Review Summary: “Calling it a greatest hits album would be a bit grandiose.” – Gary Lightbody.
As a wag once wrote, nothing screams contractual obligation quite like a greatest hits album. But even using the custom-made, extra-low bar with which we tend to judge a record company’s morals, Snow Patrol’s Greatest Hits
is a baseless and cold-hearted product that deserves to be sent straight to the bottom of the bargain bin. To put things into context: back in late 2009 Snow Patrol released Up To Now
, the first compilation album of their fifteen-year music career. While it wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, at least it couldn’t be faulted for a lack of effort – a total of 20 songs were culled from all five of the band’s studio albums along with several B-sides, rarities, and three entirely new recordings (“Just Say Yes”, “Give Me Strength”, and “Dark Roman Wine”). In other words, Up To Now
sought to give the band and their fans the respect that they deserved, and in that regard managed to perform admirably.
But the contrasting, lackadaisical manner in which Greatest Hits
is presented to us simply beggars belief: fourteen songs are contained herein – all of which can already be found on Snow Patrol’s three most recent studio releases (I cannot stress this enough). Worse, only the last of the trio – 2012’s Fallen Empires
– separates Greatest Hits
from Up To Now
, and since it is solely represented by “Called Out in the Dark”, Snow Patrol’s worst artistic decision this side of “Grazed Knees”, its contribution is instantly invalidated. More to the point though: there is no new material to be found; no re-recordings, no live cuts, no B-sides. The closest thing we get to any sort of rarity is another soft copy of “Just Say Yes” – but who needs that cheesefest of a song anyway? Don’t even get me started on how weird it is to see “What If This Storm Ends?” excised from the rest of its comrades on “The Lightning Strike” – it’s as if the netminder for the Detroit Red Wings turned out to play one day wearing a frilly tutu.
So while that number up there is not reflective of the quality of the songs contained herein – anything with “Run”, “Chasing Cars”, or “Make This Go on Forever” on it deserves way better – it should still be taken as a commentary on the grab-bag nature of Greatest Hits
’ production. Sure, its track-listing is undeniably populist, and the album may yet serve as a crash-course introduction to the British alt-rock band, but it’s still hard to make any sort of sensible argument for it – especially given the existence of Up To Now
. Besides, no band wants that
kind of introduction anyway. Instead, it is much easier to view this record as what it is: a piss-stain on Snow Patrol’s discography and a great, big middle finger to the band’s legions of fans. Polydor clearly hasn’t tried – and neither should you.