The BBC’s eclectic music show has been running since 1992, but buyers of this collection could be forgiven for thinking it started no more than five or six years ago. Such is the accent on 21st Century hit-makers, from Kate Nash to Kings Of Leon, Mika to Mutya Buena, the programme’s rich diversity and determination to showcase less-heralded genres has taken a conspicuous backseat.
The compilers can boast that 25 of the artists included made their TV debuts on Holland’s late-night broadcasts, but surely there could have been space for the genuinely memorable performances from veterans, not to mention the dozens of folk and world music players that have shone on the small screen. That most of the songs are live versions of hit singles is a let-down too. Amy Winehouse, for instance, is represented by Tears Dry On Their Own, rather than a smoky old blues and soul cover that would have offered viewers a fuller portrait of her talents.
Record company power games may be to blame for the uninspiring choices, but it’s certainly an opportunity missed. Something as innovative as Later… deserves a CD keepsake that does more to celebrate its strengths. Here’s an alternative title: Now That’s What I Call Predictable.