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on 30 November 2006
1998's Ladies & Gentlemen was probably one of the best greatest hits collections ever released. It included all but two of his UK solo singles, and a fair number of the singles on it did not feature on any of his three solo albums released up until that point. This one does actually include 6 or 7 tracks not available on any previous album, making this a worthy purchase, but misses out a lot of good singles that can be found on the earlier compilation.

"Older" has been included this time, but again no "Monkey" (which was a US No. 1). All the singles from his last album "Patience" are here, and as before there is a disc of ballads and another of more up-tempo tracks. The third disc, apart from the 3 or 4 exclusive tracks that I've counted, mainly covers "Patience".

This album isn't so much a replacement for the 1998 collection as it is an updated alternative. To get the complete story, you would still need both, plus the Wham "Best of". A glaring omission from the post-1998 stuff is "If I Told You That", his duet with Whitney Houston from 2000. Also, "Monkey", OK not a classic single, but for completeness would have been worth inclusion. Very few Wham singles are here, so this can certainly not replace the existing Wham compilation from 1997.

Worth getting if you already have Ladies & Gentlemen. If you don't, get that instead, and invest in "Patience" at the same time.
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on 3 October 2006
I've been a fan of George Michael for most of the 25 years that the title of this collection refers to - the goatee, the earrings (including the Faith-era crucifix), the gallons of hairspray, I had it all. And like so many fans I was genuinely excited about his first live dates in the UK for 15 years and the promise of new material. But the problem with this collection lies in that last sentence - namely, the quality of the new material and the fact that his best days barely cover the first half of the last 25 years.

Now, we all know that he's had problems in his personal life, but an output of one very dodgy covers album and one collection of new material since 1990 makes George as prolific as Kate Bush or Scritti Politti. Most of his fans are - I would guess - in their mid-to-late-30s, survivors from the days of Wham! and Faith. And these people are going to be a bit miffed when they're asked to fork out another £12-99 for 27 tracks which they already own at least twice (on the original albums and the previous 'Best Of' collections), plus two new compositions. The four Wham! tracks and two early solo singles are making their fourth appearance on a Greatest Hits CD, which is hardly offering value for money to his loyal (but increasingly disgruntled) fans.

Breaking the album down, we find the aforementioned four Wham! singles - all from 1984 - plus three each from Faith (1987) and Listen Without Prejudice (1990, and still my all-time favourite album), five from Older (1996), and an incredible six from the frankly disappointing Patience (2004). But look at what's missing... Somebody to Love with Queen, I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) with Aretha Franklin, I Want Your Sex, Kissing a Fool, Waiting For That Day, Star People. Can anyone really say that Freeek or An Easier Affair (in my opinion his weakest single ever) are better songs?

The problem with this release is that most people viewing this page will own just about every track already, and if you don't then you're probably too young to remember what the fuss was about in the first place. You'd be better off buying 1998's 'Best Of' Ladies & Gentlemen instead - it's not completely up-to-date, but to be blunt, it's an infinitely superior representation of the man and his music.
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on 3 November 2006
Twenty Five: Special Edition...? Mostly Brilliant, if somewhat overplayed

First Two discs are an upgrade of Ladies & Gentleman with added "Patience" and a bit of Wham..

As with "Ladies and Gentleman" disc one is for the feet, disc two for the heart. Highlights include Everything She Wants, Spinning the Wheel, Heal the Pain (with Paul McCartney) and Fastlove. Nice to see Older added to the collection this time around, but no Cowboys and Angels? Shame. His most recent tasty offerings of Easier Affair and This Is Not Real Love are also included

Disc three however is really worth a listen. It is a collection of gems mostly taken from Patience/Songs of the Century with B Sides plus new track "Understand".

