Cruel Summer

This album just doesn't make a lot of sense. While one can appreciate the effort to put out an ideal compilation of summer party songs, it's hard to believe this is it.

The problem here is musical schizophrenia, best exemplified in the first four songs. The album starts with the Beach Boys' "I Get Around" (RealAudio excerpt) before rocking mindlessly into Nick Gilder's "Hot In the City." Next up is the old-school "Summertime Blues" (RealAudio excerpt) by Eddie Cochran, followed by Blondie's '80s anthem, "The Tide Is High."

These songs are all hits in their own right, but they have no true musical relation to one another. The segues from one to the next are sometimes painful.

Glen Campbell's cornball "Southern Nights" goes right into Nat "King" Cole's even schmaltzier "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer." Ouch. And should either of those cuts be forced to sit on the same album with Billy Ocean's pukey '80s hit "Caribbean Queen"?

It's as though the fine folks at K-Tel cleaned out the bottom of their "vaguely summer-related" filing cabinet and fashioned whatever they found into this compilation. But is the listener who enjoys, say, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's "Summertime" going to want to hear Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime" (RealAudio excerpt) directly following? We wonder.

This is an album that, if put on at a party, would have different guests saying, "Hey, I love this song!" followed quickly by, "What the hell is this garbage?"