Now That's What I Call Music Volume 3
Universal Music Group, 1999
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/19/2000
An admission: Had I first bought Now That's What I Call Music 2 and discovered it was the crater it is, I probably would never have dropped 12 bucks on Now That's What I Call Music 3 (hereafter referred to as Now 3). Fortunately, I happened to pick up volumes two, three and four in a mini-spending spree, so I had no idea how any of the discs were.
After Now 2 came in as a disappointment, the makers of this series knew they had to come up with something that would blow the doors off their hinges... or else this series would be as dead as the tofu burgers sitting on their plates at lunch. Fortuantely for them, Now 3 is a step back in the right direction, though some mistakes are still made.
The series still is depending on repeat visitors to its lineup - acts such as Lenny Kravitz ("American Woman" - sorry, I still prefer the Guess Who version), Garbage ("Special") and Fastball ("Out Of My Head") all make second appearances... and, good grief, the Backstreet Boys make their third appearance. I mean, yeah, they're popular and all, but come on, guys, there have to be other acts which deserve some compilation face time!
Problem number two is that the producers of these compilations don't seem to grasp the idea of spreading the genres out. There's so much top 40 banded together, followed by a block of r&b, followed by an alternative block, yada yada yada. I would have liked to have been presented with an album which scatters the performances out. That way, it wouldn't feel like a specific genre was being singled out at a time.
Track-wise, the producers seemed to wake up and smell the decaffienated coffee on Now 3. There still are a few landmines out there, like Fastball (why did they pick "Out Of My Head" over a song like "Fire Escape"?), Chanté Moore ("Chanté's Got A Man" - sorry, just couldn't get into this one) and Oleander ("Why I'm Here" - hate to say it, but their 15 minutes of fame appear to be up).
But there are some killer performances - and they outweigh the negatives. I may be complaining about hearing Backstreet Boys on three straight albums (and it won't get better next week), but "All I Have To Give" is so different sounding, you may not recognize them. (I actually thought it was R. Kelly singing at first.) Smash Mouth ("All Star"), Blink 182 ("What's My Age Again?"), Limp Bizkit ("Nookie"), Fatboy Slim ("The Rockafeller Skank") and Ideal ("Get Gone") all shine, leaving no doubt why these songs are being singled out.
Now 3 makes a nice recovery from the musical frisbee that Now 2 almost became... but the crowning moment (at least sales-wise) for the series would still be forthcoming. And next week, we'll look at Now 4.