50 compilation albums and box sets you should own

by Bob Coyne
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Is there anything better than a great compilation? Before the internet, a compilation of various artists was a great way to discover new bands. There's an art to putting together an album's worth of music that doesn't have you hitting the skip button. Take Lenny Kaye's Nuggets, for example, it became the blueprint for dozens more Garage Rock comps. Or the C86 comp that captured a moment in time.

Then there are the mixtape style comps such as DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist's Product Placement or Brainfreeze that introduce the listener to an album of obscure sounds.

Or there's the movie soundtrack. The type that is made up of a bunch of records by different artists, such as Trainspotting or Natural Born Killers.

And finally, there are those that came free with your favourite music mag such as the NME, when they still printed it.

Here are my top 50 compilations you need to hear. Comment below with your suggestions and I'll expand this to 100. Click an album below to read a review

Comments (6)

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Not the most popular opinion, but the Spawn soundtrack is flipping fantastic. High-energy, experimental, and generally on the darker side. Don't let the heavy bands scare you away, most of the collabs are pretty awesome. Have a nice day!

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I'd never heard of that but it looks like some interesting collaborations. A bit like the Judgment Night soundtrack.

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Wow - what a list! One of my favorites is the Smithsonian Anthology of Folk Music - the Harry Smith compiled one. I dove into that and starting buying stuff from the country blues artists like crazy. Went down that rat hole for a couple of...

Wow - what a list! One of my favorites is the Smithsonian Anthology of Folk Music - the Harry Smith compiled one. I dove into that and starting buying stuff from the country blues artists like crazy. Went down that rat hole for a couple of years and almost never returned! Sounds of the South compilation - Alan Lomax one is good too but probably more for historical reasons than for fun.

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That's the great thing about a compilation, they send you down a rabbit hole. Especially something like the DJ Shadow ones as they don't have a tracklist.

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Great list Bob. I have most of those. I would also include Berlin 61 to 89 Wall of Sound, Anthems Electronic 80s, Rough Trade's Country collection, Dark was the Night (Domino), Electri City 1 and 2, Can You Dig It (Soul Jazz Blazploitation...

Great list Bob. I have most of those. I would also include Berlin 61 to 89 Wall of Sound, Anthems Electronic 80s, Rough Trade's Country collection, Dark was the Night (Domino), Electri City 1 and 2, Can You Dig It (Soul Jazz Blazploitation tracks), Soul Jazz's Soul of a Nation, Mojo's compilation, Brain Damage, the REverb Conspiracy comps on Fuzz Club and the End of the Road compilations, Glitterhouse is 20, The Wag Club box-set, Tales from the Australian Underground, and Kent Records Take Me to the River. There's more but I'm looking up at my collection.....

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Good suggestions Rob, I've already started compiling part 2 so I'll add these.

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