Album Details

January 27, 2004
Pop/Rock, Jangle Pop, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, College Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock

Album Review

Spanning 31 songs and two discs, one covering "The Most Popular Recordings" (aka "The Hits") and one covering "The Obscure & Unknown Recordings" (aka "The B-Sides and Cover Versions"), Rhino/Elektra's 2004 compilation Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure & Unknown Recordings of 10,000 Maniacs is as good a career overview as could be assembled. The hits disc may miss a minor charting single like "Few and Far Between," but it has all the songs of note, from the hits to album tracks. Meanwhile, the rarities are devoted pretty much to B-side covers in addition to four previously unreleased demos, the early outtake "Poppy Selling Man," plus their cover of Cat Stevens' "Peace Train," which was removed from latter-day editions of In My Tribe. There's enjoyable stuff on both discs -- the singles "Like the Weather," "What's the Matter Here?," "Trouble Me," "Candy Everybody Wants," and "These Are Days" are very good indeed, laying the groundwork for adult alternative pop/rock, while the early demos on the second disc are livelier than most Maniacs material and the Michael Stipe duet on "To Sir With Love" is a priceless artifact from the height of Clinton optimism (which faded quite quickly). But even these moments have the Achilles' heel of a production that is far too big for the group's gentle simple songs. Overall this expertly assembled collection -- which is as good as a 10,000 Maniacs anthology could be -- is best as a time capsule, capturing the earnest, precious optimism and PC nature of American college rock before grunge came along and dirtied everything up.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Planned Obsolescence
  2. My Mother the War
  3. Tension
  4. Scorpio Rising
  5. Like the Weather
  6. Don't Talk
  7. What's the Matter Here?
  8. Hey Jack Kerouac
  9. Verdi Cries
  10. Trouble Me
  11. Poison in the Well
  12. You Happy Puppet
  13. Eat for Two
  14. Stockton Gala Days
  15. Candy Everybody Wants
  16. These Are Days
  17. Because the Night
  18. Poppy Selling Man [#]
  19. Can't Ignore the Train [#][Demo Version]
  20. Peace Train
  21. Wildwood Flower
  22. Hello in There
  23. To Sir With Love
  24. Everyday Is Like Sunday
  25. These Days
  26. I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You
  27. Starman
  28. Let the Mystery Be
  29. Noah's Dove [#][Demo Version]
  30. Circle Dream [Alternate Lyrics Demo][#][Demo Version]
  31. Eden [Alternate Lyrics Demo][#][Demo Version]