get introduced to new-to-them music. “Here’s the best the group has to offer, all in one convenient package.” For a new listener, that’s great. For an existing fan, not so much.  The worst being the addition of a new song or two, just to get existing fans to buy something they already have. This is becoming less of a thing now, I think, because you can buy single songs on most music services. Those of us whole still buy physical CDs will forever have this issue.

But to be a “true fan,” you have to get all the albums and listen to all the songs, right?  I mean, that’s the rule, I think. Cherrypicking what others have deemed “good” means you’ll probably miss some other good stuff. But what if you’re happy with what you have?  The Cranberries have 6 studio albums, so that’s in the neighborhood of 60-72 songs to listen to, at which point I’d be likely to condense them back down to a few songs I’d consider zuneworthy, and there’s an excellent chance the songs I’d pick are already on the Best Of I already have.

I think in this case I’m okay with being a casual fan. That might change down the line (especially if I happen to find their whole discography for sale at a rummage sale some day), but that’s where I’m at right now.  It can sit on the same shelf as my other Best Ofs, which include groups you’d probably be aghast that I’ve settled on a Best Of for (like Led Zeppelin and The Who).


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