Now 51
by Various Artists, pop (2002)
EMI, ASIN B00006373E


Another half a year, another Now compilation. Now 51 compiles the best of late 2001 and early 2002 British chart hits. As to be expected, it's a mixed bag of teenybopper acts to pure dance to rock to soul. The casual pop fan who is ashamed to be caught dead swaying his butt to Steps will find this a perfect record to listen to in shame. You know, when the neighbors complain, blame it on the ten-year old sister, that sort of thing?

Who else will blast Steps' cheesy but fun Words Are Not Enough at full volume? Who else will care that this is Steps' last single as a group? They're no ABBA, but they are... well, Steps. And certainly it isn't me who think that Victoria Beckham's A Mind Of Its Own pure perfection right down to the lovely chorus. The Carebears on crack anthem that is Allstars' remake of Bucks Fizz's The Land Of Make Believe - no, it's not me singing along, it's my non-existent ten year old sister.

But I will come clean and I say I love Aaliyah's More Than A Woman to bits. The chorus is so catchy and hey, it's a great singalong tune. "Moredanawoman moredanaluvva more, more, more!" There's nothing better to prove one's cool than to love Sophie Ellis Baxtor's Murder On The Dancefloor and Daniel Bedingfield's glorious slice of acid Gotta Get Through This. Christina Milan, Mary J Blige, and Blue provide the hip R&B moment - and yes, Blue is cool, people. I want to Fly By with them and corrupt innocent-looking Lee. Ahem.

But it's not all sun and fun in Now 51. The repulsively smug Robbie Williams massacres Something Stupid and Nicole Kidman finishes the gruesome display of bad taste with her paper thin vocals. Geri Halliwell's single is as bullimic as her skeletal self, and Calling is indeed a cry for mercy. With the kiddie chorus in the background, R Kelly proves that he is indeed The World's Greatest statutory rapist with a track that sounds exactly like too many of his pap anthems (Gotham City, etc). Ja Rule and Ashanti are so obviously the flava of the month with the catchy but throwaway Always On Time.

Thank goodness for Ali G and Shaggy's lewd, obscene, and hysterical Me Julie, and Afroman wraps up the fun with his brand of novelty rap piece.

There are a total of 43 tracks here, and there are many tracks here that I haven't mentioned. Well, Now 51 is not bad a summer CD to have, but I must say it also has enough duds to put the gems in the pale. Still, hey, Ali G's Me Julie is worth the price of this compilation. That line about Destiny's Child is just hilarious!

Rating: 80


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