Rather than reiterate tes's wonderful writeup in my obsessive quest to node every Devo album, I will simply add to it.
Devo had managed to make a comeback into the public consciousness in 1996, with their reunion tour with Lollapalooza. However, while there were an assortment of greatest hits albums, there was no retrospective of Devo's career available. Warner Brothers and Rhino Records then collaborated with Devo to create an anthology set for both hardcore Devo fans, and Devo neophytes alike.
Gerald V. Casale's original plan for this anthology was a four disc set. The first disc was planned to cover the period of Devo's history known as the "Hardcore" era, named after Rykodisc's excellent Hardcore Devo albums. This is the period from 1974 to 1977, before Devo had a recording contract, and would record in basements or their bunker behind an Akron, Ohio car wash. Disc two would cover Devo's recorded output from 1978 to 1982 on Warner Brother, including the big hit Whip It. Disc three would go from 1983 to 1990, covering Shout, and the albums released on Enigma Records. Finally, disc four would contain tracks from Devo's various movie soundtrack appearances, many of which have never been available elsewhere. The packaging was to be very complex, similar to the French release of Hardcore Devo Vol. 1, opening in a quad fold. Each fold would have a CD, and the center would have the book.
Sadly, this was scrapped, and the Anthology was cut down to two discs. The "Hardcore" era is not represented at all, though the original single versions of Jocko Homo and Mongoloid are included. Assorted B-sides and rare soundtrack songs, available only on soundtracks and bootlegs are sprinkled throughout the two discs, including Devo's mutated cover of It Takes A Worried Man which appeared in Neil Young's film Human Highway. When given a choice between album tracks and remixes, "Pioneers" often goes the collector oriented route of including the rarer track, which leaves us with the single remix of Snowball, and the dance mix of Theme from Doctor Detroit.
The music itself, however, sounds wonderful. All of the tracks have been remastered. The songs from Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and Freedom Of Choice have a punch that the current CD releases of these albums lack. The book that comes with the anthology, though basically a cheaply made, thick CD insert, is chock full of text and rare photographs of the band through the years. The inclusion of the rare tracks, and a new recording of The Words Get Stuck In My Throat make this collection a serious thing to acquire for Devotees of all stripes, even if half of the collection is songs they already have elsewhere.