Greatest hits type albums are sort of annoying and good all at the same time. I think they’re good because for some, the greatest hits of a particular artist may be all they need. I find them annoying, because sometimes they limit people’s curiosity and deprive them of discovering a lot of good music they end up missing out on. I hate to see people missing out on good music, especially when I think they’ll like it.

Keep in mind that whenI refer to greatest hits type albums, I’m referring to all the variations that exist such as “Best Of”, “Essential”, “Classic…” and so on…

Keep your eyes out for a short piece on groups or artists for whom a greatest hits album is all some will need, but for now, let’s take a look at a few artists who should have a greatest hits album, but don’t.

Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor has made a good amount of music over the years. Eight traditional studio albums plus his 3 releases from the Ghosts series which itself total 6 volumes. He’s hasn’t been prolific by any means, but he hasn’t been ultra-sporadic like Tool either. There’s a lot of NIN material from which to compile a solid greatest hits album, and with his sounds and moods so varied, a good full length single disc album of NIN’s most accessible music could easily be made and it would be perfect for the casual NIN listener. I would guess this would never get done without Trent Reznor himself curating the tracks personally and if it is ever made, that’s exactly how it should be done.

Beck: He’s made 14 studio albums and has never done a proper greatest hits album. Beck is one of those artists I wish more music fans would explore and in a way, because his albums are often so different from one to the next, a greatest hits album is not the right way to experience him even for the first time. You’re really better off buying 2 or 3 of his albums at once and going from there to see if you like his music and then dive deeper into his catalog. Odelay, Guerro and Sea Change would be a good choice of starter albums. Still, a greatest hits package (1 disc is not enough) would make exploring his music easier, albeit less fun and less interesting.

Metallica: I have no idea why Metallica has never produced a proper greatest hits album. Perhaps it would be problematic given the schism that exists between fans of the first four albums and fans of what came after? I don’t know. But there’s enough good material to make a greatest hits album that would satisfy either side of that argument in my opinion. Word to the wise on this: I like Metallica a lot, but I’m not nearly as knowledgable about them as their typical fans are.

Weezer: 15 albums with another one on the way at the time of this writing, Weezer also hasn’t released a greatest hits album. I’m just now in the process of taking my first deep dive into Weezer, but I’ve realized that I’ve missed out on a lot of good music over the years. A greatest hits album would have been in my collection years ago had there been one, and I probably wouldn’t have taken so long to get into them. This is a group that would definitely benefit from a well thought out and carefully curated greatest hits album.

System of a Down: I can think of no other band that would benefit more from a greatest hits album that covered their most accessible music. SOAD makes some people say “this is amazing” and others say “I don’t get it” but even the latter people will often enjoy their more mainstream tracks like Aerials, Toxicity and Spiders. There’s enough for a SOAD greatest hits album and while it might be on the shorter side at around 45 minutes or so, a lot of people who are only casual fans of the group would enjoy it.

AC/DC: After nearly 50 years and I think 19 studio albums, AC/DC still haven’t released a greatest hits album. They probably never will, but they should. I love this band, and I have nearly all of their albums on CD…thing is though, I’d probably listen to them more if they had a 2 CD greatest hits package. There’s enough for two discs for sure.

The Black Keys: If you like rock music and you haven’t heard The Black Keys, you owe it to yourself to listen to them. Just listen to their album Brothers and see if you like it. I’ve introduced several people to the The Black Keys and it has been about a 50/50 result. About half absolutely went crazy over them and regretted not learning of them sooner. The other half said not bad, but not for them. But none of them hated the Black Keys, and none regretted giving them a try. This band, which is really a duo, would be so much more easily introduced to the uninitiated if they had a greatest hits album. I wouldn’t be able to contain it to one disc, but a more disciplined person probably could…One disc, filled to capacity. 79 minutes and 58 seconds. Done.

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