These days it’s not uncommon for artists to celebrate a major anniversary by re-recording their most popular songs. Often, though, the new versions pale in comparison to the original songs. The only reason half of these albums are made and released is to milk a few more bucks out of an artist’s die-hard fans who want to own everything the artist does. But once in a while a band will put a new spin on their classics and the results will be exemplary, perhaps even better than the original versions. Fortunately, this is the case with Texas’ 25th anniversary celebration, Texas 25, which is arguably one of their strongest releases to date.
One of the things that makes Texas 25 a must-have is that they’ve completely re-worked each of the classics on disc one of this two disc deluxe collection, which also features four intoxicating new tracks. (Disc two is a remastered hits compilation; disc one is available in normal addition for those who just want the new music.) Rather than making a boring, paint-by-numbers re-recording, they re-envisioned the songs as soul music. Of course, longtime fans won’t be terribly surprised that the band went in this direction because soul was always a major part of their foundation. The group — Sharleen Spiteri and band mate/songwriting partner Johnny McElhone — worked on the songs with the acclaimed NYC studio soul review Truth & Soul, who’ve previously remixed Amy Winehouse and produced for Adele. And the results are nothing short of amazing. Listening to fan favorites like “I Don’t Want a Lover” and “Say What You Want,” you feel like you’re hearing them for the very first time and yet they simultaneously make you feel like you’re greeting old friends. Rare is an album that can make you feel as excited as one gets when discovering an incredible new record and make you feel nostalgic at the same time. But Texas have successfully pulled it off. And some of these versions are actually superior to the original recordings. “Halo,” for example, has never sounded quite so lively; it’s enough to sweep you off of your feet. And “Black Eyed Boy” practically commands you to dance with its deep groove, the bass guitar and horns especially invigorating. Among the new songs, the current single “Start A Family” is a lush number that comes over you like a gentle summer breeze. And “Supafly Boy” is one of the band’s most infectious songs to date. Essential listening, to be sure.