NOW! That’s What I Call Music 20th Anniversary (Vol. 1)

Various Artists

Sony, 2018

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/11/2018

God, am I old. When the first NOW! compilation came out, I was in 7th grade or something and remember being excited. ‘Wow, a bunch of songs I like thrown together on one disc!’ Oh, how times and technology have changed. Back in 1998, I didn’t have fancy things like a computer or a CD burner. Hell, I didn’t even start downloading songs until at least 2005. But I remember the NOW! records. They were always there. Every three months or so, there’d be a new one. In fact, if you listen to the first dozen or so from 1998-2002, you can hear a lot of great pop and R&B jams from the time.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

By the time I entered college, the completions were phasing themselves out but were still being released. Now, they’re more like antiques, compilations of popular songs that the kids like but that can easily be streamed and downloaded elsewhere. So what good are these CDs for anyway? God bless ‘em, though, they keep releasing them even though nowadays I only about know about two songs on each disc.

Riding some vague wave of nostalgia, the 20th anniversary is upon us and the corporate music gods have released another selection in the NOW! series. The only difference is that this is supposed to be some of the best songs of the last 20 years. Well, guess what? It’s not! It’s a selection of material from 2007 to the present with three songs from 2001 and the past. You’ve got your Beyoncé, Pink, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga – all the pop divas that we’ve heard before. You’ve even got two (!) country songs from Keith Urban and Luke Bryan. There’s no rap or R&B to be found, but don’t worry, you get one song from Lenny Kravitz and one song from Fall Out Boy that isn’t “Sugar, We’re Going Down.” This is a tease to see whether there’s anybody out there that will still buy or stream this thing.

Taking a look at the playlist, there was one song I like (Calvin Harris’ “Feel So Close”) and I had completely forgotten about that damn EDM song. That’s the power of looking at a NOW! disc: you see a song you forgot about, listen to it and nostalgia hits you.

While this is far from representing the best of NOW! from the last 20 years, it does bring a tear to your eye when you realize how utterly awful most popular music is these days and makes you long for a time when things were simple and popular music was something that everybody sort of agreed on.

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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