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Texas always seemed out of place, from the moment they released their debut 'til the time they hit the big-time with White on Blonde in the second half of the '90s. They may have been able to gain momentum from Brit-pop, but they didn't really belong, since their sensibility was far too soulful and classy, borrowing equally from the smooth soul of the '70s, Americana fascinations, and, in a roundabout way, the sophisti-pop of the '80s. Still, they were professional, stylish, and, thanks to Sharleen Spiterri, sexy, which meant they did make sense in the aftermath of Brit-pop, even if they were a bit out of step. As the splendid Song Book proves, they could even have made it into the American mainstream if they had received a push on adult alternative pop/rock radio, since they were melodic, classy, and solid. They never were groundbreaking, but they were professionals, and even if this hits collection has a couple of run-of-the-mill cuts, at its best -- "Say What You Want," "Black Eyed Boy," "In Our Lifetime" -- it's as good as mainstream post-alternative adult pop gets. For European listeners, this is certainly a snapshot of the times, and for Americans, this is a good way to get acquainted with a minor treasure. Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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