8/14/17

Time-Life's MODERN ROCK series (1999-2002) Part 1

By the time an envelope similar to the one below showed up in my mailbox in early 1999, I had nearly a couple grand invested in Time-Life music collections over the previous dozen years so I knew exactly what I was getting into. More so than any of the prior "oldies" collections, Modern Rock represented the music I was still listening to in 1999, the music I still owned on vinyl, the music I still listen to and own today.
Over the next seven(!) days, we'll be rating the twenty-one volumes of the original, mail-order only Modern Rock series from Time-Life. Most individual volumes in the series are readily available on the secondary market at reasonable prices though some of the later releases seem to be somewhat scarce and demand somewhat higher prices. The last complete set of twenty-one volumes I saw on eBay went for $700! It also included six of the Modern Rock titles later released at retail for a total of fifty discs and 606 songs.
On Modern Rock: 1982-1983, Dave Marsh gets credit for the liner notes, Dennis Drake for the mastering while EMI Music Special Markets handles the manufacturing. Most of the tracks throughout the entire Modern Rock series are the original full-length album versions unlike Rhino's Just Can't Get Enough series which focused almost exclusively on gathering the single edits. So while there is some overlap in tracks between the two series, the songs are presented in different versions. Modern Rock: 1982-1983 is chock full of all-time favorite tracks of mine though if I had to delete one track to save all of humanity, I'd have to send Spandau Ballet far, far away. I don't know if this bodes well for the next twenty volumes in the Modern Rock collection but I'm giving the first album the highest rating! 
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๐ŸŽถBonus Playlist๐ŸŽถ
Vintage remixes of songs from
Modern Rock: 1982-1983:
For Modern Rock: 1980-1981, Warner Special Products handled the manufacturing, while Dennis Drake and Dave Marsh kept doing what they had done on the first volume of the series. The running time for both discs adds up to one hour and twenty-nine minutes though I made a slight correction on the digital recreation of the album that bumps the running time up another three minutes. Love most a lot of the seminal new wave tracks found on Modern Rock: 1980-1981 though overall it just isn't as good a listen as Modern Rock: 1982-1983 is for me and as much as I love me some Billy Idol, I would jettison his take on the Tommy James classic "Mony Mony" without hesitation. Based on the inclusion of The Kings (which was the track I mentioned correcting earlier, adding "This Beat Goes On" to "Switchin' To Glide" in a seamless segue as it should always be played and heard) as well as the righteous Ed Stasium-produced "Rock 'N' Roll High School", Modern Rock: 1980-1981 scores
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Arion Berger took over liner notes duty for Modern Rock: 1984-1985 with Universal Music Special Markets doing the manufacturing and Dennis Drake continuing his most excellent mastering. It should be noted that we've chosen to present the albums in Modern Rock not by the order in which they were sent out but by their matrix number - all albums in the series are numbered R828-XX with the Xs representing the volume number so Modern Rock: 1984-1985 is R828-03 as the third volume in the series. As I listened to Modern Rock: 1984-1985, I was reminded of a lot of both good times and bad times that were soundtracked in part by the songs herein. There are three songs here that, if removed, would make the album a more satisfying, emotionally uplifting listen but removing three songs would be a total dick move so I'm just gonna call out two: Murray Head and Arcadia, you are the weakest links. Goodbye! Due to the aforementioned emotional baggage with some of the other tracks, Modern Rock: 1984-1985 earns just
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๐ŸŽถBonus Playlist๐ŸŽถ
Vintage remixes of songs from
Modern Rock: 1984-1985:
Three down... eighteen more to go. Please join us next time as we listen to and rate the next three volumes in the Modern Rock series:

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