Marvellous: The Best of the Damned

by: The Damned

It's safe to declare that no reasonable person could agree that this is "the best of the damned," subtitle be damned. What it really is, perhaps, is the best of the tracks the band did for Chiswick in the late 1970s and early 1980s. A release which has nothing from Damned Damned Damned, nor any of the mid-1980s singles that were small and large hits in Britain, cannot fairly be labeled a best-of retrospective of the group. The ten tracks here do cover a few of their better-known early songs, including the British hits "Love Song," "Smash It Up," and "I Just Can't Be Happy Today," the last of which is presented in its "rare radio edit," if that makes you happy. The music doesn't make a great argument for the Damned being a major punk/new wave act; it often thrashes about without first-class wit or imagination, and sometimes treads close to metal. Then again, it's probably not what the band would present as exhibit A to history anyway. With just ten tracks, no liner notes, and the misleading title, this is an uncommonly disappointing package from the Big Beat/Ace label, which usually does much to set the standard for such items on reissues. ~ Richie Unterberger

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