It's Only Dance 1985-1989 follows the pattern of JCI's It's Only series, offering a seemingly random collection of 20 hits from a given genre or style for a period of five years. These songs weren't necessarily the biggest hits of these five years, although there are a number of classics and smashes here. It may be hard to deduce exactly why these songs were chosen -- especially since the compilers apparently define "dance" as anything you could conceivably dance to -- but the end results are nevertheless quite entertaining. All of the songs are featured in their original hit versions, not remakes, which isn't always the case with midline collections. Furthermore, there a few cuts that aren't easy to find on other collections or even greatest-hits albums, which means it's interesting to collectors as well as casual fans. Most importantly, each volume captures the feeling of the era, even if it's missing several big hits, and that's what makes the series a nice introductory overview for curious listeners. Among the highlights on It's Only Dance 1985-1989 are a-ha's "Take on Me," the Pretenders' "Don't Get Me Wrong," Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," Katrina & the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine," the Bangles' "Walking Down Your Street," Debbie Gibson's "Shake Your Love," Bananarama's "Venus," Pointer Sisters' "Neutron Dance," Bobby Brown's "Don't Be Cruel," Glenn Frey's "The Heat Is On," Stacey Q.'s "Two of Hearts," Timbuk 3's "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades," Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus," and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's seminal "Relax."
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine