Cafe Bleu

Cafe Bleu

Various Artists

City of Angels/Modern World

“A Must for All Lovers of the Very Finest in Pop & Indie!” declares the writing on the inside spine. A bold statement, and would Cafe Bleu look foolish if they weren’t able to deliver? Wouldn’t we all be quite lucky if they were?

This collection of twenty tracks highlighting the very finest in pop and indie makes it clear that even today, when “pop” is decidedly not that popular, there is breathtaking variety in the genre(s). Charming presents the band-and-string section composition “As Bad As It Was,” reminiscent of Lush and Oasis at their best, while Gliss contrasts darkly sliding verses and chirpy choruses in “Adios Amiga.” The Dining Room Set attempt to pin down the desperate R&B of a heartbroken prom band on “Smash Hit,” and nail it right on the head, complete with the basement organ’s thin wail. Two weeks later, I still can’t stop singing it at the odd moment.

The Arrogants’ “Lovesick” follows nicely in the girly fuzz pioneered by the Fastbacks, and Crooner’s “Rachel” starts with a fairly innocuous mid-’80s groove, and culminates with a chorus — “Rachel’s on my case again/ and I can’t afford it” — that almost stops the show. Almost. The Lemmings’ “I’ve Got It Bad” has it so bad that it sounds like it came straight out of the ’60s.

There’s more, much more than this handful of highlights conveys. This is one compilation packed to the brim with lovable, hummable, singalongable classics. A golden opportunity, not to be missed.

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