If you've heard one Tommy Keene song, it's probably "Places That Are Gone," a certified power-pop classic released in 1984. That song established Keene as a writer who could shimmer with melody and dazzle with guitar hooks while exploring tricky emotional territory — "Places" is equally about the thrill of a new relationship and the darker pull of personal history.
The main news about this 40-song, two-CD set is that it puts a lot of Keene's long-unavailable Geffen material back into print: disc one covers those two mid-'80s albums (and related singles/EPs) and disc two covers everything since (alas, skipping a couple of key albums for licensing reasons). Keene has tried different production and guitar sounds over the years, but his choirboy voice hasn't aged a bit, and his songwriting has remained on a high level, speaking the language of '60s pop ("Compromise," for one, bears out the CD title's Who reference) without being hemmed in by it.
A ferocious cover of Lou Reed's "Kill Your Sons" is rightly included here, though his equally sharp version of Mission of Burma's "Einstein's Day" isn't. The next-to-last track, "Tomorrow's Gone Tonight," provides a nifty counterpoint to "Places"; this time, it's the future rather than the past that's being escaped, but the thrill of the moment remains intact.