Definitive collections are always difficult, even when the subject is quite narrow. When the subject is as broad as, say, inspirational popular songs spanning 100 years it’s almost impossible to create something that a discerning listener will be happy with. The process of selection for this four-disc set went a bit like this: Choose songs, choose versions of chosen songs. So Prince is included, but only as the writer of Sinead O’Conner’s Nothing Compares 2 U. Simply Red are there, but not singing their most obvious influential song (If You Don’t Know Me) but Cole Porter’s Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye. Some are a bit contentious. The Spice Girls’ Wannabe is on there, sure, but what about other world-changing girl stuff, like Madonna’s Like a Virgin or Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun? Surely Britney’s Baby One More Time doesn’t deserve more recognition than Madonna. Also on Volume Two is only one lone rap song (albeit the deserving Grandmaster Flash classic The Message). The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and The Smiths don’t make it. And why would the compilers have chosen The Fugees’ version of No Woman No Cry instead of Bob Marley’s? The debate could go on for hours. Buy it, listen to some great music and have an argument with your friends about what’s been left off.

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