The Ultimate Hits

Artist: Garth Brooks
Listenability Scale: 99%
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

As I’m starting to get excited about seeing Garth Brooks in concert on November 14th (my review of that concert will probably posted over the weekend of the 17th), I thought I would get a head start by getting Garth’s latest CD, “The Ultimate Hits,” so that I would be familiar with the new songs, and I find myself, again, in a weird spot of reviewing a greatest hits type collection (my last one was of Matchbox Twenty’s “Exile on Mainstream”). For the Matchbox Twenty collection I was duly impressed by their ratio of “new songs” to “greatest hit songs” was at a whopping 35-39% depending on the version you bought, and although Garth’s “The Ultimate Hits” is at a ratio of about 12% (I’m ignoring the two, blank tracks), but with the fact that if you shop fast you can get 34 songs and a DVD filled with over two hours of videos for under $15 bucks. Even then, just for the four songs and DVD of videos, the $15 bucks is well worth the cost of getting redundant copies of songs you already own, and you know what, when you rip them to your iPod, now you’ve got a higher rate of getting some great Garth Brook’s songs blasting through your shuffle play.

In any case, “The Ultimate Hits” spans all of Garth Brook’s career, with the songs that were hits (duh?), and as I took a listen I was amazed as I remembered every lyric, even filling in parts from “live shows” like “God bless Chris LeDoux!”, and remembered how a lot of Garth’s songs brought back tons of memories through a lot of years. And those were just the old songs! I could go through the entire track listing, but why? Pretty much if the song was any kind of radio hit for Garth, well, it’s on the two audio CD’s included with this collection. I was a little more interested in the four new songs, or I suppose I should say three new songs and a bonus track (I still never really understood the bonus track thing, especially with the two “blank” tracks before, and in this case the bonus song is “Leave A Light On”), and I have to say that the DVD is really what sold me on the new songs.

The reason I say that the DVD sold me on the new songs is that, like most CD’s, I listen to them in the background, and as the new songs came around I was sort of like “I guess that’s okay?” and then the next hit song would play, and I would sing along while I was doing things.  Then, as much as I was indifferent to the DVD, I popped it in my player, and I quickly realized that I’ll now have to do a review of it separately (God, that video of “Much Too Young…” brought back some wacky memories), but as I scanned through the videos I eventually got to the video for “More Than a Memory,” and suddenly, like most Garth songs, the song finally hit home. I will say I’m not a huge fan of the duet with Huey Lewis covering “Workin’ For A Livin’, although that might go back to some tortured days in college when one of my nicknames was “Huey Lewis Lips,” but “Midnight Sun” got me right back to knowing Garth can be fun, and how fun would it actually be to see Garth and the boys doing a concert in a bar? But the new, or rather bonus song, that hit me first was “Leave A Light On,” sans video, (and there isn’t one on the DVD), because it seems to touch on how Garth is always able to convey emotions, how a song can build to a crescendo, keeping you with it until the end.

If you are a huge Garth Brook’s fan you probably own 30 of the songs on “The Ultimate Hits,” and you probably have copies, or bootlegs, of some of the videos on the included DVD, but as Garth has always been about his fans, for the price, this two audio disc with some new stuff and a bonus DVD is way worth the price. I now have three new Garth songs I really like in my music library, and fine, I’ll add the Huey Lewis cover (even if I still have Huey’s lips), so I’ll be giving Garth Brook’s “The Ultimate Hits” a 99% on the Entertainment Ave! Listenability Scale. He loses 1% because my ultimate Garth hit is “The Red Strokes.” Sometimes I’m petty like that for a CD review. Hey, at least he also includes the “Dr. Pepper Commercial” song! Ah, screw it, 100%. I realized I still love Garth songs, again, even if my “Ultimate” hits aren’t really on this CD.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!