Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile

Advanced

Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.

Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 12, 2007 08:48PM
Provoked by the fact that Van Morrison has put out a crappy "Vol. 3" plus a "Very Best of" in the same year, and the DYLAN set that tries to wrap up 40 years in three discs (2 of which hold no interest for the casual listener.)


1. A 'Best' disc should represent no less than 4, no more than 5 (consecutive) albums. If an artist has enough albums, you make chronological 'Best of's "Vol. 1," "Vol. 2," etc...

2. Make a list of the best songs from each album.

3. Choose the songs you want the disc to end and begin on.

4. One by one, add tracks after the 1st song and before the final song, working towards the middle from both ends, with "flow" - not just the very best songs- as your primary consideration.

5. Once an album has 25% of its songs represented, any more of its songs are removed from consideration. Continue until each of your four or five albums is represented by 25% of its tracks. This way you end up with a disc of good songs, evenly weighted between albums, that works as an introduction and encourages listeners to move on to the original albums, instead of being merely satisfied with a greatest-hits disc.

Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 12, 2007 09:27PM
6. There is never a valid reason to present tracks out of chronological order (see Hot Rocks). Do not convince yourself otherwise. Chronology is flow for those wishing a catalogued revisitation.

7. The consideration of which tracks are "best" should not be made by one sole person.

Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 12, 2007 10:55PM
Paganizer's point 6 above assumes (as does the original post) that flow is necessary. As was discussed in that other thread last week or so, sometimes there's something to be said for sheer, disjointed variety.

That said, it is true that everytime I buy a "best-of" album, I find it a little disorienting when the tracks are not chronological. But whenever I make a best-of tape or CD for myself or someone else (tho it's been a long time since I've done either), that's rarely the approach I take, and I can't explain the inconsistency.
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 12, 2007 11:07PM
9. Do not add any previously unreleased live song at the end of album. Or, more generally, every song on a "best of" album must be previously released and must not be live.

10. Do not name album "Greatest Hits...So Far" or anything resembling this. This is typically embarassing when deployed for an artist that has no chance of creating another hit.

11. Do not include a song that is more than 10 years removed from all the other songs. Again, this just draws attention to the fact that your band has sucked for a very, very long time. (See Beach Boys / Kokomo)

12. Seriously analyze if your band is worthy of a Greatest Hits Volume 2. Ponder with profound introspection and self-honesty if you are worthy of a Vol. 3. Never create a volume 4.



Post Edited (10-12-07 20:16)
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 13, 2007 12:02AM
All these caveats aside... I miss the humble "greatest hits" package. It was displaced by the absurd monstrosity box set so long ago that its hard to remember. There should be rules on box sets as well, but these have been broken so blatantly and continuously that it would be not worth enumerating them.
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 13, 2007 11:12AM
13. the ramones are dead
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 13, 2007 02:33AM
Chronology does work best for 'Greatest Hits' or singles packages with a historical perspective like HOT ROCKS- but it represented ten albums.

The smaller four-album 'Best Of's I'm trying to make the case for, would be better without the constraints of strict chronology. I'm more of a sucker for 'flow-' for example, starting with a one-two punch and ending with a weeper.

Bands should not put out a 'Greatest Hits' until they have ten albums to choose from or their career is over.

'Best Of's, on the other hand, should be more periodic summations, not party albums for true novices, but handy introductions for the curious.

At this point, for example, Wilco don't deserve a 'Greatest Hits,' but they'd be well served by a 'Best Of' to rope in the interested who don't know where to begin. One well-sequenced (not chronological) disc covering AM through YHF. After a couple more albums they can put out "Vol. 2" covering A GHOST IS BORN through [WHATEVER]

I completely agree that unreleased or live tracks should be forbidden. Official releases should be confined to:

1. studio albums
2. a 'Best Of' after every 4-5 albums
3. one live disc per decade
4. strictly-chronological singles/ B-sides sets
5. one unreleased/rarities disc per decade
6. one shot at a 'Greatest Hits' disc after ten-or-so albums

7. If you've done the above well, box sets are blatantly unnecessary.

Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 15, 2007 10:45PM
And never, ever let the artist in question compile the disc themselves.
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 12, 2007 09:37PM
8. Don't let radio/chart success be the only guideline. A "best-of" and a "greatest hits" are not the same thing.

Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 13, 2007 03:34AM
Generally speaking, non-chronological arrangements don't work for me, but there are exceptions:

REM is not an act well-served by a chronological overview.

As far as the live debate goes, I'm a big believer in the selective live track on a best-of, just to throw things off for a minute... if I'm putting together a Flesh for Lulu best-of, maybe tossing in their live cover of "I Could Never Take the Place (of Your Man)" will seal the proverbial deal for someone...?

