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Friday, November 7, 2008

Review: Various Artists - 100 Greatest (Spoken Word)

Various Artists – 100 Greatest

2008, Shout! Factory Records

100 Greatest is a 5-CD box set, also available as single CDs, offering up snippets of the The 100 Greatest Speeches, News Stories, Personalities, Scandals and Sports Moments of modern history. Each CD in fact has 99 tracks. The collection reflects a significant amount of research and editing done by the producers of this collection. Some of the snippets offered up here are as familiar as a high school civics lesson while others are more obscure but all relate in some way to significant moments in world history.

Over the course of 5-CDs (each compartmentalized into one of the categories listed above), you get to hear less than a minute from each of the selected events. This is great if you want a short audio quote for a ringtone or for a notification on your computer, but is equivalent to listening to 2 lines from a speech and trying to understand the climate/events that surround it. It’s impossible, and from a listener perspective the set is unsatisfying. Intellectually speaking it simply leaves the listener wanting more. Most of the material here is available on-line through sound files, and I am just not certain that this particular set (or even individual CDs) is really worth the expenditure.

The best CD in the set is the 100 Greatest Speeches, where at least some great quotes from history are captured on tape. Even one of US President-Elect Barack Obama’s speeches makes the collection (“We are the change we seek”). Also included are Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall” speech, Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech and timeless moments from Winston Churchill and JFK. This is not for history buffs though. They will likely be wholly unsatisfied.

Look, it was a nice idea. The concept is good. But there’s just too many things covered on each CD to provide much real substance from any one of them. This is the sort of CD set that people get as gifts and then rarely listen to. If you’re considering 100 Greatest as a gift for a family member or friend who’s a history buff or news-a-holic or what have you, give it some more thought before you buy.

Rating: 1 Star (Out of 5)

You can purchase 100 Greatest at

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