Various - Now That's What I Call Music 57
In an industry that seems intent on warring with its consumers, albeit through pricing or the prevention of file-sharing, the Now That’s What I Call Music series of compilations presents genuine real value, and the fact that it has reached its fifty-seventh volume is enough evidence of its continuing popularity. Considering CD singles now predominantly carry with them the A-side and a sole b-side, usually for a price of two pounds, a compilation that contains numerous number-one singles spread over two discs for around six times the price of one single sounds a much more sensible approach, and it’s no surprise that single sails are falling in comparison to rising album sales.
The initial problem with the Now series is that whilst it does contain literally something for everybody on the forty-plus tracks on offer, it will naturally always contain tracks that individuals will choose to ignore. Take for instance Now 57, which manages to assemble Scottish art-rocker’s Franz Ferdinand’s hit Take Me Out followed by Fame Academy-loser Alastair Griffin’s awful Bring It On, which is then followed by the Sugababes. The Now series clearly thrives on being a collection that revolves around quantity as opposed to cohesive quality, but they don’t care and neither do the kids that buy them. As a throwaway compilation designed to only operate in a stereo for around three months or so, Now 57 is completely critic-proof. If you like the songs, you will buy it, and if you don’t like the songs, you can happily ignore it.
Thankfully, most “chart” genres are covered. We start off with dance/pop, ranging from Britney to Kelis and end up with karaoke pop with Michelle McManus, via the indie-pop route of Keane and Snow Patrol. The White Stripes’ Fell In Love With A Girl charted lower than Joss Stone’s r’n’b gender-reversed cover; hence Stone is the only version featured on a Now compilation and the inclusion of bland jazzman Jamie Cullum is the ultimate play-it-safe indication. Still, you know what you get with Now 57, so a review is ultimately pointless other than to advertise the variety of tracks on offer. Still, it will be funny in twenty years when Now collectors will look back and wonder if it was a mistake that Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre featured on two Now compilations.