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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By ADRIENNE GUSOFF
Published March 3, 2006

DANCEHALL 101: VOLUMES 3 & 4
VP

The Dancehall 101 dance classics series seems, at first glance, the kind of compilation to make any reggae-lover drool. What could be better than a collection of Caribbean club classics from the ’80s and ’90s? Within the reggae genre, there is a wide and interesting variety, and the promo info for this album promises to deliver the most popular nightclub singles from dancehall, hip-hop/R&B and Latin formats, featuring “songs that every 18-40-year-old club kid knows and loves.” That may be true, but even after listening to both sets several times, it was hard to differentiate one cut from another, let alone identify even one standout track on any of the CDs.  No single artist’s talent shines. All the songs in both collections seem as if they were made using the same beat machine, and sound more like the producer’s effort than the singers’. This is a disappointing offering from an album that just doesn’t live up to its hype.