The Definitive Collection

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Any single-disc Cameo compilation is going to come up short. There's no way around it. The group's charting singles cannot be contained on two CDs, and even a wisely selected disc of their best album material, spread across 13 releases from 1977 through 1988, would rival many of their contemporaries' best work. The Definitive Collection is in no way definitive, and it's not only due to its size. It's heavily weighted toward the group's mid-'80s albums -- front-loaded with "Word Up!," "Single Life," "Candy," and "She's Strange" -- which will only perpetuate the misconception that Cameo were only briefly relevant as a silly symbol of '80s outrageousness. (Though it has to be said that Cameo did not help their cause when, in 2005, they performed "Word Up!" and a cover of Bowling for Soup's "1985" on an episode of a nationally televised program called Hit Me Baby One More Time. They went on before Howard Jones.) This disc will only be helpful to you if you want those mid-'80s hits and simply don't care about how great Cameo had been for several years prior to their mainstream peak. It does dip into the years when Cameo were a constant presence on the black singles chart, with dynamite singles like "I Just Want to Be," "Rigor Mortis," and "Why Have I Lost You," but it's lacking far too much to be considered definitive. Gold, a two-disc set released in 2005, comes a whole lot closer.

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