Samplers are often throwaways, their contents quickly and mindlessly tossed together to promote a label's latest releases. Just Say Yes: Sire's Winter CD Music Sampler may have been produced to woo record buyers into purchasing albums by cult artists, but it offers a wealth of new wave rarities that significantly transcends its original purpose. Released in 1987, Just Say Yes: Sire CD Sampler has become a time machine delivering glimpses of cutting-edge artists before they became mainstream stars and young bands that should've but never fulfilled their commercial potential. Instead of lazily compiling singles, the CD opens with three 12" mixes, extended versions of Depeche Mode's pounding "Never Let Me Down Again," Echo & the Bunnymen's riff-heavy "Lips Like Sugar," and the Mighty Lemon Drops' toe-tapper "Out of Hand." If that wasn't enough, there are tracks like the Smiths' "Work Is a Four-Letter Word" and James' "Ya-Ho" that are probably missing from the collections of those groups' fans. Figures on a Beach's dreamy "No Stars" is a tale of unrequited love steered by jangling guitars and ethereal synths; if Simple Minds had recorded it, the song would've exploded on the charts. Although the uplifting "Young Manhood" isn't truly representative of the Wild Swans' majestic Bringing Home the Ashes LP, it is immediately catchy. Mix in Throwing Muses' otherworldly "A Feeling" and Aztec Camera's revealing confessional "How Men Are" and saying no to Just Say Yes becomes nearly impossible.
AllMusic Review by Michael Sutton