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The Best of The Boomtown Rats

Review: Jack Foley

TALK about cashing in! Universal Music is to release this new Best of The Boomtown Rats compilation on the same day as each of the six original studio albums from the band go on sale on CD for the first time.

What's more, there's even a DVD retrospective on the band, entitled Someone's Looking At You: The Boomtown Rats on Film 1976-1986.

Each album has, of course, been digitally remastered and comes with a stack of rare or previously unreleased bonus tracks, demos, B-sides and live cuts - just to ensure that punters feel they are getting value-for-money.

So why the best of? Well, I guess, it's for those among you who rate the odd Boomtown Rats' single, but can't be bothered to fork out for a whole album.

Certainly, it's all here, from the anthemic I Don't Like Mondays to the slightly more obscure The Elephants Graveyward.

Prior to becoming known as one of the principal organisers of Live Aid (alongside Midge Ure), Bob Geldof was best-known for being lead singer of The Boomtown Rats - one of the most critically-acclaimed British bands of the 70s.

Between 1977 and 1984, The Rats scored 14 hit singles in the UK charts, including two number ones, and enjoyed five chart albums.

Their songs were credited with transcending their generation and frequently tackled difficult social and political issues in an unflinching manner - none more so than I Don't Like Mondays (from The Fine Art of Surfacing), which told the true story of a 13-year-old girl who shot 11 people without showing any remorse.

It remains the definitive Boomtown Rats track and a tremendously moving record, singularly exemplifying Geldof's gift for songwriting.

Other emotive tracks include the blackly comic (I Never Loved) Eva Braun, a supposed 'ode' from Hitler to his mistress and wife, and the hard-rockin' Neon Heart, from the debut album, which features the band at its rawest.

Needless to say, a lot of the material remains rooted in the sound of its day and occasionally sounds dated, but there's no denying that even for modern music buffs there's plenty to admire given that the Rats' sound has helped to inspire some of today's best post-punk bands.

It's little wonder, then, that they are to receive The Outstanding Contribution to Music Award at The Brits25.

In political punk rock terms, the Rats have few rivals, while their sound is certain to continue to appeal to those just getting into that new post-punk scene.

The Best of provides a telling insight into the band, which might just lead the more curious to investigate what the re-issued albums have to offer.

Click here to find out about the Boomtown Rats!



Track listing:
1. She's So Modern
2. Mary Of The 4th Form
3. Rat Trap
4. Lookin' After No. 1
5. When The Night Comes
6. Someone's Looking At You
7. Joey's On The Streets Again
8. Banana Republic
9. Dave
10. I Don't Like Mondays (Edit)
11. Like Clockwork
12. (I Never Loved) Eva Braun
13. Neon Heart
14. Never In A Million Years
15. Diamond Smiles
16. Drag Me Down
17. I Can Make It If You Can
18. The Elephants Graveyard
19. Fall Down

Click here to find out about the Boomtown Rats!

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