Various Artists

World's Greatest Love Songs [2004]

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Since this album's rather broad title is open to interpretation, it helps to note the "EMI Special Products" logo on the back sleeve. Out of 18 selections 11 are from the Capitol/Virgin/Chrysalis labels, all distributed by EMI. Still, all of the tracks have been Top Five hits on the pop, R&B, country, or adult contemporary charts so these are recognizable songs in a variety of genres. Eleven tunes made it to number one on the pop charts from 1972-1990, the years covered here (except for Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" and Aaron Neville's "Tell It Like It Is"), and the rest are all unqualified hits. Musically, it's a wide spectrum between the slick dance pop of Culture Club and the rootsy folk of Jim Croce, but the non-chronological sequencing creates a relatively seamless flow, even with the disparate styles and years involved. Sure the sappy quotient is a little high, but that's to be expected due to the concept. The unnamed compiler does an excellent job balancing this material. Just when the going gets rough with John Waite's overblown "Missing You," the next track clicks with the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose's terrific nugget "Too Late to Turn Back Now" that gets the proceedings back on track. Liner notes are M.I.A. and graphics are cut-rate, but the sound is excellent, making this a worthy, if not exactly indispensable collection for those in a romantic mood.

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