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Classic Album Review: Morphine | The Best Of

The low-rock trio's third posthumous release collects an hour of their finest moments.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


When singer and bassist Mark Sandman died of a heart attack onstage in Rome in 1999, Morphine perished with him. Fortunately, the esteemed indie Boston trio left enough of a recorded legacy to earn a slice of immortality.

The Best of Morphine is the band’s third posthumous release (after a studio album and a live disc), and serves both as an hour-long introduction to newbies and a rewarding retrospective for fans. Naturally, there are plenty of the self-described “low-rock” trio’s finest moments — the rubber-legged basslines, skronky sax, world-weary vocals and lumpy bare-bones grooves of jazzbo-noir-rock gems like Honey White, You Speak My Language, Cure For Pain, Candy and Half A Lucky Day. But the frosting on the cake comes in the four previously unreleased tracks: The jumpy Jack And Tina, the subdued and regretful Pretty Face, the smoky seasonal ballad Sexy Christmas Baby Mine and a live video-enhanced version of Shame. The real shame? That there isn’t more where this came from. NOTE: This compilation isn’t available online, but their Spotify best-of playlist has most of the same tunes.