Various Artists

Billboard Top Hits: 1987

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If there's anything the Billboard Top Hits compilations documenting 1985 through 1989 indicate, it's that the period covered wasn't exactly pop music's most glorious era. Not only was there a lot of rock music being made that aged almost instantly; the mainstream had yet to fully embrace rap music, and a lot of the production qualities infiltrating nearly every genre of music -- the overbearing use of mid-range and the blazing guitar solos, for two -- haven't aged well at all. Still, these cheap and concise compilations function as accurate scrapbooks of the years being covered, and they're especially fascinating for pop fans who like to keep tabs on trends, changes, and developments. Each of the ten songs on the 1987 installment of Billboard Top Hits would go on to become an adult contemporary staple, which says a lot for the state of the mainstream that year; only two songs have managed to function as something more than a soundtrack for dentist-office waiting rooms. Here's Starship yet again, with the triumphant "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now," along with overexposed singles like Billy Vera & the Beaters' "At This Moment," Robbie Nevil's "C'Est la Vie," Chris de Burgh's "Lady in Red," and Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven Is a Place on Earth." Even if you like most of these songs, you're likely to view at least one of the others as the embodiment of all that is evil.

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