Nothing Can Hurt Me

This soundtrack to the fine documentary on the classic-rock era's greatest cult band makes Big Star's fame-fumble sting anew. The selections, all "previously unissued," include most of the band's best songs. If the alternate versions aren't all that different from the originals, they're no less dazzling, dense with harmonies and hooks whose perfectly turned imperfections make their aches leap out of the speakers. Studio banter adds flavor; a string player warming up before "Holocaust" reveals the deeply desolate song as a collective work of art; and Chris Bell's "I Am the Cosmos" shows that the late, great Alex Chilton was only part of an amazing equation.

From The Archives Issue 1186: July 4, 2013