Customer Reviews: The Best of Howard Jones
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on April 18, 2005
When the name Howard Jones comes up, many people immediately will associate two terms with him: 1) Synth-Pop; 2) Keyboards. These terms are completely justified because this is essentially what makes up the core of Howard Jones' music. But one thing that isn't fair is to lump Howard with many of the other Synth-Pop artists of the 1980s. Howard's music might have been very much in the 80s mold, but his music would also provide some terrific lyrics. It's also worth noting that Howard's music isn't all keyboards. Howard has been known to integrate horns into his music - and at times takes on the piano instead of the Synthesizer (this was especially evident on his 1992 effort, "In the Running". All of these features are evident in Howard Jones' compilation "The Best of Howard Jones". This collection contains 18 songs (17 'hits' plus 1 new release) and covers material from Howard's peak of popularity - 1983 through 1993.

Five of Howard's albums are represented on this collection: "Human's Lib" ("What is Love?", "Pearl in a Shell", "New Song", "Hide and Seek"); "Dream Into Action" ("Things Can Only Get Better", "Life in One Day", "No One is to Blame", "Look Mama", "Like to Get to Know You Well"); "One to One" ("You Know I Love You.. Don't You", "No One is to Blame" - also found on this collection); "Cross that Line" ("The Prisoner", "Everlasting Love"); and "In the Running" ("Lift Me Up", "Tears to Tell", "Two Souls", "City Song"). Finally, Howard includes a new release that is unique to this collection - a cover of Donald Fagen's classic "I.G.Y". This was a song that Howard loved to perform live, so he does it justice by including it on this collection.

There are other Howard Jones compilations that are available. In addition to "The Best of Howard Jones", there are three other main compilations to consider:

- "The Essentials": This is a 2002 release that contains 12 songs. All 12 songs on this particular collection are found on "The Best of Howard Jones".

- "Greatest Hits": For the most part, this particular collection covers the same period as "The Best of Howard Jones". This was also released in 2002. It contains only 10 songs - of which 8 are found on "The Best of Howard Jones". This collection also contains the song "All I Want" that was on Howard's 1986 album "One to One". It also contains a song from the post "The Best of Howard Jones" period - "Let the People Have their Say" (from 1998's "People" album).

- "The Very Best of Howard Jones": This is a 2 CD set that was released in 2003.. The second CD actually contains 18 "B" side songs (including 2 unreleased songs). The first CD also contains 18 songs. It contains the songs "Blue" (from "Working in the Backroom"); "Let the People Have their Say" and "Someone You Need" (from "People"); "Tomorrow is Now" (from "Pefawm"); and a new song - "Revolution of the Heart". Most notably missing from this particular ("The Very Best..") collection that are found on "The Best of Howard Jones" are "Pearl in a Shell", "Look Mama", and "Tears to Tell". Also missing is "I.G.Y." The nice thing about "The Best of Howard Jones" vs. "The Very Best of Howard Jones" is that there are songs that not found on the other collection. This makes both collections desirable.

With greatest hits collections, I usually prefer the songs to be ordered chronologically. This allows me to see how the artist has progressed over time. In a general sense - looking at this collection from a high level, "The Best of Howard Jones" does this - but it's not perfect. For example, I'm not sure why "Hide and Seek" is included with the songs from "Dream Into Action". The new song "I.G.Y" should really have been the last song - instead it is sandwiched with the songs from "In the Running". It wouldn't have taken much of an effort to fix this and make the ordering in a time-ordered sequence.

I think one thing that Howard Jones deserves credit for is changing with the times. As the 1980s progressed, Synth-Pop suddenly was disappearing from the music scene. Howard was able to make the appropriate adjustments. If you listen to the music from his 1992 album - "In the Running", you will notice a change to a more "mature" style of music. Howard is even able to incorporate some piano into his music. As mentioned above, there is a general sense for how Howard has progressed over time. Therefore, even though the songs aren't ordered 100%, this collection still will give you a feel for how Howard's style matured over time. I think it is this mature style that really helped him pull off the cover of Donald Fagen's "I.G.Y.". Howard's cover of it does complete justice to the original by Fagen. Howard's vocals show a terrific crooning style. In addition, the use of horns in "I.G.Y" is nothing new to Howard - we've heard the use of horns in some of his earlier work such as "Things Can Only Get Better" and even on "Pearl in a Shell".

