Various Artists

Billboard Top Hits: 1985-1989

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Did they really need to spread these 50 songs out over five discs? In lieu of repackaging their five original discs verbatim in a box, Rhino could have saved hits-hungry fans some money and put this out as a two or three-disc set with detailed liner notes. That complaint lodged, one can still find plenty here to enjoy, just so long as it's understood that what's on hand is from the slickest and safest cream at the top of the late-'80s chart pile -- with plenty of frosted synth lines, spandex production, and teased guitar solos, one is advised take it one disc at a time. A strange period, really, what with rockin' pop behemoths like the Starship, Mister Mister, and Survivor jockeying for position with such well-tended new wavers as Tear for Fears and the Bangles. But help is sort of on the way, thanks to Crowded House, Terence Trent D'Arby, and Cheap Trick. But Ready for the World and John Parr?

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