Audio Remasterer: Maria Triana.
Liner Note Author: Bill Kopp.
Real Gone's 2016 double-disc set The Definitive Collection is a physical rendition of the digital-only 2014 release The Essential Survivor. In both incarnations, it is an extremely comprehensive overview of a band with five Top Ten hits. All of these -- "Is This Love," "Burning Heart," "The Search Is Over," "High on You," and, of course, "Eye of the Tiger" -- are here along with 30 additional tracks stretching back to the band's origins in 1978 and running through their dissolution in 1988. Toward the beginning lies their version of "Rockin' into the Night," a song leader Jim Peterik later gave to .38 Special, which means we have nearly an album's worth of material before we get to "Eye of the Tiger," but despite that generosity, not every one of Survivor's charting singles is here. Most of the absences hover along the lower reaches of Billboard's Hot 100 and there are some interesting oddities overlooked, such as "The Moment of Truth" from the soundtrack of The Karate Kid, but this doesn't necessarily mean that the selections are bad. What is here emphasizes the steely anthemic nature of Peterik's writing -- something in which he excels -- and that auteurism means The Definitive Collection lives up to its title billing: it may not have all the hits, but it captures the band's character. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine