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Talk Talk - The Very Best of Talk Talk CD (album) cover


Talk Talk


Crossover Prog

2.95 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars British band TALK TALK released just five studio albums between 1982 and 1991 and evolved from rather catchy synth pop to extremely original and introspective art rock. There are quite a many compilations made of their relatively brief but influential career. On my review of Natural History compilation three years back, I concentrated on the music videos on the supplementary disc. The Very Best Of Talk Talk, featuring the great cover painting of James Marsh as always, had remained unadded here until now.

Some basic facts. The leaflet features lyrics, one band photo and the covers & track lists of albums 1-4. No introductory texts of any kind. Not even the band members are named except in the song credits. The disc contains 16 tracks (five of them are single versions, sadly no live versions included) with a very strong emphasis on the album The Colour of Spring (1986) from which there are five tracks out of eight. The latest album Laughing Stock is not represented at all -- what a shame -- , nor is the single-only song 'My Foolish Friend' taken in this time. The running order is not strictly chronological, although the songs from the first two albums are at the beginning, three songs from each. A good way to demonstrate how unsurprising and predictable (ie. "Greatest Hits" type) the first half of this compilation is, is simply to mention the choices from It's My Life (1984): they are the title track, 'Dum Dum Girl' and 'Such a Shame', in other words the ever-present hits instead of seldom heard album gems. Luckily the latter half of the compilation gets better in this matter. 'For What It's Worth' (1986) and 'John Cope' (1988) are interesting non- album tracks. And of course, contrasting to the pop-sensible Greatest Hits attitude, it is respectable to include more demanding songs such as 'April 5th' or three songs' worth of Spirit Of Eden (1988) stuff that marked the most radical shift into the groundbreaking, Post-Rock -like territory.

This compilation succeeds pretty well in showing the remarkable stylistic evaluation of the band, but especially concerning the absence of the artier side of their second album or live tracks, it's far from being the finest or most unpredictable compilation one could make of Talk Talk -- a thing hardly any others than the most advanced listeners would be hoping for, in the first place. Also the total absence of Laughing Stock makes me wonder. The best purpose I can think of for this compilation is to serve as an introduction to a casual listener, for example to be borrowed from a library. Although some introductory text would indeed have been useful to accompany the music.

Matti | 3/5 |


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