World Party Best In Show
Get It At Discogs
When Karl Wallinger left the Waterboys in the mid-'80s to form World Party, it only took one song to convince fans that this was no one-off side project. That track, "Ship of Fools," and 12 others populate the band's first-ever "greatest-hits" compilation, the appropriately titled Best in Show. Wallinger, a devout "Beatlemaniac," never aped a move by the Fab Four without throwing more of himself into the mix, which makes World Party's sophomore effort, Goodbye Jumbo, such a joy. Represented here by no less than seven tracks, Jumbo riffed on the new beatnik vibe of the early '90s without ever resorting to the mildly disingenuous Lenny Kravitz version of the "new summer of love." World Party may have been part-Dylan, part-Donovan with a little bit of Wings-era McCartney thrown in for good measure, but Wallinger's socially conscious brand of mysticism felt firmly rooted in the prosperous Clinton era. Cuts like "Put the Message in the Box," "Way Down Now," and "Thank You World" grooved with an easy-enough vibe to lure AAA radio listeners, but connected on a deeper level with the college crowd. 1993's Bang!, 1997's Egyptology, and 2000's Dumbing Up deserve more than the one track apiece that appear here, but to be fair, Bang!'s "Is It Like Today?," one of the group's strongest moments, was the last real radio presence Wallinger and company enjoyed. Best in Show is nothing if not concise, and while longtime fans might lament the omission of songs like "All I Gave," "Vanity Fair," and "Kingdom Come," incoming ears will perk up and seek them out for themselves.