Review Summary: One of the only greatest hits worth getting.
Greatest hits hardly ever capture the true brilliance of an artist, but usually they provide a decent launching pad for casual fans trying to get a general feel for the music on display. Crowded House’s Recurring Dream is an interesting, and very consistent, release that takes four songs from each of the band’s four albums and even throws in three new songs.
Crowded House is a very talented band, fronted by a brilliant songwriter named Neil Finn, who writes catchy, fun but often complex pop rock songs. Prior to this compilation, they had already released four studio albums each one great and filled with consistent and memorable tracks. After Recurring Dream was released they soon called it quite, although they reunited in the late 00s.
Woodface is by far the band’s most popular album, although not necessary their best. Hit number ‘Weather with You’ opens the album; it’s a catchy instantly recognizable song. The majestically heartbreaking ‘Fall at Your Feet’, acoustic number ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ and mid tempo rocker ‘It’s Only Natural’ are also included from Woodface.
Together Alone is the last album the band released before disbanding (although they did release a rarities cd in 1999), and it’s considered by many as the best they have to offer, although that’s a highly dividing topic. After the popish and simple Woodface, Together Alone saw a more complex approach from the band, although the hooks were not left behind. ‘Locked Out’ is a great little rocker, which builds and builds throughout its short run time. ‘Private Universe’ is an epic 6 minute track, a slow experimental number with a soaring chorus and a grandiose outro. ‘Distant Sun’ is a straightforward mid tempo ballad that has some great emotional lyrics and a brilliant chorus. ‘Pineapple Head’ is also included, and although it’s a good track, it’s not one of the best tracks from Together Alone. ‘Kare Kare’, ‘Walking on the Spot’, ‘Skin Feeling’ and the underrated ‘Nails on my Feet’ are more worthy tracks.
The band’s debut self-titled album features one of the band’s most known songs, ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’, with its renowned chants of ‘Hey Now, Hey Now’. ‘World Where You Live’ is another highlight, dealing with the thoughts of a sex addict, although the lyrics can be hard to interpret at times like all Finn tracks. ‘Mean to Me’, the band’s first single, starts off with an acoustic guitar before picking up the pace and becoming a mid tempo rocker, with some synths thrown in. The greatness of the lyric is how Neil Finn is constantly changing the meaning of ‘mean’. ‘Something So Strong’ is a fun little rocker that deals with a strained love between friends. It also has a nice melodic solo to it.
Temple of Low Men is the band’s second album, and it built on what their debut started although generally it’s a more straight forward release. ‘When You Come’ is the highlight from the album, a song filled with passion and excitement. ‘Better Be Home Soon’ is relatively well known track, a simple acoustic number with nice harmonies. ‘I Feel Possessed’ is a funky track, the only really experimental song from the album. ‘Into Temptation’ is another emotional ballad, but like all Crowded House tracks, it’s still feels original compared to other ballads.
When bands throw in a couple of new tracks into greatest hits they can often be disappointing. Just ask Aerosmith or Def Leppard. Fortunately this does not happen here. ‘Instinct’ is a normal pop song, with one of the best choruses on the album. ‘Everything is Good For You’ is filled with dry humor, and ‘Not the Girl You Think You Are’ is a unique little number which makes use of an ancient musical artifact known as the optigon keyboard which Neil Finn uses throughout the song.