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The Now albums are always equated with quality and this is one of the better Nows, as it gathers the best decade, the eighties and sticks them onto three discs.
What do you get:
On the first disc, I suggest heading for Duran Duran's 'A View To A Kill.' Easily the best Bond theme ever, upbeat, fiery guitars and electrifying vocals from Le Bon cement its status. Also check out Simply Red 'Money's Too Tight (To Mention)' which is a reminder of just how stunning Hucknall's vocals were. The track has real bite to it and he sounds quite angry here. Another top tip here is 'Break My Stride' which will make you think of holidays and lying on the beach, with the reggae tinged beat and smooth vocals.
Disc two continues in good fashion, head to Lionel doing the rousing 'Dancing On The Celing' and bask in his sexy tones and the stimulating chorus. Erasure's finest hour 'A Little Respect' is all camp pop with a soaring set of vocals from Bell and a great synth riff from Clarke. For something more chilled, listen to Soul 2 Soul's very soulful 'Keep On Movin' which is so laidback it's almost horizontal.
Disc three delights further, with the brilliant 'Alone' by Heart bringing back images of shoulder pads and big hair. It is a great power ballad which will sweep you off your feet. For something more ethereal, Kate Bush does 'Running Up That Hill' with a spring in her step. Sounding as kooky as ever, the track is creepy and mesmerising.
With about sixty songs, this is great value for money. I have merely handpicked some treats, as covering all sixty could take me till next week! The artwork is bland but who cares, a solid eighties album covering many genres
The series of 'Now That's What I Call Music!' compilation albums was established in 1983. 24 years on, the series, known as the 'Now' series (Now 31, Now 46, etc) decided to release a Best Of compilation, featuring the best tracks it had featured on its compilations during the 1980s, and this is the result. The three disc compilation has some excellent tracks on it, but also some that aren't quite as good.
Disc 1 (19 tracks) starts off very well with the upbeat Elton John track I'm Still Standing and continues with the groundbreaking motion video Take On Me from A-Ha. The third track is the excellent duo of Jagger and Bowie giving their rendition of Dancing In The Street, but after that, the first disc stutters a little. There are some more good tracks on the disc, but some questionable choices. Personally, I'm not a fan of Scritti Politti's Wood Beez or Mama from Genesis, and I was confused by the inclusion of Matthew Wilder's Break My Stride - I felt there could have been some better choices. However, In The Air Tonight and Time After Time towards the end salvage the disc.
The second disc starts off with the cult hit 500 miles by Scottish twins The Proclaimers, and some solid tracks such as Walk This Way from Aerosmith and Run DMC, George Michael's Faith and Dancing On The Ceiling from Lionel Richie make this a very good disc. I wasn't sure about Happy Hour by the Housemartins, or even Soul II Soul's Keep On Movin', but the majority of tracks on here are good.
The third disc continues in pretty much the same vein in terms of my opinion, with a couple of powerful rock ballads filling the airwaves, such as Tina Turner's The Best, Whitesnake's Here I Go Again, and the hit from the Back To The Future films, Huey Lewis and the News' The Power Of Love. I'm not a fan of Bowie's Modern Love, and Hourglass seems a bit out of place among such timeless tracks, but ultimately, this is my personal taste.
I suppose, as with most compilations that span a lot of time, it is always going to be hard to please everyone. Overall, I am pleased with the song selection for these discs, and do like the majority of the album. The first disc is perhaps my least favourite, there are a few tracks there I'm not fond of and can't understand their placement over some other choices of tracks, but the other two discs are better, and the whole thing is a great compilation album.
Now That's What I Call Music! The 80s is currently available from amazon.co.uk for £6.99, a great price for so many classic 80s tracks.
Being that I wasn't born till 1985 I was lucky enough to miss most of the 80`s and be too young to remember the rest. Unfortunately though my older brother kept playing this rubbish long into the 90`s so I still have painful memories of it. It was my birthday just a few days ago and in her wisdom my gran decided as part of my present from her she would slip in this three cd album of music from the decade I was born, the music is just as bad as I remember.
There are far too many tracks over the three albums to make mention of each and every one so I will skim through what's on each disc and leave some sort of over all opinion.
This disc actually starts off with a good song "I'm still standing" by Elton John, a catchy upbeat tune which I like to listen to in the car. Following that is one of the worst songs I have heard AHA`s Take on me, how could they follow sir Elton with that rubbish?
There is another two songs on this disc that I like but that's not great from a disc containing 19 tracks. The other two good ones in my opinion are the quirky Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder and the classic Time After Time by the one and only Cyndi Lauper.
The rest of the tracks in my opinion are just typical 80`s rubbish or worse. The Cure - The Lovecats and Soft Cell - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye are so bad it`s unbelievable, they are drab one toned one beat passionless rubbish droned out by very inept singers to say the least.
