Various Artists

Hit Me With Your 80's Box

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Hit Me With Your 80's Box! is a sequel to Hip-O's previous three-disc compilation, I Want My 80's Box!, released six months earlier, and like its predecessor, it contains 42 pop singles chart entries from the 1980s, most of them released between 1981 and 1986, and all of them familiar to anyone who watched MTV in those years. In its first five years of existence following its premiere on August 1, 1981, MTV, which broadcast music videos pretty much 24 hours a day (as opposed to the varied programming that characterized the network 20 years later), heavily influenced the pop charts, contributing to the success of a raft of videogenic stars such as Duran Duran, Rick Springfield, and Billy Idol, all of whom are featured here. The set is not quite as hit-laden as I Want My 80's Box!, which contained 35 Top Ten hits, among them 15 chart-toppers; the statistics here are 31 Top Tens, of which ten went to number one. But the orientation is still the same -- the trendy dance-pop music of the first half of the '80s. Tracks have been licensed from all of the major labels, overcoming one of the usual problems with compilations. But other typical weaknesses remain. The sequencing makes no particular sense, though it moves in very rough chronological order, such that the early-'80s tracks are on the first disc and the third disc contains a track (Technotronic's "Pump Up the Jam") that actually peaked in the charts in early 1990. And the selection consists of recordings that are compiled over and over, the big hits of lots of minor artists rather than big stars. So, this is not a comprehensive collection of the decade's most popular music. But if you grew up in the '80s, there's plenty here to enjoy.

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