The Best of 10cc — The Millennium Collection
Mercury / Universal
Oh, go ahead, spend the extra bucks and get 1997’s The Very Best of 10cc before it’s pulled out of print and this abbreviated version is all that remains. Not that there’s anything wrong with this one, if left to stand on its own. It’s just that because of licensing situations that only record labels care about, tracks from 10cc’s two earliest albums — and excellent ones — are omitted from this eleven cut anthology based on their mid-late ’70s, four disc output. Hence “Rubber Bullets” or “Wall Street Shuffle” or “Donna,” all huge hits for the band (at least in England) deserve space here, but are MIA. There are also questionable choices of what was included. Regardless, the wry humor and Beach Boy heavy vocal and studio vibe on these tracks is undeniable in its craft, attention to detail and unusual yet sumptuous mix of prog and pop. Only the lush “I’m Not in Love” and to a lesser extent, “Things We Do For Love” caught the ear of the radio listening masses 25 years ago, but like many album oriented artists during that time, those songs were only slices of the much larger concept albums. Songs like the dreamy “I’m Mandy Fly Me” and the six minute suite “Don’t Hang Up” were more indicative of the band’s approach, even if they weren’t hits. Actually, the astounding omission of The Original Soundtrack‘s “Une Nuit a Paris” is completely mystifying since that song was not only the centerpiece of their most popular album, but pretty much defined the band and remains one of their most creative works; a real movie for the ears. It’s replaced instead by “Channel Swimmer” and “For You and I,” two pleasant but lightweight pop confections that bring out the group’s inner Paul McCartney. If the far more comprehensive Very Best of 10cc did not exist, this would be an acceptable substitute. Since it does, and it also includes some nifty work from the band’s Godley & Creme offshoot (like the magnificent single “Cry”), there’s little reason to bother with this abridged edition, even if it does cost a few dollars less. When it comes to art for arts sake, money isn’t everything.