Now (US)
Now That's What I Call Music!


3.5
great

Review

by ZackSh33 USER (52 Reviews)
July 5th, 2016 | 97 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Yup, that's music.

The whole idea of a compilation album being sold in stores was certainly not a new idea in the United Kingdom, where the Now That’s What I Call Music! series began in 1983, so it is a bit surprising that it took fifteen years for the idea to spread over to the United States. When the NOW CDs started being released in 1998 in America, they began to sell extremely well, across generations. After all, now you didn’t have to waste eighteen dollars of your hard earned allowance money on an entire album after hearing one great song on the radio only to be disappointed by the rest of the songs anyways - all the songs you heard on the radio were in one place, on one CD. Volume 1 of the American NOW series, (or NOW 1 for short), was released in late October 1998. While most of us associate the NOW series with strictly pop radio hits, there’s a great number of alternative standbys on here that deserve recognition: (Fastball’s “The Way,” Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta,” Marcy Playground’s “Sex and Candy,” Lenny Kravitz’s “Fly Away”), as well as mainstream pop (Janet Jackson’s “Together Again,” the Spice Girls’ “Say You’ll Be There), and kitschy boy band hits, teen pop, and bonafide one hit wonders that exude the 90s with every note (the Backstreet Boys’ “As Long As You Love Me,” Hanson’s “MMMBop”, the “Zoot Suit Riot” by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies). Hell, this album is so eclectic and just so ‘nineties’ that even Radiohead’s “Karma Police” makes an appearance, right after Aqua’s “Barbie Girl,” which unless someone can tell me otherwise, has to be the strangest one-two punch of songs ever put back-to-back.

There are some songs that you probably haven’t even heard of, even if you grew up when NOW 1 was released (how many of you remember hearing “All My Life” by K-Ci & Jojo, Brian McKnight’s “Anytime,” or a song by someone named Imajin"). I certainly don’t, and guess what, these songs have not held up all that well and probably are not even worth your time. In trying to appeal to the masses, there’s a wealth of diverse material on here – both good and bad - at the end of the day, it can all be a bit off-putting, especially when this album is over an hour long. It really was never about the music with the NOW albums, the main reason for the NOW albums was money (shocking!), after all, now the record labels could potentially dip into people’s wallets twice – once for this collection of singles that you knew, and then, if you really fell in love with a song, you could still go out and by the whole album by that artist. While the NOW series has turned into mainly a popular purchase of the past (although physical copies still sell more copies than you would think), for many of us who grew up in the 90s and 00s, the American Now That’s What I Call Music compilation albums have become cultural touchstones and small slices of musical nostalgia, despite their intrinsically scatterbrained nature.



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user ratings (5)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
ZackSh33
July 5th 2016


648 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Feedback and criticism always welcome!



If you're in the mood to listen to these albums, some very nice person made a nearly complete Spotify playlist of the US NOWs 1-50:



http://open.spotify.com/user/cureforbedbugs/playlist/1LhOeUsdGVownmzJDoyu56

LotusFlower
July 5th 2016


12002 Comments


i must say, seeing Karma Police squished between Barbie Girl and I Will Buy You A New Life is quite hilarious.

DinosaurJones
July 5th 2016


6735 Comments


Now is when these albums should be coming out though. At the time when these compilations started coming out, you were still sick of every goddamn song on them.

Also, I had no idea Karma Police was on this one. Weird.

Digging: Swarms - Black Chapel Sun

ZackSh33
July 5th 2016


648 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Dinosaur Certainly was a surprise to hear it jammed in there. Someone at the label must've really liked OK Computer.



These albums still do come out every few months here in the US (NOW 59 is coming out soon). Still normally reach the Top 10 albums and sell around 50-70K copies in their first week. They more or less play like a Spotify playlist of top hits nowadays, though.

LotusFlower
July 5th 2016


12002 Comments


Im surprised they sell that well, usually they are just composed of the same 20 songs you heard on the radio 5 months prior. I guess theres a large enough customer base that doesnt know spotify exists yet.

Tunaboy45
July 5th 2016


15687 Comments


@CLOVER I remember my dad having a compilation containing There There, sandwiched in between How You Remind Me and Fix You

UK hit compilations are weird

wtferrothorn
Contributing Reviewer
July 5th 2016


5783 Comments


I see the demographic for these CDs as being the same as the one for those rip-off movies with titles very similar to blockbusters, such as Transmorphers.

ZackSh33
July 5th 2016


648 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm pretty sure a lot of their sales are parents who want something "cool and hip" to play in the car or at a kids party, or as a gift. Considering that these things used to sell upwards of hundreds of thousands of copies a week from like 1999-2001, 70K seems fairly reasonable. I'm pretty sure that figure also includes full digital album purchases from iTunes, Amazon etc.



@Tuna just found out the NOW albums in the UK are double discs and are released every 3 months or so. Insanity.

Tunaboy45
July 5th 2016


15687 Comments


You see them all time at the checkout in supermarkers, parents see two discs of hit songs for £10 as good value so they pick it up. Easy money for the record company.

LotusFlower
July 5th 2016


12002 Comments


Well I suppose

the real question is.. who is buying the kidz bop compilations?

ZackSh33
July 5th 2016


648 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"sheltered suburban moms"



http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/re0jq/what_the_actual_fuck_is_keeping_kidz_bop_alive



fixed, thanks clov





LotusFlower
July 5th 2016


12002 Comments


if your URL has an s in the http line it doesnt direct link for some reason

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
July 5th 2016


17121 Comments


Strange choice of review sir

ZackSh33
July 5th 2016


648 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sometimes you just gotta jam those 90s hits, what can I say?

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 5th 2016


55391 Comments


lol Radiohead are on this

Digging: Dad Thighs - The Ghosts That I Fear

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
July 5th 2016


20131 Comments


why did you review this haha

LotusFlower
July 5th 2016


12002 Comments


only 90s kids remember this record

ZackSh33
July 5th 2016


648 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@con boredom, mostly. I grew up with NOW 4 so don't be surprised if I throw another one of these out there.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
July 5th 2016


20131 Comments


haha fair enough.

ZackSh33
July 5th 2016


648 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Con you never had any experiences with any of these? I feel like all my friends have their own personal favorite



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