Various Artists

A Kick Up the Eighties, Vol. 4: Talking Loud and Clear

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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, each installment adheres 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. Taking its subtitle from the OMD song included here, "Talking Loud and Clear," the fourth volume of the set includes surprising chart hits from Freur ("Doot Doot"), Trio ("Da Da Da"), and After the Fire ("Der Kommissar"). But the six great pop songs that lead off the disc provide the best stretch of music in the series: the Psychedelic Furs' "Pretty in Pink," the Smiths' "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," XTC's "Love on a Farmboy's Wages," Orange Juice's "Rip It Up," Aztec Camera's "Walk Out to Winter," and the Passions' "I'm in Love with a German Film Star." Though it would be nearly impossible to maintain a pace like that for the duration of a full CD, Talking Loud and Clear hardly tails off and functions as one of A Kick Up the Eighties' finest volumes.

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