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The 80's. A music era you either hated or simply just tolerated. I for my part am amongst the latter. Maybe it was leaving school into the Thatcher era or maybe the music scene simply was dire. Actually a combination of both. If you are someone who actually loves this era then you need not read this review. This is aimed at the curious musical adventurer of lesser years than myself. If you under 40 and are looking to discover music of worth from previous era's then avoid this like the plague. Unless of course you find a copy in a charity shop or at a carboot sale but then pay no more than £1.00. Quite an adequate enough sum to show why the 90's just had to happen. I am familiar with the track listing and it would be unfair to suggest there are no mini high lights but you will ave to sit through a lot of dross to find them. Unfortunately the high lights on this in one or two cases are in fact career high lights. Under 30 and curious? Then seek out the 'Shine' compilations which are frequently popping up in many second hand outlets at very reasonable prices. Not now on the second hand market because of lack of content but because many previous owners have built fine single artist compilations on the strength of the real music contained within. You have been warned and suitably advised one hopes.
They really know how to milk the eighties albums don't they? I didn't realise that there were so many hits to be garnered from that decade. Seems I am wrong, as here is Volume 3 of this series, boasting more forgotten pop gems.
It is hard to pick the best songs, as there are so many fine memories on here, but here are some which do it for me. I have tried to cover a range of genres so you get the idea of what to expect.
Martin Fry comes over all suave and debonair in ABC's 'The Look Of Love.' This track epitomizes the eighties with a bold cheerful chorus and extravagant vocals. Fry gives it lift and the song remains one of my high points.
Head to Transvision Vamp's 'Baby I Don't Care' where the sexy vocals from Wendy James light the song up brilliantly. The chorus is one you could leap around to and the undercurrent of punk keeps it ticking along at a superb pace. It knocks the pants off anything Avril Lavigne might offer these days.
'Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)' by A Flock Of Seagulls is another top tip. This was a group who wanted Duran Duran's crown and never achieved it. The new romantic sound was one which was sweeping the nation and this song is quite charming. Gentle synths and an undercurrent of heartbreak and some wonderful charismatic vocals to ice it off.
'Sign Your Name' by Terrence Trent D'arby brings an air of soul and integrity to the album. His voice is like a thick milkshake, rich and sexy and you just want another helping. This has a great melody working through it, one which will make you want to shed your clothes and kiss the person next to you.
My final tip here is Blackbox's Italian eurodance workout 'Ride On Time.' Sampling Loleatta Holloway and making a tremendous piano laden house stomper in the process. The screaming bit still sounds amazing and the beat will ignite a dancefloor to this day.
This album benefits from a whopping 60 songs, spread over three discs. I would have liked more information on the inner sleeve, but for value for money this is one very neat little album.
What I am reviewing is the double CD Fantastic 80s 3
With the success of the first two fantastic 80s albums there was always lots more songs from the good old 80s to be released that we hadnt heard for a while.
Like always with these CDs there was a lot of good mixture from different years and different artists, and also had twenty songs on each disk.
There were lots of hit tracks on here with most getting into the top ten charts. There are well known artists on here including ones still going. Kylie Minogue had her third number one hit single and sixth UK single with Hand on your heart in 1988 and still is going very well today. Its good to hear her at the start of her career as it is with many of these artists.
You have Wham, Bananarama, Spandau Ballet, Cher, and many many more which I shall take you through on a trip down memory lane.
The first thing I noticed when getting this CD is the packaging with three rubix cubes on the front which signifies it as an 80s CD straight away. It is quite a colorful design much like the previous two.
Opening the box I found that the design was a lot different to the previous ones and had a similar print on both the disks to match the cover which was a good design for these disks.
Also the disks are different colours, one green and the other orange.
The inlay cover when opened out is the same as the previous CDs with just track listings of the songs on both disks on a black background, on the back is photos of the previous albums that have been made.
When playing I found that the sound was very good and very well remastered in sound. SONY music entertainment had made these disks so I did expect good quality which these disks delivered. Again all the scratchiness of the old style records had gone along with the tinny quality of some of them and was a lot easier on the ears.
This CD was made in 1998 and was the last in the Fantastic 80s series.
