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Rob (London)

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Time After Time: The Best of Cyndi Lauper
Time After Time: The Best of Cyndi Lauper
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Price: 10.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive greatest hits at last ..., 18 July 2011
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This is now probably the best of several single CD hits collections by Cyndi Lauper, including her original greatest hits "Seven deadly cyns" which misses out on The Goonies song. As its a great track, this collection may be a better option.

Cyndi Lauper had huge success for a comparatively short period, alongside early Madonna. She was always more quirky and eccentric than Madonna, and so fell out of the mass-market popularity she enjoyed with songs like poppy "Girls just wanna have fun", and the thoughtful intimate ballads "Time after Time" and "True Colors" - and yet she appealed to many of the same fans, drawn to her catchy liberating pop songs. True Colors in particular became a gay anthem.

This is a very strong collection of songs, by turns cheerful and soulful, by a very individual and unique talent with a no-less unique voice.

Whatever You Want: The Very Best of Status Quo
Whatever You Want: The Very Best of Status Quo
Price: 19.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery Song, 14 July 2011
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This is a cracking album. I was never a big Status Quo fan, but listening to this double album as one great familiar song follows another, the sheer scale of their achievement is overwhelming. The music only flags towards the end. They were often criticised for their songs all sounding the same on the radio, but in fact now that they are all grouped together, the unfairness of that view becomes all the clearer. Fantastic riffs on songs like Whatever You Want. The haunting Mystery Song remains my favourite. This album is sensibly ordered in strict chronology so you can enjoy their development from the early 60s pop/rock style of "Paper Plane" etc to the heavy rockers of "Rockin all over the world". Recommended.

Changing Faces - The Best Of Louise
Changing Faces - The Best Of Louise
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Price: 2.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Slick soul pop, 14 July 2011
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From her first appearance as part of the otherwise black girl group Eternal, it was clear that pretty Louise with an unremarkable but tuneful voice was going to do very well. She reminded me of the young Olivia Newton John, and I think its possible that with the right songwriters and producers, and probably a different music direction towards pure pop or country style, she could have made a big breakthrough across the pond as well as the UK, just like Olivia. As it turned out, she nevertheless scored a successful string of delicious singles in her home country, both with Eternal and later as a solo artist.

The highlights here are Naked, the terrific 2-faced, sensual Stay and Arms Around the World. The cover of Stuck in the Middle with You is an interesting twist on the old Stealer's Wheel hit, not an obvious choice for Louise but I actually like her version. This is slick soul pop at its best, but I always felt she missed out on challenging those silky vocals a little more.

This first hits collection is more comprehensive than the one released later. The music does become slightly bland but its still a lovely confection. Well done Mrs Redknapp!

One More Dream: Very Best Of
One More Dream: Very Best Of
Price: 18.11

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stuck In The Middle With You, 11 July 2011
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Overall this is probably the best of several Gerry Rafferty's hits compilations. "One More Dream" includes all his best work including Stuck in the middle with you, which only makes an appearance on one other Gerry compilation called "Days Gone Down".

Selecting sublime, haunting and delicious music from about 5 of Gerry's/Stealer's Wheel albums including City to City, Night Owl, Snakes and Ladders, Over My Head, we get all the hits, Stuck in the middle with you, Everything will turn out fine, Baker Street, Right Down the Line, Night Owl, Get it right next time, Days gone down, together with wonderful songs such as Moonlight and gold, Shipyard Town, and Garden of England.

A few minor hits are missing, Stealer's Wheel's Star, Gerry's Home and Dry and the Royal Mile - not that I'm familar with these tracks! Stuck in the middle with you, and Everything will turn out fine are re-recordings Gerry made for this album in 1995. Whilst they are good versions, I would have prefered the originals. It could be argued that the CD "Days Gone Down" is more comprehensive as it includes the missing tracks and original Stealer's Wheel recordings, but it also includes alot of early Gerry material at the expense of his later, more successful career. That's fine if you want that, but for me this is a more listenable and enjoyable experience.

My favourites here are - surprise surprise - Baker Street, Stuck in the middle with you, Night Owl and Get it right next time.

