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The Best of Crash Test Dummies

Crash Test Dummies

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Album Review

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.

Biography

Formed: 1988 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With their clever lyrics and folk-tinged melodies, the Crash Test Dummies were a perfect rock band for affluent '90s college students and yuppies. Their first album was a multi-platinum hit in their native Canada, but only gained a small cult following in other parts of the world. Thanks to former Talking Head Jerry Harrison's clean, radio-friendly production, the follow-up album, God Shuffled His Feet (1993), broke big in the States and, in turn, Europe. The first single from the record, "MMM MMM...
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The Best of Crash Test Dummies, Crash Test Dummies
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