I shall now take you through the CDs
1. Wishing I was Lucky by Wet wet wet (1987)
This style of song fitted the late 80s very well, with good lyrics and background instrumentals this track had a more grown up pop track feel to it to appeal to everyone. This was a very big hit for the group and was one of their best songs ever made.
2. I'm your man by Wham (1985)
One of the groups greatest hits, George Michael as lead singer. This was a very popular song with a very upbeat pop track and proved a surefire hit for the group.
3. Hungry like the wolf by Duran Duran (1982)
One of Duran Durans greatest hits in the early 80s, this was a fast paced track with a great video from the Rio album and helped caterpult the group into a household name.
4. The look of love by ABC (1982)
Fast paced disco beat track for this group with great instrumental backing with a lot of synthasiser music. One of the fast paced love song tracks works very well. This also moves from fast paced to slow and back again giving it that certain feel.
5. Baby I don't care by Transvision vamp (1989)
Guitar music starts this fast paced song off, and goes through the song in the background. The lyrics were similar to a pop rock style of track which this band was all about.
6. To cut a long story short by Spandau Ballet (1980)
A fast start with synthesizer music to start off an unusual fast paced track for Spandau Ballet who went out of their usual comfort zone of slow songs for this one. This does work very well for the group as the music livens the whole tone for the lyrics.
7. Thorn in my side by the Eurithmics (1986)
A medium paced song with a jazz feel to the rythum with some brass instruments in the background. The lyrics stand out very well in this song which has a good story to it. This was a very good mix which a lot of groups then started up around 1986 onwards.
8. Digging your scene by the Blow monkeys (1986)
Slowish beat and slow lyrics to this one, has a good story which is easy to follow. Even thought he beat is slow it picks up with good rythum when the song gets going.
9. Favourite shitrs by Haircut 100 (1981)
Fast track with rythum and lyrics alike. This is probably one of the fastest tracks on the album and was a big hit in 1981 as this beat had just started going and after this proved to be a big hit.
10. Each time you break my heart by Nick Kamen (1986)
Medium paced pop song with lots of different beats in background music. The style is very similar to some of Duran Durans earlier hits, and Nick gives it his all in these well thought lyrics.
11. Could have told you so by Halo James (1989)
Bit of a sad song here with the lyrics about your dreams coming and going. Sounds rather apt now as things havent changed a lot from the 80s and this could be a hit if it was made now.
It does have a good beat to it and it is around a medium paced song without it reaching that low level.
12. Stray cats strut by Stray cats (1981)
Jazz style beat to it, drum guitar, and a medium lyrics base for this style. This has a different level as an 80s song as it is so different and would work well on any jazz album.
13. Robert de niro's waiting by Bananarama (1984)
Upbeat song by Bananarama, good fast paced beat, easy lyrics to follow. This was a huge hit for the group in 1984.
14. Wishing I had a photograph of you by A flock of seagulls (1982)
A lot of different beats going on in this song and not just a certain one. Mainly a medium paced song with a good style of lyrics. This also has an easy storyline to follow although not that much to it as this one is focusing on the instrumentals more.
15. I'm a wonderful thing baby by Kid Creole and the coconuts (1982)
80s pop beat style to start the lyrics off with, the sound of the lyrics is very easy to listen too and not too fast paced. This is almost a style as it is a style of rhyming speaking instead of a loud singing.
16. I won't let the sun go down on me by Nik kershaw (1983)
Upbeat track starts off with lots of synthesizer music and clapping. Lyrics very good, likeable and easy to remember. This is one of the best known tunes of the 80s.
17. Kiss me by Stephen "Tin tin" Duffy (1985)
Very pop style beat to this one, fast paced track with good beat all the way through.
18. Prince Charming by Adam and the ants (1981)
One of the best known tracks and the start of Adam Ants legend. This is a song that everybody has heard at least once in their life. This had a great video when it was made and had everybody dressing up as highwaymen in discos ! The dance moves are easy to follow too.
19. Don't leave me this way by The Communards (1986)
Different levels to this song, starts slow, has a medium pace and lots of good beats all the way through. The lyrics give the song a lot of meaning and was a big hit for the group in 1986.
20. Sign your name by Terrence trent D'Arby (1987)
Slow paced track, good beat with a story about somebody wanting to find himself somebody and getting on the right track.
