BanglesFans of the '80s will love new Legacy collections spotlighting the decade's popular artists. The new "We Are the '80s" series features "best of" collections by a number of bands, each disc titled We Are the '80s. The series includes offerings from Bow Wow Wow, Bangles, A Flock of Seagulls, Scandal, Loverboy, Rick Springfield and Eddie Money.

Each disc features 13 to 14 key songs from the artists, and Scandal's includes three previously unreleased tracks, in addition to their big hits "Goodby to You" and "The Warrior."

The other discs do not include unreleased tracks, but do offer the hits you'd expect — Bow Wow Wow's collection has "I Want Candy," "Do You Wanna Hold Me?" and "Aphrodisiac" among others.

Loverboy's "We Are the '80s" set offers "Turn Me Loose," "Working for the Weekend," "Lovin' Every Minute of It," and the "Footloose" soundtrack duet from Loverboy's Mike Reno and Heart's Ann Wilson "Almost Paradise."

Bangles' collection includes "Manic Monday," "If She Knew What She Wants," "Walk Like an Egyptian," "Walking Down Your Street," "Hazy Shade of Winter," and Eternal Flame."

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Atlantic Records has teamed with Rhino to release collections from Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. Franklin's 26-song set is a reissue of her Live at Filmore West album, but with an entire second CD of alternate versions and unused songs from those live 1971 sessions. Included are "Respect," "Love the One You're With," "Eleanor Rigby," "Spirit in the Dark," and more.

Pickett's set, The Definitive Collection, offers 30 tracks on two CDs, including "I Found a Love," "It's Too Late," "In the Midnight Hour," "Mustang Sally" and "Stag-O-Lee."


The Dawnseeker

The Dawnseeker has been one of my most anticipated releases of 2006, based on a couple of tracks circulating on Internet radio for a year. Now the full CD is finally available, and it does not disappoint. This is one of the most beautiful collections of airy, ambient female-vocal driven music you will find from this, or any other year.

Masterminded by composer Justin Elswick, the album follows the same format as the Delerium/Conjure One projects which also revolved around one or two songwriter/keyboardists and a variety of singers.

Elswick and his writing partners have crafted music with a spacious, ethereal, yet still catchy vibe. Those synthesizer soundscapes were then paired up with an equally evocative female vocalist to record and realize the magic of the music. His keyboard work sometimes evokes Robert Miles, but most often this will remind those in the know of Delerium, especially since he's used many of that recording collective's singers, as well as alumni from Rose Chronicles, Balligomingo, Vangelis, Lunascape, Mandalay, Wild Strawberries, and ATB. His guest vocalists include Jody Quine, Harland, Nicola Hitchcock, Kirsty Hawkshaw, Kristy Thirsk and more.

The CD opens with an oscillating mix of vocals and electronica before Quine croons a heartaching melody of loss: “I've lost you, my lovely/to the depths of an ocean/my blind faith/you follow me with your hope and devotions.”

Next comes “Desire of Ages,” featuring Harland, who moves the slowly building tension of the melody and worldbeat rhythm at the start to an overpowering chorus of uplifting harmony and hope:

“We will find a brighter sun
As our secrets come undone
Now the boundaries of our love
Need a new heaven, a new earth
Our hearts in the hands of time.”

When she repeats the lyric “desire, dreams, yearning for love…” your heart will ache.

The disc features covers of Duran Duran's “The Chauffeur” (sung by Hawkshaw), and Berlin's “The Metro” (sung by Jerry Eckert) but the real power of this amazing album are in the new tracks penned mostly by Elswick in collaboration with his singers.

I could truly go on and on about this disc, but I'd just be using the same adjectives over and over – heavenly, ethereal, evocative, beautiful, moving… If you love female singers paired with techno soundscapes, you will not be able to take this out of your CD player. The best tracks are “Eurydice,” “Desire of Ages,” “Just Say It,” “You Did A Good Thing,” and “Sublunar (Sweet Angel).” But in truth, there's not a track I couldn't recommend out of the CD's 13. This is going to rank in the top of my list of favorite CDs for a long time to come.

To hear samples for yourself, check the web site at