The 5 Least Necessary 'Greatest Hits' Albums of All Time
I recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of my very first article with Cracked. It was called "The 9 Most Unnecessary Greatest Hits Albums of All Time," and it was fantastic.
To honor the day when I made Cracked the luckiest site on the Internet, here's an update to the very first article I was ever paid money to write. These are five more of the most unnecessary greatest hits albums of all time.
Milli Vanilli -- Greatest Hits
During their brief time as the talentless faces of what has since become the biggest joke act in music history, Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus had three No. 1 singles in the U.S. (Fun fact: "Girl You Know It's True" is not one of them.) In total, they had five singles breach the top 10 before the most egregious lip-syncing scandal ever brought the Milli Vanilli juggernaut to a screeching halt.
So let's get one obvious question out of the way immediately: Why in the fuck are they on the cover of this greatest hits album?
Or this one?
It was established decades ago that their voices are not on any of the songs that would actually compel a person to fall for this scam. In the aftermath of that, the album that made Fab and Rob infamous was deleted and the pair were dropped from their record label. If the suits who were "duped" into believing the Milli Vanilli hoax were so ashamed of their hired faces, why not put the fat chicks and soccer dads who actually sang these shitty tunes on the cover? Right, because they tried that once already.
That's the aptly titled The Moment of Truth, Milli Vanilli's barely known second album. It was recorded prior to the lip-syncing scandal, and the album cover was supposed to have the two guys most of us knew as Milli and Vanilli on it. Obviously, that couldn't happen after that fateful night in Connecticut when the CD skipped, so the "band" was rechristened "The Real Milli Vanilli," and that photo was taken.
Have another look, because when will you see it again after today?
But here's the thing ... that's not "Milli Vanilli" either. Or at least the three people that most eyes would immediately be drawn to when looking at that photo aren't. The guys who actually sang those terrible songs are on the left and right, trying their best to not be forced out of the photo completely. In the middle we have "vocalist" Gina Mohammed, who is probably fourth but possibly third from the left. Next to her, somewhere, is Ray Horton. My best guess is that he's the one dressed like the guy who eventually killed himself. According to Wikipedia, someone named "Icy Bro" is also pictured. Assuming he's some kind of rapper and not just a super-duper douche, which is the only other direction you can take a name like that, early 1990s rap laws dictate that he must be the guy with the "high-top fade."
So how did this new version of Milli Vanilli go over with the public? So well that they eventually tried releasing the album again under a different band name after realizing that the name Milli Vanilli was going to move about as many units as a post-balcony-dangle Vanilla Ice. The second time around, they added an additional track called "Ding Dong" and changed the name to the somehow more embarrassing Try 'N' B, because all of that was bound to help.
It didn't, though, which is probably why you had next to no idea that any of these things happened. For you, the Milli Vanilli story probably ended in 1990, after one fraudulent album, just as it should have. And that's why this greatest hits collection has absolutely no reason to exist.
Adele -- Greatest Hits
Do you know why Adele's last album was called 21? Because that's how old she was when she recorded it. That was two years ago. She hasn't released an album since then, but now, mysteriously, this greatest hits album surfaces. There is one and only one circumstance under which a person whose musical output has ceased (at least to this point) at the age of 21 gets to release a greatest hits album, and that, of course, is if you were on the plane that killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.
Obviously, Adele was not on that plane, which in the loosest terms possible kind of makes her the Waylon Jennings of her generation. But it also makes her ineligible to milk her fan base by releasing a greatest hits album. And, to her credit, she technically has not. There is no mention of this pointless waste of whatever the hell CDs and DVDs are made of on her Wikipedia discography, which is the only discography that matters when you work for the Internet.
So much to choose from!
That said, it's still available, and it doesn't look quite like a bootleg. You can buy it on eBay, for example, and they tend to frown on copyright infringement, as I learned the hard way when my eBay account was suspended in 2001 for selling MP3 discs of Oasis and Radiohead B-sides back during the glory days of Napster. That's a true story, for the record.
Alternately, it could be that Adele's record label, sensing an opportunity to extract a little more cash from her recently expanded fan base during the lull between proper albums, decided to put this on the market in places where consumers would be less likely to gripe about it. (Translation: Anywhere except the United States.) So in that way you can think about it like one of those covert missions that we always hear about our government pulling off overseas without our knowledge. Record labels do the same thing, and just like the government, sometimes we find out that it happened after the fact.
There's a good chance nobody who cares actually knows that this particular greatest hits travesty is in circulation right now. All I ask is that someone look into it. If I can't sell bootleg CDs on eBay for personal profit, the people behind this ripoff shouldn't get to either.
All Four of Master P's Greatest Hits Albums
The last time I wrote this article, I was younger and wet behind the ears and all of that, so my reasoning for including most of the albums I did last time could be boiled down to one simple reason: I just thought all of those people sucked way too much to warrant having a greatest hits album credited to their unworthy names. I've since learned that nobody wants to sit through me making the same point 10 times in a row, so for this version, I've tried to make the reasoning behind each album included here a little more complex than that.
