Various Artists

Music of the Year: 1987

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The third volume in this half-decade retrospective from Spectrum Music is very eclectic and inadvertently offers more U.S. chart hits than any other volume in the series. Those hits, though, are among those forgotten by all but the most devoted aficionados of the '80s: entries like ABC's "When Smokey Sings," "Walk the Dinosaur" from Was (Not Was), and the Fat Boys' demented Run-D.M.C. knockoff "Wipeout." It is in this volume that the collection begins to demonstrate some signs of going through the motions: formulaic liner notes from Daryl Easlea glibly recapping the year and an almost slavish devotion to post-new wave synth pop confections like Swing out Sister, Level 42, and Curiosity Killed the Cat. Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable and unpredictable alternative to U.S. 1980s musical retrospectives.

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