Various – Old Enough To Know Better: 15 Years of Merge (Merge)
As if North Carolina based Merge Records hasn’t done enough for its fans over the last 15 years. It has released albums from Superchunk, Spoon, Destroyer and Neutral Milk Hotel. Now it drops a 3-disc compilation on us, Old Enough To Know Better! The first two come loaded with Merge classics. The third is filled with unreleased rarities. Listening to this compilation is like having a best friend hand you a mix tape. They know exactly what gets your foot tapping.
Gorgeous pop songs like East River Pipe’s “Shiny Shiny Pimpmobile” and Portastatic’s “Noisy Night” (mp3) are mixed throughout the first disc. Then, there are complete rockers from Buzzcocks, Breadwinner, and emo band of the moment …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. Disc 2 shows how diverse the label artists have been. Imperial Teen’s terrific “Ivanka” (mp3) and M. Ward’s “Outta My Head” are standout moments of the entire compilation. There is even the wonderful country tune “Isolda” from Paul Burch. The rarities disc features a cover of “Decora” by Spoon. It also shows how underappreciated bands like Ladybug Transistor and Rosebuds are. Of course people will insist that there were better Clientele songs or Destroyer songs than what Merge offered. But it’s hard to find a legitimate misstep.
You will probably find in your circle of friends someone that can relate a high school or college story to when one of these songs were playing in the background. And it’s funny how such a small label can provide such grand feelings of nostalgia. But then, that’s why we love music so much. Merge is donating all proceeds to the Future of Music Coalition, which leads us to ask what more can we request from this label? Maybe 15 more years isn’t too much.