Various Artists

Rock Ballads II

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When people think of '80s rock ballads, they often think of Warrant or Poison strumming away on acoustic guitars. But in Poland, there was a much different sort of rock ballad being crafted. On Rock Ballads II, this unique mix of synth pop, '70s soft rock, and hair metal is all over the map. Bajm sounds like the Dusty Springfield-led Pet Shop Boys singing in a different language, while Maanam is close to the reggae-pop that the Police were making around the same time. A few of the groups come close to sounding like their American counterparts, especially Kobranocka and Bank. But most of these songs sound like '70s rock, which actually helps to prevent these songs from being dated. What is truly bizarre about most of these songs is their length. Many of them float around the six-minute mark, which drags many of these tracks down. And many of these songs are more about sustaining a mood than anything else, De Mono's yawn-inducing "Kochac Inaczej" being a perfect example. Overall, this is a pretty average album that may have a distinctly Polish sound, but doesn't have the right songs to properly showcase this blend of styles.

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