Various : Let The Music Play - 40 Essential '80s Grooves

Round-up of the best '80s synth funk extravaganzas from the likes of Chaka Khan and Sister Sledge...

The age of the jerry curl, the pastel boob tube and the garms of garish glitter is old territory for compilation selectors. Pick this one up in any record shop (usually the music section at Woolworths) and you'll be dazzled by its 40 classic cuts, its disco colours and awesome headliners, such as Jocelyn Brown, Rufus, Chaka Khan and Cameo.

But then you'll remember you've heard most of these tunes ten million times in the drunken dawns of euphoric house parties, and you have a CD just like it at home. Add to that the fact that the '80s is an era that's been sampled by practically every genre of contemporary popular music, and there's little reason why this collection wouldn't be left gathering dusk on your top shelf. Mary Jane Girls' 'All Night Long' was covered by Mary J Blige, Robbie Williams sampled Barry White's 'It's

Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me', Will Smith went jiggy with Sister Sledge's 'He's The Greatest Dancer', Jocelyn Brown's 'Somebody Else's Guy' became a garage tune, Cheryl Lynn's 'Got To Be Real' became Miami Bass, and Rufus and Chaka Khan's 'Ain't Nobody' has been used by almost everyone.

But it's the success of this golden era of cheese, tack and synthesisers that makes it worth compiling again and again. It's a breakbeater's dream, encapsulating that unnamed period between funky disco and swingbeat when beats conquered live instrumentation. And although this collection brings nothing new to its kind, its obvious parallels with today's hip hop and R&B at least has something to offer the younger listener.

Diana Evans
7 / 10

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