The person who puts together those NOW That’s What I Call Music collections is generally never credited in the liner notes.
Normally this doesn’t really make much of a difference, to be honest. However, in the case of NOW That’s What I Call New Wave 80s, it would have been really great to know who put it together, because it’s one bonkers mix. Had this been curated by someone like a member of, say, Purity Ring or Brandon Flowers, you’d see coverage all over the place. Yet just because it’s a NOW album doesn’t mean it doesn’t bump like it would had a top-shelf tastemaker been attached to this 18-track set.
Of course, the most iconic hits of the early MTV era are present and accounted for: “Rebel Yell” (the inclusion of which has been the subject of some criticism online, but Billy Idol was New Wave in my book!). “We Got The Beat.” “Just Like Heaven.” “Lips Like Sugar.” “The One I Love.” “Sweet Dreams.” “Don’t You Want Me.” And they are all blended out of sequence in a way that might remind some old New York City club-goers of a quintessential night at the sadly missed Culture Club on Varick Street.
But what makes this physical set (as well as its BOFFO 40-track digital edition) so cool are the off-menu choices selected here, be it INXS’s early hit “The One Thing” off 1982’s underrated Shabooh Shoobah, choosing the Thompson Twins’ hidden hit “Lies” over “Hold Me Now” and “Mad World” from Tears for Fears’ epic debut LP The Hurting in lieu of the litany of hits from Songs from the Big Chair. And that’s not to mention the incorporation of the fairly deep “Desperate But Not Serious” off his solo debut Friend or Foe for Adam Ant representation. Decisions such as these seem to indicate that NOW That’s What I Call New Wave 80s was crafted by the hands of a master of the decade.
The ‘80s new wave sound has made a comeback in a massive way in recent years, and this most exceptional megamix serves as a quality 101 class for any kid looking to dive headfirst into the day glow.