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Pop/Rock - Released March 26, 1985 | Epic

Switching to the noted Stock/Aitken/Waterman production team, Peter Burns and crew brought it all together on an undisputed-'80s classic. Though arguably the singles hold up better in the end than the album does, there's no question that in terms of sheer hooks, fun, and drama, Youthquake is a pure pop delight by any measure. No question that the band's over the top image had a lot to do with it -- Burns in particular dressed and posed in the kind of outfits and presentations that made Boy George look like a missionary -- but all it takes is the first song to get any party going. "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" has an instantly catchy chorus, bright, kicky synth tones, and fantastic delivery from Burns, right from the opening: "And I!" No less great is the other huge single, "Lover Come Back to Me"." When Burns commands at the end of the chorus, "Kick it right down, right down!" it's as memorable as mass media pop of any stripe ever gets. The Stock/Aitken/Waterman crew doesn't do all that much different per sé on this album than Zeus B Held did on the previous one. While once or twice the trio's tendency towards relative blandness gets the better of the material, most of the time it's a good marriage between Burns' overarching sense of style, and his projection and commercial aims. Where things falter is when the clichés creep in. Orchestral stabs weren't anything new by the time "I Wanna Be a Toy" was littered with them, while everything from sampling stutters to drum pads inevitably call to mind everyone who tinkered with them first. But just let Burns crank up his theatrical wail and amiable sense of sleaze over a good beat and melody, like the string-tinged Philly disco sweep of "In Too Deep," or his desire to "send this sloppy kiss to you" on "Big Daddy of the Rhythm," and the results beat out all objections. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released September 20, 2000 | Epic

CD$12.99

Pop/Rock - Released October 22, 2010 | Sony Music UK

CD$3.99

Rock - Released February 1, 2010 | Cleopatra Records

CD$10.99

Pop/Rock - Released June 28, 1988 | Epic

One of the great things about the 1980s was the way the decade broke so many of the late 1970s' rules. In the late '70s, many punk rockers hated heavy metal as much as they hated disco, but as much animosity as the punk and arena rock factions felt for one another, they were united in their support of the silly death-to-disco movement. Then, in the 1980s, all of that changed. Just as punks, metalheads, and arena rockers were forming alliances and exchanging musical ideas in the 1980s, the decade found a variety of rockers and new wavers embracing funk, disco, and dance music -- clearly, the rules of the late 1970s were being broken in a major way. In the 1980s, no one merged pop/rock with dance-pop, Hi-NRG, and Euro-disco more perfectly than Dead or Alive, whose Rip It Up provides a nonstop dance mix of many of the group's essential hits. Produced by the Stock, Aitken, and Waterman team, gems like "You Spin Me Round," "Brand New Lover," "Something in My House," and "My Heart Goes Bang" have as much pop-rock aggression as they do dance-floor appeal. Rockers loved Dead or Alive, and the strong Beatles influence on "I'll Save You All My Kisses" is hard to miss. But Rip It Up is just as essential from a dance-pop/Hi-NRG standpoint. For those making their first Dead or Alive purchase, this album would be an excellent starting point. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released February 10, 2003 | Epic

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Pop - Released January 13, 1987 | Epic

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Pop/Rock - Released June 27, 1989 | Epic

In the 1980s, the Stock/Aitken/Waterman team was to British dance-pop what Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, or L.A. Reid and Babyface, were to urban contemporary. Producing hits for Bananarama, Rick Astley, Samantha Fox, and others, the threesome was despised by many rock critics. But critics can say what they want -- Stock, Aitken, and Waterman knew how to deliver the hooks -- and many of the songs they produced were undeniably infectious. The team also produced some of Dead or Alive's best work, so when Dead or Alive quit working with them, fans were understandably apprehensive. But on Nude, which was produced by Dead or Alive members Pete Burns and Steve Coy, the group demonstrated that they could get along without Stock/Aitken/Waterman. Though not among the band's essential releases, this is a respectable, if uneven effort, that has a lot to offer from both a dance-pop/Hi-NRG/Euro-disco perspective and a pop-rock perspective. No, there isn't another "You Spin Me Round," or another "Something in My House," but cuts like "Turn Around and Count 2 Ten," "Come Home With Me Baby," and the early-'60s-influenced "Stop Kicking My Heart Around" aren't anything to be ashamed of either. If you've never experienced the pleasures of Dead or Alive, Rip It Up would be a better starting point. Nude is, however, easily recommended to the group's diehard fans. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
CD$12.99

