July 1998

Various Artists - Women & Songs
AudioQuest Music AQ-CD1047
Released: 1997

by Doug Schneider

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality **1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****

[Reviewed on CD]No doubt about it—today there are many great female artists. The problem is, there are so many that it is nearly impossible to buy all of their discs. Furthermore, although some artists are worth spending the cash for a full disc worth of songs, others are not. Thank goodness for compilation discs like Women & Songs.

Women is a collection of the hits of many of today's hottest female artists, including Jewel, Jann Arden, Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, Everything But The Girl, Alana Davis, D.N.A. featuring Suzanne Vega, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Pretenders, Kacy Crowley, k.d. lang, Indigo Girls, Donna Lewis, Mila Mason, The Corrs, Weeping Tile and Emmylou Harris. I had to name them all to keep you from wondering—there's 17 in total, so you don't have to go back and count.

The songs are a mixture of new and not so old with some remixes thrown into the bunch. Standout mentions worth the purchase price alone include Cole's "Where Have All The Cowboy's Gone?," k.d.'s well-known "Constant Craving," Sarah McLachlan's beautiful "I Will Remember You," D.N.A. featuring Suzanne Vega doing "Tom's Diner," and the Indigos’ "Closer to Fine."

Jewel provides reason enough for me to buy the disc because the "radio edit" of "Foolish Games" is included. If you own Pieces of You and have wondered why your disc seems to sound slightly different than what you hear on the radio and video, it's because the music is different. The "Foolish Games" track is more than a simple edit; it is a complete remake of the song. It’s a little quicker, a little more instrumentation, a little happier, and to my ears a little better—and for Jewel fans like myself, a must-have version.

Unfortunately, the sound quality is something to criticize. Each of the tracks sounds "hotter" with more edge and grain than the regular-disc counterparts that I compared them to. For critical listening I always preferred the standard CD—and not many of those CDs sounded great either. No matter, Women & Songs is the perfect disc to have around for background listening, parties or just casual listening when you don't want to hear just one artist and don't want to keep changing discs. Highly recommended.