Various Artists - Sealed with a Kiss / His and Hers

2006-03-30 12:16

In this age of iPods and skip buttons, what you're looking for in a mixed CD is good value for money - you can make your own playlists from all the songs you now legally own.

Sealed with a Kiss - Various
Rating: ***

The criterion for making it onto this collection is simple: Your song title has to contain the word "Kiss", or any variation thereof. Cracking the nod, amongst others: Holly Valance, Jason Donovan, UB40, Cher, Exile, Right Said Fred, and Prince (of course).

But the two highlights are Sixpence None the Richer's "Kiss Me", and Debbie Harry's "French Kissing in the USA", which by themselves offer vindications of two separate decades in the kissing song wars. Meanwhile, UB40's rendition of the Manhattans classic "Kiss and Say Goodbye" will make you consider joining a monastery, and Amor's "Wild Cherry Kisses" doesn't work for the pop/rock feel of the collection.

As a novelty, an entry from Jimmie Rodgers to end off is nice. Superb remasters of the massive EMI classics catalogue are available on CD, and this more contemporary compilation could use a bit of old-school... if you'll pardon the language.

His And Hers - Various
Rating: ****

His and Hers, on the other hand, may look a little like a Valentine's Day cash-in, but the selection is far more generic. Pleasantly so, too, as there's bound to be something on this for you, whether you're a teenage partygoer or the parent of one.

There's really very little wrong with this double CD's worth of music if you respect it as a fair representation of a label's active radio catalogue. Every one of these artists - which range from Queen to Sheryl Crow to Jamelia to Atomic Kitten to Kelis to Depeche Mode (!) - has been on your radio in the last two to twenty years, and most of the songs are fair choices, with a few pleasantly surprising ones, too.

For example, Elton John's "Daniel" hasn't lost it's shine; and of all people, Ronan Keating redeems himself with a better than expected (if slightly syrupy) version of Cat Stevens' "Father and Son".

Sure the tracklist does contain a few turkeys, but the hit rate is better than most Now compilations, which is saying a lot, given that series' success. All in all , an excellent gift for your mum and dad, girlfriend, or yourself - if any of you is a pop music fan.

- Anton Marshall

All the track clips provided are from His and Hers

Two various artists compilations are now available, seemingly released to coincide with the Valentines day gift season. One is okay, the other is pretty good. Both are released through EMI, as a hard-to-miss tag boldly declares on the back.

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