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A Sides Win: Singles 1992-2005

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Album Review

Like any good power pop act, Sloan's career follows a specific arc: tentative, appealingly messy debut that's tied perhaps a little too closely to the sound of the time; a breakthrough second album that captures them finding their voice as musicians and songwriters; a third album that's generally acknowledged as the masterpiece since it finds the group stretching and getting a little more sophisticated; a fourth album that's a little harder-rocking because the group is trying to disguise the fact that it's settling into a comfortable, albeit appealing, role as craftsmen; a fifth album that finds them to succumbing to that very fate; and from that point on, they make variations on the same ingratiating blueprint from that point forward. Each album after the third record is good, and certainly the devoted will find merit in each subsequent record, but less dedicated listeners will find the records after that masterpiece to be a little samey, and rightfully so: there are subtle differences between the records, but those differences are indeed so subtle that only the dedicated can explain what separates, say, Pretty Together from Action Pact. But that's why hits compilations from power pop bands are always quite good: they capture the highlights from those samey records to make a tight, dynamic record that's among the group's best. That's certainly the case with Sloan's A Sides Win, which gathers the band's 15 singles, adding the new "Try to Make It" for good measure. While this doesn't contain all of Sloan's great songs — the opening pair of "Penpals" and "I Hate My Generation" from 1994's Twice Removed aren't here, for instance — it does contain all the major points, and when they're gathered together, they prove that Sloan has been a band that delivers consistently tuneful, tasteful, smart guitar pop. Of course, that's been a bit of their undoing on proper records — there's little to differentiate anything after One Chord to Another — but in terms of a hits collection, it works wonders, making for a cohesive, entertaining listen that proves Sloan is one of the finest power pop acts of its time.

Customer Reviews

Get a loan so you can buy sloan

Sloan is a great band and this is outrageously fun music. this is a great cd even though some of my personal favorite classics aren't on it.

can you give these guys a chance?

For some reason, Sloan has not made it big in the United States. That is such a shame. They are great in every sense of the word; they put on an amazing live show and have such a powerful energy that really gets the crowd going. I understand that you may have to put some effort into finding them, they're not going to be on the "top 40" radio station that almost everyone listens to. My favorite songs have to be "Coax Me" and "The Rest of My Life" but this whole album is really good. My sister first introduced them to me and now when I hear them I can't help but sing along with their catchy lyrics. They're real. They don't put on a fake act, they just be their somewhat nerdy selves. Even if you don't live 20 minutes away from Canada like I do, just listen to something different, like Sloan, or any other bands on the Canadian indies playlist. Broaden your horizons, give them a chance. I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Perfect Introduction to Sloan

I've become a fast fan of the band after downloading this compilation. Sloan may be "power pop" but the hooks are smart and addictive and the the hard-driving guitar riffs still come off clean without losing any edge. Essential tracks: All Used Up, The Rest of My Life, The Other Man, If It Feels Good Do It, and Underwhelmed. If you like bands like Allister or Something Corporate but haven't heard of Sloan, start with this collection and you won't be disappointed.

Biography

Formed: 1991 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Genre: Rock

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

Sloan were one of the most successful Canadian bands of the '90s, which was both a blessing and a curse. While they were well known in their homeland, where their Beatlesque power pop became a radio staple, they had a difficult time breaking into the American market, especially after their label, DGC, decided not to market their hooky pop in the wake of grunge. After spending several years fighting the label, and nearly breaking up, Sloan re-emerged in 1996 with One Chord to Another, a record that...
Full Bio