January 11, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST

Have a Nice Day: Super Hits of the '70s

Current Status
In Season
Various Artists
We gave it a B-

In the land of kitsch, bad is good, awful is better, and the ultimate evil is to be bland. Defying the popular prejudice against ’70s pop music, Have a Nice Day positively revels in cheesiness. These five new volumes (joining 10 issued earlier this year) all contain items of both enduring artistic merit and deliciously wretched banality. Alas, too many tracks are neither. The monotony of Vol. 11’s mushy 1973 pop and mild country is interrupted only by Deodato’s hellish jazz-disco-classical fusion, ”Also Sprach Zarathustra,” and Charlie Daniels’ amusing hippie narrative, ”Uneasy Rider.” Vols. 12 and 13 mix maudlin pap (”Seasons in the Sun”), delightfully disposable pop (”Hooked on a Feeling”), and classic rock (”Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”). In addition, Vol. 12 boasts David Essex’s stylishly spare ”Rock On” and Ray Stevens’ dumb nudity novelty, ”The Streak.” Leo Sayer’s maddeningly chipper ”Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)” is just one of the songs on Vol. 14 you loved to hate. But such bad memories are countered by perfectly good tracks from Ace, Pilot, and Hot Chocolate. Except for credible tunes by Dwight Twilley and others, Vol. 15 recalls the mid-decade doldrums with some really bad records. This mixture of the faddish (”Convoy”) and the unforgivable (Austin Roberts’ tearjerker ”Rocky”) almost runs off the schlock meter. Now is that good or bad? B-

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