Various Artists

The Beat Goes On [IRS]

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And enjoyable, if decidedly eccentric, compilation that works neither as a career overview nor as a Greatest Hits collection.

It does, however, cover all the permutations of The (English) Beat beginning with the mothership, then winding its way

through General Public, Fine Young Cannibals, Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling's respective solo careers, on to International Beat and finishing with the Special Beat.

The Beat themselves are the only one to get a full span, with their five tracks culled from all three of their albums, both Public and FYC's come exclusively from their debut sets. In the case of the latter this is particularly perverse, as it insures that the Cannibal's biggest hits are omitted. Public are no better served by the inclusion of "Hot You're Cool" over the likes of their eponymous single.

The odd choices extend to The Beat as well. Few would argue with "Mirror in the Bathroom" or "I Confess", but "Stand Down Margaret (Dub)"? A fine song to be sure, however there were a multitude of better choices. In fact, many of the selections defy logic, and as virtually everything here is available elsewhere, rarity obviously isn't a factor. Which leaves only one possibility, this was someone at IRS's personal favorites, and in the days before one could burn one's own CDs, his sole opportunity to get his mix tape on disc.

Today, most fans will prefer to burn their own.

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