Various Artists

Classic Tearjerkers [Time/Life]

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Time-Life's Classic Tearjerkers is filled with some of the schmaltziest, corniest, most heartbreaking ballads of the past decades. From Carole King's "So Far Away (1971) to Eva Cassidy's "Fields of Gold (1998), the songs here are guaranteed to tug on your heartstrings and leave you a quivering puddle of spent emotions. Sure some of the selections from the '80s and '90s are a little on the slick side (Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You," LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live"), but that is a minor distraction. The real power of the disc resides in the songs from the '70s: Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," Harry Nilsson's "Without You," Bonnie Tyler's "It's a Heartache," Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine." These are songs that connect deeply with your solar plexus. Not to mention Eric Carmen's "All by Myself," which is the kind of song that takes your solar plexus and twists it up like a pretzel before smashing it into tiny shards. Or 10cc's artistically staggering, emotionally complex denial epic "I'm Not in Love." Or Chicago's aching-like-it-will-never-heal "If You Leave Me Now." Man, this disc should come with a warning label to protect the more sensitive listeners. Keep plenty of tissue on hand, you will need it.

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