There aren't many people with a recording career spanning nearly two decades who could stand having their first releases dredged up once more in the '90s. It says a lot for our Elv that, from the first vitriolic blast of "Alison," the needle on the dial marked misogynistic-but-artful-rock stays smack in the red zone.
This 22-track compilation doesn't contain any huge surprises, but that's hardly a hanging offence. Documenting Costello's career up to and including '86's Blood & Chocolate - and therefore wisely missing out The Bearded Years - the album starts off withs the classic first three singles. Then it's onto the LPs for some (slighty) less obvious material, such as "Beyond Belief" and "Indoor Fireworks," before rounding off with "I Want You," possibly the most hate-filled six minutes ever committed to vinyl, and a must for every evening of planned seduction. Or maybe not.
Very Best... isn't an essential addition to every McManus addict's collection. But as a starting point for all those who wondered what all that "The Messiah has returned! And that bloody beard has gone!" malarkey was about earlier this year, it's a fine point from which to jump into the warped mind of Mr Napoleon Dynamite.