Various Artists

Old School, Vol. 2: Love Songs

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So many of these compilation albums have been released that it's hard to distinguish one from another, or the merits of one over a similar collection. Every so often, however, an assembly like Old School, Vol. 2: Love Songs comes along and makes you realize how good an album of old hits by different artists can be. Covering a period between 1973 and 1987, the cream includes the Intruders' "Love Is Like a Baseball Game," Debra Laws' "Very Special," and "Close Your Eyes," by the original Peaches & Herb. They're interspersed with red-light specials like "Fire & Desire" by Rick James featuring Tina Marie; a mellow falsetto reading by Rose Royce on "I Wanna Get Next to You," and the crystal-shattering false notes of Bloodstone on "Natural High." Mix those with slow jams from the Art of Noise, Ready for the World, LL Cool J, the Ohio Players, two thrillers from Earth, Wind & Fire, and Ray, Goodman & Brown's "Special Lady," and you've got a winner.

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