The Best of Don McLean [EMI 1988]by Don McLean
Don McLean wrote a miracle with "American Pie": a mesmerizing study of rock open to multiple interpretations, yet simple and tuneful, erudite but gut-wrenching (even surpassing Dylan's most epic works). Of course, McLean couldn't realistically follow up the megasong, so he didn't even try. Still, "Vincent" stands as another masterpiece, while pre-"Pie" weeper "And I Love You So" remains as lovely a valentine as one could ask for. Documenting the coward's way out of a relationship, the poignant and bittersweet "Castles in the Air" leaves stuffy high society for the open country air (this is the Believers version of this wonder), attaining sublime levels of sentiment. Plus, McLean captures the beautiful torment of Roy Orbison's classic "Crying," which is just the icing on the aforementioned cake. Naturally, the flip side can't touch the front, but you need this collection. An annoying lack of annotation can't take away from some of the finest tracks ever committed to wax. Kids these days could learn a thing or two about angst as an art form from this misery maestro.
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