This budget-priced sampler contains ten recordings that figured in the pop Top 40 in 1985, all of them released originally on Columbia and Epic Records. Those labels also issued Top Ten hits during that year by the likes of Wham!, Sade, Bruce Springsteen, and Billy Joel, among others, but none of them are found here. Instead, the tracks are by relatively minor acts, the most successful of them being REO Speedwagon and Luther Vandross. Nevertheless, these selections present many of these artists at their popular peaks. For Eddie Murphy, Cock Robin, 'Til Tuesday, Paul Young, Loverboy, and REO Speedwagon, the included song was their biggest hit. Mainstream pop/rock is the dominant style, as conveyed by Cock Robin, 'Til Tuesday, Young, Loverboy, the Hooters, and REO Speedwagon, but the influence of funk star Rick James is strongly felt in "Lovergirl," by his protégé Teena Marie, and in Murphy's "Party All the Time," which he wrote, arranged, and produced, while also providing backup vocals. When there was an editing difference between the original single and album version of a track, the compilers have opted for the album edit, so that almost all the tracks run at least a little longer than the singles did in 1985, and some considerably so. Young's number one hit "Everytime You Go Away" (written by Daryl Hall), is more than a minute longer and includes an odd, echoey introduction, while Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam's debut chart hit "I Wonder If I Take You Home" runs an extra 2:49 over the 3:57 single version, which is really a bit too long for its slight storyline. While the album makes sense from a record company point of view, to a listener, it sounds like a random bunch of 1985 tracks.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|8||Full Force / Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam||06:46||Amazon|