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Amid some laments in the 1980s that the soul was being sucked out of pop music, Eurythmics infused synthesized hooks with a passionate intensity, thanks to Dave Stewart’s inventive productions and Annie Lennox’s rich vocals.

“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” was their first breakout success in 1983, and brought Lennox’s sexy-androgynous style and Dave Stewart’s more enigmatic charms to the pop music landscape. Their sound evolved over several albums, with the synth pop sound they helped pioneer married to rock- and soul-tinged tunes – including the memorably empowering “Sisters are Doin’ It for Themselves,” with the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin.

Not just a nostalgic treat, Ultimate Collection packages digitally remastered versions of 17 of Eurythmics’ previous hits with two new songs, recorded when Lennox visited Stewart’s Los Angeles home in the summer of 2005. The older tunes have lost none of their power to age, and of the previously unreleased material, the new single “I’ve Got a Life” in particular doesn’t sound out of place with the best of Eurythmics.

It wouldn’t be a proper collection if fans couldn’t lament the omission of at least one obvious track – here, it’s “Beethoven (I Love to Listen To)”, which wasn’t included on their Greatest Hits release, either.

However, the casual fan will be well-served by the Ultimate Collection‘s near-complete representation of Eurythmics’ highlights. Even those who already have that 15-year-old Greatest Hits will want to pick up the Ultimate Collection, not just for the two new songs — which are well worth it — but for the broader sampling of hits, including two from 1999’s reunion album Peace.

Ultimate Collection – track listing

  1. I’ve Got a Life [new]
  2. Love is a Stranger [from album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)]
  3. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) [from album of the same name]
  4. Who’s That Girl [from Touch]
  5. Right by your Side [from Touch]
  6. Here Comes the Rain Again [from Touch]
  7. Would I Lie to You? [from Be Yourself Tonight]
  8. There Must be an Angel (Playing with my Heart) [from Be Yourself Tonight]
  9. Sisters are Doin’ It for Themselves (with Aretha Franklin) [from Be Yourself Tonight]
  10. It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back) [from Be Yourself Tonight]
  11. When Tomorrow Comes [from Revenge]
  12. Thorn in my Side [from Revenge]
  13. The Miracle of Love [from Revenge]
  14. Missionary Man [from Revenge]
  15. You Have Placed a Chill in my Heart [from Savage]
  16. I Need a Man [from Savage]
  17. I Saved the World Today [from Peace]
  18. 17 Again [from Peace]
  19. Was it Just Another Love Affair [new]

(Cross posted to Blogcritics)