I'm afraid, though, that I'm unable to be quite as thoughtful with this particular entry. We're talking about a man you know of for two reasons, at most. First is that "Make 'Em Say Ugh" song, which is exactly what I said every time I heard it. Also, my guy friends tell me he was one of the most atrocious Dancing With the Stars contestants ever. Nothing about these two achievements warrants even one greatest hits album. But the man properly known as Percy Miller has four of them.
First off, he's got this "Best Of" collection ...
... which narrowly escapes mockery here, because at least he's not claiming that any of these songs are actual "hits." But then he's got the audacity to put this out also ...
Ideally, you should be just as confused as I am about when exactly it was that Master P released anything resembling a "classic" song. But the fun doesn't stop there, because we've also got this ...
If you ask me, the "ultimate" Master P is a silent Master P, but I doubt that's what's in store for anyone who buys this, which in a perfect world would be no one. Finally, we have this ...
And that's probably the most infuriating thing about this parade of natural-resource-killing releases. The entirety of what could barely be classified as Master P's "hits" fit nicely on that compilation, and seeing as how it probably includes the one decent-est song by all of his various offspring, it's not a bad value. It's still a stretch to call the songs it includes "hits," but at least it's a bit less of a fleece than the rest of this unnecessary shit.
Ray Parker Jr. -- Greatest Hits
Somewhere in the comments section right now, someone is getting ready to call me an asshole for implying that Ray Parker Jr. is unworthy of a greatest hits album. To that person, I say, "Shut up, you're wrong." I don't care if Ray Parker Jr. has another 50 or 60 high-quality tunes to his name. The only thing anyone remembers him for is the theme from Ghostbusters. And guess what? He totally jacked that song from Huey Lewis. He was sued for it, in fact, and lost.
Now take Ghostbusters out of the equation and tell me what you know about Ray Parker Jr. Exactly, I can't hear you, because that's not how the medium we're dealing with right now works. But still, I know the answer would be "nothing." So let me ask you this: Why should we reward this man's musical criminality with something as career defining as a greatest hits album?
On top of that, holy shit, just buy the Ghostbusters soundtrack. It's got three damn versions of that stupid song. One version, we're told, is "From Ghostbusters," which I guess means there's a version out there that wasn't written for the movie Ghostbusters? And that version is at the end of the Ghostbusters soundtrack? Makes perfect sense!
Meanwhile, Ray Parker Jr.'s greatest hits album just has the one version of "Ghostbusters" and a bunch of other shit that you would have heard by now if his music was worth listening to outside the confines of a major motion picture (and the sheet music to "I Want a New Drug"). But on the bright side, if you're looking to own one of the last remaining copies of this unneeded gem, it can be had for cheap.
A bargain even at 1/20th the price!
Bell Biv Devoe -- Greatest Hits
Oh, the joys of being a Cracked columnist. Not only do I get to use my favorite words, I and me, with as much frequency as I deem appropriate, but I also get to turn in columns almost completely devoid of editorial oversight. I mean, there are limits to what I can write, obviously, but when it comes to deciding, say, what entries appear on a list that I'm writing, I'm usually free to include whatever I see fit.
And that brings us back to that first article of mine, written all those years ago. Check out the feedback from Hollywood's own David Wong from back when that article was first accepted.
I was skeptical, of course, because it was always believed by science that the last remaining Bell Biv Devoe fans were killed off in the stampede at that charity basketball event that Puff Daddy and Heavy D put on back in the day. I trust you're all still following me. Anyway, turns out that was incorrect. In an HD-video-of-Sasquatch-like twist, there was a real live Bell Biv Devoe fan stomping through the proverbial forests of the Cracked editorial staff. Fascinating. I envisioned a man in a full business suit with an Oakland A's hat turned to the right and two different colored shoes on (know your BBD history) throwing his arms up in disgust at the thought of sullying the good name of Ronnie, Ricky, and Mike.
Because I'm nothing if not fantastic at following orders, I acquiesced, not by cutting Bell Biv Devoe entirely, but instead by simply replacing any instance of the phrase "Bell Biv Devoe" with "Color Me Badd" in the finished article.
And now here we are, five years later, and I'm writing that exact same article, and this time, Bell Biv Devoe makes the list. So it would probably be a great time to mention that I fucking love Bell Biv Devoe. Always have. I'm just not above making fun of stuff I enjoy. And also, I totally don't think they "deserve" a greatest hits album, for the same reason I didn't think so way back then. All of their hits are on one album. If for some reason you want all of their studio albums, you can probably pick them up for a cumulative total of less than a dollar, just like I figured out you could with Color Me Badd way back when. The only difference is, this time, I get to have my opinion heard.
For the record, I never did figure out who it was that shot down my Bell Biv Devoe entry, but if you're reading, enjoy the most obscure Bell Biv Devoe video available online.
Also, it was Jack O'Brien.