While Meat Loaf's previous anthology, 1984's HITS OUT OF HELL, contained most of the radio hits you'd expect from the first part of his career, it obviously didn't contain any selections from his mid-'90s "second coming" (with BAT OUT HELLII and the monster hit I Would Do Anything For Love). 1998's double disc THE VERY BEST OF corrects this, containing more extensive track listing than its predecessor and clocking in at nearly two hours with a more expansive 18 tracks. If you're an aficionado of '70s arena rock (Queen, Elton John, Styx, etc.), then Meat Loaf's THE VERY BEST OF will likely become a permanent denizen of your CD player. Standouts include such early classics as Two Out of Three Ain't Bad and Paradise by the Dashboard Light, as well as oft-overlooked mid-career standouts Dead Ringer For Love and Midnightat the Lost and Found, and of course the '90s "comeback" tracks I Would Do Anything For Love and Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.
Basia never had too many hits, racking up only three charting singles on the Top 100 ("Time and Tide," "New Day for You," "Cruising for Bruising"), but Clear Horizon: The Best of Basia remains an engaging listen nevertheless, because it balances those hits with strong album tracks and forgotten singles. Unlike many artists with a handful of hits, Basia made fully realized albums, but since none of them were drastically dissimilar in style, this compilation works very well. Not only is it the ideal choice for the curious and casual fan, it is truly entertaining for the hardcore fan, since it rounds up all the best cuts on one disc.
It could be assumed that Archie Bell & the Drells essentially did the same thing over and over again, since "Tighten Up" almost consigns them to the level of one-hit wonders, but that's not an accurate assessment of their gifts. True, they often followed the same stylish, sunny, utterly infectious sound, but there was a lot more depth and variety there, as Rhino's terrific 20-track collection Tightening It Up: The Best of Archie Bell & the Drells illustrates.