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Yet, what makes No Alternative excel as a compilation is the fact that it does manage to maintain some commonality amongst the diversity; enough to keep things fresh and interesting with each successive track, but all while weaving them together with an emotional thread. Urge Overkill's "Take a Walk" and American Music Club's "All Your Jeans Were Too Tight" sound nothing alike, yet somewhere, in the deep emotional core of these songs, there's some commonality. Virtually every song on this album somehow deals with loss at its center. Some are uplifting, some despairing, some jaded, and some treat it with black humor. No two can be confused for one another; no two feel like they're consciously working for this effect. Yet, on a tribute album for an AIDS foundation, each of these songs seem to have taken the underlying cause to heart in a way that makes song transitions often seamless, even when the tone, beat, and volume change abruptly. The one exception to this is Nirvana's hidden track at the end, which (while worthy of inclusion on a Nirvana's Greatest Hits album) seems to have been contributed arbitrarily.
To provide some background (I guess I should have done this first), No Alternative was compiled in 1993, at the height of the Alternative/Independent movement.Read more ›
But all in all, No Alternative has its moments of pure glory, and moments of recycled pessismism, and useless trite. It is with 19 tracks, and 78 mins of running time, a good buy, and good addidtion to any collection
The best cuts:
Pavement's "Unseen power of the Picket Fence", a tribute to my favorite band R.E.M.
Two of the best break up songs ever, "All Your Jeans Were Too Tight", and "Can't Fight It" (Bob Mould's best ballad IMHO)
An incredible mix of Sarah McLachlan's "Hold On"
Urge Overkill's "Take a Walk"
Lastly, no Nirvana fan should be without this album, because of the amazing "Verse Chorus Verse".
Marketed by the astute Arista Records label, this one would also be certified Gold making that 3 in a row. Nirvana is the crown jewel. But Hole is worth digging for Pavement if you follow my nonsensical riff.
Let's cut to the chase!
The best tracks in are:
1. "Superdeformed" Matthew Sweet 9/10
2. "For All to See" Buffalo Tom 9/10
3. "Sexual Healing" Marvin Gaye's Cover 100/10
4. "Take a Walk" Urge Overkill 9/10
5. "All Your Jeans Were Too Tight" American Music Club 7/10
6. "Bitch" Rolling Stone's Cover Goo Goo Dolls with Lance Diamond 7/10
7. "Unseen Power of the Picket Fence" Pavement 7/10
8. "Glynis" Billy Corgan The Smashing Pumpkins 100/10
9. "Can’t Fight It" Bob Mould 7/10
10. "Hold On" Sarah McLachlan 9/10
11. "Show Me" Soundgarden 9/10
12. "Brittle" Straitjacket Fits 7/10
13. "Joed Out" Barbara Manning and the San Francisco Seals 7/10
14. "Heavy 33" The Verlaines 7/10
15. "Effigy" John Fogerty's cover Uncle Tupelo 7/10
16. "It’s the New Style" (Live) Beastie Boys and DJ Hurricane 9/10
17. "Iris" (Live) The Breeders 7/10
18. "Memorial Song" (Live) Patti Smith 7/10
19. "Verse Chorus Verse [note 1]" Nirvana 9/10
Cassette only tracks
20. "Burning Spear" Sonic Youth Haven't heard this 2 yet, looking forward to...
21. "Hot Nights" (Live) Jonathan Richman
Vini, Alterni, Vici!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There aren't too many standout songs on this lukewarm, boring compilation, which sounds amateurish at best. Read morePublished on March 15, 2014 by CQ DX
Great CD and as good as I remember it. I hadn;t heard it since my college days when it was first released.Published on May 21, 2013 by Dylan J.
This was a bin find...when it was new. Back when there were stores made of brick. EVERYbody will LOVE at least 95% of the tracks regardless of your rock music tastes. Read morePublished on November 30, 2012 by D. Smith
After almost a couple of decades of having this gem, I found myself listening to it quite often, quality and mix of the songs and artists is unparalleled; it's definitely essential... Read morePublished on September 21, 2010 by Jose Gutierrez Espinoza
I purchased this back in 1993-94 honestly only for the Pavement song?
Unseen Power of the Picket Fence. Read more
This is simply a compilation. I bought it when it first came out and then just recently bought my replacement. I am so content. Nothing like a great variety of musical artists.Published on October 11, 2008 by John Briggs
When this first appeared, No Alternative was an excellent crash course in the budding genre, from popular acts to lesser known artists and many stuck in between. Read morePublished on September 22, 2008 by IRate
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