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Buried in snow…

Snow Patrol
Up to Now
Fiction/Interscope
2009

Let’s get it out of the way — Snow Patrol says Up to Now isn’t a greatest hits album, but it is.

This means it should probably include 10 songs and then the normal one or two unreleased songs to make fans and the record company happy, bringing the total to 12.

Instead, Snow Patrol gives us 30 tracks. By the time you get to the second disc, I’d be surprised if you weren’t on the verge of falling asleep. And that just doesn’t seem right, because Snow Patrol is a very good band. There’s a good chance “Chocolate,” “Chasing Cars,” “Set the Fire to the Third Bar,” “You’re All I Have,” or “Run” has been struck in your head at some point or another. So why add filler to a greatest hits collection?

The fifth song here, “Crazy in Love” (yes, a Beyonce cover), isn’t just bad, it’s completely out of place. Just like the traffic person on your local TV station’s morning show (the weather guy can’t handle that, really?). Previously unreleased and first single “Just Say Yes,” on the other hand, fits in well with the rest of the band’s 15-year career. Which is to say it’s basically a much more boring Coldplay X&Y-era song. You guessed it, a floating in outer space atmosphere with melodramatic lyrics.

Two songs by “Scottish indie rock supergroup” (led by Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody) are included. By the way, not my description. Yawn. So are a couple more new songs. Yawn. “Signal Fire,” from the awful Spider-Man 3, is here, too. And then two live recordings of “Run” and “Chasing Cars” show up to close each disc, even though the two studio versions of the songs are already on the compilation. Ugh. “Post Punk Progression,” a b-side… well, you get the idea. It’s in there somewhere.

This is the most overstuffed greatest hits collection in recent memory. Overall, 20 of the 30 songs are taken from Snow Patrol’s five studio albums. At least five of those could have been left out, leaving 15 tracks, plus maybe some bonus stuff for fans if they buy Up to Now on iTunes. In a perfect world, right?

I recommend 2003’s Final Straw or 2006’s Eyes Open (skip 2008’s A Hundred Million Suns). Actually, besides a few songs, it’s a better idea to listen to Coldplay. Or even Travis.

4/10

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