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'90s alternative band Cracker has released a sharp new CD and DVD hits compilation.

CD Review: Cracker – Get on With It: The Best of Cracker

“I don’t know what the world may need but I’m sure as hell that it starts with me.”

Is there a better line to open a song? Is there a better song to open an album? Has any artist ever opened a career with a better line? “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)” is one of the finest pieces of smartassery committed to tape.

The story of Cracker is probably familiar to many ‘9’s alternative fans. David Lowery formed ’80s alternative act Camper van Beethoven in 1985. By 1989, CVB had released several albums and EPs and called it quits (although they reformed for an album in 2004). In the years between, Lowery formed Cracker.

They never achieved the same success as some of the grunge bands of the early nineties but made solidly crafted albums blending rock, blues, and indie elements along with the occasional smirking word play. The hit single “Low” helped their sophomore effort Kerosene Hat sell more than a half million copies. This was the band’s commercial, and some would argue artistic, peak.

Get on With It: The Best of Cracker is the second Cracker compilation to hit the market. The devoted fans of the band might be able to quibble with the tracklisting but “Best Of” sets are not aimed at the hardcore. Get on With It is 15 songs, 63 minutes, chronological sequence, no obvious omissions. This album will serve the needs of the casual fan who remembers hearing a song or two by the band on ’90s alternative radio or a listener being introduced to Cracker for the first time.

While hardcore fans might have a beef or two even they will have to admit the album flows pretty well from “Teen Angst” through “Guarded By Monkeys.” “Low” and “Euro-Trash Girl” sound as good today as they did nearly a decade ago. These are the songs children of the ’90s will remember and are the main selling points for this set. The second half of the album might surprise those same fans. Songs like “Shake Some Action” and the CCR-tinged “Sweet Thistle Pie” prove the band not only did not disappear in the second half of the decade but in fact continued to make solid records.

It would be tough to justify buying this set if you already have Garage d’Or as a number of the tracks are duplicated. If you have neither and remember liking a song or two from Cracker, you could do worse than to add Get on With It to your music collection.

The liner notes to the set indicate this set has been released with the band’s blessing but different media reports call that into question. It would not be the first time a band was less than thrilled at seeing their work repackaged in a ‘hits’ format. Whether or not any of that matters to you is your call. Either way, Get on With It probably is as close to a consensus ‘Best of Cracker’ as a single disc can be.

In addition to the CD, a DVD of the same name has been issued. The DVD features a 1993 concert filmed in Denver as well as videos to the band’s singles. The concert audio is solid as is the performance. The concert footage is probably of more note than the videos but this does represent Cracker’s first foray into the home DVD market. There aren’t a lot of extras and the presentation of the disc is not elaborate. The band did not make enough videos to warrant a nice video-only compilation and there probably is not a lot of live filmed footage. Combining the two on this set makes it a solid value for fans but falls short of essential.

GET ON WITH IT: THE BEST OF CRACKER (CD)
1. Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)
2. This Is Cracker Soul
3. Mr. Wrong
4. Low
5. Get Off This
6. Lonesome Johnny Blues
7. Euro-Trash Girl
8. Shake Some Action
9. I Hate My Generation
10. Big Dipper
11. Sweet Thistle Pie
12. The World Is Mine
13. The Good Life
14. Shine
15. Guarded By Monkeys

GET ON WITH IT: THE BEST OF CRACKER (DVD)

1. Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now) [acoustic singalong] *Previously Unreleased*
2. Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)
3. Get Off This [live on MTV’s “120 Minutes”] 4. Low
5. Low (Homebody version) *Previously Unreleased*
6. Euro-Trash Girl
7. I Hate My Generation
BONUS: previously unreleased 1993 concert, filmed at Denver’s Ogden Theatre
8. I See The Light [live] 9. Movie Star [live] 10. Mr. Wrong [live] 11. Let’s Go For A Ride [live] 12. Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now) [live] 13. Low [live] 14. Euro-Trash Girl [live] 15. Lonesome Johnny Blues [live] 16. This Is Cracker Soul [live]

“TEEN ANGST” SOUND CLIP (WM = Windows Media, RA = Real Audio)
WM 56
WM 100
RM 56
RM 100

“LOW” SOUND CLIP
WM 56
WM 100
RM 56
RM 100

“GET OFF THIS” SOUND CLIP
WM 56
WM 100
RM 56
RM 100

About Josh Hathaway

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