Various Artists

Feel Good 80s

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Like its title suggests, Feel Good 80s is a purely pop affair, featuring three discs packed full with some of the biggest hits from the supremely colorful decade. Despite the lack of anything remotely alternative, this latest Sony collection is still a pretty eclectic affair, featuring everything from icy synth pop (the Human League) to camp disco (the Weather Girls) to new wave (Haircut 100). In addition to huge number one hits from David Bowie, Chaka Khan, and Billy Ocean, there are also several one-hit wonders (Nena, Steve Arrington) and less familiar hits from established artists (Alison Moyet's "Love Resurrection," UB40's "Sing Our Own Song"). The iconic film soundtracks of the '80s are represented by Kenny Loggins' "Footloose" and Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes' Dirty Dancing classic "(I've Had) The Time of My Life." And of course, no '80s pop album would be complete without a few Stock Aitken Waterman productions, and the three included here (Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round," Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," and Bananarama's "Venus") are undoubtedly three of their best. Michael Jackson's seminal "Thriller," David Bowie's effortlessly cool "Let's Dance," and a-ha's epic "The Sun Always Shines on TV" are the highlights from the superior first disc; Soul II Soul's string-soaked "Back to Life," the Pasadenas' Motown-inspired "Tribute (Right On)," and Yazz's joyously uplifting "The Only Way Is Up" are the standouts from the second; while Terence Trent D'Arby's soulful "If You Let Me Stay," the Bangles' power pop anthem "Walk Like an Egyptian," and Tears for Fears' melodic "Sowing the Seeds of Love" are the best from the third. There may be a few notable omissions (Madonna, Kylie, Duran Duran, Prince), but overall, Feel Good 80s is an impressive hits collection from one of pop music's most innovative and interesting periods.

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