Birthed alongside the late-'70s L.A. punk scene, X was beyond the genre, matching Chuck Berry riffs and power chords to beatnik poetry and atonal harmonies. Purchasing their first four albums (Los Angeles, Wild Gift, Under the Big Black Sun, More Fun in the New World) still makes better sense than ponying up for any given anthology, unless you must have the Dangerhouse single version of "Adult Books" that wasn't featured on X's previous collection of rarities, 1997's Beyond and Back. This "best-of" chronologically traces their evolution into a hard rock/roots-rock combo. The first disc is essential: the early punk energy of "Your Phone's Off the Hook, But You're Not" and "The Once Over Twice" remains fresh. The second disc spins off the axis, including their likeable "country" efforts as The Knitters, decent attempts at mainstream hits ("Burning House of Love," "4th of July") and final tracks that are not up to their usual level.
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