Various Artists

No. 1 Hits of the 80's [Rebound]

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Polygram Records' budget imprint Rebound has released many compilations, and they often resemble mix tapes one might make; they aren't always tightly formatted into genres. The songs on 1997's No. 1 Hits of the 80's are all over the style map. The CD features 12 songs, two of which are bonus cuts. Classics of the era include Irene Cara's "Flashdance...What a Feeling" and Michael Sembello's "Maniac." Did Polygram realize that collecting these two songs on an inexpensive CD means that consumers now don't really have to buy the more expensive Flashdance soundtrack on its Casablanca label? The same principle applies for Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes' great ballad duet, "Up Where We Belong," from the An Officer and a Gentleman soundtrack, an Island release. Two other featured ballads are Chris DeBurgh's cloying "The Lady in Red" and Benny Mardones' soaring "Into the Night." Mardones' song is superb musically, but the lyrics are rather disturbing since the adult protagonist is warned about his obsessive love for a 16-year-old girl. New wave is represented by ABC's "The Look of Love" and Bananarama's poppier "Cruel Summer," while R&B tracks include Kool & the Gang's "Ladies Night" and -- brace yourself -- actor/"singer" Bruce Willis' cover of the Staple Singers' "Respect Yourself." Andy Gibb's final Top Ten hit, "Desire," appears here. The most "modern" song is "C'Mon and Get My Love" by Cathy Dennis with D-Mob. The real find on No. 1 Hits of the 80's is Charlie Dore's country-pop tune "Pilot of the Airwaves." This song just missed the Top Ten, and Dore -- a woman, by the way -- became another one-hit-wonder from the decade. The ABC and Dore songs are the CD-only bonus tracks.

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