An exceptionally well-chosen collection by this sometimes unhappy and sadly missed artist.

The Collection 1977 - 87
The Collection 1977 - 87

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad To Be Gay, 13 Jun 2011
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This is the most comprehensive of the Tom Robinson compilations around, and it only goes up to 1987! Its really about time something new was released of similar quality, but this is still a very good collection. Probably best known for anthems like 2468 Motorway and Glad To Be Gay, his more reflective work is possibly even more impressive, such as Too Good To Be True and of course his onetime comeback single, War Baby. His voice is both a strength and a weakness. Sometimes I think he sings duff notes, but this adds to the honesty and passion of his delivery. Marc Almond would probably be regarded as a better singer, but likewise he doesn't always sing in key. Even at the time, many people found Tom Robinson's songs too overtly political and even preachy. This doesn't seem to grate on me anymore. Overall, a very enjoyable and sometimes thought-provoking CD.

Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade Of Hits
Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade Of Hits
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, 13 Jun 2011
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This is a powerful round-up of all of Christina Aguilera's original hits plus reworkings of two of them plus new tracks. I say new and of course this is no longer a new collection ... but what has La Aguilera done since? All the stuff you know is on here.

These songs are nearly all high-points in her career, with only "I turn to you" - unfortunately not a cover of Mel C's techno dance hit - as a duff moment. I even like the duet with Ricky Martin. Outstanding of course are Genie in a Bottle, Beautiful, Hurt and Candyman. The reworkings of Genie and Beautiful are surprisingly good too.

Her voice is uniformly strong, possibly a little over wrought in places. Like Mariah Carey. Beautiful is an important song, a plea for tolerance and understanding as well as to motivate those feeling oppressed by their situation or sexuality. There aren't many important songs on the planet, so its worth buying just for that!

If you're looking for one album by Aguilera, as I was, this budget collection is the one to go for - value for money and stunning music quality and singing like no other.

Born This Way
Born This Way
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Price: 2.70

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerhouse, 8 Jun 2011
This review is from: Born This Way (Audio CD)
I was not an immediate fan of Lady Gaga. I thought she looked a mess and the music was pretty routine club anthems. All the singles had been released and the album had been out a long time before I bought "The Fame Monster", and I only bought that because the singles "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance" had been so pummelled into my head every weekends at the club I went to. But I grew to especially enjoy "The Monster" CD of the two CD pack - "Alejandro" and "Telephone" became favourites, and I also liked "Brown Eyes". Her vocals on "Bad Romance" struck me as powerful and unusual. The other songs, however, did not seem very good to me at all.

However, by the time this CD was announced, I found myself really looking forward to its release. I grew to love the lead-off single "Born This Way" - a pumping, passionate and catchy gay anthem if ever there was one! With her fight for gay rights and undoubted status as a gay icon, very few are better suited to sing such a liberating song. I was less impressed with the noisy follow-up "Judas" which sounds a bit run-of-the-mill for Gaga, and the third single "The Edge of Glory" is possibly weaker still.

If you have only heard the singles, though, I think the best is yet to come. There are some stonking songs on this stunning album - "Marry the Night", "Americano", the astonishing Germanic "Scheibe", the profoundly Madonna-esque "Bloody Mary", actually there isn't a bad song on this album ... unlike "The Fame Monster". The pace hardly lets up as one furiously catchy song follows another. Gaga is often compared to Madonna, and she would appear to welcome the comparison as she sounds so like the great Madge in songs like "Bloody Mary" and the spoken parts of "Scheibe" are pure Madonna circa "Erotica". Dare I say it though...Gaga actually has the stronger voice. Just as powerful as Christina Aguilera, who some say she resembles.

Like Madonna, Gaga harnesses an extreme image to commercial music, and there is a drive and anger behind it which only adds to the power of these songs. Definitely a child of our times, and in many ways these are fabulous times to live through despite the world financial crisis.

Price: 7.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars De Profundis, 8 Jun 2011
This review is from: 21 (Audio CD)
When Adele's debut came out I was mystified by the hype around her and underwhelmed by the singles I heard from that album. Her voice and chubby appearance seemed less interesting than contemporaries like Amy Winehouse and Duffy, and even earlier larger ladies like Alison Moyet seemed more passionate and stronger singers.

