To hail this backslapping music industry equivalent to the Oscars as anything more than a useful archival overview of hits, is to completely ignore its fundamental function. Yep, you guessed it... to boost CD sales.
All well and good, after all music is a business. But this is precisely the problem. This is a retrospective snapshot of...'erm, last year's hits. With the plethora of seasonal oriented chart compilations around, it's unlikely that your average punters who this package is aimed at really need to be re-introduced to any of these songs. So while record company coffers may care about eventual winners, your average listener couldn't really give a toss whether Evanescence's moody alt.rock power ballad "Going Under" is deemed better than Missy Elliot "Work It", Justin Timebrlake's aching "Cry me a River" or Outkast's "The Way You Move".
But thankfully it's not all pop, R&B or hip-hop chart-fodder either. George Harrison's breezy country rocker "Any Road" is complemented by Warren Zevon's post Dylan folk shuffle "Keep Me in Your Heart" and the curiously appealing jukebox mood of veteran MOR crooner Michael McDonald's rendition of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". Unfortunately the same can't be said for 50 Cent's utterly overrated party jam, "In Da Club" or the vacuous Sean Paul's ragga by numbers ("Gimme the Light"). Still, at least Sting ("Send Your Love") and Luther Vandross ("Dance with My Father") add a well-crafted appeal to proceedings.
- Miles Keylock
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