On to disc 2 and not much improves again a few songs I like Run-DMC feat. Aerosmith - Walk This Way, can be found at number three, Womack & Womack - Teardrops at number 9 and Cameo - Word Up at number 17. These are three very good tracks and to me sound like they were a bit ahead of their time, sounding more like tracks from the early 90`s where music started to improve dramatically.
These three good tracks are surrounded once again by dull garbage the likes of The Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian (one of the most annoying songs of all times), Billy Idol - Rebel Yell (all he does through this song is yell), Bobby Brown - My Prerogative (cheesetastic rubbish) and Gwen Guthrie - Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent (a real heartache to have to suffer).
In total this cd carries 21 tracks one or two acceptable, three good and the rest awful. Again not a great ratio for an album.
I had great fears for disc three because usually with three disc albums the third disc suffers badly from running out of half decent tracks and as there were very few half decent tracks on the first two then this had no chance. I was surprised however to find that in my opinion this was the best of the three by far.
This cd carries a good six or seven songs that are good enough to listen too and even a couple of really good songs. My two favourite tracks are Heart - Alone and Tina Turner - Simply The best, Simply The Best being one of my all time favourite songs. Along with these two there are a few other good tracks such as The Waterboys - The Whole Of The Moon (catchy and a bit of an anthem), Danny Wilson - Mary's Prayer (a song that has definitely stood the test of time and sounds as good today as when it was released), Simple Minds - Alive And Kicking (not a big fan of simple minds music in general but this one has a good beat and is another good driving track) and Swing Out Sister - Breakout (this song reminds me of so many good times but is very catchy also and even without the memories would be a song I enjoy).
Again though there is a fair amount of trash stuck on this cd also, Wet Wet Wet - Angel Eyes (this song is indeed wet, wet, wet, utter boring drivel), David Bowie - Modern Love (oh dear what can I say? Just totally bad music), Squeeze - Hourglass (once again just a song that fitted in with the era of very bad music in general) and the instantly forgettable and totally laughable Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy - Kiss Me (surely even MR Tin Tin Duffy must look back at this and cringe).
So all in all this album does not cut it as a three disc album of all that was good about the 80`s, in truth they could have shortened it to a single disc album of some good and some decent tracks and left out all the fillers that most people will skip anyway.
Available in most music stores for around ten pounds this album is in my opinion not good value for money and unless you are a total 80`s freak better left alone altogether. In this day and age with digital downloads I think this type of albums days are numbered anyway. We can now just download the tracks we like and leave the rest to rot.
1,Elton John - I'm Still Standing
2. a-ha - Take On Me
3. David Bowie & Mick Jagger - Dancing In The Street
4. Nik Kershaw - I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
5. Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder - Together In Electric Dreams
6. Duran Duran - A View To A Kill
7. Spandau Ballet - Gold
8. Matthew Wilder - Break My Stride
9. DeBarge - Rhythm Of The Night
10. Simply Red - Money's Too Tight (To Mention)
11. Scritti Politti-Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)
12. The Cure - The Lovecats
13. Soft Cell Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
14. Genesis - Mama
15. Paul McCartney - No More Lonely Nights
16. Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time
17. Yazoo - Only You
18. Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush - Don't Give Up
19. Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight
1. The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
2. The Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian
3. Run-DMC feat. Aerosmith - Walk This Way
4. Billy Idol - Rebel Yell
5. Katrina & The Waves - Walking On Sunshine
6. The Housemartins - Happy Hour
7. Fine Young Cannibals - Good Thing
8. George Michael - Faith
9. Womack & Womack - Teardrops
10. Lionel Richie - Dancing On The Ceiling
11. The Communards - Don't Leave Me This Way
12. Erasure - A Little Respect
13. Climie Fisher - Love Changes (Everything)
14. Johnny Hates Jazz - Shattered Dreams
15. Level 42 - Lessons in Love
16. Bobby Brown - My Prerogative
17. Cameo - Word Up!
18. Gwen Guthrie - Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent
19. Soul II Soul feat. Caron Wheeler - Keep On Movin'
20. Neneh Cherry - Manchild
21. UB40 - Don't Break My Heart
1. Wet Wet Wet - Angel Eyes (Home And Away)
2. Heart - Alone
3. Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World
4. Huey Lewis & The News - The Power Of Love
5. Kiss - Crazy Crazy Nights
6. Whitesnake - Here I Go Again '87
7. Tina Turner - The Best
8. Robert Palmer - Addicted To Love
9. David Bowie - Modern Love
10. The Waterboys - The Whole Of The Moon
11. Danny Wilson - Mary's Prayer
12. Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy - Kiss Me
13. Flash & The Pan - Waiting For A Train
14. Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill
15. Simple Minds - Alive And Kicking
16. Steve Winwood - Higher Love
17. Swing Out Sister - Breakout
18. The Beautiful South - You Keep It All In
19. Squeeze - Hourglass
20. Harold Faltermeyer - Axel F
I know a lot of people don't like lists in reviews but surely when reviewing an album the track listing is useful. I have deliberately left it to the end as an after thought so if people don't want to use it they can read the review and then skip it.
