Now That's What I Call Music Volume 2

Various Artists

Virgin Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/12/2000

The original release of Now That's What I Call Music might have been a new concept to some people (except in Britain, where such collections of popular songs have been commonplace for some time), but as fellow reviewer Mike Ehret reminded me, it was something the contemporary Christian music scene had been doing for a few years with their Wow collections. Thanks, Mike, I had forgotten about that.

Mike said in his e-mail, though, that it has gotten to a point where these compilations are being beaten to death. The same could be said of Now That's What I Call Music 2my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 (hereafter called Now 2), a bland follow-up to the first disc and one which threatened to send the series into an uncontrollable tailspin.

One saving grace for the disc is that, of the 18 selections, only three are from artists who were on the original Now disc - Spice Girls ("Goodbye"), Everclear ("Father Of Mine") and Backstreet Boys ("I'll Never Break Your Heart"). What's depressing is that none of these tracks are anything special, and it's almost like they make token appearances. (As much as I like Backstreet Boys, do I really need to hear from them on every volume? Keep reading for the reviews of the remaining volumes; you'll see what I mean.)

There are some wonderful selections on Now 2, though, that dare to hold out the hope of promise for the disc in general. Appearances from Sheryl Crow ("My Favorite Mistake"), Fatboy Slim ("Praise You"), Cake ("Never There") and 98° ("Because Of You") all impress, and are definite highlights. Even the appearance from rapper Jay-Z ("Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)") is enjoyable, as is "Take Me There" by Blackstreet & Mya featuring Ma$e & Blinky Blink (probably because I've heard it so many times watching The Rugrats Movie with the four-year-old).

Unfortunately, the bulk of Now 2 is pretty much fomulatic. It's not surprising to hear appearances by Britney Spears ("...Baby One More Time"), Garbage ("I Think I'm Paranoid") or U2 ("Sweetest Thing"), but they fail to really impress. What's discouraging is the inclusion of Sublime's "What I Got" -- a song which was a hit years before this compilation was put together. Amidst the other selections, this sounds like an antique.

Now 2 almost seemed like it was a rushed product, meant to capitalize on the popularity of the original disc. Because it was so haphazard, it could well have killed the series -- who would be willing to give future volumes the benefit of the doubt if they've been burned once? Fortunately, there are enough decent performances on this one that save the disc -- but this one is definitely not a must-own.

Rating: C-

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Virgin Records, and is used for informational purposes only.