Contemporary RockWith 2008 marking the 50th year of the Grammy Awards, Shout! Factory has decided to release a vast collection of Grammy winning songs onto seven separate albums of varying genres. Ranging from Classic Country to Contemporary R&B, these albums are meant to offer examples of the great music that Grammy has bestowed awards upon over the years.

This album, released on January 8th along with four other collections, charts the brief history of Contemporary Rock, beginning with Living Colour’s 1989 hit “Cult of Personality” and ending with Green Day’s 2005 standby “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” Listening to rock slowly evolve through the faces of popular rockers over the last 16 years gives this album an interesting edge.

Singular voices like Dave Matthews, Billy Corgan (of The Smashing Pumpkins), Jack White (of the White Stripes) and Fiona Apple clearly display here why they’re important to the recent history of rock and how their songs have worked their way into our collective minds. Listening to Corrigan’s screaming or Meg White’s thumping drums, it’s not so much the songs themselves that we relate to, but the events of the day that these songs remind us of.

Tracy Chapman’s folksy guitar and rhythms on “Give Me One Reason” stand out from the more rocking songs on the album, especially considering the song won “Best Rock Song” in 1996, with nary a raise of the voice or a speed-up of tempo present. In comparison, Lenny Kravitz’s “Fly Away” from 2 years later sends a kind of electric energy out with it as the drums and guitar kick in.

“Seven Nation Army” from 2003 won The White Stripes a Best Rock Song Grammy and is a welcome addition to this album, but though Evanescence may have won Best New Artist and best hard Rock Performance, their 2003 tune “Bring Me to Life” sounds a bit too produced to belong on a genuine rock album.

Overall, this album is the most varied of the set, and offers the biggest and most recent hits (aside from Contemporary Pop, obviously). Anyone looking to own the entire Grammy collection will want to add this one to their shelf, but most music afficianados will already own the majority of songs on this album.

Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: A recent and varied history of rock music
Stay Away if: You think the tracks are too diverse to belong on one album

To purchase Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Rock, visit Amazon
For more information and a track lising, visit The Ultimate Grammy Collection’s homepage
For Zach Freeman’s review of Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country, visit BloggerNews
For Zach Freeman’s review of Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Country, visit BloggerNews
For Zach Freeman’s review of Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Pop, visit BloggerNews
For Zach Freeman’s review of Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Pop, visit BloggerNews
For Zach Freeman’s review of Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic R&B, visit BloggerNews
For Zach Freeman’s review of Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary R&B, visit BloggerNews

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