A Collection of Pop Classics could easily pass for a white supremacist album with its cover shot of guitar-toting Klansmen and song titles like "The New Aryans." Skinheads will be disappointed to find that the album cover, as well as the band's name, are actually deeply ironic commentaries on Ronald Reagan's social and economic policies. The anthology collects Reagan Youth's two albums, Volume One (1984) and Volume Two (1990), on one disc. Volume One is a classic of the hardcore genre with abundant hooks, energy, and righteous fury. Reagan Youth's theme song declares, "We are Reagan Youth, sieg heil!" while blasting Reagan's followers as "brainwashed slime." "The New Aryans" proposes a "final solution" for Nazis and the KKK, and "I Hate Hate" takes a humorously circuitous swipe at negativity. "Are You Happy" and "No Class" critique conformity, authority, and the dominant culture, while "Degenerated" blasts drug use (which, in a further irony, eventually brought down lead singer Dave Insurgent.) The 1990 album finds Insurgent fronting a new group of players who sound as if they traded their hardcore record collection for a copy of Mötley Crüe's first album. The leftist politics remain, but the song title "Heavy Metal Shuffle" shows which way the band is heading. Buy A Collection of Pop Classics for Volume One, which offers more than enough value for the money.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Adams