Various Artists

Sounds of the Underground [Time/Life]

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This collection from Time/Life focuses on that period of rock in the 1980s that came after punk but ran concurrent with new wave. It's pretty superficial in terms of selection -- The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?," "Love Song" from the Cure -- but Sounds of the Underground still gets the job done as a nice overview, particularly on the U.K. side of things. There's Elvis Costello ("[What's So Funny 'Bout] Peace, Love and Understanding?"), New Order ("Blue Monday"), Shakespear's Sister ("Stay"), and Echo & the Bunnymen ("Lips Like Sugar"); other highlights include XTC's "Senses Working Overtime," as well as the Pixies ("Here Comes Your Man") and Violent Femmes ("Blister in the Sun") representing the American side of things. Sounds of the Underground isn't comprehensive in the least, but it's capable as a highlight reel of alternative rock's formative era.

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