A sensitive, ballad project, The Best Of Holly Cole compiles selected smoky pearls from her ‘90s albums Yesterday & Today, Blame It On My Youth, Dark Dear Heart, Don’t Smoke In Bed, Temptation and It Happened One Night. Nearly half are slow, romantic numbers, while the others drive steadily with a cool detachment. Pop music sentiment and a touch of country-western charm bring Cole’s heartfelt performances closer to a rather large audience. She’s doing for today’s audience what Billie Holiday, Julie London and Carly Simon have done for earlier generations. The songs come straight from the heart, and Cole’s emphasis is on a lyric message. That she crosses in and out of pop, jazz, country, folk, and cabaret need not get in the way. She’s a unique singer with much to share. This 13-song cross-section representing her best work is an intelligent way to get to know Holly Cole.