The First Ten Years

by: Shawn Mullins

Shawn Mullins struggled to be heard for nearly a decade before he had an unexpected breakthrough in 1998 with "Lullaby," a standout song on his major-label debut Soul's Core. The song was such a huge hit that it expanded his following exponentially, creating an audience for his early work. Much of that music was independently released on his SMG label, which made it difficult to find. The First Ten Years solves that problem. The record contains ten selections from his early records, plus a new recording of "Lately" and his two soundtrack contributions ("Changes," which was in Robert Rodriguez's alien horror flick The Faculty, and a cover of George Harrison's "What Is Life," which closed Adam Sandler's blockbuster hit, Big Daddy). These newer recordings may take away from the goal of the compilation, but not too much, especially since they help provide constancy. It's still apparent that Mullins' was finding his voice, but that results in some charming music, even if it's not always successful. Ultimately, The First Ten Years isn't as polished or as strong as Soul's Core, but it provides enough glimpses of what was to come to make it worthwhile to recent Mullins converts. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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