Various Artists

80's Energy: Mixed By Johnny Budz

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In the music world, nostalgia is inevitable. There was '50s nostalgia in the '70s, '60s nostalgia in the '80s, and both '70s and '40s nostalgia in the '90s -- so it stands to reason that there would be some '80s nostalgia in the 21st century. Released in 2002, this fun compilation puts an early '00s club/dance spin on songs that became famous in the '80s. The New York-based DJ Johnny Budz provides a nonstop dance mix, and most of the these club-friendly remakes have a very European-sounding Hi-NRG/dance-pop outlook -- although the songs themselves didn't necessarily begin life as dance music. Blackjack's version of Madonna's "Into the Groove" and Akyra's remake of the Eurythmics' "Here Comes the Rain Again" are dance-oriented covers of tunes that were danceable to begin with, but in some cases, songs that were originally ballads receive uptempo Hi-NRG makeovers. DJ Sammy and Yanou give the Hi-NRG treatment to Bryan Adams' "Heaven" -- which was the ultimate '80s arena rock power ballad -- while DJ Quicksilver and Base Unique do the same thing to "Always on My Mind" (which was a country-pop ballad in Willie Nelson's hands). Even Journey's "Separate Ways" receives the Euro-dance treatment thanks to singer Dee Robert, whose vocals are heavily influenced by No Doubt's Gwen Stefani. One of the CD's more disappointing tracks is Hi-Speed's meandering, unfocused version of "Tainted Love," which was made famous by synth popsters Soft Cell in 1982 but had a Motown-ish Northern soul outlook when Gloria Jones recorded the lesser-known original version back in 1964. Unfortunately, Hi-Speed's recording of "Tainted Love" never really goes anywhere, and quite honestly, it pales in comparison to both the Soft Cell and Jones versions. But for the most part, this CD offers an enjoyable, interesting dose of '80s nostalgia.

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