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Connected to the New Romantic movement of the early '80s, but with a far more pop approach than some of their peers, Culture Club racked up platinum sales and Top Ten hits worldwide for a brief, brightly burning time. While the group quickly disintegrated from the inside out, smash hits like "Karma Chameleon" and "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" have become emblematic of '80s culture and nostalgia for the decade. Essential's lengthy 16 tracks include these and many of Culture Club's other officially issued singles, which works both for and against it's overall quality. While the inclusion of non-album hit and new wave classic "Time (Clock of the Heart)" is a highlight, all three half-baked singles from the group's waning third album, 1984's Waking Up with the House on Fire, break up the momentum of the collection. Remixes of failed early singles "I'm Afraid of Me" and "White Boy" could have been left off as well. Even with the amount of inferior material, the strength of Culture Club's ubiquitous smash hits as well as lesser singles like "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" makes Essential a more than adequate '80s dance party staple.