Come Dine with Me Presents: Dinner Party Songs

A spinoff from the hugely successful Channel 4 reality/cookery TV show, Come Dine with Me Presents: Dinner Party Songs is the latest compilation album designed to soundtrack the perfect dinner party. Cleverly dividing the 60 tracks over three discs, each meant to represent a different course, it features a rather surprisingly eclectic range of artists from Jamie Cullum to Christina Aguilera to Primal Scream. Indeed, taking in everything from chillout dance (Röyksopp, Groove Armada), girl band R&B (All Saints, TLC), and British indie pop (the Zutons, Travis), it's not as MOR as other similarly themed compilations, even if the pace very rarely strays beyond midtempo. From the first more laid-back disc, Morcheeba's trip-hop classic "The Sea," Jose Gonzales' beautiful rendition of the Knife's "Heartbeat," and Alicia Keys' ode to New York, "Empire State of Mind," are the standouts. OneRepublic's melancholic Keane-esque "Stop and Stare," Whitney Houston's feisty anthem "It's Not Right But It's Okay," and SWV's Jacko-sampling "Right Here" provide the highlights for disc two, while Lissie's Fleetwood Mac-inspired "When I'm Alone," Jeff Buckley's haunting version of "Hallelujah," and the Fray's TV soundtrack staple "How to Save a Life" are the choice cuts from the more alternative third disc. With number ones from Gnarls Barkley and Natasha Bedingfield, classic hits from Miles Davis and Rosemary Clooney, and lesser-known gems from Sébastien Tellier and Tom Baxter, Come Dine with Me Presents: Dinner Party Songs should provide a varied and satisfying accompaniment to any meal. ~ Jon O'Brien

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