Billy Squier’s anthology “16 Strokes” ought to be re-titled “8 Strokes and 8 Misses,” for that more adequately describes the music contained therin. Squier scored success in the early 1980s as a shaggy-dooed and somewhat less polished Bon Jovi, starting with the 1981 album “Don’t Say No,” and the huge hit “The Stroke,” (hence the title of the anthology). Arranged chronologically, the first half of the anthology is drawn from that album, as well as follow ups “Emotions and Motion” and “Signs of Life,” which contain all of Squier’s successful and semi-successful hit singles.After that, there is little that anyone other than a diehard fan would ever want to hear more than once. The latter songs sound exactly like the earlier hits–minus the catchy hooks. Even the song titles (examples: “Love is the Hero,” “Don’t Say You Love Me, “Don’t Let Me Go,” “(L.O.V.E.) Four Letter Word”) are tedious. Also, the CD booklet is remarkably skimpy, containing little information and no lyrics sheet.Overall, an overly generous anthology from a relatively minor hard rock artist.
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As with the other “best of” collection, it’s missing “You Should Be High Love”, “Lonely is the Night” & “Learn How to Live”. The most complete collection is the REACH FOR THE SKY anthology.
16 Strokes is an excellent compilation of Billy Squiers’ all-time greatest hits. All of the songs on the CD hit high on the charts or at least got substantial airplay in the 80s and 90s. His strongest hits on the CD are his earlier ones, but you’ll find yourself listening to the CD and saying “oh yeah, I remember that one” when you listen to the second half of this collection. It wasn’t until I was listening to the radio and heard “Lonely is the Night” that I realized the song wasn’t on this CD. Failing to include that huge hit was either a blunderous oversight by the record label or a genius act to keep fans wanting more so they go back to purchase the “In The Dark” CD. This would have been a 5-star CD with that hit included. It is sure to be his signature song as time goes on. In this reviewer’s opinion, this CD is definitely worth the money, but you just can’t help not feeling at least a little bit taken… one more stroke wouldn’t have hurt.
Billy Squier rocked in the 1980’s. “Don’t Say No” came out in 1981 and most of America was hooked. “Emotions In Motion” followed soon there after and Squier was riding the huge wave of success. His hits have been far and few between since then. Squire does rock on “In The Dark”, “My Kinda Lover”, “Everybody Wants You”, “Don’t Say You Love Me” and a few others. Easily his best and most popular release, “Don’t Say No” suprisingly only has 3 cuts here on this “16 Strokes (Best Of)” disc. This is a shame. One of his best hits “Lonely Is The Night” is strangely absent… as are great rockers “Too Daze Gone” and “Whadda You Want From Me”. From “Emotions In Motion”, possibly the best song (and a big hit for him) “Learn How To Live” is missing here. Also, if you want to give Billy Squier his just dues, how about throwing a few tunes on this disc from “Tale Of The Tape” (1980) or anything from his Piper days. Any way you slice Squier you get some fun rocking songs, plenty of finger snaps, and drum sticks clinking together. He knows how to write a good pop tune. All 16 songs here bare his name as writer/creator. I give this disc 3 stars due to 2 missing classic songs (mentioned above); absolutely NO liner notes – you’d never know who his bandmates where, which songs came from which albums, the year they were released… etc; and 5 throw-away songs (tracks 12-16). Squier’s “Reach For The Sky (Anthology)” is very good… it includes ALL his best work… but 2 discs is probably too much.
I think either people have forgotten about Billy Squier or they discredit his music-making abilities. I am not either type of person. I have nearly all of Squier’s albums, and though I feel he isn’t the greatest musician of all time, I do think he deserves credibility. This one disc hits collection is perfect for those who only want Squier’s 4 top 40 hits: “The Stroke”, “In The Dark”, “Everybody Wants You” and “Rock Me Tonight” plus some other gems like “My Kinda Lover”, “Don’t Say You Love Me”, “Love Is The Hero”, “Emotions In Motion”, “Don’t Let Me Go”, “She Goes Down” and “Tied Up”. While not as comprehensive as the “Reach For The Sky” two disc compilation, “16 Strokes” is sufficient in quality and comprehensiveness for those who are only looking for the hits. The only problem with this compilation is that it doesn’t include anything from Squier’s 1993 cd “Tell The Truth” nor his 1998 cd “Happy Blues”. It also doesn’t include anything prior to 1981’s “Don’t Say No”. I don’t often hear Squier’s music on 80’s radio stations and that’s a disappointment because he, like Loverboy, Scorpions, Survivor, Def Leppard, The Tubes, Saga, Rush and others deserve to have their retro time again. But for now, this compilation will have to do.