Thanks for reading.
Now That's What I call The 80's was one of the cd's I found in my Christmas stocking this year, all my family knows I love cheesy 80's music so I wasn't surprised by this choice. Initially it seemed like a really good cd, at least on first appearances, part of the Now series and featuring one of my favourite musical decades you would think it could do no wrong, sadly there are too many flaws making this cd a major let down.
Consisting of 3 discs and 60 tracks, with a wide range of the decade's finest (and admittedly not so fine) artists, this should have been possibly the greatest 80's compilation of all time. The Now series of albums have in the past been known to feature a few really strong successful tracks backed up by lesser known songs and artists, but when they specifically release a 3 disc set dedicated to one era of music you think they would have put a little more effort into the cd and made sure it was full of the best music of the time. Unfortunately they seem to have kept to their old formula mixing a few good songs on each disc with some otherwise dubious selections.
Now I know as well as anyone that what makes good music is down to the individual listener and others opinions of the cd may vary greatly to mine, but the mix of song styles on each disc simply do not blend together for example disc3 mixes soft rockers Kiss "crazy crazy nights" with new romantic style Tin Tin Duffy "kiss me", disc2 gives the interesting contrast of Billy Idol "Rebel yell" with The Bangles "walk like an Egyptian"
All 3 cd's flow in this awkward manner and while disc1 is probably the most manageable in terms of listening to easily through every track the same cannot be said of the other 2 discs. They would have been better off grouping similar musical styles together, maybe disc1 being early 80's, disc2 mid 80's and disc3 late 80's, to create better flowing discs that are a pleasure to listen to than giving us this jumpy mix which sees the listener skipping to their favoured tracks and completely ignoring the rest. I guess it's not all bad though, the varied mix of tracks and artists means there's likely to be something there for everybody, even if there's just a handful of songs, however it's unlikely to be anyone's favourite cd as it's far too mixed.
Another problem I've noticed with the discs is how they seem to have been recorded, I've tried them in a few different players but each time have found that you can comfortably listen to a track only to find the next one plays far too quietly meaning you need to raise the volume or the track is so loud you have to turn it down, you simply should not need to constantly play with the volume to listen to a cd properly, the tracks should all be managed in the same way that each one is listenable at the same level.
Stand out tracks to me include Aha "Take on me" DeBarge "Rhythm of the night" Cameo "Word up" David Bowie "Modern love" and of course the previously mentioned "Crazy crazy nights" however there are some great 80's acts on here that are badly represented by their tracks including Duran Duran "A view to a kill" and Simply Red "Moneys too tight to mention" further adding to the insanity of the cd's makers is the inclusion of 2 tracks featuring Kate Bush, granted one she duets with Peter Gabriel but I'm sure one appearance by the singer is enough and could have made way for a top tune by a brilliant artist, or even just a popular one of the decade, there's no Culture Club for example, no Dexys Midnight Runners, no ABC........I just cant understand some of the selections, perhaps the were trying to achieve some kind of balance of the whole decade but it just hasn't worked, the early 80's New Romantic music just doesn't sit with late 80's early Indie styles.
Now I wont give you a track by track description because most of the songs will be well known to anyone older then 20 and possibly even some of those of the younger 90's and 00's generations, instead I'll give you the track listing, what better way to let you see for yourself what the album offers.