But this concept album about love, being dumped, hurt, anguish, anger and somehow pulling through is totally convincing, sometimes painfully moving and almost always melodic and even catchy.

At first only the stand-out tracks grabbed me - Rolling in the Deep, Rumour Has It, Set Fire to the Rain and of course, Someone Like You. The story in Someone Like You are actually quite similar to Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know", a woman has been dumped and goes to meet her ex and his new partner/wife; but Alanis is full of bile and swearing anger, whereas Adele is deeply sad and coming round to some form of acceptance of what has happened to her, and wishing her ex well despite how desperately she wants him back. Most of us have been cruelly dumped at some time in our lives, and this beautiful song articulates that gutted feeling so well.

Rolling in the Deep, and Rumour Has it are both gorgeous dance ballads with her strong lead vocals upfront with delicious contrasting girly vocals in the background in choruses. Rumour Has It in particular reminds me of Duffy's "Mercy". Set Fire to the Rain is possibly even better. These are belters of grief and loss and bitterness following the shock of being dumped.

The other songs on 21 are perhaps less strong, but still very good songs. Special mention to the hauntingly sad "Turning Tables", the upbeat and desperate "I'll Be Waiting" and Adele's lovely version of "Lovesong".

This album only seems to get more impressive and moving the more I listen to it.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Village People, 13 April 2011
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This review is from: Hits (Audio CD)
This comprehensive and well-chosen greatest hits from 1991 contains the following tracks:-

Macho Man
San Francisco (You've Got Me)
Can't Stop the Music
Megamix (Extended version)
In the Navy
In Hollywood
Fire Island
Go West
Village People
Ready for the 80s
Do You Wanna Spend the Night

With the exception of long megamix, these very famous disco songs are in their original single versions. All the hits are here, and a good choice of album tracks especially the song "Village People" which isn't available on a compilation elsewhere. As its a really good song setting out what the group are about, its well worth having. The sleevenotes are suitably tongue-in-cheek but interesting and informative. I agree with the songs chosen here. If looking for faults, I would only quibble with the inclusion of the "Megamix" at the expense of album tracks "I am what I am", "Liberation" and "5 o'clock in the Morning"; but not too much because its a great megamix of hits! Audio quality is very good with vocals and instruments well spaced, but as to be expected from a 1991 released CD, not as loud as would be the case with a more recent release.

This album is great fun. The full-on singing and catchy choruses belie a more serious intent to support, empathise and motivate the fledgling gay communities of the 1970s who often felt marginalised and isolated. It has to be said that some of the very optimistic lyrics become poignant with hindsight, for instance in their hit "Ready for the 80s" when just around the corner was the AIDS crisis about to destroy large swathes of the gay community the Village People were wanting to invigorate.

Maximum Joy
Maximum Joy
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Price: 12.77

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars San Jose, 4 April 2011
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This review is from: Maximum Joy (Audio CD)
There are three Frankie Goes to Hollywood Greatest Hits Collections - Bang!, Maximum Joy and most recently Frankie Says Greatest, and I hovered a bit between the three of them. I eventually settled for Maximum Joy, not because of the extra CD of remixes but because it contained their cover version of San Jose, which has always been one of my favourite songs on their debut album. Is it sung by Paul Rutherford?

The first CD is outstanding, and probably the best available compilation of their work. It contains all their hits, together with fantastic album tracks such as Maximum Joy, San Jose, Ferry Cross the Mersey and War. The Ferry Cross the Mersey included here is the debut album track, not the later charity single version with other artists produced by SAW. The audio quality is stunning. I have never heard these familiar songs sound better, even Relax which I must have heard umpteen times over the years! They are in their original album versions here on CD 1, not in extended or remixed versions.

By contrast, the second CD is all remixed long versions of the songs, including the hit remix of The Power of Love.

If you are considering which of the Frankie compilations to go for, on balance I would recommend this one - the song selection on CD1 is all you will need.

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