Forty years is a long time in anyone's book, but it is an incredibly long time for a record label to be around. To mark such an occasion, Virgin Records has released a compilation celebrating 40 years of 'disruptive innovation' as Richard Branson (or his marketing team) put it.  

This statement couldn't be more right with disc one. The mega hits of the eighties such as Human League's 'Don't You Want Me', Simple Minds' 'Don't You Forget About Me' sit alongside the culture shifting onslaught of 'God Save The Queen' from the Sex Pistols. Disc one is ideal for reflecting the songs that helped give a generation its sound. One track on the first disc that shows Branson was not your average record label owner was when he released Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' when no one else would.

With some compilation albums, they suffer the problem of disc two never being quite as strong as the first. With the Virgin compilation, it's not that it's weaker, it's just different. It features some big hits from the nineties such as Meat Loaf's 'I'd Do Anything For Love' to. ermm. 'Mr Boombastic' by Shaggy. I did say different. 

In all honesty, the shift in styles of music from the eighties to the present is put across quite well in some tracks. However, you also get the feeling that some tracks have been shoved on merely to reflect present day music. This is echoed in the likes Swedish House Mafia's 'Don't You Worry Child' and David Guetta's 'Titanium.' That's one point off for including that latter song. The likes of these songs are not strong enough to represent moments frozen in time like songs on disc one.  

The only conclusion this reviewer can reach is that this compilation, although well intended for its purpose, feels a bit cobbled together once you get past disc one. The bonus CD featuring covers from the likes of KT Tunstall and Corinne Bailey Rae is a nice little extra, but disc two sags towards the end with the 21st century bolt-ons. Two discs is simply not enough to represent the changes in the musical landscape over 40 years. 

Shaun Kelly


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