Donna Summer is the queen of disco for a reason – no person released a better string of singles during the era than she did. She also pulled a nearly impossible trick, she managed to salvage her career after the disco backlash. In fact, her 80s hits are just as big as anything she did for the Studio 54 set.
Endless Summer is the single disc version of the Anthology set. It perfectly summarizes her career highlights, and it includes a great new song or two. “Melody of Love (Wanna Be Loved)” sounds just like anything she cooked up with Giorgio Moroder back in the 70s. Except her voice is even stronger, she’s one of the few people who seems to gain more power and passion in her vocals as time goes by instead of the opposite. It seems like an odd choice to start the album with a new cut, but other than this odd placement, the rest of the album is in chronological order.
My main problem is that after about “On the Radio,” the album doesn’t just lose steam, it seems to crawl and only gasp back into life with “She Works Hard for the Money.” This might be because the singles get less well-known the further down the album you go. At eighteen songs it feels and sounds like the appropriate length, but with the last five to six cuts being more obscure, it hardly holds up as a complete picture. You’ll listen to the 70s and early-80s cuts before moving on. But those first twelve songs! Those first twelve songs alone are worth seeking this out-of-print compilation and adding it to your collection.
The erotic club-diva of “Love to Love You Baby” practically gave Goldfrapp their entire gimmick. “I Feel Love” caused David Bowie to proclaim that synthesizers were the future and make Low. “Hot Stuff” is where rock and disco met up. And those are just my favorite songs from her. “Heaven Knows,” “On the Radio,” “Dim All the Lights,” “Last Dance” – classics one and all and proof that disco was here to stay. Madonna was surely watching her innovations and getting ready to copy some of her moves. While not definitive, there’s that problem with the track listing, it’s an excellent summary of her most well known cuts. DOWNLOAD: “I Feel Love,” “Hot Stuff,” “Last Dance”