Various Artists

Flashback Disco

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Disco compilations are a dime a dozen, and they are often packed to the gills with the same old tired pop hits ("Y.M.C.A.," "Heart of Glass," etc.) at the expense of the songs that true discophiles favored. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and Flashback Disco is one of them. Although a few pop hits like "Last Dance" and "Star Wars Theme" are thrown in, this disc mostly concentrates on lesser-known club favorites drawn from the vault of Polygram Records. Flashback Disco has a strong emphasis on Euro-dance cuts: Santa Esmeralda's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" transforms the Animals' garage rock classic into a smoldering Latin disco outing driven by mariachi horns, and Love and Kisses' "Thank God It's Friday" is a romantic tribute to the joys of club-going that features a memorable instrumental section where percussion duels with a darting, swirling arrangement of strings and horns. Giorgio Moroder's "From Here to Eternity" is another forgotten Euro-dance gem, an early example of totally electronic dance music that blends hypnotic techno beats with ethereal washes of synthesizer. Flashback Disco also scores points by highlighting lesser-known cuts by disco veterans: Gloria Gaynor is featured doing a lush uptempo version of "Never Can Say Goodbye," her pre-"I Will Survive" hit, and the usual Village People picks ("Macho Man," "Y.M.C.A.") are passed over in favor of "In Hollywood (Everybody Is a Star)," a witty and incisive sendup of a-star-is-born showbiz clich├ęs built on a throbbing, orchestrated backing track. On the downside, Flashback Disco features the single versions of these songs instead of the full-length 12" versions club-goers were treated to in the discos. Despite this caveat, Flashback Disco remains a solid primer of lesser-known disco favorites that will make a great companion to the usual "disco hits" package.

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