1.: I'm Still Standing - John, Elton
2.: Take On Me - A-Ha
3.: Dancing In The Street - Bowie, David & Mick Jagger
4.: I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me - Kershaw, Nik
5.: Together In Electric Dreams - Oakey, Philip & Giorgio Moroder
6.: View To A Kill - Duran Duran
7.: Gold - Spandau Ballet
8.: Break My Stride - Wilder, Matthew
9.: Rhythm Of The Night - DeBarge
10.: Money's Too Tight (To Mention) - Simply Red
11.: Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin) - Scritti Politti
12.: Lovecats - Cure
13.: Say Hello Wave Goodbye - Soft Cell
14.: Mama - Genesis
15.: No More Lonely Nights - McCartney, Paul
16.: Time After Time - Lauper, Cyndi
17.: Only You - Yazoo
18.: Don't Give Up - Gabriel, Peter & Kate Bush
19.: In The Air Tonight - Collins, Phil
1.: I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - Proclaimers
2.: Walk Like An Egyptian - Bangles
3.: Walk This Way - Run DMC & Aerosmith
4.: Rebel Yell - Idol, Billy
5.: Walking On Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves
6.: Happy Hour - Housemartins
7.: Good Thing - Fine Young Cannibals
8.: Faith - Michael, George
9.: Teardrops - Womack & Womack
10.: Dancing On The Ceiling - Richie, Lionel
11.: Don't Leave Me This Way - Communards
12.: Little Respect - Erasure
13.: Love Changes (Everything) - Climie Fisher
14.: Shattered Dreams - Johnny Hates Jazz
15.: Lessons In Love - Level 42
16.: My Prerogative - Brown, Bobby
17.: Word Up - Cameo
18.: Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent - Guthrie, Gwen
19.: Keep On Movin' - Soul II Soul & Caron Wheeler
20.: Manchild - Cherry, Neneh
21.: Don't Break My Heart - UB40
1.: Angel Eyes (Home And Away) - Wet Wet Wet
2.: Alone - Heart
3.: Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Tears For Fears
4.: Power Of Love - Lewis, Huey & The News
5.: Crazy Crazy Nights - Kiss
6.: Here I Go Again '87 - Whitesnake
7.: Best - Turner, Tina
8.: Addicted To Love - Palmer, Robert
9.: Modern Love - Bowie, David
10.: Whole Of The Moon - Waterboys
11.: Mary's Prayer - Wilson, Danny George
12.: Kiss Me - Duffy, Stephen 'Tin Tin'
13.: Waiting For A Train - Flash & The Pan
14.: Running Up That Hill - Bush, Kate
15.: Alive And Kicking - Simple Minds
16.: Higher Love - Winwood, Steve
17.: Breakout - Swing Out Sister
18.: You Keep It All In - Beautiful South
19.: Hourglass - Squeeze
20.: Axel F - Faltermeyer, Harold
Price & Availabilty-
Available from supermarkets and music stores alike, as well as online from such places as Amazon and Ebay you can generally find a copy from about £6.99 anywhere up to £20.
I was greatly disappointed by the album as a whole, a few tracks are enjoyable, a few provide great silly tunes to prance about like a wally with the kids but it isn't easy to listen to, jumping around in musical styles as well as volume, you couldn't put one of the discs in the stereo and just leave it playing in the background.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Elton John - I'm Still Standing
2 a-ha - Take On Me
3 David Bowie & Mick Jagger - Dancing In The Street
4 Nik Kershaw - I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
5 Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder - Together In Electric Dreams
6 Duran Duran - A View To A Kill
7 Spandau Ballet - Gold
8 Matthew Wilder - Break My Stride
9 DeBarge - Rhythm Of The Night
10 Simply Red - Moneys Too Tight (To Mention)
11 Scritti Politti-Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)
12 The Cure - The Lovecats
13 Soft Cell Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
14 Genesis - Mama
15 Paul McCartney - No More Lonely Nights
16 Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time
17 Yazoo - Only You
18 Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush - Dont Give Up
19 Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
2 The Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian
3 Run-DMC feat. Aerosmith - Walk This Way
4 Billy Idol - Rebel Yell
5 Katrina & The Waves - Walking On Sunshine
6 The Housemartins - Happy Hour
7 Fine Young Cannibals - Good Thing
8 George Michael - Faith
9 Womack & Womack - Teardrops
10 Lionel Richie - Dancing On The Ceiling
11 The Communards - Dont Leave Me This Way
12 Erasure - A Little Respect
13 Climie Fisher - Love Changes (Everything)
14 Johnny Hates Jazz - Shattered Dreams
15 Level 42 - Lessons in Love
16 Bobby Brown - My Prerogative
17 Cameo - Word Up!
18 Gwen Guthrie - Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent
19 Soul II Soul feat. Caron Wheeler - Keep On Movin
20 Neneh Cherry - Manchild
21 UB40 - Dont Break My Heart
Disc #3 Tracklisting
1 Wet Wet Wet - Angel Eyes (Home And Away)
2 Heart - Alone
3 Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World
4 Huey Lewis & The News - The Power Of Love
5 Kiss - Crazy Crazy Nights
6 Whitesnake - Here I Go Again '87
7 Tina Turner - The Best
8 Robert Palmer - Addicted To Love
9 David Bowie - Modern Love
10 The Waterboys - The Whole Of The Moon
11 Danny Wilson - Marys Prayer
12 Stephen Tin Tin Duffy - Kiss Me
13 Flash & The Pan - Waiting For A Train
14 Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill
15 Simple Minds - Alive And Kicking
16 Steve Winwood - Higher Love
17 Swing Out Sister - Breakout
18 The Beautiful South - You Keep It All In
19 Squeeze - Hourglass
20 Harold Faltermeyer - Axel F