November 22, 2002

Test Spin: Elvis Presley

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Stealing the success of the Beatles 1 collection, RCA released a compilation of Elvis’ 30 #1 chart hits and a dance remix of a recently discovered track. Assembling musical material chronologically is a dubious, and in the case of the Beatles, unsuccessful endeavor. The result usually feels more like an encyclopedia instead of a cohesive entity. These compilations usually lack flow and only benefit listeners that don’t care to spend time getting their hands on the songs in their appropriate contexts. Despite all the expected shortcomings stated above, Elv1s works and is a smooth listen all the way through.

Most of the songs are well-known classics, but some are more obscure, often achieving popularity abroad such as the German-language lullaby “Wooden Heart.” About half of the material here is pre-Army, pre-1960 vintage Elvis. The latter half of the album shows Elvis’ maturity as a singer and performer as evident in some of his religious material, such as “Cryin’ in the Chapel” or the majestic ballad “Can’t Help Fallin’ In Love.” The new track is a dance remix of a lost track called “A Little Less Conversation.” I can’t say if it succeeds or not, but just like the rest of Elvis’ catalog it simply needs to be heard.

Archived article by Maxim Pozdorovkin