A warning: Some of Basement Jaxx's double-CD best-of-so-far (also available as a single disc, but who wants half an ice cream cone?) is ordinary. Namely, a new tune called "U Don't Know Me," which sounds like an outtake from 2003's Kish Kash, plus oldies like the acoustic versions of "Broken Dreams" and "Romeo," and the live version of "Good Luck." That covers any reason you might have for not wanting it, apart from one: The duo's American label, Astralwerks, decided to invest its wares in cut-rate hipster doofi like Radio "not actually the Gang of" 4 and the dork from Silverchair's electronic side project, dumping the Jaxx duo within days of Kish Kash being awarded a Grammy for Best Dance Recording, and a couple of months before they dropped the most dizzying collection of its kind since, why not, The Immaculate Collection.
Here are the reasons you want it: "Oh My Gosh," the other new song, is Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe's most effervescent Prince rip yet. "Red Alert" remains the only end-times shakedown as righteous as "1999," even if the bass line and chanted on and ons are pure Clinton and Collins. "Where's Your Head At" actually sounds like the end times, despite it being a self-help lecture. "Good Luck" is what Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep Mountain High" might have sounded like if Phil Spector had let drum 'n' bass don Doc Scott sit in. "Bingo Bango" is the best Latin-house record ever made by English pastyfaces. "Fly Life" is the best rush-your-head-off rave track that postdates 1993. "Magnificent Romeo," which pairs the bounce-along lead cut from 2001's Rooty with the Clash's "Magnificent Seven," is still my favorite mash-up bootleg.
Sure, you could quibble. For one, Buxton and Ratcliffe are (even) weirder than is revealed by second-disc fripperies like "I Beg U" and "Mere Pass" (a remix of "Red Alert" scored for ascending strings, French Vocoder vocal, and kazoo). But if you need even weirder, they've got three perfect albums and an ace 12-inch compilation (1998's Atlantic Jaxx Recordings: A Collection). What more do you want, blood? This is pop.
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