You get the impression that George was rather disappointed with the bad press he received for Patience. He seems to be pushing Patience album tracks heavily on the third disc (which is fine by me)

One low point however - Wake Me Up Before You Go Go - It has always been and always will be utter tat!
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on 5 October 2006
Its the same old tracks, but in a different order this time and to be honest its getting a bit boring now. I cannot fault this man's writing and musical ability, his music can make a room light up and I for one am so looking forward to seeing him live, but please write some more original material. Ok, I will buy this, stupid some may say as I have them already, but I just have to, that's what you do when you're a fan...3 new tracks, not much really is it?
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It is well over twenty years since I first heard Careless Whisper. My children were playing a tape of it during a long car journey, and it caught my attention and has haunted my recollection ever since. My own musical home ground is classical, and I have never followed the charts to any great extent. However music to me is just music, its effect is unpredictable and irrational, and there is never any mistaking the unaccountable thrill that some music can give me, whatever category of music it supposedly belongs in.

This set has just been given to me as a birthday present by one of the children, who are now of course adults. The idea is apparently to take me out of my classical comfort zone, but if one thing has consistently struck me in half a century of hearing pop music it is just how conservative it is in certain ways. The harmonisation would in general have seemed unenterprising to composers in the year 1700, yet this is the kind of music that millions really listen to and are really affected by. From this I have to draw the conclusion that a simple harmony that lasts unaltered through untold numbers of changes of musical fashion, style and idiom can hardly be thought of as outmoded, whatever the earnest intellectual theories of the 20th century.

George Michael has apparently composed most of the music here himself, and I certainly seem to detect a resemblance in the style of many of the numbers. Unsurprisingly, I like some of them better than some others, and still none matches up to Careless Whisper for me. Bottom of the charts for me is the joint number with Elton John `Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me', I have to say. However something that does a lot for even the items that interest me less from a musical viewpoint is George Michael's voice. This is really most striking and distinctive in its higher register, a fine tenor sound that will continue to keep me listening to songs that would not hold my attention otherwise.

Whether I was in that much of a musical comfort zone I rather doubt, but the matter is not for me to judge. I am not at all comfortable with some 20th century `classical' music and I am rarely uncomfortable with the pops, even if only intermittently interested. This set is going to be chiefly background music for me, I'm sure, but it's mainly new music to me at the moment. I'm not shaken in the least although I genuinely am stirred up to a point. Why should that be otherwise? It's music innit?
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on 21 November 2006
The other people who wrote reviews about this album must be can you say George Michael has no talent left when this album is sitting in the charts at number 1. Who cares if this album is slightly like Ladies & Gentlemen, how many times has Meatloaf released basically the same album...I don't see you slagging him off. I'm just back from seeing Mr Michael in concert in Manchester and he was awesome. George still has alot to give and long may he continue writing and making new albums. He's a legend. This album would be great in anyone's cd buy it.
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on 16 November 2006
OK, the setlist is full of excellent songs, but where are tracks like "Cowboys and angels" and "Kissing a fool", which are George's best?!?

I hope this new outstanding "25 Live tour" will give George inspiration for writing new songs, that are his name worth!
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on 16 December 2006
Yes i agree, whoever wrote the first couple of reviews must not only be deaf, but also dumb. I recently went to see him at Wembley where he was fantastic and sung brilliantly live, even though he had a cold. This album is great. Why not get this, Ladies And Gentleman, and the Wham! greatest hits collection, because lets face it, hes worth it. The papers predicted the death of his career a few years back, and yet he's still going, which proves that he is a true star. I love George Michael!
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on 26 November 2006
I would just like to say george michael is one of the best artists around,until a few weeks ago i would not of agreed with this,until i took my mum to see him at manchester,and he was outstanding,its nice to see an artist nowadays who can sing live.George i can truly say do not stop producing such great music.Iam 20 years of age and your music appeals to have yourself a new fan.Go George Michael.
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on 1 December 2006
Although I own all George material including his ladies & gentleman, I still rate this as a must for any REAL George fan. It's great to mix a little WHAM! along side George's solo music. Wake me up isn't a great great song, but it serves it's purpose as a "happy, get your feet moving" kind of song. You can guarantee this will get all people dancing at any party/disco. Everything she wants is always a bonus for me as it's my fav WHAM! song, and it never fails to hit the right spot. I love what he's done with this compilation. A great version of Heal the pain with Sir Paul MCartney & of course he's lovely new single with Mutya. If you're a REAL George Michael fan, buy it. If you're not, then I think Ladies & Gentleman would be a good buy as it does have all his greatest music. Overall, I think anyone thats interested in his music, would benefit from this compilation.
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