Barely a year and a half after releasing their first retrospective collection, 7 (and a mere 10 months after their latest studio album, Redemption), GRITS continue to flood the market with product in the form of yet another greatest hits collection. This time, it's a 2-disc affair featuring 15 songs from their entire career, spanning back to their first release Mental Releases, and another 15 songs of rare and unreleased material entitled A Second Serving.
The first disc differs from 7 in the fact that Redemption and their three pre-The Art of Translation albums are covered extensively, sharing disc space with more established hits such as "Here We Go," "Hittin' Curves," and "Ooh Aah." It's a treat to hear almost-forgotten hits such as "They All Fall Down" and "I'ma Showem" get some shine time, since I'm sure that more recent Grits fans have never heard of these underground jams before. The disc is an impressive listen from front to back and it's great to hear all of these songs in one place.
The second disc, however, doesn't fare nearly as well as the first one. Consisting of a slew of unreleased tracks and remixes, the songs on A Second Serving are not nearly the quality of those that preceded it. The songs, disappointingly, range from forgettable R&B ("Bad 4 Me," "Better Without Me") to rote exercises in Southern hip-hop ("Gutta Music"). There's a reason why these songs were left off previous releases in the first place (most were culled from the Redemption sessions) and their inclusion on Grits' Greatest Hits package can either be perceived (optimistically) as a nice nod to hardcore fans or (pessimistically) as an unnecessary waste of disc space. That's not to say that every song on A Second Serving is forgettable. "Rise" is actually quite good, with its skittering beats and R&B-influenced chorus, while the remixes of "I'ma Showem" and "They All Fall Down" add a slick, modern vibe to these otherwise older songs (perhaps this is what these tracks would have sounded like if Grits had penned and recorded them recently rather than nearly a decade ago).
Other than these brief highlights, nothing on the second disc is worthy of inclusion on any greatest hits compilation and it's a curious move by Gotee to include them on The Greatest Hits. They have apparently chosen to sacrifice consistency in order to give fans a deeper insight into Grits' career beyond just the obvious singles or album tracks.
Because of this letdown, I find it hard to recommend this collection over the still-recently released 7. On one hand, The Greatest Hits offers a more comprehensive collection of tracks than 7 (which included tracks from The Art of Translation and Dichotomy A/B only), but on the other, 7's trio of brand-new tracks were a lot more interesting than the entire disc of extras offered on The Greatest Hits. I will leave this decision up to the buyer, but the first 15 tracks of this collection are very nearly the best that Grits had to offer during the first 12 years of their career and that is compelling enough reason to give this album a listen.- Review date: 10/9/07, written by Sherwin Frias
Disc 1: The Greatest Hits
Disc 2: A Second Serving
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