Here at the CD Project, any and all donations of CDs are welcome (our unofficial motto: "If it's free, I'll take three!"). This donated '80s compilation arrived here at corporate headquarters just the other day. It's part of a "Absolute Best" series from the Warner Special Products label. This isn't what I'd consider the absolute best, but it includes some of the best: with the exception of two stinkers, this is a top-notch compilation.
- Good Thing - Fine Young Cannibals (1989, #1 Pop, #12 AC, #20 Dance, #2 Rock): Of the group's three Top 40 hits, I'd rank this second behind She Drives Me Crazy but ahead of Don't Look Back. I dig the Motown grove, but, as I wrote in my post about the album, "I can't get past Roland Gift's voice which, to me, sounds like a constipated Aaron Neville doing a drunken Elvis impression - I can't understand a word he's singing."
- Voices Carry - 'Til Tuesday (1985, #8 Pop, #14 Rock): Love this one. ♡ Previously heard on several CDs, including Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s, Vol. 14 where I wrote, "one of my fav 80's tunes. I had this album on cassette tape, but only listened to this one song. Now that I know more about Aimee Mann, I was most likely missing some great songs."
- Notorious - Duran Duran (1986, #2 Pop, 26 Dance): By 1986, Duran Duran and I (as well as Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor) were seeing other people so I don't care much for this one despite the fact that Nile Rodgers had a hand in its production.
- Shake It Up - The Cars (1981, #4 Pop, #2 Rock, #14 Dance): Another classic New Wave joint. I'm not sure if this song or Magic is my favorite Cars song, but today let's go with this one. The first Cars purchase I made was the Shake It Up album, which I owned on cassette (and wore that thing out).
- Eyes Without A Face - Billy Idol (1984, #4 Pop, #5 Rock, #63 Dance): A great song from a great album (I also had this one on cassette and wore it out, too). This song reminds me of a high school band trip to California. Houston to Los Angeles is a long bus ride.
Your humble writer performing at Disneyland, June 1984
- (Keep Feeling) Fascination - The Human League (1983, #8 Pop, #1 Dance, #14 Rock): ♡ Previously heard on several CDs, including the group's 1988 greatest hits CD where I wrote,"To be honest, (Keep Feeling) Fascination is one of my favorite songs not only of this CD, but of the entire decade."
- Miss Me Blind - Culture Club (1984, #5 Pop, #12 AC, #10 Dance, #8 R&B): Previously heard on several CDs, including a 1984 compilation and one of the group's "best of" compilations where I identified this song as my favorite by the group. I still think it's their best.
- Things Can Only Get Better - Howard Jones (1985, #5 Pop, #38 AC, #10 Dance, #21 Rock): More good stuff. Previously heard on Jones' Dream Into Action album, where I wrote, "At age 19, my life was great in 1985, so when you hear Things Can Only Get Better, you think 'Wow! How can that be?!? I can't wait!' Plus, I'm a big fan of the Eurotrash synth-pop, so this release is right in my wheelhouse."
- Cars - Gary Numan (1980, #9 Pop, #56 Dance): A seminal technopop classic. Previously heard on several CDs including a couple of 80s compilation CDs and, of course, The Pleasure Principle. Cars has been heard so many times over the years it seems almost innocuous now, but back then it was like nothing we'd ever heard before.
- Be Near Me - ABC (1985, #9 Pop, #1 Dance, #11 AC): Previously heard on Absolutely. When the group switched gears with their second album, Beauty Stab, they lost me. That was a mistake on my part because while this tune is missing Trevor Horn's production, Martin Fry could still write solid pop when he wanted to.
- King For A Day - Thompson Twins (1986, #8 Pop, #13 AC): This CD is finishing strong, lemme tell ya. Previously heard on a greatest hits disc as well as Here's To Future Days, my favorite Thompson Twins album. The single release would have been welcome here, but, oddly, what we're given here is a remix, which IMO isn't quite as good as the single or album versions.
- Let's Go All The Way - Sly Fox (1986, #7 Pop): Only big, echo-drenched drums hit with a sledgehammer need apply. The only song on this compilation that I didn't already own on CD, but I should have had it earlier. Sure, the band's a one hit wonder, but what a hit. This thing is all kinds of catchy. Never heard anything else by this duo and it's fine with me if we keep it that way. And, to tie this post all together, the lyrics here mention Disneyland (see photo above).