In its own funny way, the matter-of-factly titled Al Green compilation Greatest Hits
is perfect. Before expanding, I must admit, it sort of seems unfair to give that recognition to a compilation album, especially with so many artists today seeking to create the perfect album as a piece of work with every song working towards a unified vision. However, as it turns out, the song is just as immortal a form as the album in music, and all it takes is perfectly judged compilation albums like this to remind us why. Now, this isn’t to say that Al Green didn’t have any great standalone albums as much as it is to say that gathering the best songs from each of them and assembling them together makes for the best listen possible. This seems like infallible logic, but the compilation album has become a somewhat maligned concept in recent times, mostly attributable to the fact that many of them have become moneymaking schemes for record companies, while artistically compromising the artist from which they are released (Radiohead, anybody?). Thankfully, there’s absolutely nothing impure about Greatest Hits
As I implied before, this is the best Al Green album simply because it has the best songs. From the pleading sexuality of opener “Tired of Being Alone” to the, um, pleading sexuality of “Let’s Stay Together”, each of these songs is a soul classic, catchy and smooth and everything you’d want from an album with a cover that
sexy. Yes, the songs may be somewhat similar in both instrumentation and lyrical content, but that really doesn’t matter when each of them is so perfect. These songs are sleek, immaculate pop machines, driven by a charismatic frontman with a mindblowing falsetto--give or take the falsetto (usually give), a formula that has worked again and again. Complain all you want about his “shallowness” (a false accusation in itself; he’s just gorgeously saying the things most people don’t for fear of being perceived as vain): pop music has proven that constant lust is forever. Anything else is just posturing.