3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2003
The Pogues are one of the few all time great bands that cannot be defined through a mere best of set, from Miles Davis to the Beatles to the modern day Nirvana. But this is certainly the closest any will ever come, with 21 of the best (with the exception of Fiesta) that will certainly serve as a wonderful introduction for the casual fans. It's also particularly essential to any fans of the Irish pub-punk movement that as of recent years has produced many an heir to their thrones (Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys have been the closest, but lack that intangible Irish spirit that Shane McGowan so mastered, nor are they as adventurous) from one of the finest and most unique bands ever, and possibly the greatest band to emerge from the disaster that was the '80s. If you don't have anything by the Pogues, this is a great place to start. The band recieved raves from, and were even produced by such legends as Elvis Costello and Joe Strummer, frontman of the Clash (perhaps the only band to stretch punk further then the Pogues did). If this isn't reason enough, there'll be no convincing you.
on February 17, 2004
This is a fairly good representation of the Pogues, for the uninitiated. Their best album 'Rum, Sodomy and the Lash' rightly gets its fair share of songs here. Shane was never at his most evocative and heart-wrenching than on songs such as 'A Pair Of Brown Eyes' and 'Old Main Drag', or at his rowdiest than on 'Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn'. Like any good 'Best Of' compilation, it also gathers together songs that are infuriatingly not available on other albums. The oft talked about 'Rainy Night In Soho', as well as two of their greatest songs 'The Body Of An American' and 'London Girl'. Any group that's managed to be produced by both Elvis Costello and Joe Strummer gives some indication as to the quality of songwriting involved in their work.
The second half of their career seems a bit disjointed on this collection, with only 3 songs from the brilliant 'If I Should Fall From Grace With God' compared to 4 from the above average 'Hell's Ditch'. Some odd choices from the later collection (e.g. Rain Street & Sunnyside of the Street sound like parts one and two of the same song) are picked over better songs from the earlier one. What about the single 'Yeah, Yeah, Yeah', surely one of the best Pogues rock songs that's also pretty difficult to come by on albums.
Despite these minor reservations 'The Very Best Of....' is a great place to start.