Various Artists

Soul Classics: Quiet Storm -- The 80's

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By the mid-'90s, companies were willing to offer efforts that spotlighted the extremely loved genre of R&B slow jams from the '70s and '80s. Although this compilation offers one too many "commercially successful" tracks, Soul Classics: Quiet Storm -- The 80's does work surprisingly well. The premise does seem to have its obstacles, most notably licensing issues. Eleven of the 12 tracks are from songs that were under Polygram distribution during the time of the compilation's release. (Also, two inclusions come from the late '70s.) Some good tracks are here, though. Ray, Goodman and Brown's classic, "Special Lady" from 1979, is so strong, it would probably even work on a country compilation. What's most intriguing about Soul Classics: Quiet Storm -- The 80's is that its best offerings are from the early part of the decade. Atlantic Starr's "When Love Calls" and the Gap Band's "Yearning for Your Love" both hit the romantic mark more so then countless other tracks on other likeminded compilations. That being said, Diana Ross and Lionel Richie's 1981 tearjerker, "Endless Love," is less seductive R&B and more chaste pop. The best song here, the proficient and sexy "Two Hearts," a duet with Stephanie Mills and Teddy Pendergrass, is worth the price of the compilation. Due to the changing styles, Soul Classics: Quiet Storm -- The 80's later tracks come up short. Brenda Russell's "Piano in the Dark" and Vanessa Williams's "Dreamin'" come off cold and synth-based in comparison. Soul Classics: Quiet Storms -- The 80's offers no liner notes and bad sequencing, but it's good to pick to get for a few choice tracks.

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