Various Artists

Anthems: Electronic '80s, Vol. 2

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Following the success of their first Anthems: Electronic 80s compilation, the Ministry of Sound label returns with another collection incorporating the best synth pop, New Romantic, and indie dance tunes of the colorful and inventive decade. Alongside number ones from the Human League, Kraftwerk, and the Communards, there are iconic tracks from Spandau Ballet, Eurythmics, and Duran Duran, one-hit wonders (Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes," New Musik's "Living by Numbers"), and less familiar material from the likes of Devo, Laid Back, and Re-Flex. Highlights from the first disc include Talk Talk's gloriously atmospheric "It's My Life," Scritti Politti's reggae-fused "The Word Girl" and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's anthemic "Welcome to the Pleasuredome." Erasure's infectious hi-NRG pop classic "A Little Respect," Altered Images' impossibly uplifting "I Could Be Happy" and the Communards' chart-topping cover version of "Don't Leave Me This Way" provide the standouts for Disc Two, while Simple Minds' Brat Pack staple "Don't You Forget About Me," Stock, Aitken and Waterman's finest moment, Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)," and New Order's brooding, bass-heavy "True Faith" are the choice cuts from the third disc. However, as the first compilation gathered many of the decade's biggest electro hits, this second volume seems to struggle to fill its 60 tracks. Indeed, it's hard to see quite how the likes of Billy Idol's "White Wedding" and the Stranglers' "Golden Brown" fit into the genre, which makes the lack of Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode, arguably two of the biggest synth pop groups of the '80s, even more puzzling. But even though it suffers from occasional padding, Anthems: Electronic '80s, Vol. 2 is still a consistently enjoyable retrospective of one of the most influential and innovative musical eras.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:57
2 3:53
3 3:59
4 3:27
5 3:31
6 4:49
7 3:03
8 4:10
9 3:46
10 4:45
11 3:42
12 3:56
13 4:18
14 3:25
15 3:34
16 3:40
17 3:30
18 4:05
19 3:57
20 4:30
blue highlight denotes track pick