All of Billy Squier's best material is dished out on 16 Strokes, from the simplistic contagiousness of "The Stroke" to the Van Halen-like fervency of "Tied Up." His rock & roll flamboyancy, a mix of hard but not heavy guitar riffs wrapped around spirited just-for-fun three-minute outpourings, was best established through his singles and not the entirety of his albums. Squier's wild, sexually inundated feistiness is best represented here on a compilation, where the sleekness of "Everybody Wants You" is found in the same place as the naughty "She Goes Down." Both "In the Dark" and "My Kinda Lover" from 1981's Don't Say No pop up here, as does his smoothest of songs, "Emotions in Motion" from the album of the same name. His later songs from the early '90s don't include the catchy grandeur or congenial rock hollowness of his first three albums, but their appearance on 16 Strokes is the best place to hear them. Efforts like the bombastic "Don't Say You Love Me" or the transparent sincerity of "Facts of Life" still harbor Squier's greasy vocal approach, but work better here as the conclusion to a singles anthology than as the end of an album's worth of this song type. The keyboard-drenched "Rock Me Tonite" is another highlight here, as is the breakneck pace of "All Night Long," the two best outcrops from 1984's Signs of Life album. This collection may not be as indulgent as his two-disc best-of, but it's more than enough for anyone who's interested.
AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne