Various Artists

Dubbed by TV Guide as the "best show you're not watching," the WB's Gilmore Girls is also the best show you're not listening to, judging by this comp that doubles as a primo mix tape that triples as a rock critic's makeout collection (I know, gross). In other words, it's nice new stuff blended with the old and rolled into hemp papers kept at the bottom of your stash box, especially when you consider the best material here's oldie but not moldy. Series creators and album exec producers Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino are like pals who sit you down in front of the phonograph and play drop the needle all night long, introducing you to lost alternagems (Komeda, Black Box Recorder, Slumber Party, early Ash, Yo La Tengo) and newish nuggets (the Shins, PJ Harvey, Pernice Brothers, XTC) whilst mowing some Afghan grass. After one hit you'll wonder why the Free Design were no-hit wonders; somewhere between the Beach Boys and the Roches (or Cowsills, or Partridge Family), this family of New Yorkers cranked out a handful of pop classics, but likely this is where you'll meet them for the first, and last, time. Too bad, as "I Found Love" is a sincere slice of heavenly cheese--the sound people make when they're not afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves...and pants...and heads...and shoes.

Not sure if this disc makes much sense, outside of collecting some two dozen top-notch tracks (commingled with a few Sam Phillips snippets and segues commissioned for the show, which only tease and distract); old Claudine Longet (her hippy-trippy-dippy "God Only Knows" remake from 1972, as brilliant as it is awful) into new Grant-Lee Phillips (his breathy, then breathless, "Smile") is as jarring as a speed bump at warp five, but makes sense if you've no concern for genre or taste. So, too, is bouncing out of Elastica's "Car Song" and into John Lennon's "Oh My Love"; this ain't no Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. But any collection that sports a new Sam P. track (a whole one) and pairs Carole King with daughter Louise Goffin for a brand-new "Where You Lead, I Will Follow" is one worth, yes, following.


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