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The eighties is a prime decade for sophisticated pop, tacky pop and solid pop gems. It depends which part of the eighties you dip into. It was also a time when extended mixes of songs were all the rage. You could not escape hearing extended versions in discotheques and soon it was becoming quite a trend.
There are three discs here, comprising 36 songs, so you get quite a lot of music. The first disc throws up the wonderful 'A Forest' by The Cure. Part spooky, part ethereal and part genius. Robert Smith's enigmatic vocals are the mainstay here and the song will enchant and overwhelm.
'Tainted Love' gives me the creeps, I find it sinister, but you must admire Marc Almond's vocal, which is rich and verges on being sneering. The long mix allows it to breathe too. Dip into Spandeau Ballet for the not widely discussed 'To Cut A Long Story Short.' Soul tinged vocals, though I would have preferred 'True' to have been used.
As you hit disc two, check out the icy cool 'Fade To Grey' by Visage which is a premium slice of synth driven electro pop. The vocals are minimal and haunting and the song really captures the spirit of the eighties. On a similar keel, Yazoo drop by for some engaging synth work with 'Situation.' It is Moyet's vocal which gives it resonance and shapes the song though.
I adore Talk Talk, 'It's My Life' is bold and anthemic and makes so many statements about who you are. It benefits from soaring builds to the chorus and the momentum of the song is terrific. Head next to Simply Red, where 'Money's Too Tight To Mention' finds Hucknall on top form delivering a biting vocal.
Be sure to listen to Grace Jones. The scariest woman in music turns in a soulful and commanding vocal on 'Pull Up To The Bumper' which sounds slick and flash. Grace has the ability to add depth to anything she performs and this song is a prime example.
For something cool and gentle, 'Digging Your Scene' by the Blow Monkeys is a solid pop effort with a hushed sexy vocal from Dr Robert. My final tip is Curiosity Killed The Cat, where pop merges with a touch of soul for the delicious 'Down To Earth.' It is a shame the group did not last longer.
This is a decent hits package and worth dipping into.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 A Forest (Extended Mix) - The Cure
2 Walk Out To Winter (Long Version) - Aztec Camera
3 Tainted Love/ Where Did Our Love Go? - Soft Cell
4 Tears Are Not Enough - ABC
5 Promised You A Miracle - Simple Minds
6 To Cut A Long Story Short - Spandau Ballet
7 Never Stop (Discotheque) - Echo & The Bunnymen
8 Love Is A Wonderful Colour - The Icicle Works
9 Our Lips Are Sealed - Fun Boy Three
10 Precious - Jam
11 Spellbound - Siouxsie & The Banshees
12 Shes In Parties (Extended Mix) - Bauhaus
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Love Action - Human League
2 Wood Beez - Scritti Politti
3 Fade To Grey (Extended) - Visage
4 Situation - Yazoo
5 Quiet Life - Japan
6 Its My Life - Talk Talk
7 Kiss Me (Mixed Plural) - Stephen Tin Tin Duffy
8 My Ever Changing Moods (Long Version) - Style Council
9 Moneys Too Tight To Mention (Cutback Mix) - Simply Red
10 Obsession - Animotion
11 Wordy Rappinghood - Tom Tom Club
12 I'm In Love With A German Filmstar (Long Mix) - The Passions
Disc #3 Tracklisting
1 Pull Up To The Bumper - Grace Jones
2 Im A Wonderful Thing Baby - Kid Creole & The Coconuts
3 Digging Your Scene (Extended Mix) - Blow Monkeys
4 My Bag (Dancing Remix) - Lloyd Cole
5 The Honeythief - Hipsway
6 Sinful (Trilbal Mix) - Pete Wylie
7 Shout (US Version) - Tears For Fears
8 Hip Hop Be Bop - Man Parrish
9 Ever So Lonely (Extended Mix) - Monsoon
10 Down To Earth - Curiosity Killed The Cat
11 Wonderful Life - Black
12 Dr Mabuse - Propaganda