Review Summary: A rough combination of damaged memories and greatest hits.
Its hard to review a Singles or Greatest Hits album, mainly because its new sound mixed with old jammers. But the Chemical Brothers keep the drop-line at a fair level in "Singles". It literally has a piece of everything here. From hippie dynamo (The Private Psychedelic Reel) right to disco groovies (Out of Control), but mainly to stir up a mixture pot of fresh and vibrant music. When the Brothers say they're gonna work it out, they have no choice but to live up to their almost recently failing motto. And just like that, the CD is booted and played over a massive 5000-amp subwoofer in the back of some old turds VW.
"Song to the Siren" was the first to blow your mind, going through an extended mix heard here, much better than the original from Planet Dust. Its drum and flute instruments mixed with a buzzing police siren slowly turn into a positive rock song, and introduce the world to musical fusion which the brothers have well earned over the period of the 90's. The song is short lived when it breaks into "Chemical Beats", some say its the reason they are so famous now. Others say its just another one of those "Dust" up beats. But technically its a wave of repeated groove techno stretched close to the 5 minute mark. Nothing boring, but overly repetitive.
The next few tracks, "Leave Home", "Setting Sun", "Block Rockin' Beats" & "The Private Psychedelic Reel" all follow the same pattern, mixing drum and bass through chewy 20 second samples. "Setting Sun" is a mind-blowing force from the big beat days to shake the ground. Noel Gallagher is featured twice on the album, but leave this to be his best feature, other than "Let Forever Be" which sounds more like a sleezy, grinding rock song rather than something techno.
"Hey Boy Hey Girl" & "Out Of Control" pretty much have the same chemical effect to it. More techno and dancing, less headbanging. I guess thats the way the Brothers wanted to go in the end, because in the end it doesn't even matter. They still have the funk to clean out your pop digestive system. After taking "Singles" into much consideration, "Star Guitar" is probably what makes it such an immense collection unlike anything else. It continues to blow away minds with sychronized pads and long bass hits over short, dreamy floating Beth Orton vocals.
2 bonus tracks having been included on this almost knife-edged album. "Get Yourself High", a first official featured artist for the CD. K-Os brings in what Q-Tip failed to show, depth and a love for rap grunge and electronic. Having been almost immediately introduced to the build up sample of the song, it kicks off with some weird Chinese rythmetic sound, backing up the repeated words "...Just get yourself high!" If that doesn't impale your brain, then the next catchy phrase "Don't rely on us to get you high..." will. Mixed perfectly with 2 verses of babbling and quick-mouthing from K-Os, its one of the best from the Chemical Brothers.
"The Golden Path" is my least favorite, having no variation at all and little mixing work, almost sounding like a song by The Flaming Lips alone. Overall, the 2 new tracks don't quite catch on like the rest of the album should've been able to do from the first song, but since this is just another "Greatest Hits" we'll let that slip.
You won't be too pleased or too bored either way, but you won't want to lay it down if you're a brothers fan. I recommend the CD to any newcomer, but other than that its just an average album worth the collection.
- Setting Sun
- Star Guitar
- Get Yourself High