Various Artists

Monster Ballads

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Razor & Tie's Monster Ballads provides a near-definitive portrait of the golden age of the power ballad, the late '80s/early '90s (henceforth known as the Bush era). Sure, a few of the 16 songs were recorded prior to the Bush era (such as Mike Reno and Anne Wilson's genre-defining "Almost Paradise" or Europe's "Carrie"), and there are a few noticeable omissions (no Bon Jovi or Slaughter, "Something to Believe In" instead of the classic "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" from Poison), but it's hard to argue with almost everything here. Nearly every classic power ballad is here -- "Heaven," "High Enough," "Is This Love," "To Be With You," "Don't Know What You Got Til It's Gone," "More Than Words," "Headed for a Heartbreak," "When I See You Smile," "When I'm With You," and the Scorpions' end of the Cold War epic "Winds of Change" -- and those that don't quite make "classic" status are usually listenable (with the notable exception of Steelheart's "I'll Never Let You Go [Angel Eyes]). Ultimately, the missing tracks and the mediocre cuts don't drag down the disc, since the core of this collection consists of the best power ballads known to man. What exactly that means is subject to interpretation.

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