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‘NOW 48′ Epitomizes Both the Pros and Cons of the ‘Compilation Album’

Brent Faulkner Brent Faulkner
11/14/2013 12:00am EST


Various Artists NOW That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 48 UMG ⎪⎪ US Release Date: November 11, 2013 

In some respects, the term ‘compilation’ is synonymous to a swear word.  Maybe it’s not quite as obscene as the f-word itself, but it’s at least worthy of a baby-curse word, LOL.  Why? Because compilations – particularly music compilations – seem to always be filled with flaws, period.  The main reason is not only the choice of song that makes the compilation versus those that miss the cut, but also because of timing.  Generally, I’m a firm believer that all compilations would be better if the songs included were just nearing that peak and were still considered ‘hot’ you might say.  Unfortunately, NOW That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 48, like former installments of the NOW series, doesn’t see my perspective obviously.

Katy PErry3-20131017-104Among smart inclusions on this particularly compilation include “Roar” (Katy Perry), “Treasure” (Bruno Mars), “Wake Me Up” (Avicii), “Applause” (Lady Gaga), and  “That’s My Kind of Night” (Luke Bryan).  The aforementioned numbers all seem to still have a ‘hotness’ and relevance and relevance about them.  While Lady Gaga’s “Applause” is lukewarm compared to her more risqué “Do What U Want” featuring R. Kelly, you can still see the logic of its inclusion.  “Roar” has truly been a beast (no pun intended), while all things Luke Bryan seem to be in.

Robin Thicke-BGO-002236Among more questionable inclusions on Now 48 are “Blurred Lines” (Robin Thicke), “Get Lucky” (Daft Punk), “We Can’t Stop” (Miley Cyrus), “Slow Down” (Selena Gomez), “Sail” (AWOLNATION), and “Brave” (Sara Bareilles).  Yes, there a some big name songs that were big time hits included within that list.  The problem is, many of these should’ve and could’ve been included on earlier compilations.  “Blurred Lines”, “Get Lucky”, “We Can’t Stop” and “Sail” all seem too late.  Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” is definitely late, but also an questionable inclusion when you look at the company it resides alongside.  Similarly, “Slow Down” by Selena Gomez seems out of place, particularly given that “Come & Get It” was the notable hit from a cooling off Stars Dance.

Other arguments could be made for and against Now 48 as well as the franchise as a whole.  I appreciate the fact that it does offer listeners with a slice of popular music.  However, as shown by my nitpicking, I think that the assembling of such a ‘slice’ could be even better executed.  No compilation will ever be perfect or tailor-made for every music listener, but couldn’t Now 48 come just a wee bit closer?

Verdict: ✰✰½

Filed under: Alternative, Country, Electronic, mini-reviews, Music, Pop, Pop Culture, R&B/Soul, Reviews, Rock, Urban Tagged: Awolnation, Bruno Mars, compilation albums, compilations, Luke Bryan, Miley Cyrus, music compilations, NOW 48, Now That's What I Call Music!, Sara Bareilles, Selena Gomez, Universal Music Group, Vol. 48
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