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Various Artists – Monster Ballads (1999, Razor & Tie)

1. “Heaven” – Warrant … 3:58
2. “Something to Believe In” – Poison … 5:30
3. “High Enough” – Damn Yankees … 4:18
4. “Almost Paradise” – Mike Reno & Ann Wilson … 3:50
5. “Is This Love” – Whitesnake … 4:44
6. “To Be With You” – Mr. Big … 3:20
7. “Carrie” – Europe … 4:31
8. “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” – Cinderella … 5:55
9. “More Than Words” – Extreme … 4:11
10. “Headed for a Heartbreak” – Winger … 5:14
11. “When I Look into Your Eyes” – Firehouse … 4:01
12. “Wind of Change” – Scorpions … 5:12
13. “I’ll Never Let You Go” – Steelheart … 5:06
14. “When I See You Smile” – Bad English … 4:18
15. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” – Kix … 4:18
16. “When I’m With You” – Sheriff … 3:54

I doubt this was the very first hair ballad compilation, but it was definitely the one that inspired tons of other compilations to come around in ’99 and ’00 (and it was the first one that I owned). I’ve never made it a secret that I’m a huge fan of ballads and this is a pretty excellent crop of songs. When coupled with VH1’s The Big ’80s Power Ballads disc, you’ve got an incredible selection of songs (with very little repeats) and either disc is a great introduction to the softer side of hair metal.

Yeah, there are tons of great deep tracks that aren’t present, but the idea of Monster Ballads is to showcase hit ballads and Razor & Tie really couldn’t have done much of a better job, even if there are a few headstratchers like “Almost Paradise” and “When I’m With You”. Nice ballads, but they don’t fit in with the rest of the bands.

This album was originally offered during thru Razor & Tie by calling their 1-800 number and ordering. It was a two disc set, but was quickly trimmed down to one disc and made available in retail stores.

VH1: The Big 80’s Power Ballads

VH1: The Big 80’s Power Ballads (1999, Rhino Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Fly to the Angels” – Slaughter … (5:08)
2. “Something to Believe In”  – Poison … (5:30)
3. “Amanda”  – Boston … (4:17)
4. “I Want to Know What Love Is” – Foreigner 5:01
5. “Alone Again”  – Dokken … (4:22)
6. “House of Pain”  – Faster Pussycat … (5:47)
7. “The Search Is Over” – Survivor … (4:13)
8. “Is This Love” – Whitesnake … (4:43)
9. “We Belong” – Pat Benatar … (3:39)
10. “Don’t Close Your Eyes”  – Kix … (4:19)
11. “What Does It Take”  – Honeymoon Suite … (4:16)
12. “Missing You” – John Waite … (4:29)
13. “Miles Away” – Winger … (4:12)
14. “When the Children Cry” – White Lion … (4:07)
15. “Goodbye” – Night Ranger … (4:21)
16. “Fly High Michelle” – Enuff Z’nuff … (4:17)

The late 1990s and early 2000s were a time of 80s nostalgia. Clothes, movies, music. One of the biggest flagwavers of 80s retro was VH1, who scored with the popular Behind The Music show, Pop Up Videos, and tons of 1980s-centric specials.

Not surprisingly, they also released their own compilations of 80’s tunes in a series called The Big 80’s. The Monster series of hair metal compilations from Razor & Tie Records proved popular and one of their most popular entries was Monster Ballads, so it only made sense for VH1 to release their own CD of hair ballads and tie it all in with the Big 80’s series.

There are TONS of other power ballad comps out there on the market, but this one and Monster Ballads are the absolute best and the bonus is that the people at Rhino & VH1 must’ve been paying attention because there’s only three songs that appear on both compilations (“Something to Believe In”, “Is This Love” and “Don’t Close Your Eyes”).

Essentially, this *is* a hair ballad CD, though a few artists like Boston, Honeymoon Suite, Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Survivor and John Waite slip in, but the songs fit right in with the mood. Even if those artist aren’t hair metal acts, they certainly did produce hair metal ballads.
Power ballads are what got me into the hair scene in the first place (every hair metal act should have 2 or 3 great ones in their catalog), so this is right up there as one of my favorite albums. And yes, being the sap that I am, I would crank this during troubled relationship times when I was younger.
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