The challenge of compiling the hits of Billy Talent lies in which era of fans it alienates. Luckily, ‘Hits’ divides its time as equally as possible between the band’s four timeless releases. A Billy Talent set list in one release, complete with two new tracks, ‘Hits’ thankfully meets every dedicated fan’s expectations.
Opening with the uncoordinated punk angst of ‘Try Honesty’, this collection cleverly prioritises chronology as opposed to shuffling a wide-spanning track listing in order to clearly see their development. Roof-raising anthem ‘Red Flag’ stands shoulder to shoulder with set list favourites ‘Devil In A Midnight Mass’ and ‘Fallen Leaves’ to take pride of place in the rankings of what fans and the band itself considers their indomitable highlights.
The omissions of the contagious ‘Burn The Evidence’ and rousing ‘The Navy Song’ can be forgiven due to the statistical bias toward ‘Billy Talent II’, as can the focus shift away from the not-so-iconic third release, disregarding the likes of ‘White Sparrows’ and ‘The Dead Can’t Testify’. Had the compilation stuck vehemently to the tracks receiving the best crowd response, it might as well have been a re-release of their second album.
2012’s ‘Dead Silence’ is well represented by 3 tracks, most notably the driving ‘Viking Death Match’ and chant-inducing ‘Surprise Surprise’ make the cut as with the majority of their set lists.
Two new tracks complete the compilation, with ‘Kingdom Of Zod’ showcasing Billy Talent at their relentlessly energetic peak and ‘Chasing The Sun’, a subdued existential reflection demonstrating the ceaseless maturity the band have acquired.
Don’t consider discarding your Billy Talent CD collection under the assumption this hits every note – it hits the best ones, but their consistently flawless career could never fit on one compilation.
’Hits’ by Billy Talent is released on 23rd February through Warner Music Canada.
Words by Ali Cooper (AliZombie_)