Pop/Rock - Released April 12, 1988 | Epic

Whether or not Dead or Alive was the first synth-goth band in history is a bit open to debate, but they were unquestionably in on the ground floor somewhere. Burns and his crew created a weird sort of landmark with Sophisticated Boom Boom, though ultimately it's a bit more memorable as being the dry run for later successes as opposed to being fully notable on its own. By this time, the murky gloom of earlier singles was starting to give way to a more freely mainstream approach, though the combination of Burns' outrageous appearances and his utterly over-dramatic singing style helped ensure they never went down totally easy on the charts. Pretty much everything on the album came from somewhere else: the squiggly early-'80s keyboards/beat neo-disco production, the occasional blasts of clattering drums, the gang shout choruses, and the overall air of sex, sex, and more sex. If anything was the role model, clearly Duran Duran's massive success had gone to Burns' head, from the dry slap-bass to the synth melodies. The end result was nicely assembled, though, and the help of the Kick Horns on brass, Zeus B. Held's production, and Tim Palmer's engineering resulted in a nice sounding package. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the best effort comes via the cover of "That's the Way (I Like It)," even though the end result is unforgivably stiff in comparison to the original. Burns himself, meanwhile, is the understandable centerpiece to everything, rolling his "r"'s, hyping himself just by breathing, and finding ever more ways to project and project again. As for what it's all about, the song titles make that much clear: "What I Want," "Do It," "You Make We Wanna." It's terribly amusing in context to hear Wayne Hussey's guitar playing crop up, as on "Misty Circles" -- the eventual feel of his work in both the Sisters of Mercy and the Mission is there, just in a quite different setting. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
CD$6.99

Pop - Released December 13, 1990 | Edsel

CD$6.99

Pop - Released December 5, 2001 | Edsel

CD$8.99

Pop - Released October 21, 1995 | Edsel

CD$1.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Cleopatra

CD$6.99

Pop - Released September 27, 2000 | Edsel

CD$6.99

Pop - Released October 21, 1995 | Edsel

CD$12.99

Pop/Rock - Released November 19, 2010 | Sony Music UK

Whether or not Dead or Alive was the first synth-goth band in history is a bit open to debate, but they were unquestionably in on the ground floor somewhere. Burns and his crew created a weird sort of landmark with Sophisticated Boom Boom, though ultimately it's a bit more memorable as being the dry run for later successes as opposed to being fully notable on its own. By this time, the murky gloom of earlier singles was starting to give way to a more freely mainstream approach, though the combination of Burns' outrageous appearances and his utterly over-dramatic singing style helped ensure they never went down totally easy on the charts. Pretty much everything on the album came from somewhere else: the squiggly early-'80s keyboards/beat neo-disco production, the occasional blasts of clattering drums, the gang shout choruses, and the overall air of sex, sex, and more sex. If anything was the role model, clearly Duran Duran's massive success had gone to Burns' head, from the dry slap-bass to the synth melodies. The end result was nicely assembled, though, and the help of the Kick Horns on brass, Zeus B. Held's production, and Tim Palmer's engineering resulted in a nice sounding package. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the best effort comes via the cover of "That's the Way (I Like It)," even though the end result is unforgivably stiff in comparison to the original. Burns himself, meanwhile, is the understandable centerpiece to everything, rolling his "r"'s, hyping himself just by breathing, and finding ever more ways to project and project again. As for what it's all about, the song titles make that much clear: "What I Want," "Do It," "You Make We Wanna." It's terribly amusing in context to hear Wayne Hussey's guitar playing crop up, as on "Misty Circles" -- the eventual feel of his work in both the Sisters of Mercy and the Mission is there, just in a quite different setting. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
CD$12.99

Pop/Rock - Released September 5, 1985 | Epic

Switching to the noted Stock/Aitken/Waterman production team, Peter Burns and crew brought it all together on an undisputed-'80s classic. Though arguably the singles hold up better in the end than the album does, there's no question that in terms of sheer hooks, fun, and drama, Youthquake is a pure pop delight by any measure. No question that the band's over the top image had a lot to do with it -- Burns in particular dressed and posed in the kind of outfits and presentations that made Boy George look like a missionary -- but all it takes is the first song to get any party going. "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" has an instantly catchy chorus, bright, kicky synth tones, and fantastic delivery from Burns, right from the opening: "And I!" No less great is the other huge single, "Lover Come Back to Me"." When Burns commands at the end of the chorus, "Kick it right down, right down!" it's as memorable as mass media pop of any stripe ever gets. The Stock/Aitken/Waterman crew doesn't do all that much different per sé on this album than Zeus B Held did on the previous one. While once or twice the trio's tendency towards relative blandness gets the better of the material, most of the time it's a good marriage between Burns' overarching sense of style, and his projection and commercial aims. Where things falter is when the clichés creep in. Orchestral stabs weren't anything new by the time "I Wanna Be a Toy" was littered with them, while everything from sampling stutters to drum pads inevitably call to mind everyone who tinkered with them first. But just let Burns crank up his theatrical wail and amiable sense of sleaze over a good beat and melody, like the string-tinged Philly disco sweep of "In Too Deep," or his desire to "send this sloppy kiss to you" on "Big Daddy of the Rhythm," and the results beat out all objections. © Ned Raggett /TiVo