1. Uptown girl by Billy Joel (1983)
Probably Bill Joels greatest hit of the 80s as it seemed to have something that everybody liked about it. It had a good beat, strong lyrics, good video, and made him stand out a lot more to those people who had never heard of him before.
2. Love of the common people by Paul Young (1985)
Another hit from Paul, this has strong lyrics all the way through the song and he has an easy to listen to voice. The background music is not too strong and does not overwhelm his singing. Great song.
3. Addicted to love by Robert Palmer (1985)
This is a soft rock song with a very good beat and instrumentals. The lyrics are very well paced and make a lot of sense.
4. I drove all night by Cindi lauper (1989)
A medium paced song with a good paced tune, this never stepped over Cindis voice and were good thought out lyrics for this song.
5. Don't get me wrong by the Pretenders (1986)
Good soothing tune to this one, just the right style of rythum for the group which proved very popular. Good storyline behind the lyrics.
6. Manic Monday by The bangles (1985)
A song we can all relate to here about wishing it was Sunday instead of Monday. Good fast paced track with good rythum and a lot of sense with the lyrics.
7. 1,2,3, by Gloria Estefan (1991)
A fast paced track with an upbeat tune and lyrics. This track has different style music like a Spanish/Latin rythum.
8. Footloose by Kenny Loggins (1984)
Fast paced track with a good strong beat to it. This has a strong 80s style to it and was his biggest hit. I dont think he was around that long but this song made an impact in the charts at the time.
9. I found someone by Cher (1987)
Slow track building up to a faster track with Chers unmistakable voice. This was a huge hit for her.
10. Young at heart by the Bluebells (1984)
Hard to believe that this song was that long ago now. This has an Irish sounding background with fiddle music, fast paced track. I can see why it was such a hit as it was so different at the time.
11. Living in a box by Living in a box (1987)
A huge hit in 1987. This was the groups first big hit across the UK and America. This is a fast paced song with a good strong beat. Also played in Discos at the time and was featured in some films.
12. Call me by Go west (1985)
Good background music with synthesizer, medium beat with lyrics to match. Has a very good strong sounding tune and a story easy to follow.
13. Get outa my dreams, get into my car by Billy Ocean (1987)
Another hit for Billy, this time using a faster paced track. His distinctive voice and rythum goes a long way on this track and on the video he used animation with real life.
14. Ride on time by Black Box (1989)
This was a different style of song, more like 2-Unlimiteds kind of music style with techno beats and ending the 80s era with what was to come of the early 90s. This song was just the start of a new phase and was a huge hit. It stayed at number one for around six weeks.
15. Eve of the War '89 remix by Ben Liebrand (1989)
A War of the Worlds remix with lots of techno tunes added to give it an updated feel. Not quite sure how this became a huge hit myself as it seemed to mess with the original and ruined it for me.
16. Hand on your heart by Kylie Minogue (1989)
This is Kylie Minogues third number oe hit in the UK. This has Kylies pop beat as she is just making a name for herself just coming onto the music scene. This is a fast paced track for her, had a good video and made the charts straight away.
17. My favourite waste of time by Owen Paul (1986)
This has a sort of Reggae feel and beat to this song, a medium paced song and an immediate hit.
18. In the army now by Status Quo (1986)
Hard to believe that this was all that long ago as I remember it in the charts ! Great lyrics in this one with a very good story done for this track. The rythum is at a good background pace and was a huge hit for the group.
19. Broken Land by the Adventurer (1988)
Slow paced rythum with lyrics to match it. This is more of a love song rather than anything else and done very well for the group.
20. Sewing the seeds of love by Tears for fears.(1989)
Strong lyrics from the start, a time when the World was realizing all the poverty in the third World countries and this is what the song was all about. It was a massive hit.
What I though :
Being a fan of 80s music and growing up with it and having the previous albums I pretty much knew what to expect from this one, I still liked the idea of the Rubix cube cover which really did sum the 80s up well for me just by that simple design, but opening up the inlay cover I was disappointed yet again by the lack of information on these artists. It is very surprising that must have been such a lack of thought that nobody even bothered to put together a decent booklet together on this, especially as this was the third album and last in the series.
