While most greatest hits albums serve as a primer to the uninitiated, Top Contenders is a veritable dissertation on the music of Strung Out. Instead of drawing heavily from the band’s best known 1998 release Twisted By Design, Top Contenders samples equally from eight releases by the Southern California veterans. This retrospective boasts 17 years of nonstop dual guitars, double-time drums, and socially relevant lyrics. The liner notes include a detailed timeline of the band and a collage with over 400 photos of people with Strung Out tattoos. Since it’s hard to imagine Strung Out converting too many new fans with a greatest hits disc after 20 years, we can assume this album is for those die-hards. With that in mind, Top Contenders gives listeners plenty to pour over, with ubiquitous remixes and three brand new songs that aren’t bad.
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