Various Artists

Sedated in the Eighties, Vol. 6

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Appearing a whopping four years after the rather disappointing volume five of this ongoing '80s new wave series, Sedated in the Eighties, Vol. 6 is another schizoid but satisfying, mind-jogging romp through the decade. It runs the gamut from the sublime (Kate Bush's "Running up That Hill") to the ridiculous (Sigue Sigue Sputnik's "Love Missile F-11"), with stops at certified yet offbeat hits like Gary Numan's "Cars" in between. Seven out of the 16 tracks have been licensed from companies other than EMI, so the offerings are more varied than on some of the previous editions. But the sequencing is so random as to seem like someone threw darts at the songs to determine where they fell on the album. How else to explain Tears for Fears' smoothly melodic, synth-drenched "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" jutted up against Suicidal Tendencies' fist-in-the-face "Institutionalized"? Or the chilly, experimental "Love Missile F-11" caught between the pure pop bliss of the Bangles' "Manic Monday" and the Smithereens' anthemic love song "Strangers When We Meet." But for those looking for an appealing combination of popular (Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance" and a-ha's "Take on Me") and more obscure fare, like the Eurythmics' "Sex Crime 1984" (the only CD appearance of this song as of 2002), this is a well-selected compilation. It features four Top Ten pop hits, along with notable album tracks like Camper Van Beethoven's version of Status Quo's "Pictures of Matchstick Men," and a well-written booklet with track-by-track song descriptions. Only the inclusion of Duran Duran's "All She Wants" (which is owned by EMI) seems frivolous since the song wasn't a hit or even particularly representative of the band. All in all, volume six is an enjoyable collection with excellent variety and remarkably few clunkers, making it ideal for your next '80s party.

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