I found that the disk design was a lot better and more significant than the other efforts. I liked the way of the style with prints from the cover to the disk and also different coloured disks which I thought was a good touch.
I thought that the sound quality on the CDs was very good and had really been remastered well with no scratches, tinny sound or any distorted noise on any of these tracks.
In the way of the artists and variation here I felt it did give a really good mix of years, style, groups and solo artists and were easily remembered songs from the 80s and not any obscure ones on here. I found that quite a lot were big names and quite a few going strong still today.
On the down side yet again a few artists were not on here despite all their success, there was no mention of Jason Donovan, David Bowie, Samantha Fox, Madness, or a few artists like Billy Ocean, Kylie, Duran Duran, or Wet wet wet were not really given a significant time on any of the albums despite all they had done in the charts.
I liked the track I was so fond of growing up and Living in a Box, Prince Charming, Hand on your heart were just a few I was pleased to have on this album.
I did find it strange that a song from Gloria Estefan 1,2,3 that was made in 1991 was on the album ?!
If you enjoy all of the 80s tracks, were about then, or just want to hear what we were all listening to then give it a shot, there are a lot of good songs on here and you can now pick this up pretty cheap. This is probably only on sites like Ebay and Amazon now as they do not seem to be in the mainstream shops anymore and all I can now find is a three disk best of which has lost a lot of songs and compressed all of the three albums together.
This is normally around £4-7 and is well worth the money.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Wishing I Was Lucky - Wet Wet Wet
2 I'm Your Man - Wham
3 Hungry Like The Wolf - Duran Duran
4 Look Of Love - ABC
5 Baby I Don't Care - Transvision Vamp
6 To Cut A Long Story Short - Spandau Ballet
7 Thorn In My Side - Eurythmics
8 Diggin' Your Scene - Blow Monkeys
9 Favourite Shirt (Boy Meets Girl) - Haircut 100
10 Each Time You Break My Heart - Kamen, Nick
11 Could Have Told You So - Halo James
12 Stray Cat Strut - Stray Cats
13 Robert De Niro's Waiting - Bananarama
14 Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You) - A Flock Of Seagulls
15 I'm A Wonderful Thing Baby - Kid Creole & The Coconuts
16 I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me - Kershaw, Nik
17 Kiss Me - Duffy, Stephen 'Tin Tin'
18 Prince Charming - Adam & The Ants
19 Don't Leave Me This Way - Communards
20 Sign Your Name - D'Arby, Terence Trent
21 Uptown Girl - Joel, Billy
22 Love Of The Common People - Young, Paul
23 Addicted To Love - Palmer, Robert
24 I Drove All Night - Lauper, Cyndi
25 Don't Get Me Wrong - Pretenders (1)
26 Manic Monday - Bangles
27 123 - Estefan, Gloria
28 Footloose - Loggins, Kenny
29 I Found Someone - Cher
30 Young At Heart - Bluebells (1)
31 Living In A Box - Living In A Box
32 Call Me - Go West
33 Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car - Ocean, Billy
34 Ride On Time - Black Box
35 Eve Of The War - Liebrand, Ben
36 Hand On Your Heart - Minogue, Kylie
37 My Favourite Waste Of Time - Paul, Owen
38 In The Army Now - Status Quo
39 Broken Land - Adventures
40 Sowing The Seeds Of Love - Tears For Fears
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Uptown Girl - Joel, Billy
2 Love Of The Common People - Young, Paul
3 Addicted To Love - Palmer, Robert
4 I Drove All Night - Lauper, Cyndi
5 Don't Get Me Wrong - Pretenders (1)
6 Manic Monday - Bangles
7 123 - Estefan, Gloria
8 Footloose - Loggins, Kenny
9 I Found Someone - Cher
10 Young At Heart - Bluebells (1)
11 Living In A Box - Living In A Box
12 Call Me - Go West
13 Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car - Ocean, Billy
14 Ride On Time - Black Box
15 Eve Of The War - Liebrand, Ben
16 Hand On Your Heart - Minogue, Kylie
17 My Favourite Waste Of Time - Paul, Owen
18 In The Army Now - Status Quo
19 Broken Land - Adventures
20 Sowing The Seeds Of Love - Tears For Fears