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Classic Album Reviews: Green Day | Shenanigans / The Charlatans | Songs From the Other Side / Buffalo Tom | Besides

Three more bands clean out their musical cupboards — and dish up the leftovers.

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This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


These days, a rock band does not live by albums alone. Singles, soundtracks, tribute discs, live compilations — any band that wants to play (and stay in) the game has to pony up tunes for all of them. And all those songs have to be exclusive. So whaddaya do with those leftovers? Why, you slap ’em together on one of rock ’n’ roll’s most popular new cash cows: The B-sides and rarities collection.

This month, three more bands clean out their musical cupboards and dish up the leftovers. The biggest of the bunch are aging rebels Green Day, whose new Shenanigans collects 14 songs that cover their particular waterfront, from the fizzy, melodic pop-punk of Don’t Wanna Fall in Love to the mellower acoustic-guitar arena-rock of Rotting. All of which are appealing enough to make this CD enjoyable, but none of which are brilliant enough to make it essential. Simply put, Shenanigans’ B-sides sound like B-sides.

But at least most folks have heard Green Days’ singles, which is more than you can say for underdog Britrockers The Charlatans. It’s doubtful Songs From the Other Side will change that. While some of these 16 cuts will appeal to fans of the group’s glorious mix of organ-soaked ’60s grooves and Oasis-style rock, their loose, jammy arrangements and tossed-off vibe on most of this album has little to offer the uninitiated. Newbies are advised to start with their last superb album Wonderland instead.

In the case of indie-rock stalwarts Buffalo Tom, though, I’d have to say Besides is as good a starting point as any. A followup to 2000’s singles collections Asides (natch), this 18-cut set surveys the trio’s career from 1991 – ’98, offering ample examples of their scrappy college-rock jangle, along with some interesting covers of lesser-known fare from George Harrison (Wah-Wah), Bob Dylan (She Belongs to Me) and The Rolling Stones (Spider and the Fly). In the leftovers buffet, Besides is almost a meal in itself.