There is no question that Paul Oakenfold has cemented a place in the history of dance music. Whether you like his particular brand of music or not he is one of the big names who brought elements of the Ibiza underground to the masses. He could be considered one of the first dance artists who brought beats to arena sized audiences and along the way his remixes and production work took some acts into territories they might never have set foot in (not always a good thing, but there you go).

Oakenfold’s latest CD is simply entitled ‘Anthems’ with a subtitle ‘The Classic Perfecto Mix’, which in turn means Paul is dusting off a large selection of his back catalogue for another seamless outing this time over three CD’s. Sadly this is isn’t the first time he has done something like this and followers of electronica/dance music in general will get an all too familiar sense of deja vu when they listen to this compilation.

All the big tunes are here, with their big washes of sound, and the obligatory boom tish beats often liberally sprinkled with twinkly bits of percussion. Back in the day this could I daresay have elicited something of a thrill for the clubbing faithful but even the most dedicated follower of club stylings must be sick to death of some of these tunes by now. Yep, everything you might expect to be there is firmly in place (BT’s Flaming June, Grace’s Not Over Yet, ATB’s 9pm etc). Of course there is material in here that still raises a nostalgic smile (Energy 52 Cafe Del Mar) but for the most part the material hasn’t dated all that well. If only for the reason that a lot of Oakenfold’s mixes rely on his signature moves to such a degree that they sound a bit samey.

I almost feel a bit guilty levelling that criticism because in fairness the tracks were very much of the time and lets be right, did anyone working in this particular trance based genre know any better?

You can of course look at this compilation another way, there’s quite a few guilty pleasures in here that all the serious chin stroking club heads won’t admit to liking but secretly own even if it’s only in MP3 format (hidden in the darkest recesses of their hard drives). So do I recommend this to you or not? That is the big question.

Yes and no.

If you are a die hard clubber of a certain vintage then you will own most of this material whether it be the originals or on some of the multitudes of club compilations that have been pushed on the market in the intervening years. However if you have more of a passing acquaintance with dance music then this might serve to fill in some of the gaps, it’s a reasonably comprehensive look at the commercial side of club music from the nineties that might just serve your needs. Have a look at the track listing first, then decide.

Its out now on Rhino Records