Various Artists

12"/'80s/Dance

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Unlike the previous two volumes in the 12"/80s series, this three-disc set is divided up into themed sections: disc one is labeled "Pop," disc two is "Club," and disc three is "Soul & Funk." Really, though, the distinctions are fairly arbitrary. The whole point of the collection is that everything on it is presented in an extended mix, the kind that was sold on LP-size singles for use by club DJs. So really, it's all club music, whether you're talking about Wham!'s candy-pop classic "Everything She Wants," Level 42's post-new romantic "Lessons in Love" (easily the highlight of disc one), or the spectacular Coldcut remix of Eric B. & Rakim's timeless "Paid in Full." Some of these tracks will make you realize how much great music you'd forgotten from the period: the extended version of the Temptations' "Treat Her Like a Lady" is brilliant, and if you stop and pay attention to Hall & Oates' "I Can't Go for That" you'll realize that there really was some serious musical genius hidden under all that schlocky overproduction. On the other hand, listening to Lisa Lisa grind her way through "I Wonder If I Take You Home" is to be reminded that the poor girl really just couldn't sing at all, and to listen to "IOU" by Freeez is to be reminded why no one remembers Freeez. Still, this set is a very solid value for money, and not only as a nostalgia trip. Recommended, along with the previous installments in the series.

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