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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: michaelreyes72@hotmail.com

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rejected By Cracked! : A Buyer's Guide to Music, Part I: The Greatest Hits Album

I'm a "contributor" to Cracked.com, and when I say "contributor" I say that I'm given the privilege to submit an idea that I have for an article into a forum where...everyone else has an idea too. It's very competitive, and what you write isn't always going to make it to print, or even get looked at. Case in point: I proposed an article called "A Buyer's Guide to Music", which was inspired by one of Esquire Magazine's "Rules" they publish in their magazine. I expanded the concept and fleshed it out into a full fledged article, and so far (the concept sample has been posted since June 6th) no one's even commented on it and it's only been looked at about 12 times (counting my pulling it up right now).

This isn't to sound bitter or anything, tons of better concepts have been greenlit and plus some times the material in question isn't up to the editorial standards of the people you're submitting to. There's numerous submissions and not all of them will make it, or even be commented on, which is pretty much what anyone sensible would expect. Nevertheless, I wanted to be able to publish these bits because I kinda like them, and sometimes I don't know what to write for the entry of the day. So, I decided instead of letting a perfectly good concept go to waste, I'll just post it here in installments. (If I didn't break it up, it'd be a massive post, and we all know that wouldn't be fun to slog through.) If this is a success (read: i'll end up doing this anyway, success or not, but the encouragement would be killer.) I will start posting some of my other material on Cracked.com that doesn't look like it'll ever see the light of their home page. (And yes, Oscar Movie is in there.) Without further ado, I give you...
A Buyer's Guide to Music

Esquire magazine has its own little set of "rules", and one of the "rules" in the June 2008 issue concerned music. The rule dictated a hierarchy of quality for compilation albums from the catalogs of musical artists.

- The "Greatest Hits" Album

- The "Best of" Album

- The "Very Best" of Album- The "Singles" Album

- The "Ultimate Collection" Album
The rule did not delve into any specific detail about why these releases are ordered the way they are, and forgot several categories that are equally as poisonous.

- The "Covers" or "A Tribute To..." album

- The "Comeback" album- The "Duets" album

- The "Box Set" album- The "Now That's What I Call Music" album

Every one of these albums can be deadly, if done incorrectly. Let's find out why in this guide for those who haven't mastered the arts of waiting, and/or downloading new tracks individually.

The Greatest Hits Album

When it works...: Greatest Hits Albums are concentrated AWESOME. They can take you through a musician/musical group's career effectively and remind you why you liked them in the first place. The memories of your favorite songs alone, plus the discovery of some songs you didn't know of or remember is worth the price of the CD alone. And the best part: If you're a HUGE fan of theirs, you can just bring this one CD in the car with you and not have to haul all "X" albums with you in the car, and constantly have to change the CD player to hear your favorite songs from all of them. If you're not a fan, but want to get acquianted with their music and don't know where to start, start with the Greatest Hits album so you can get a proper feel for their style. Simply, Greatest Hits albums are an almost perfect catalog of a band's history.

Example: The Rolling Stones, Forty Licks

This is a pretty kickassed CD, with the favorites of die hard fans (Beast of Burden), general music junkies (You Can't Always Get What You Want), and anyone who's played Guitar Hero (Paint It Black). These are the songs you hear in the Coke commercials, the episodes of House, and movies about the Devil or psychic posession. Plus, you get to hear songs people probably forgot about, but are still very good, like "Anybody Seen My Baby" or "Get Off Of My Cloud". You know, the songs you couldn't really fuck or get high to.

When it gets ugly...: As we've seen in the past (http://www.cracked.com/article_15714_9-most-unnecessary-greatest-hits-albums-all-time.htmlmost-unnecessary-greatest-hits-albums-all-time.html) not everyone deserves a greatest hits album. Some don't have enough material released to even warrant a Greatest Hits compilation. When you don't have enough material out there, you tend to rely heavily on a very limited past catalog, which leads to less diversity in the line up because they only have so many albums to pull songs from. This massive overlap almost eliminates the need to buy multiple albums from the artist's catalog, because their catalog could fit on a bar napkin, complete with track listing and average star rating and price on Amazon.com.

Example: Britney Spears, My Prerogative

With only four albums out at the time, still kinda hot, but still future trainwreck (or as she put it, "Not a girl, not yet a woman") Britney Spears had to resort to covers, remixes, and new material no one had heard yet. How is it a greatest hit if no one has heard you sing it before? How do we know it's not just some shitty filler track that's gonna make our ears bleed? Also, how is covering someone else's song on your "greatest hits" album a "greatest hit". It's certainly not your greatest hit, it's only the greatest hit to the person who sung it. So it has no place on your goddamn Greatest Hits album. Don't you know you're robbing Bobby Brown of his Coke money, bitch?

Tomorrow: The "Best Of" Album

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