Greatest

Studio Album by released in 2005
Greatest's tracklist:
My Star
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Corpses In Their Mouths
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Can`t See Me (Bacon & Quarmby remix)
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Be There (Unkle)
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Love Like A Fountain (Single version)
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Dolphins Were Monkeys (Single version)
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Golden Gaze (Single Version)
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F.e.a.r.
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Forever & A Day (New Version)
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Keep What Ya Got
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Time Is My Everything
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Longsight M13
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Reign (Unkle)
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Lovebug (New Version)
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All Ablaze
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Greatest review

The frontman for one of the most revered British bands of the 1980s and '90s, Ian Brown symbolized the arrogant cocksureness of his mouthpiece, the Stone Roses. Although the group released one of the three or four most influential records of the decade in 1989 (their debut, at that), they slowly imploded during the early '90s and released only one more album before splitting up. Guitarist/songwriter John Squire formed a new band, Seahorses, while bassist Mani (Gary Mounfield) joined Primal Scream. The Greatest, collecting the best of Ian Brown's solo tunes together, is more than a treat for his fans. It’s evidence of how far King Monkey has come in the eight years since he launched his solo career. Brown has matured his sound, grown into his beats and found a niche that constantly pushes him further away from the Stone Roses. He's cast off the shadow of his former band and become a star all over again.

On this collection the singles come to the fore and not many would argue that his 45s are anything other than great. They’re all here, from the insistent and rocky comeback My Star and the anti-Squire shuffle of Corpses in Their Mouths from Unfinished Monkey Business, to the Fool’s Gold-gone-minimal Love Like a Fountain, the Michael Jackson-on-dope groove of Dolphins Were Monkeys and the exotic techno/guitar fusion of Golden Gaze from 2000’s magnificent Golden Greats. Credit must be given to his collaborators – UNKLE and Noel Gallagher to name just two but Brown is more than capable of producing excellent tracks on his own. F.E.A.R. stands out as the best. Potent strings emphasize a fantastic lyric, and everything’s underpinned by simple driving beats. If ever there was an argument not to resurrect the Stone Roses, this is it. F.E.A.R is his masterpiece; as defining a single for him as Bittersweet Symphony is for The Verve. If this is all just sounding like a rehash of all his old stuff then fear not because enclosed on The Greatest are two new versions of Forever And A Day and the live favorite Lovebug. The single that preceded this release, All Ablaze is also included here.

Brown is far more than just the sum of his swagger; he's a risk taker and a genuinely unique songwriter – something that The Greatest illustrates admirably. It's difficult to think of another quite like Ian Brown, with such a desire to try new things; happier to experiment and push the boundaries than take the easy way out. We should give thanks that Ian has resisted pressure to join John, Mani and Reni for a cash-in reunion. There's plenty more to come from The Greatest, an album of undoubted value that serves to remind you that Ian Brown really is a legend. You can’t help but love and respect the guy for all he’s done so far and hopefully all he’s still to do.