But an undisputed champeen has emerged from the stack of UMG dog-crap comps: Pure 80's Love boasts a roster of sappy talent that's quite simply the finest ever assembled for such an enterprise: Lionel Richie, Billy Ocean, Dan Fogelberg, Joe Cocker, Simply Red, Air Supply, Spandau Ballet and, yes, Christopher "Second Coming of Christ on a" Cross. Unlike the Neville and Gaye disappointments, 80's Love doesn't skimp on the goods. To wit, the lone Air Supply song selected for inclusion, "All Out of Love," spares us Russell Hitchcock's whiny soprano in favor of second fiddle Graham Russell's husky alto. Cross' "Sailing" is the album's strongest composition -- if not the prettiest song ever recorded -- but hidden treasures such as Sheriff's "When I'm With You" and the Cocker/Jennifer Warnes collab "Up Where We Belong" make this an early favorite for 2003 album of the year, even though all the songs were recorded in the '80s.
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