Any label that attempts to distill the essence of new wave within the tiny space of a ten-track compilation is foolhardy. It's pretty clear that, despite the disc's title, K-Tel wasn't quite that ambitious when they put together The 80's: New Wave. It's just another randomly compiled disc based around a theme. Undeniably, there are several major new wave hits included, such as Scritti Politti's "Perfect Way" (a little late for new wave, though, since it's from 1985), Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," the Go-Go's' "Head Over Heels," Thompson Twins' "Doctor! Doctor!," and Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me." Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" is a big stretch, however -- it's as new wave as Chicago's "Hard Habit to Break."
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman