The Platinum Disc Corporation's series of Monster Hits compilations of the pop music of the 1980s is manufactured by Sony Music Special Products, all of its tracks licensed from the Sony archives of recordings originally released on the Columbia, Epic, and Epic subsidiary labels. This two-disc package combines ten-track collections devoted to 1986 and 1987, good years for what was then called CBS records. The compilers apparently have been restricted from using tracks by the company's biggest stars of the period; there's nothing here by Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, or Bruce Springsteen, even though each of them placed records in the Top Ten during this period. Also missing are second-echelon hitmakers like Cyndi Lauper, Kenny Loggins, and Journey, omissions that are harder to explain. But every one of the tracks that is here was a Top 20 pop hit, among them the Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian," which topped the charts and went gold; another gold-selling number one hit, "Lost in Emotion" and the Top Ten hit "All Cried Out," both by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam; and Gregory Abbott's number one platinum-selling "Shake You Down." "Shake You Down" was Abbott's only Top 40 pop hit (he did better on the R&B charts), and the inclusion is typical. This is not the place to look for big stars, but for isolated songs, such as the Fabulous Thunderbirds' "Tuff Enuff" (their only Top 40 hit), TV star Don Johnson's "Heartbeat" (his only Top Ten), Springsteen sideman Clarence Clemons' "You're a Friend of Mine" (with friend Jackson Browne, his only singles chart entry), and one-hit wonder Hipsway's "The Honeythief." You can't call the album a comprehensive or even representative survey of mid-'80s pop, but at the discount price there only have to be a few songs you remember fondly to justify an impulse purchase.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2