“And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997-2004″ by HIM

Artist: HIM
Title: “And Love Said No: The Greatest Hits 1997-2004″
Label: Universal Republic
Release Date: 5/8/2007
Genre: Gothic Rock
Rating: 4/5

“And Love Said No” was released about three years ago in the HIM catalog but before now has never been available in the United States. Its arrival in mid-2007 is perfectly timed with the bands continued infiltration of the Gothic Rock fan base it has been establishing since they were first introduced to us in about 2004. This occurred some years after the bands formation but in truth it is better late than never right? As far as hits releases go this one is pretty spot on and offers the listener a little bit of everything that Ville Vallo and company are best known for. You get everything from their melancholy ballads to the fist raising rockers and their well-worked out cover renditions. My own first exposure to HIM was with the tracks “Join Me In Death” and “When Love And Death Embrace” so it was pleasant to find them included here as they are the perfect example of the Gothic Romance that they excelled at as a group. “Buried Alive By Love” and “The Sacrament” shows that the band rocks hard from time to time and is quite good at doing so as well. Another great trait that I find HIM possessing is their ability to rework a classic tune and give it a refreshing new feel. They also manage to do this with songs that you might not normally expect a band to undertake – you will find this in both “Wicked Game” and “Solitary Man”. “Solitary Man” is one of my favorite covers that they do and I think that Neil Diamond would be proud that they were able to introduce his song writing to a younger audience in an entirely different genre demographic. HIM is also notorious for the continuous use of a Love and Death theme and this is prominent in the group’s ballads most specifically. “In Joy And Sorrow” and “The Funeral Of Hearts” give the listener their own chance to find a box of Kleenex and let Ville help them out with their own emotions.

Those who are new to the group should be aware that there is nothing lame about them based these topics and subject matter for in fact the song-writing of Vallo is quite strong. Overall this collection has a little bit of everything to introduce a new listener to the band in the best fashion and to give the long time fan another release for their collection. Those who listen to this one can choose to either jump on board with the ones who find just how appealing the group can be or pass on them entirely. There is not much in the way of insert booklets as you instead get a fold out poster. I would have preferred lyrics and some photos in this one since it is a retrospective piece. If you are still unclear as to what the group is all about then now is your chance to “Join HIM in Death”. We’ll be waiting for you.

Track Listing:
1. And Love Said No
2. Join Me In Death
3. Buried Alive By Love
4. Heartache Every Moment
5. Solitary Man
6. Right Here In My Arms
7. The Funeral Of Hearts
8. In Joy And Sorrow
9. Your Sweet Six Six Six
10. Gone With The Sin
11. Wicked Game
12. The Sacrament
13. Close To The Flame
14. Poison Girl
15. Pretending
16. When Love And Death Embrace

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