Various - Rush Hour
A decent commercial dance compilation is a rare thing, but here's one that succeeds. If it cheats a little by drawing on eleven years' worth of music and including a number of indisputable classics, at least the end result is an enjoyable listen.
With its prevailing house vibe, CD1 is the better of the two by far. Final Shakedown and Keep On Jumpin' are wonderfully funky. Infectious disco thrills are provided by Junior Jack, M&S and the dizzying swirl of 77 Strings (How Did You Know). In addition, you'll find the original versions of Love Story (with the sparse Nina Simone sample) and Right On!, a tune to will the sun out if ever there was one. Top this with memorable tracks by Faithless, Royksopp, Basement Jaxx and Benny Benassi, and you have a disc which slips down better than a crate-load of alcopops.
CD2 is hampered by a high trance quota. To be fair, Barber's Adagio for Strings and Silence are superior examples of the genre, but these are cut with dreck such as the Papa Don't Preach-sampling Everybody. Perhaps unsurprisngly the best moments are courtesy of old masters. Leftfield's 1993 single Open Up, with John Lydon screeching like a panto dame over trance synths, sounds as fresh as ever, and Underworld's Two Months Off remains an underrated part of the duo's catalogue.
So one slightly iffy disc and another you might find glued to your player for much of the summer. If you like a bit of dance history, there are far worse compilations on the market than Rush Hour.
(Be warned: these CDs are mixed and some tracks suffer through noticable clipping.)