RELEASE
November 04, 2003
LABEL
Capitol
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Album Rock, Heartland Rock, Detroit Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Rock & Roll, Hard Rock

Album Review

In 2003, when "deluxe editions" and "definitive collections" were the name of the game in reissues, it was refreshing to see Bob Seger's defiantly retro Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 hit the shelves. The title and the approach hark back to the days when a hits compilation was followed a few years later by a supplement, covering roughly the same territory and adding a few new singles. Seger's first Greatest Hits had all the big hits, from "Night Moves" to "Old Time Rock & Roll," and while it was very effective at that level, many of his big hits were ballads, so by extension the hits collection downplayed his rock & roll, which is was kind of odd for a singer/songwriter known as a passionate rocker. And while there was no arguing with what was on Greatest Hits, it left off many songs that illustrated his depth as a songwriter -- and that's not even counting that it left his handful of non-LP singles and songs unaccounted for or the fact that it ignored his early Cameo/Parkway singles, the Bob Seger System, or his first seven albums. Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 solves a lot of these problems and is a stronger album than the first Greatest Hits because of it. While it's still frustrating that Seger ignores his early material (the Cameo/Parkway songs are owned by somebody else, but he certainly could dip into the first seven albums, at least for "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man"), it's also true that they're of a different aesthetic than the anthemic blue-collar rock that he first etched out on 1975's Beautiful Loser. That is the music that made him a star, and that's the music that fuels this collection, all the way through to the lesser-known latter-day sides "Manhattan" and "New Coat of Paint," as well as the brand-new cuts "Satisfied" and "Tomorrow," two hard-rocking songs that are some of his best music in years. These are good, but they are naturally overshadowed by the songs that form the heart of this collection: the terrific plea for compassion "Understanding," previously only available on the soundtrack to Teachers; grinding hard rockers "The Fire Down Below," "Her Strut," and "Sunspot Baby"; the delrious Chuck Berry homage "Katmandu," one of his funniest and toughest songs; the country-tinged ballads "Shame on the Moon" and "Fire Lake"; the aching elegy "Beautiful Loser"; the life-afirming "Rock and Roll Never Forgets," one of the best songs about aging within rock & roll. In this context, even the too-produced heavily synthesized "Shakedown" -- his contribution to 1987's Beverly Hills Cop II and his only number one hit, never available on a Seger album until now -- turns into a good time. Sure, there are a few songs that probably should have made the cut -- most notably "Feel Like a Number" and "Even Now" -- but as it stands, Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Understanding
  2. The Fire Down Below
  3. Her Strut
  4. Beautiful Loser
  5. Sunspot Baby
  6. Katmandu
  7. Shame on the Moon
  8. Fire Lake
  9. Tryin' to Live My Life Without You
  10. Shakedown
  11. Manhattan
  12. New Coat of Paint
  13. Chances Are
  14. Rock and Roll Never Forgets