Best Of Guided By Voices: Human Amusements at Hourly Rates
Pony Canyon Records (Japan)
Potent distillation of indie rockers' huge discographyfew bands are as desperately in need of a greatest-hits as Guided by Voices, whose megaprolific leader, Robert Pollard, is legendary for his apparent inability to tell the difference between his two-minute guitar-pop masterpieces and his feeble practice tapes. Human Amusements skims thirty-two songs' worth of cream from GBV's mammoth catalog, mixing up sloppy marvels from the one-take/no-tuning early years, strutting mid-career singles such as "Bulldog Skin" and slicker, punchier tracks as recent as this August's Earthquake Glue. It's haphazardly organized, but the fun of digging through chaos is part of what you're paying for with a GBV record. The bigger part, though, is Pollard's songwriting gifts: His best lyrics ("Teenage FBI," "Echos Myron") are evocatively surreal, and his best melodies are so unshakable you could swear you've been hearing them on classic-rock radio all your life.