Various Artists

Ultimate R&B 2010

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The likes of Black-Eyed Peas and Taio Cruz may have moved the goal posts in terms of what's described as modern R&B, but despite the huge influence of dance music on the urban scene, the inclusions of Kylie Minogue's glittery disco-pop anthem "All the Lovers," and 3OH3!'s wolf-whistling electro duet with Katy Perry, "Starstrukk," on the Warner Bros. compilation Ultimate R&B 2010 are still utterly baffling, considering that in no way, shape, or form do either fall into that category. It's indicative of the hodge-podge nature of this 40-song collection; it's supposed to be a retrospective of the genre in 2010, but its track list contains material released as early as 1997 (the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize"). But pedantics aside, Ultimate R&B 2010 is at least an unpredictable album which gathers number one hits from Bruno Mars, Cee-Lo Green, and Flo Rida alongside lesser-known tracks from Toni Braxton, Sean Paul, and Estelle, and artists yet to breakthrough in the U.K. like Janelle Monae, Trey Songz, and Waka Flocka Flame. Highlights from the first disc include Chiddy Bang's MGMT-sampling "Opposite of Adults," Plan B's '70s soul-inspired "The Recluse," and Naughty Boy's reworking of White Town's '90s chart-topper "Your Woman." Jay-Z's ode to New York, "Empire State of Mind," Jason DeRulo's empowering synth-led anthem "Ridin' Solo" and B.o.B.'s rap-rock hybrid "Airplanes" provide the standouts for Disc Two, while Missy Elliott's iconic "Get Ur Freak On" and Tweet's club classic "Boogie 2Nite" are the best of the several retro inclusions. Featuring grime, hip-hop, electro, dancehall, and soul, and both British and U.S. artists, Ultimate R&B 2010 covers most corners of the genre, but thanks to some bizarre song choices, it's a less credible and less-focused effort when compared to similar compilations.

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