Home Read Classic Album Review: Various Artists | Shanti Project Collection 2

Classic Album Review: Various Artists | Shanti Project Collection 2

Indie-rock females command the spotlight on this underappreciated compilation.


This album came out two decades ago. Here’s what I had to say about it back then (with some minor editing):


This AIDS benefit compilation’s biggest commercial attraction is also its best-kept secret — the first solo tracks from former Hole and Smashing Pumpkins bassist Melissa Auf der Maur, recording here under the semi-acronymic handle MAdM.

While that might not be a great idea from a marketing standpoint, Auf der Maur’s anonymity might be for the best. Her two numbers — a haunting little ditty called Desire is Critical and a drowzy, emotionless cover of Roxy Music’s Love is the Drug — both seem like half-baked basement demos rather than finished songs. Better to go with the rest of the disc, which holds a selection of sparsely beautiful, languid ballads from indie-rock women like Low’s Mimi Parker, SpinanesRebecca Gates, Kristin Hersh and Julie Doiron, who kicks it up half a notch with the quietly rocking All Their Broken Hearts. These tunes, not Melissa’s, are Shanti’s best moments, if not its best-kept secrets.