Heart: Playlist: The Very Best of Heart

Sony BMG’s Playlist series has almost all the marks of a well-thought-out and potentially trendy new product line. It’s environmentally friendly – the packaging is made of 100% recycled paperboard, and the CD booklet is accessible on your computer as a .pdf file to save paper – and the price is relatively low. Add a solid song selection, and it’s a sensible (if typically redundant) way to hawk the label’s back catalog. However, in the case of Heart, who hopped across at least four different labels over the years, the disc suffers from an ever-present problem that has plagued single-label compilations by multi-label bands for years. Granted, hearing a stripped-down, acoustic treatment of their ‘80s smash for Capitol, “Alone,” among Heart’s ‘70s Epic and Portrait classics is awfully refreshing, who on earth would prefer the 2002 Alive in Seattle versions of “Magic Man,” “Crazy on You” and “Dreamboat Annie” over the original hit records from ‘76? On the flip side, this otherwise decent collection rightfully fetes buried album tracks like the mandolin-laden acoustic folk of “Dream of the Archer” and the dramatic, slow-burning “Mistral Wind.” (Epic/Legacy 2008)

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