The Best Of George Strait -- 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection (MCA Nashville)

Over the past two decades, a whole lot of people have clutched certain George Strait songs to their chests, held them dear and declared them favorites. But what are George Strait's favorite George Strait songs?

That question is answered on this new collection -- featuring 12 tracks chosen by gentleman George himself. Slow-paced heartbreak numbers dominate his faves, with an occasional pick-me-up of jumpin' Western swing. He also favors the middle stretch of his 21-year recording career, with almost all of the songs dating from the late '80s and early '90s.

The Best Of George Strait might even offer a clue as to how George has managed to rack up so many hits, for so long -- it seems his favorite songs turn out to be everyone else's favorites, too. Each one of these numbers, from 1983's "You Look So Good In Love" to 1993's "Easy Come, Easy Go," hit No. 1. Even so, only two of the tracks were featured on his previous best-of albums, making this collection a little more special than it might have been.

But the most important things we learn about George on this new compilation are things we already knew: He has an uncanny ear for a great song, a clear vision of how it should be sung and the voice to make that vision reality. That's why his favorites might be yours, too.

-- Chris Neal

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