Note: This review originally ran in the Illinois Entertainer.
35 Years -- The Definitive Shoes Collection 1977-2012 illustrates why the Zion, IL band has long been revered among avid power pop fans. This 21-song compilation includes “Say It Like You Mean It” from the recently released Ignition, as well as songs from every other effort dating back to 1977’s Black Vinyl Shoes. Even though they have an immediately identifiable sound, Shoes always explored a number of variations within it.
“Tomorrow Night” and “Too Late,” the songs that first garnered recognition via MTV and FM radio, are highly energetic, while “Oh, Angeline” has a much lighter arrangement. “A Thing Of The Past” and “Don’t Do This To Me,” from 1994’s Propeller, showcase the band’s growing sophistication as songwriters. “The Summer Rain” is just plain gorgeous. All of the material is built on infectious melodies and inventive vocal interplay. 35 Years -- The Definitive Shoes Collection 1977-2012 can’t be called a greatest hits collection since none of these tracks ever topped the charts, but it is a testament to the talents of Jeff Murphy, John Murphy, and Gary Klebe.