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Tom Jones, Reloaded: Greatest Hits (UTV)
Like Freddie Mercury on a lower register, Tom Jones has won enduring popularity, especially in Europe, for the sincerity of his unwavering commitment to good-natured kitsch. This album collects the cream of his old standards and the best from his millennial revival in Europe. Covering everyone from Prince ("Kiss", naturally included here) to (no joke) Lead Belly (over a looped electronic beat!), Jones stamps the songs with his own hyperbolic aesthetic. As with Jackie Wilson or Barry White, once this alternative, nuance-free aesthetic is accepted, it's a lot of fun. When he gets (relatively) restrained on the duet with Van Morrison or on the blues standard "Motherless Child", you don't even breathe a sigh of relief. If you buy only two Tom Jones CDs, this is the second one to get (after a comprehensive collection of his older best). Heck, this might even be the first.