Various Artists

Music of the Year: 1985

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Music of the Year: 1985 represents the opening entry in Spectrum Music's five-volume series of discs reviewing Britain's singles charts during the mid- to late '80s. More than any other volume, this set features songs that were as successful in the U.S. as in the U.K., if not moreso. American '80s pop fans will appreciate the presence of such playfully innocent songs as DeBarge's "Rhythm of the Night," Level 42's winning "Something About You," and the cornball New Edition confection "Mr. Telephone Man." Other hits of the year, like Animotion's not-so-naughty-in-hindsight "Obsession" and a pair of smash instrumentals ("Axel F," "Miami Vice Theme") remind the listener how dated the synthesizer sounds of the period have become. (It should also be noted that the former is a decidedly different recording from the version that hit number one in the States.) Retro-sounding tracks from Lloyd Cole & the Commotions and the ever-tasteful Style Council provide some variance to the set, resulting in a very pleasing and unpredictable 1980s recap.

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