CD Review of The Worst of Jefferson Airplane by Jefferson Airplane

Music Home / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Buy your copy from Jefferson Airplane:
The Worst of Jefferson Airplane
starstarstarno starno star Label: RCA
Released: 2006
Buy from

Okay, it’s time for a reappraisal of the Jefferson Airplane. It’s probably time for a reappraisal of all those late ‘60s San Francisco bands, but what better place to start with than with the band that pretty much put the city on the map in terms of rock music? We have to give this music a fresh and honest look that isn’t tainted by some old hippie’s opinions of what great music is all about. You know those hippies are no damn good, and to keep holding up Jefferson Airplane to the skies as anything remotely excellent is beyond worn out after all these years.

I’ll be honest with you, I already owned all the Jefferson Airplane CDs that the songs on The Worst of Jefferson Airplane are taken from, so it made receiving this CD a bit superfluous. If I’m not big into the band, why do I own the CD’s you may ask. Good question. Well, the truth of the matter is simply curiosity and BMG music club. Was I possibly truly missing out on something great? Perhaps some album cuts that were far greater than the popular singles or album cuts that got radio play? The answer was ultimately no, but a few freebie selections from BMG music club got used up and I was soon the owner of the albums Jefferson Airplane Takes Off through Volunteers in all their remastered, newly expanded glory.

As much as I can’t relate to some bling-bling rapper’s album, I have an equally hard time relating to the hippie bullshit of the late ‘60s, at least from Jefferson Airplane. Their whole thing was so seeped in the acid culture and counterculture that it has horribly dated the music beyond much reproach. I suppose you really had to be there. But there’s a reason “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” are still popular. They’re short and still work well on the radio. Get beyond that stuff, though, and you have a pretty paltry experience of corny acid-folk nonsense and bombastic forays into hippie acid rock.

So this edition of The Worst of Jefferson Airplane expands on the “classic” old version by adding two extra tracks, “Watch Her Ride” and “Greasy Ride” that really don’t add much to the proceedings. One must then ask themselves, is the Jefferson Airplane that debuted with Signe Anderson any better or worse than the more popular version fronted by Grace Slick? Not terribly. The songs just went from a slightly Byrds kind of groove with dopey lyrics to a more acid-licked (though still fully folksy at heart on Surrealistic Pillow) and cornball amalgam. That After Bathing at Baxter’s is still the over-indulgent piece of shit it always was definitely hasn’t let it age well. And well, the superfluous jamming on the live Bless Its Pointed Little Head doesn’t make much of a case for the band in the concert setting. Again, I guess you had to be there.

Anyway, you get all the “hits” here you already had from the debut album’s “Blues From an Airplane” on through Volunteers’ title track (which is still held up by those old fans and newly brainwashed ones as something great, which it isn’t). The addition of the two extra tracks hasn’t made the compilation any better or worse. So just accept the album for what it is: a simple artifact from all those years ago when people grooved in the streets and love and peace and all that crap flowed as freely as the patchouli and pot. If you’re going to go for a Jefferson Airplane compilation, The Worst of will probably satisfy the craving. But don’t be surprised if you get over it really fast.

~Jason Thompson