The liner notes do not contain any of the lyrics (with Greatest Hits albums, this is typically the case). They do list each of the 18 tracks contained on the collection - along with the songwriting and producer credits. Although the copyright dates are included, I am disappointed that the corresponding albums for which each of the songs are contained on aren't included. There is a terrific 3-page writeup on Howard's career. I am a bit disappointed the musician credits aren't listed for each song - in particular for the new song "I.G.Y.". Despite the larger collection, "The Very Best of Howard Jones" - I feel this collection still has value (at the time of this writing). For the new fans looking to discover Howard, I'd highly recommend this collection.
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on June 20, 2002
Finally a greatest hits cd that's worth its mud. If you like 80's music then you'll love this complitation by Howard Jones. His use of the keyboard synthesizer is truly amamzing! And pretty much all of the songs on here are great as well. Everyone remembers the 1985 hit "Things Can Only Get Better", that's a song that all of us can relate too, especially when life isn't going that great. This greatest hits cd also offers the song "No One Is Too Blame" in its regular radio play version. His first cd "Dream Into Action" only has a remix slower version of "No One Is Too Blame" and I don't care for it that well. Anyway, I hope this review was helpfull. You should definetly but this cd, it's a must for any 80's music fan.
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on July 15, 2006
By the above, I mean the need for the visual, the image. Howard Jones brought these to the table as well. Spikey hair, veggie hippie who made videos that were inventive and quite entertaining. But in the end, it is all about the music, and here is where Howard Jones will leave a mark in history.

A brilliant keyboardist by all accounts, his ability to write pop songs with lyrics that are both thought provoking and optimistic, was an oddity in the age of Empty-V.

This collection is also a wonderful journey from a techo-pop masterpiece to an adult sounding and very satisfying stripped down version of the artist himself.

The album starts off with some of his best known material. Songs that will be embedded in the minds and souls of his fans. New Song is a colorful burst of individuality, and fun. This followed by the haunting melodies of What is Love (perhaps my favourite pop song of all time). Hide and Seek is a lovely exploration of spirituality, while Pearl in the Shell talks about overcoming fear.

Dream Into Action, which was Howard's second full length LP features some of his finest and most successful moments with Things Can Only Get Better and Life in One Day as the standouts. No One is to Blame, is the ultimate Hojo track. It is perfectly situated as a meeting place between the lyrical genius that he is, and the accomplished piano player he is as well. It also signalled things to come, as Howard grew farther apart from techno-pop into more acoustic lernings.

You Know I love you and All I want are tracks off his introspective One to One and are finely crafted pop songs.

Everlasting Love, The Prisinor and Lift me Up show Howard still making you think, but also show him at his musical best.

The best thing about this album is the journey. You see a man becoming a star. A man who is bent on creating pop music, not by popular restraints, but signing is own song in his own special way.

This is a masterpiece of music. For anyone who loves Howard Jones, a must have. For a lover of new wave, another must have. For someone who is just discovering Howard, this is a wonderful place to begin a journey.

This is highly reccommended listening, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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VINE VOICEon October 17, 2006
There are some songs that I like in this collection like "What Is Love?," "Things Can Only Get Better," "No ONe is To Blame," and "Everlasting Love." HOward Jones has always had a great voice and probably still does. His music is soulful and smooth. I was surprised to like the song, "I.G.Y (What A Beautiful World)," which became a personal favorite. The other songs in this collection like "New Song," "Pearl In The Shell," "Always Asking Questions," "Like To Get To Know You Well," "Life In One Day," "You Know I Love You.. Don't You?," "Hide And Seek," "Look Mama," "The Prisoner," "Lift Me Up," "Tears To Tell," "Two Souls," and "City Song" are only some of his greatest music. I don't think Howard Jones and his music or voice should ever be forgotten. I think his voice is timeless and his songs are classic love ballads.
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on June 2, 2003
I only bought this cd because i heard the song "what is love" on satellite tv and loved it.Howard jones is the best of pop from the 80's because he left out all the-now thought of as goofy looks and antics,sound.Very impressive use of the synth sounds that most artists caught on to only five years later.This cd can be put in and left to play all the way throught without skipping.That is a big plus for 21 year old wife loves the cd now proving that good music is good music regardless if britny spears giant cheeseball has people liking over produced machine composed music.No hi-tech music software can duplicate a class act Howard Jones tune...
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on March 8, 2015
You'll come because of tracks like "No One is to Blame" and "Things Can Only Get Better". You'll return because of tracks like "What is Love?" and "The Prisoner". Some albums are both journey and destination. You'll want to traverse the music of Howard Jones again and again.
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on April 6, 2013
I absolutely love this CD! It has all of Howard's greatest hits - No One Is To Blame, Things Can Only Get Better, Everlasting Love and so much more. Even those obscure hits which get little airplay. Howard is one of my favorite 80s soloists!
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on January 5, 2013
I had forgotten all about Howard Jones and then I realized that he was so painfully nice and introspective that I had to get this to remind me of my own sensitivity when the world tries to convince me not to care.
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on December 6, 2012
Went to England and haven't really had a chance to listen to this since. Looking forward to it and will always recommend this from a friend to a friend since the 1980's. Has lots a sentimental value too!!
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on April 18, 2005
Before this disc I had his "Live Acoustic America" album, and while that was good, getting these studio versions I'm used to hearing is 10 times better. This is a must own for all fans of synth, new wave, 80's pop, and music in general. I also knew alot more than the five or so tracks that I thought I did. Of course this is well worth it just for "What Is Love?", "Things Can Only Get Better", "Life In One Day", and the moving ballad "No One Is To Blame". I also found that I like "New Song", "Everlasting Love", and "Lift Me Up" quite a bit. Overall this is just alot of really great songs, and perfect for playing the air-keyboard to.
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