Top 100 Album Review: #52 – Greatest Hits, Al Green (1975)

A Greatest Hits Album a Top 100?

The albums really good, but it still feels like cheating.

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #52/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I’m not sure how I feel about including a greatest hits compilation as one of the best albums of all time. Here, we have a collection of ten songs over a five year period which contains Green’s best material. Of course it’s phenomenal, but allowing the selective piece-mealing of someone’s entire career into one work doesn’t seem comparable to other albums that were released as a one-time entity.

Regardless, it’s still damn good and with so many awful iterations of greatest hits CDs, it’s refreshing to listen to one that’s produced so well that it feels like a regular album.

[overview.]

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By the time this Greatest Hits album was released, Green was finished with the prolific part of his music career. What would follow would be a few more albums that failed to reach the commercial claim of his earlier material as well as a pivot to gospel music.

In 1974, Green was witness to his girlfriend committing suicide. This moment converted him into Christianity full-time, and he became less concerned with making secular music. For almost 20 years, Green would only record religious-oriented music until making a return to the pop charts with a collaborative song with Annie Lennox.

[track listing.]

  1. Tired of Being Alone
  2. Call Me (Come Back Home)
  3. I’m Still in Love with You
  4. Here I Am (Come and Take Me)
  5. Love and Happiness
  6. Let’s Stay Together
  7. I Can’t Get Next to You
  8. You Ought to Be with Me
  9. Look What You Done for Me
  10. Let’s Get Married

[best track.] Love and Happiness 

What makes Green so enticing as an R&B singer is his style. It’s pure, gritty, southern soul. The use of an organ as a central backing instrument shows the early use of gospel sounds in his career.

But wait a minute
Something’s going wrong
Someone’s on the phone
Three o’clock in the morning
Talkin’ about how she can make it right, yeah

[best track – runner up.] Let’s Stay Together

The smoothest track on the album, Let’s Stay Together opens with a horn section that drops into a mellow love ballad that evokes chill days with a significant other.

 Why, why some people break up
Then turn around and make up 
I just can’t see
You’d never do that to me (would you, baby)

[best hidden gem.] Tired of Being Alone

While the entire album is filled with the soulful celebration of love, this is one of the more meaningful songs as it raises above the standard R&B fair. When Green swoons about being alone calling on someone else to end his loneliness, it is near impossible not to reciprocate his emotional pleading.

I’m so tired of being alone,
I’m so tired of on my own,
Won’t you help me, girl,
Just as soon as you can.

[conclusion.]

This is one of the first albums I ever owned. Just looking at the cover of the CD makes me remember driving around in my ’97 Acura Integra in the backwoods of Virginia. The album is good, and what makes it particularly peculiar is that it feels so natural. Each song is strategically placed and creates a full ten track listen.

Other People’s Takes: 

  • MikeandEnglish: “Released in 1975, this is the album that consolidated my appreciation of the brilliance of Al Green.”

Author: Casual But Smart

I review the top 100 books, movies, albums, and games of all time.

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