I would like to start this review with a question: Does an album have to be musically perfect, experimental, technical, and inventive to achieve classic status? In my mind, the answer is no. Not too long ago a fellow writer, and a friend of mine, raised a fair point about sentimental classics, stating that an album can be a classic to some (despite it being hated, overplayed, watered-down, simple, or even boring these days) just because of the emotional connection the listener has with that concrete record. I feel that the point he raised is a very valid one, as a lot of people with amazingly varied music tastes today can't deny they fully rocked out to Linkin Park, Korn, Green Day, and a lot of other similar mainstream bands back in the day. And yes, I am pretty certain that most of them still have respect for these bands, their albums, and their work in general, even though people don't enjoy them anymore as much. Whether these artists were a gateway to greater bands and genres for some, or maybe there is still a strong emotional connection with certain albums for few, it would feel terrible and wrong to say these artists are bad in any way. Now I want to raise another, different, but also important point: mainstream classics.
No one can deny that P.O.D. have had a great, successful career. Being one of the pioneers of the hated nu metal genre, they've been around for a long time now, having both their ups and downs throughout their career. They first started out in 1992 and it took a while for them to gather a strong fanbase. They also weren't very successful in adapting their own unique sound at that time. P.O.D.'s initial success came in the year 1999 when they released the album The Fundamental Elements of Southtown
. The two singles "Southtown" and "Rock the Party (Off the Hook)" got a lot of radioplay and the album was voted best of the year in the annual San Diego Music Awards. There wasn't probably a single person though, who could've expected the success that came after Fundamental Elements...
. Today, everyone know what happened after. P.O.D. released Satellite
, which undoubtedly is one of the most successful (mainstream) nu metal records ever. Both musically and lyrically it was better than any other mainstream rock/nu metal record out at that time. Satellite
didn't garner success among both the fans and the critics by having 50 f-bombs in every song that are backed up by lazy, simple power chords; it was so successful because it was just a greatly executed and brilliantly thought-out mainstream rock/nu metal album. Sure, none of P.O.D.'s future efforts would surpass Satellite's
success and/or quality, but the band stayed on the map, softened their sound, and remained as one of the best mainstream hard rock bands the world has ever seen.
Now I guess it would be time to move on to this album here. With a title like Greatest Hits...
, the listener shouldn't mull over what this album is about for too long. Yes, you guessed it, Greatest Hits: The Atlantic Years
is basically just a compilation of P.O.D.'s singles and other notable songs. It also has two new tracks, but overall, it doesn't hold any big surprises for a long-time fan. Does that make this bad or even below great though? Hell no.
This Greatest Hits album covers songs from The Fundamental Elements of Southtown
up till P.O.D.’s 2006 record, Testify
. There are also two new tracks, “Going In Blind” and “Here We Go”, that are both very strong songs, surpassing a lot of material P.O.D. had put on Testify
earlier in the year (Greatest Hits: The Atlantic Years
was also released in 2006). From the raw “Southtown” to the soaring “Alive” to the reggae-ish “Roots In Stereo” and all up till the flashback song “If It Wasn’t For You”, this record never loses momentum as it firmly passes, and exhibits, P.O.D.'s career. All of the songs sound great and although most of them are simple in their nature, there is not a single bad song in here, if you at least somewhat like mainstream rock/metal.
is a very good introduction to P.O.D. if you haven’t heard them before, but at the same time, it is also a good and valuable addition to a fan's cd collection. This album demonstrates what P.O.D. is all about
: good musicianship, good lyrics (that never feature any curse words and are well thought-out), good vocals (as Sonny can actually both rap and sing in a style), and many of the songs even feature a good message (“Goodbye For Now”, “Youth Of The Nation” and “Will You”, in particular). There is no need to hear other mainstream bands or albums in the same vein (like rawrawrawr Slipknot and boom-chugga-lugga Korn or iyaaiyaaaiyaaay A7X) if you are in a mainstream rock kick, and if you have got this album. This is just better than any of its counterparts.
For me personally, this album can still bring a smile to my face. If I need some easy listening or I need to think about something, I still open my cd-case, take out this album, lie down on my bed, and look out of the window while blasting Greatest Hits: The Atlantic Years. Songs like "Southtown", "Alive" and "Youth Of The Nation" have been with me since the beginning of the 2000's, when Fundamental Elements... and Satellite were released, and they have passed the time test brilliantly. I definitely have a strong emotional bond with P.O.D. and their music, but trust me, that doesn't make my review overly biased, as this album just really is the best mainstream rock/metal music world has to offer
Styles recommends this album to anyone in a mood for good mainstream rock music. 5/5.
I can still see the light
at the end of the tunnel shine
through the dark times
even when I lose my mind