Audio Mixers: Ed Thacker; Jamey Staub; Scott Harding.
Amiable and eclectic Canadian alternative rock ensemble Crash Test Dummies enjoyed a nice, even-handed dose of moderate success after the release of their warm, wry 1991 collegiate folk-pop debut Ghosts That Haunt Me. Led by the impossibly low baritone of singer/songwriter Brad Roberts, the Dummies were as polarizing as they were congenial, which made it even more surprising when the first single off of their 1993 follow-up became an international hit. "MMM, MMM, MMM, MMM," with its wordless chorus, Tim Burton-esque lyrics, and surreal video, all of which made it an unlikely candidate for the Billboard Hot 100, but it pushed the album God Shuffled His Feet to number nine on the U.S. charts and number nine in the U.K.. Later albums like Worm's Life, Give Yourself a Hand, I Don't Care That You Don't Mind and Puss 'n' Boots flirted with electronica and even rap, falling victim to their own whimsy and subsequently losing the band's middle of the road fan base that came into the fold in the early '90s, but 2004's dark and largely acoustic Songs of the Unforgiven proved a strong return to form. Best of Crash Test Dummies touches on all of these albums, grabbing the strongest cuts (many of which were initially buried amongst more cringe-inducing moments) and bringing them front and center. Songs like "Unforgiven Ones," "Ghosts That Haunt Me," the still heartbreaking "Superman Song" and even the one-off cover of XTC's "Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" (recorded when the original was only a year old), and the oddball faux-neo-soul of "Keep a Lid on Things" are oddly infectious, though just as divisive now as they were in their heyday. ~ James Christopher Monger