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Best of Material Issue: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection

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Album Review

It's a shame it took so long for somebody to put out a Material Issue compilation, especially in the wake of collections from far lesser bands of the era like EMF, Screaming Trees, and Ned's Atomic Dustbin. The Chicago power pop trio may have suffered beneath the avalanche of grunge, but their racket was far more intelligent and melodic, yielding two of college rock's best singles, "Diane" and "Valerie Loves Me." Mercury's 20th Century Masters — The Millennium Collection: The Best of Material Issue features a scant 12 songs culled from the group's four full-length records, but they serve as a great sampling of what turned out to be a pretty great canon of material. Fans can't expect a comprehensive box of rarities and demos, as much of those appeared on 1997's Telecommando Americano after the death of frontman Jim Ellison, but for anyone wondering what else was going on in the '90s besides Brit-pop and grunge, this is a good place to start.

Customer Reviews

Buy International Pop Overthrow instead

Material Issue was a great, short-lived, power-pop trio, but this collection is more expensive and not nearly as good as their debut album "International Pop Overthrow." This collection is missing, among other things, the beautiful "Very 1st Lie," and the rocker "Trouble." Again, don't bother with this collection. You'll get more tracks and better tracks, and you'll pay less for it.

Why so skimpy?

I don't understand why this album is so short!! We get 12 songs that average 3 minutes each. This CD could/should have been twice as long. Many great songs have been left off, and are likely to never be heard of again. I mean, if you are gonna go to the trouble of making a "best of" CD, you should stuff it to the gills, right? God bless you, Jim. May you find the peace that eluded you in life!

good songs, bad compilation

this compilation leaves me thinking about how good a real material issue best of could be. the songs are great, but there are many more that could have fit on this disc.


Formed: 1986 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Chicago power pop trio Material Issue married the tight and melodic commercial appeal of acts like Cheap Trick and the Knack with the jangly guitars and cockiness of early-'90s Britpop. Formed in the late '80s as a songwriting vehicle for guitarist/lead singer Jim Ellison, the band included bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko. In 1987, after doing time in and around the Windy City club scene, the group released an eponymous EP that resulted in a contract with Mercury Records. Their major-label...
Full Bio