Dubstar Stars: The Best of Dubstar
- Released: March 29, 2004
- Label: EMI Import
- 1.Stars [Original Mix] - (remix)
- 3.The Day I See You Again
- 4.Just a Girl She Said
- 5.Elevator Song [Acoustic Version]
- 6.Not So Manic Now
- 7.No More Talk
- 8.I Will Be Your Girlfriend
- 9.Cathedral Park
- 10.Can't Tell Me
- 12.When the World Knows Your Name [Demo Version]
- 13.I (Friday Night)
- 14.The Self Same Thing
Personnel: Sarah Blackwood (vocals); Chris Wilkie (guitar); Steve Hillier (computer).
Audio Mixer: Stephen Hague.
Liner Note Authors: Chris Wilkie; Steve Hillier.
Photographer: Jake Chessum.
Just as famous for their tongue-in-cheek debut album cover as their music, Yorkshire three-piece Dubstar were undoubtedly one of the most quintessentially British bands of the '90s. With vocalist Sarah Blackwood's deadpan delivery, humorous and sometimes twisted observational lyrics, and an electro/Brit-pop sound that appealed equally to both the NME and Smash Hits audience, it's easy to see why they were hailed as the North's answer to Saint Etienne. And like Saint Etienne, despite a few brushes with the Top 20, they never truly broke through to the mainstream. Stars: The Best of Dubstar, which features tracks from their three studio albums plus unreleased demo "When the World Knows Your Name," shows how underrated they were. Undoubtedly, their strengths lay in their ability to combine sparkling uptempo pop with dark subject matter. The trip-hop beats of "Not So Manic Now" perfectly complement a disturbing tale of sexual assault; the "I'm a person who will wreck your confidence" lyrics of "I Will Be Your Girlfriend" are accompanied by a techno-rock fusion, and the self-loathing theme of "Just a Girl She Said" features a soundtrack of accordions and jangly guitars. Morrissey, who gets a name-check on "The Day I See You Again" was obviously an inspiration but there was always more to them than the melancholic poet tag. The ethereal "Stars" is layered with shimmering synths to produce an achingly beautiful ballad, the church organs of "Cathedral Park" lead perfectly into a '60s-inspired kitsch stomper while "No More Talk" sounds like a lost classic Human League single. By album three, Make It Better, they sounded like a band going through the motions, with only the country twang of "Friday Night" standing up to their older material, and it's no surprise the band decided to call it a day soon after. But overall, this is an accomplished and inventive collection of songs that offers an intriguing snapshot of Britain in the '90s. ~ Jon O'Brien
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