Various - Now Dance
Now Dance promises “41 of the very coolest, current dance tracks”. The definition of dance here is varied, but, unfortunately, so is the quality.
CD1 focuses on “urban”, with the occasional anomaly. Kelis’ Milkshake, already sounding like a classic, and Beenie Man’s strangely infectious Dude should be enough to get the masses bumping and grinding. Basement Jaxx’s Good Luck and Jamelia’s Thank You display an admirable level of classy defiance. Angel City’s Love Me Right is undoubtedly catchy (although would have sounded dated ten years ago), and Oakenfold’s mix of Rock Your Body is laidback and funky.
Mixes by Kurtis Mantronik and Bimbo Jones, of Atomic Kitten and Liberty X respectively, fare less well, while Room 5's Music & You is a too obvious re-run of previous hit Make Luv. One could conceivably argue the merits of the featured tracks by Boogie Pimps, Kylie Minogue and Jamieson, but much of the rest of CD1 is so bland as to barely register.
CD2 concentrates on trance and house. Whatever you think of the original track, Audiolush’s mix of Take Me To The Clouds Above, with the addition of clumsy synth stabs, does it few favours. Ultrabeat’s Feelin’ Fine is cheese incarnate, although - bless them - they’ve obviously aimed for the most uplifting tune ever.
However, these look like models of sophistication next to an astoundingly bad middle section. Starting with Lasgo's Surrender and ending with Perfect Phase's Blow Your Horny Horns, it’s plagued by awful cover versions, flat vocals, and songs no doubt cobbled together in the space of five minutes. One might have expected things to pick up with Paul van Dyk, but his inclusion is just as by-numbers, and, to make matters worse, the singer he’s recruited sounds like Daniel Beddingfield. Despina Vandi’s Arabic-influenced Gia was presumably added for variation - but it’s still crap! - and Blow Your Horny Horns is every bit as bad and cliched as the title suggests. If you haven’t heard any of these tracks, then, frankly, you ought to be grateful.
It’s not all bad, though. Despite the title, Motorcycle’s As The Rush Comes is atmospheric and unusually downbeat for the most part. Ferry Corsten’s Rock Your Body Rock is, er, raucous, while Armin van Buuren’s Burned With Desire is distinguished by its pretty vocals. The final section (track 15 onwards) is generally very good. Agreeably old-fashioned house rears its head in the form of Jaydee’s Plastic Dreams. It’s a vibe continued with the Audio Bullys take on Groove Armada’s But I Feel Good, and the diva vocals on Kujay Dada’s Young Hearts. Tube & Berger’s Straight Ahead has some addictive bleeps, plus the added bonus of Chrissie Hynde’s voice. Moby fans might have a casual interest in Seraphim Suite’s Heart, based as it is round In My Heart from 18. CD2 ends on a high point, with The Chemical Brothers taking Kylie’s Slow for an interesting ride.
Now Dance is hard to recommend, being made up mostly of typical chat fodder. Although some of this is good, too high a percentage is bland or just plain terrible, and, for the serious buyer, there’s little in the way of rare material to compensate.