Various Artists

Superchart 83, Vol. 1

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All wrapped up in a confectionary bubblegum pink sleeve, bedecked with pix of all your faves, Superchart 83, Vol. 1 was a TV-advertised wrap-up of Brit hits packed with 14 super songs and with a companion volume not far behind -- an '80s fright night indeed, utterly delicious and a little terrifying at the same time. From Men at Work's Vegemite-laced "Down Under" and Bonnie Tyler's gravelly big beat "Total Eclipse of the Heart" to crooner Paul Young's tender ballad "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)" and Yazoo's (Yaz in the U.S.) plinky, synth-popped "Nobody's Diary," every track is a U.K. Top Five stunner. A handful of songs shimmy out of the clubs and on to the slab, including Galaxy's "Dancin' Tight," Freeez's "I.O.U.," and Forrest's odd cover of the Hues Corporation classic "Rock the Boat," and what British compilation from the early '80s would be complete without a little KC to brighten things up? The scariest white funk band of all time weighs in with its U.K. number one "Give It Up." And while the bulk of the album is easily found on modern CD reissues, there are still a few odd gems that would simply elude the most retentive detective, the JoBoxers' "Boxerbeat" and Ryan Paris' "Dolce Vita" among them. Certainly hard to find in the U.S., Superchart 83 is a hefty ride on the nostalgia train, as much fun for the sake of its sleeve and intent as for the songs themselves. It's a fine musical odyssey but an even better conversation piece, best hauled out after a few stiff drinks.