Various Artists

Instant Party: We Are Family

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It's hard to tell what the meaning of the "We Are Family" portion of the title of Instant Party: We Are Family means, since none of these 14 songs have much to do with family, nor are they performed by families. Since the liner notes mention road trips, Shirley Temple drink mixes, and recipes for Rice Krispies squares, maybe this means that this is a collection of songs for a family to sing together, probably on a road trip. In any case, this collection doesn't necessarily hold together, since it ricochets from the '50s to the '80s and back, landing on novelties like David Seville's "With Doctor" and near-novelties such as the Coasters' "Charlie Brown," along with lovely ballads like the Everly Brothers' "All I Have to Do Is Dream," new wave hits from the Go-Go's and Katrina & the Waves, and soul from Bill Withers and Wilson Pickett. It's a bit of mess, really, but it's fun, too -- if you want the songs that are here, you'll find good versions of all of them, even if the album doesn't necessarily hold them all together.

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