I look forward to being pilloried for that: cover, live, Flesh for Lulu...Not that I've ever compiled a Flesh for Lulu "best of". Seriously

Springsteen's live version of "She's the One" from London in 1975 blows away anything on the BORN TO RUN album. Off the top of my head, L-I-V-E Big Star, Al Green, Television & Modern Lovers are always superior to studio stuff. If the live stuff is better, I think you should throw a song or two on the disc. Let the record state I do not like live albums.
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 15, 2007 06:24PM
> Every song on a "best of" album must be previously released and must not be live.

I agree on the "previously released" admonition. After all, if it's one of the "best of" an artist's songs, then it should've been released by now, rather than languishing in the vault. (Although an artist like Dylan or Prince can fill a great disc, or even a great box set, with unreleased stuff.)

But no live tracks? For a few artists out there, the live performances are the "best of" what that artist has to offer.

Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 15, 2007 08:58PM
I am almost totally in agreement with all of these rules, however, there is something to be said for a Mishmash collection that wraps up a lot of loose ends. UK bands seem to need these due to contractual issues between labels.

I am thinking, for example, of "Louder than Bombs" or "The Master Plan"; two compilations that break all the rules but totally work for me as consistent albums.
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 15, 2007 09:41PM
> There is something to be said for a Mishmash collection that wraps up a lot of loose ends.

Absolutely. But this is not the same as a "best-of." Such an album as Louder Than Bombs, The Masterplan or Dead Letter Office is in a different category, with a different set of guidelines.

Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 16, 2007 02:24AM
14. Don't tack on your current new single that is yet to be a "Hit"
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 16, 2007 01:11PM
Agree with Aitch. No matter how good the new single, it just looks as though the artist is trying to "force" fans to pony up for the best-of CD by including a new song or two, along with all the songs they've probably already bought. Of course, in the download era, we'll probably see fans subverting that effort a lot more.

And let's face it, new "hits" that appear on a best-of CD are rarely that good.
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 17, 2007 01:58AM

it shouldnt be just the hits. it should be a overview of what are the best songs by an artist. if a artist or group has a song thats not a hit but is very popular with their fans or works real well live put it on , rather then a song that was a hit that didnt age well.

b sides are cool to put on a best of cd as long as its not a mere tactic to make somebody buy it cause they dont have it on a album.

no new songs unless its so killer great that its a sure thing.

live versions would have to be different and better then the regular version.


it should show how a artist is eclectic but if its songs that he put out in the garage when they were 17 save that for a box set

real good songs that were on shitty abums are good to have . sometimes they get neglected example would be every dylan album that you find to be below par would also have a great song or two.
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 17, 2007 02:42AM
The Best of Guided By Voices album, Human Amusements at Hourly Rates, that came out a few years back is excellent. It meets most of the criteria listed above, other than the 4 <= x <=5 rule and a couple of the others. All studio albums well represented; no studio album over-represented; not chronological; no live tracks; no recent hits (in fact no hits at all...that was easy); no previously unreleased songs; a couple tasty nuggets from fairly obscure EPs; not overly esoteric but not overly conventional song selection; some flow; great liner notes; and an interesting title. Well done, Uncle Bob.

The Best of Lou Reed LP always left a bad taste in my mouth: 2 live renditions of VU songs (Sweet Jane and White Light/White Heat). A throwaway 1 minute song: New York Conversation. Couple selections from the crappy late 70's records. Dismal cover. Other than Walk on the Wild Side and Wild Child....yuck. Inspires some more rules:

10B. Do not name the greatest hits album after the artist's one famous song.

15. When compiling a greatest hits album for a solo artist, do not include songs from previous band. (Neil Young is exempted from this rule just because I say so)

16. Minimum of 12 songs for the whole album. ANy fewer suggests slim pickings.



Post Edited (10-16-07 23:59)
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 17, 2007 12:17PM
10C. Do not name a greatest hits album after one of the artist's best songs, then fail to include that song on the disc - as was done with Sam Phillips' ZERO ZERO ZERO.
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 17, 2007 10:51PM
10C, addendum I: Unless said song is one of the best, though previously only released as a B-side and on soundtracks, and will be released on the forthcoming odds & sods compilation - as was done with Crowded House's RECURRING DREAM.
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 17, 2007 11:36PM
"10C. Do not name a greatest hits album after one of the artist's best songs, then fail to include that song on the disc - as was done with Sam Phillips' ZERO ZERO ZERO"

And Died Pretty's "Out Of The Unknown"
Re: Geek alert: How to make a "Best Of" disc.
October 18, 2007 04:19AM

>
> And Died Pretty's "Out Of The Unknown"


eh, they also neglected to put the title track of their best album on said album...

but i'm cool with that, "free dirt" probably shoudn't have made any album.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login