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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Box Set Reviews > America

Highway: Thirty Years of America

America

Highway: 30 Years of America (Rhino R2 79887) 2000

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Copyright 2000 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. 

Description:
Undoubtedly one of the defining bands of the early and mid-seventies, America was talented enough to score the Beatles producer George Martin and yet sappy enough to cover a song that would later go on to be one of the Captain and Tennille's biggest hits.  The fact is though, America blazed the trail for bands like the Eagles and Jackson Browne.  They had several deservedly huge hits in the first ten years of their career, and have sort of toiled on in semi-obscurity.  Highway gives us a chance to reassess a talented and influential band.
What's Good About It?
America did have some truly transcendent singles over their career.  "Sister Golden Hair" and "Ventura Highway" are deservedly classic singles, but even less remembered singles like "I Want You," and "You Can Do Magic" still shimmer.  Quite possibly the best of them all, though, is the impossibly lovely ballad "Daisy Jane."  And no, that isn't your imagination, Janet Jackson did blatantly steal the tune for "Daisy Jane" in her early single "Let's Wait Awhile."  Not only that, Janet (Miss Jackson if you're nasty) actually must be a huge fan of America, because she also extensively sampled "Ventura Highway" on her 2001 single "Someone To Call My Lover."  Also, it's nice to finally get ahold of their lost soundtrack single cover versions of the Mamas & the Papas "California Dreaming" and Jimmy Webb's "The Last Unicorn."
What's Bad About It?
"Muskrat Love" may be the second most absurd song in history, only outdone by the Surfari's "Surfin' Bird."
What's Missing?
Considering the fact that America has only had three singles hit the Billboard Top 100 since 1980, it seems weird that one of those songs, "Right Before Your Eyes" which reached #45 in 1982, did not make the cut.
Popentertainment.com final grade: B-
There is some classic soft rock music on these disks, but this is more America than anyone needs. Unless, you are a complete America maniac, most people will just program in the hits on their CD deck and skip the later and album tracks.  You are better off just buying their old greatest hits album History and if you really need the few hits they had after that, there is a second hits compilation that will fill in the blanks (it even has the aforementioned "Right Before Your Eyes.")

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2000 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.