''Cosmopolitan'' magazine delves into record production with a five volume collection of tunes

By Bob Cannon
Updated January 08, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

The pouty-lipped models displaying acres of cleavage would look more at home in display racks at Victoria’s Secret than in record stores. If all goes as planned, that’s where you’ll be seeing the five volumes of the Cosmopolitan Collection (on CD and cassette), each an off-the-wall sampling of pop hits from the past 20 years.

Yes, after years of successful marketing of the Cosmo philosophy — as well as exercise videos and eyeglasses — Cosmopolitan magazine has branched out into music, and not only in record stores but soon in Cosmo Girl — friendly stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s.

”After makeup,” says Del Costello, who developed the series for DCC Compact Classics, ”one of the main things (Cosmo) women spend their money on is music.” Cosmopolitan publisher Seth Hoyt says, ”There are a lot of women music lovers who don’t like the scene that’s populated by boys who listen to Guns N’ Roses.”

Not to worry — there’s no sign of Axl Rose anywhere. Costello got his guidance from Cosmo editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown, who told him to keep his choices current, and from female college students, who suggested many of the cuts, ranging from Bobby Brown’s 1989 smash ”Every Little Step” to a chestnut as, well, ripe as James Taylor’s 1972 hit, ”Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight.” Judging from the mishmash of tunes on the albums — volume 1 includes reggae from Maxi Priest, alternative rock from Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, and R&B from En Vogue — the Cosmo Girl never met a kind of music she didn’t like.

Since the first five CDs appeared in October, more than 100,000 copies have been sold; more are planned for later this year. Interestingly, over a quarter of those buyers are Cosmo Boys who might say they’re buying ”for a female friend.” Right. Just like they browse through Victoria’s Secret looking for gift ideas for Mother’s Day.