The U.K.-based Old Gold label's A Kick Up the Eighties series offers a wide range of '80s pop spread across ten volumes. Generally speaking, the series tends to favor the first half of the decade over the latter, and none of the discs follows a particular theme like many of these deals tend to. Rather, most of the installments adhere to a certain randomness without making huge stylistic leaps. If you simply must have that one song that you can't find anywhere else, odds are good there will be more than just the one song for you to enjoy. And if you're simply an obsessive collector of '80s compilations, this series works as a decent U.K. counterpart to Rhino's Just Can't Get Enough series, as there isn't a great deal of overlap between the two. The first volume, subtitled Senses Working Overtime, features largely upbeat new wave. XTC's intricately woven but immensely singable song of the same name, the Jam's almost irritatingly catchy neo-Motown of "Town Called Malice," the Teardrop Explodes' brilliant "Reward," Madness' "It Must Be Love," the Specials' classic "Ghost Town," and Fun Boy Three's "Our Lips Are Sealed" highlight the first half of the disc. ABC's shamelessly stylish Top Ten hit "The Look of Love" precedes a smattering of synth pop to finish it off, including OMD's "Joan of Arc," Visage's "Fade to Grey," and Blancmange's "Living on the Ceiling."
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman