Public Enemy (Def Jam/Chaos 53014)
Any act that has ever cracked the charts can cobble together some sort of greatest hits package, but how many can create a credible album out of their misses? Public Enemy, for one. On "Greatest Misses," the group avoids the obvious by resurrecting and remixing such shoulda-been-hits as the funky "Who Stole the Soul" and the driving "You're Gonna Get Yours." Of course, it doesn't hurt that P.E. fleshes out the collection with a half-dozen new tracks, the best of which -- like the Bush-and-Clinton-bashing "Tie Goes to the Runner" or the incumbent-indicting "Hazy Shade of Criminal" -- boast an angry election-year edge.
III SIDES TO EVERY STORY
Extreme (A&M 31454 00006)
Before "More Than Words" catapulted them into the Top 10, Extreme had everything but the audience it deserved -- terrific material a savvy singer, a great guitarist and the funkiest rhythm section in hard rock. So has success spoiled these guys? Not hardly. If anything, "III Sides to Every Story" actually raises the standard set by the band's last album, "Pornograffitti." It helps that the songs are smart and tuneful, running the gamut the gently Beatlesque "Stop the World" to the furiously funky "Politicalamity," to the rip-roaring "Rest in Peace." But the best thing about "III Sides" is that the band never pulls its punches, as if out to prove that it's possible to be a success without wimping out. Sometimes, the best bands really do finish first.