The album is presented chronologically, beginning with a trio from their debut album and showcasing them with the strongest "rock" sound in their music, exemplified by one of my favorites, "Too Many Puppies." It is a song that brings to mind the military practices of corrupting the young, and featuring the heaviest riff from their collection. From there we move to the Sailing the Seas of Cheese trilogy with another favorite in "Jerry was a Race Car Driver," a song that tells the story of Jerry in a way that is so completely catchy. It is a good example of Claypool's songwriting approach; he seems more apt to create a character and tell a story than sing a song. Actually, it reminds me of Warren Zevon's knack for telling a compelling story complete with an odd character at its center. Rounding out the initial trilogy of offerings are a trio from the more experimental (if that can even apply here) Pork Soda. They don't have my favorite, "The Air is Getting Slippery," but they do have the impressively percussive story of a man named Mud.
Kicking off the second trilogy of full length albums are three from Tales from the Punchbowl, featuring the funky, jazzy, progressive epic "Over the Electric Grapevine." An overlooked track here is "Mrs. Blaileen," but there isn't enough room for all of our favorites. Next is a pair from my least favorite album from the Primus catalog, The Brown Album, although it does have the quite good "Shake Hands with Beef." Closing out the final major release is "Coattails of a Dead Man" from Antipop, a fictionalized take of the Courtney Love/Kurt Cobain story, and an amazing listen. To chime in with another overlooked favorite, I love 'Lacquer Head." Perhaps I should put together my own Best of Primus?
Zingers finishes its lengthy run with "Mary the Ice Cube" from the DVD/CD EP Animals Should Not try to Act Like People. Not really one of my favorites, but still an interesting song with plenty to like. While I don't love everything that Primus has done, there is a lot to like about just about everything they have released.
Putting together a collection like this is no easy task. Sure, there are some obvious songs to include, like "Tommy the Cat," "John the Fisherman," and "Wynonna's Big Brown Beaver," but there are at least as many controversial or borderline selections. I do applaud the compilers here; while some of my favorites didn't make the cut, this has helped me remember what I loved about the band, as I haven't really listened to them in a while.