Various Artists - The Now Years 1995-2005

2006-03-30 10:24

Featuring everyone from the re-risen (Queen) to the bedwetters (Coldplay) to the merely silly or recently birthed (Britney, Ronan, Will, Blue, Backstreet Boys, Atomic Kitten, t.A.T.u. Westlife, and Shaggy), this compilation is sure to be a hot seller for at least a week.

Marketed as a handy way to relive your musical memories, it might make you wish you could just "forget the past and move on with the future" (groan).

Disk 1 celebrates mainly the worst of the worst. The Queen track "Heaven for everyone" is about as distinctive as pie crust, and the rest doesn't make for a satisfying filler. Dido, Shania Twain and Jamelia are so much better than the average that hearing their overplayed hits rehashed is actually a relief.

Disk 2 isn't as bad. Rather than totally lame, it's merely a bit tired. Coldplay's "Trouble" makes its millionth compilation appearance. Nelly does "Hot in herre" (sic) and Black Eyed Peas offer the watered down version of the once risque hit, now renamed "Let's Get it Started". Then there's the coolly rude Kelis, and t.A.T.u., who are less interesting now that it's widely known that the underage schoolgirl lesbians thing was a marketing trick. Who'da thunk?

What you think of this second CD will depend mainly on how many other compilations you've had to listen to this year. If you've heard a couple, everything's overplayed to death, and the good songs are all by artists whose actual albums you should consider buying. But sadly, many of the tracks aren't the best the artist released in the last decade.

Also out now, from the same consortium, Now That's What I Call Music 41 which has a better track flow and also includes SA tracks, by the export friendly Arno Carstens and Watershed. It goes easy on the boy bands and the instant pop chicks by comparison to The Now Years.

And 2005's been a good year for quality pop from acts like Gorillaz, Robbie Williams, The Killers, Coldplay, KT Tunstall, Gem, The Chemical Brothers and yes, the unavoidable Black Eyed Peas (again). There seems to be hope that pop is expanding beyond its chinzy limits. So Now 41 wins best album (of the two)! The big deciding factor being that it's only half as long as The Now Years and therefore half as painful.

All in all? If you love what you're force fed by radio, then you may enjoy being fed it for longer. But at some point, surely anyone's going to get bored of hearing the same 40 songs over and over again? Buy it if you must, but you may well find yourself pulling one of these CDs out of your CD rack in a few years time and thinking: "Wow... pity these disks aren't re-recordable."

- Jean Barker

Does a double CD set summarising the best radio pop of the last 10 years sound like a good idea to you? It's the music compilation equivalent of ending war. There's just no way to do it on a mere 2CD set. But The Now Years 1995-2005 makes an unusually disastrous attempt.

Andriette 2005/12/13 7:53 AM
To each his own. While I am not in particular a fan of compilation CD's with their "Pop Songs of the Momement" this CD is morelistenable than all the other cover/dance CD's that hit the shops this time of year. Rather this CD than another badly renditioned version of Kylie Minogue or Bad Boys Blue at this year's New Years Eve party. Still I wouldn't buy it - can I still listen to it in 10 years time? Helicopter Girl - Vodoo Chic
Daantjie Badenhorst 2005/12/13 7:56 PM
Now that's what I call a farce! I am totally opposed to the compilation of current hits onto one album. The reason is that such compilations domiante the sales charts to such an extent that these charts lose their credibility. Only one original artist could reach the no. 1 position on the official SA album charts this year, because of rubbish such as this. The music industry sees it as a way of making lots of money, but all it does, is infuriate those who seriously follow the charts. In fact, they have turned the charts into a farce. I want to see the death of these compilations AT ONCE!!!!!!!! It has to be Confessions on a dance floor by Madonna
Kirsty Wilkins 2005/12/13 7:56 PM
The Now Years Do you get the feeling that you have listened to a favourite song so many times that you cannot bear to hear it again? Enough said. The songs were certainly popular for a period of time, and with good reason - most of the songs had something going for them to become that well-liked and listened to. But here is the drawback: they were overplayed. Think of Madonna's "Hung up" that was recently released. I once heard it played three times in one day - and I don't even have the CD. Twice on the radio and once played full ball in a shop. While I certainly like the song, I have heard it so many times since it was released that I am sick of hearing it! The same thing goes for the songs on this compilation! They are old, worn-out, over-played and tired. In addition, the songs were never "great" songs that last a lifetime - to me, a "great" song will be something like John Lennon's "Imagine" that was certainly not released between 1995 and 2005 but is still enjoyed today.
David Marks 2005/12/14 3:39 AM
Music is a Human Right! Right? Wrong! Big Brother rules the globe; the board-room monopoly money monsters control what you see, feel & taste. And you know what? If you don't fight it, you derserve it! You endorse pop idol abuse & then you complain when they fix your mix & passion? Too late! Music (not recorded slop) is supposed to be a human right, not a pop idol product or a commercial commodity. With no music education, roots, tradition & heritage & no freedom of choice - other than what the commercial record & broadcast industries feed you - don't complain! Listen if you're a Lover, or Play Live to Survive if you're a player! The only music you should be listening to until we get our act together, is live!
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.