Album review

Retro Grades

Various Artists

THE ORIGINAL ELECTRO ALBUM

EMI GOLD

Various Artists

THE VERY BEST EUPHORIC OLD SKOOL BREAKDOWN

TELSTAR

Various Artists

RAVE ON! 16 RAVE CLASSICS 4 PARTY PEOPLE

DEMON

Hell is other people's irony. You may have had one of the most enjoyable, miserable or meaningful nights of your youth as Wham! or Five Star or Blue Pearl pounded away in the background. You'd relish the tackiness of your own nostalgia except, trouble is, everyone does. You are no different for being aware of tragic-comic juxtaposition than are pop quiz hosts, or TV schedulers, or the people who bung together these compilations, which will briefly sell by the lorry-load. Your granddad's Chuck Berry is your Paul Hardcastle, your dad's Alvin Stardust is your Adamski. It goes on. You are a face in the crowd.

Choose 80s Dance is as good as it could be—for every staccato killer (Shannon, Tone Loc) there's a bloated belch (Falco, Yazz). Frankie Goes To Hollywood, an idea gloriously beyond its era, transcends it. Stock, Aitken and Waterman don't. Paula Abdul was, one feels years later, terribly underrated.

The Original Electro Album is svelte, though there have been plenty of similar 'electroclash blueprint' albums appearing lately. The synthespians are all here—The Human League, Spandau Ballet, Simple Minds. Japan, as ever, sound a plane above, and Ultravox's "Thin Wall" is a much-maligned stonker. "Things were much better 10 years ago!" hollers The Very Best Euphoric Old Skool Breakdown. Can we beg to differ? The repetition is cloying; 'euphoria' a cheapened noun. Black Box (actually from 1989) dominate; Snap, M People and Technotronic try to, like bullies. Rave On! thumps from that irksome twit Moby to Rozalla screeching that everybody's free to go baaah with the rest of the herd. You are advised to dance with tears in your eyes.

Rating: 4 / 10


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