Now That's What I Call Party Hits!

Various Artists

Capitol, 2007

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


If this is the type of music that makes you popular, or “fly,” these days, then I guess I’m what they used to call a square. If these are the type of hits that get you invited to a party, then please, by all means, do us all a favor and consider me among the UNINVITED.

As a vain attempt to get caught up with today’s version of Top 40 radio, I volunteered for the dreaded job of reviewing the latest NOW compilation, one that is devoted exclusively to the biggest hip-hop hits from the last four years.

What I heard in the first 10 tracks was, as expected, appalling. All the “songs,” if you can even call them that, sound as though they were put together in five minutes using Pro-Tools technology and rush released to an audience of brain-dead teenagers -- kids who are just begging to be initiated into the big and bad world of street drugs and violence.

And don’t even get me started on those “performers” (notice I refuse to acknowledge them as true artists) who are responsible for this audible trash. Ever since Radio One had come into dominance over a decade ago, American listeners have been subjected to an endless stream of senseless rhymes set to monotonous slow and heavy beats. Proper grammar and song structure have gone out the window in favor of mass marketing the cheapest product to an uneducated and unsuspecting public. Along with it comes a sloppy style of dress and the promotion of rap stars to the level of celebrity that now virtually anyone can aspire to. Kudos to Bill Cosby for being one of the few black men courageous enough to speak out against this kind of entertainment, one that does nothing but dumb down his community.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Anyone who says rap and hip-hop music keeps people off the streets and away from violent crime are being naïve. We are making thugs and hardened criminals into instant role models. Isn’t this is a dangerous precedent to be setting? Like pro athletes, these rap stars are making big bucks hand over fist. Only instead of money going to charities and other important causes, they spend the money on THEMSELVES just to inflate their egos even more, throwing the biggest parties where drugs and alcohol can flow freely 24/7. As a result, our society is now a stone throw’s away from complete anarchy and chaos. Lawlessness has become the new goal and those in “the game” are inching ever closer to achieving it. It’s really no coincidence that the word “rehab” has become such a buzzword this year. We’re slipping further into the death spiral of addiction and we don’t even realize it when it’s happening. All in the name of what? Free speech?

Most of the other tunes that can be found within NOW Party Hits either rip off songs from the 80’s (Rihanna’s “SOS” samples Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”) or blends other genres of music into the mix, like reggae (Sean Paul) and Philly soul (Christina Aguilera). Sure, now I have Grammy favorites like Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” and Outkast’s “Hey Ya” to add to my collection, but I was never all that impressed by those overrated cuts either.

Out of place entirely, though a welcome change of scenery, are Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne and Kylie Minogue, a trio of equally loud, young and defiant ladies that could very well represent the old guard of pop radio. Their inclusion here is a wise decision, since they save this compilation from receiving a failing grade. Needless to say, such artists will be sadly missed as rap and hip hop continue to dominate in the decade to come, with no end to this sad trend in sight.

I guess if I were to die tomorrow, at least I wouldn’t be missing out on any great music coming out -- because there isn’t any, as this compilation proves.

Rating: D-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


WOW you must be fun to be around Mr.Smith. Although I don't disagree with a lot of what you said I was expecting a record review, not a social rant. Why don't you just write an editorial in a newspaper or even an entertainment magazine. I got nothing about the music on this album, only complements of a few artist that you obviously like. Nothing wrong with cheering for your favorites, but isn't this suppose to be a record review site, not church.

© 2007 Michael R. Smith 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 Capitol, and is used for informational purposes only.