Various Artists

A Kick Up the Eighties, Vol. 6: Souvenir

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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. The sixth volume, subtitled after OMD's "Souvenir," which appears here, provides a batch of songs falling toward the softer side. So if there's a disc in the series with a theme of any sort, it's this one. The Stranglers' cautionary "Skin Deep," Echo & the Bunnymen's dramatic "The Killing Moon," the Pretenders' sly "Brass in Pocket," and Culture Club's aching "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" exemplify the somewhat soothing (musically, at least) thread that runs throughout the disc. Some unlikely sequences occur: as one example, the Damned's Captain Sensible's "Glad It's All Over" is sandwiched between Spandau Ballet's "Gold" and Howard Jones' "What Is Love." Nonetheless, this installment of A Kick Up the Eighties is just as serviceable as any of its counterparts.

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