Various Artists

Hot in the City [Disky]

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One really has to wonder who comes up with ideas like this compilation -- an album featuring popular '80s songs that host lyrical themes involving heat. It's undeniably a trivial, novel, and almost ridiculous concept for an album, but that's exactly why it's so fun. And with such glaring cover art, one also can't help but imagine how serious the people at the Essential Collection label must take their job (and what a fitting name for the label, by the way). After all, what's more gimmicky: the album's theme or the less than subtle innuendo of the combined cover photo and album title? But seriously, there are some great songs here -- Asia's "Heat of the Moment," Huey Lewis and the News' "If This Is It," Glenn Frey's "The Heat Is On," and Power Station's "Some Like It Hot" are all standouts that should give listeners an idea of what to expect here. And while the heat motif may seem trivial, the omnipresent sound of '80s pop/rock in all its synthesized glory surely isn't. In fact, the nostalgic aura present here is more engaging than the heat concept, since these songs are more than capable of taking listeners back in time to the summers of the '80s. That's the best reason for bothering with this album, and if that isn't reason enough, the cover art just screams guilty pleasure.

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