This Is Music: The Singles 92-98
It might’ve been more interesting to sequence this compilation chronologically so that listeners could hear the Verve’s evolution from tripped-out, post-shoegazing longhairs to coiffed Britrock contenders for the crown held by Oasis. But the song order here actually makes for a cohesive flow, sounding more like an album. “This Is Music” from 1995’s Northern Soul opens with the powerful punch of Nick McCabe’s monolithic guitars and singer Richard Ashcroft balancing confidence with arrogance — it perfectly bridges the gap between the band’s early space-rock blastoffs and their ambitious hunger to grab the brass ring from the Gallagher brothers. Early epics like the attitude-heavy “All In the Mind,” the astral-climbing “She’s a Superstar,” and the wayfaring “Slide Away” are euphoric-sounding, and for the sentimentally wistful, the best of the band’s ballads surface here too, like break-up anthem “History” and “On Your Own,” as well as the more uplifting hit “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” Urban Hymns outtake “This Could Be My Moment” best hints at Ashcroft’s solo direction.