Various Artists

Just Say Sire: The Sire Records Story

There's little doubt that Sire Records is deserving of the box-set treatment. Co-founder Seymour Stein had an uncanny knack for signing punk, pop, new wave, dance, shoegazer, and altcountry acts that were destined to make great, groundbreaking albums, or at least make the label some money (some even did both!). Sire was particularly committed to roster diversity and artistic development over the long haul, and it became so renowned for quality music that fans of one Sire artist were liable to check out nearly anything else stamped with the label's logo -- a kind of loyalty usually only seen around indies such as Dischord, Sub Pop, or Saddle Creek. Fortunately, Just Say Sire is as fun to listen to as it is culturally significant, mostly because it peppers its nostalgia trip with opportunities for new discoveries. Sequenced in terms of sound and mood rather than chronology or just a roll of the dice, its 61 audio and 20 video tracks strike a nice balance between ubiquitous hits by Madonna, the Ramones, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, and the Pretenders; gems from such undergrounders as My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr., Dead Boys, Aphex Twin, and Throwing Muses; and relative obscurities from the likes of Ofra Haza, the Rezillos, Tin Tin, Radio Birdman, Martini Ranch, and Telex. Chances are good you'll find a few new favorites in the mix, making this set well worth your time and money.

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