Marisa Fox
April 26, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Club MTV Party to Go Volume One

Current Status
In Season
Various Artists
Tommy Boy

We gave it a C

The most commercial new dance compilation out is Club MTV Party to Go Volume One, released, strangely, on an otherwise innovative independent label. This is the company that brought you trend-setting rappers Queen Latifah, Digital Underground, and De La Soul, but it isn’t showcasing any new talent here. The album, which benefits cancer research, does include four genuine club favorites — the DNA/Suzanne Vega ”Tom’s Diner,” Information Society’s ”Think,” Digital Underground’s ”The Humpty Dance,” and Depeche Mode’s ”Personal Jesus.” But mostly what you get are year-old hits from MTV’s vapid afternoon dance party, Club MTV, songs like Paula Abdul’s ”Knocked Out” and Vanilla Ice’s ”Play That Funky Music” (lifted from a Wild Cherry hit). Like the show, this mix of Top 40 overkill guarantees at best mindless moments of teenybopper fun.

The only thing that saves this retread is technical high jinks. Even if you could spare yourself that millionth listen to the Iceman, you still might be surprised to hear how neatly his thudding beat melts into ”Tom’s Diner”’s waiflike lightness. That’s because programmers and remixers Charles Dixon and Howard Kessler blended all the songs together into a single, continuous mix that gets faster and more feverish until it builds to a climax. But high-tech trickery can only go so far. If you want to hear what’s going on in current club music, don’t settle for anything less than the real thing. C

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