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Greatest Hits, Vol. 2

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Album Review

This second collection of "hits" from Wesley Willis assembles the schizophrenic underground artist's work from the late '90s, including three tracks released by the Wesley Willis Fiasco, his short-lived punk rock band. Willis is at his best as a storyteller with his perpetually programmed Casio-beat backdrop. His tendency to start and end many songs in the same style, along with his frantic choruses, garnered Willis a fanatic fan base during the 1990s. Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 was released in 1999 on San Francisco's Alternative Tentacles Records. Jello Biafra compiled the collection and wrote the liner notes. He even included Willis' ode to him, simply titled "Jello Biafra." The inclusion of the Duran Duran cover "Girls on Film" is a definite highlight. Willis' songs often narrate his experiences at various indie rock concerts in Chicago. This time around, "The Frogs" is the only such song. Instead, Willis waxes poetic about pop culture icons on songs like "Caryn Shaffer," "Arnold Schwarzenegar," "Mr. Scarface," and "Al Capone." The unique cadence of Willis' songs combine with his alternating emotions (from anger to unadulterated enthusiasm) to create a truly unique sound. The disc's 22 songs were culled from various albums and compilations.


Born: 31 May 1963 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

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

Wesley Willis was a schizophrenic street singer who built up a small cult following with his bizarre, three-chord rants about trivial everyday items, music, and people he knew. Willis was discovered singing on the streets of Chicago in the early '90s. For the first part of the decade, several independently released tapes of his songs appeared, eventually followed by indie recordings of his albums. By 1995, he had gained the attention of several well-known musicians, including Smashing Pumpkins and...
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Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, Wesley Willis
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