Volume 10 of our NOW That’s What I Call a History series continues…are you ready?
We’ve entered the double-digits on our musical journey! But, has “NOW That’s What I Call Music! 10” ushered in a NOW renaissance, or has it brought about the dark ages? Let’s find out!
“NOW That’s What I Call Music! 10” hit store shelves on July 23, 2002. Even in light of tragic national events, NOW kept pushing out the hits. This album is a bit of mixed bag, having highs and lows unlike its most recent predecessor. It features tracks such as “Underneath Your Clothes” by Shakira, “We Are All Made of Stars” by Moby, and another track from the late Aaliyah titled “More Than a Woman.” I had heard none of these tracks before entering the review – actually, I’d heard very few tracks on the whole album before this review. So, let’s begin exploring my giant musical blind spot.
Britney Spears’ “Overprotected (The Darkchild Remix)” kicks off “NOW 10” and it’s quite an improvement over the low-tempo, odd sounding Pink track from the previous entry. That doesn’t mean the song is great. The problem lies in the fact that the remix has an over-produced feel in addition to Britney’s lyrics. They obviously want to force-feed you the fact that Britney is no longer the pop princess she once was, and it wears quite thin. However, while the song isn’t particularly good, it does provide a moderately strong starting point for the rest of the album.
There were more than a couple of songs that I found appealing, even though I’d never heard them. “Sugarhigh” by Jade Anderson was an oddly appealing pop-inspired love song that I listened to multiple times. Now, normally I find those types of songs aggravating, but there was something about Anderson’s light voice and the smooth sounds of the music that drew me in. It’s definitely a positive addition to the album.
The previously mentioned “We Are All Made of Stars” by Moby is another great track on “NOW 10.” It’s a mostly techno track with a hypnotizing set of vocals laid on top. While I griped about the over-produced nature of Britney’s song, this song feels like it used the electronic instruments just right. It’s a great wind-down tune that doesn’t entirely put you to sleep. I could easily see it stacking up against some of the EDM tunes that are hitting the market today.
I couldn’t get away without mentioning Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles.” This song is totally my jam for this particular NOW. I don’t know a single person who can’t recognize the iconic, melodic piano that opens and laces the track. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t immediately pep up and begin to sing along (or try to sing along if they don’t know the words for some reason) when this song hits the speakers. It’s a magical track that is completely hard to resist.
The whole album is not sunshine and rainbows. In particular, the first half tends to be weaker than the second, but some of the worst offenders come in the second half. Celine Dion’s “A New Day Has Come” pretty much sounds like ceramic plates getting scraped to death by a silverware tornado. Her singing is fine, but the backing music sounds like something pulled from “Elevator Music, vol. 1.”
Last, I have to give an obligatory negative shout-out to “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback. I don’t particularly think the song is awful, but the Internet does, and I have to respect tradition. This rock-based track with its gravelly vocals is hard to listen to for extended periods, but its use of real instruments is kind of refreshing to finish the album.
Overall, “NOW 10” has a higher energy level than “NOW 9,” but suffers from a lack of truly stand out songs. Even the “good” tracks on the album are mediocre when taken out of the context of this list. The terrible songs that make up the rest of the album raise those songs to acceptable status. I would rate this NOW a tad higher than “NOW 9,” but you probably still shouldn’t go out and buy this one immediately.
Something fun to note if you look at the track list at the end: there is no Backstreet Boys track. That’s right; their streak has been broken at nine in a row. I can’t remember them having a comeback of any kind either, so I think this is the end for them. Thanks for reading!
For those who are just oh-so-curious about the rest of this album, here’s the full track listing for “NOW That’s What I Call Music! 10”:
1. “Overprotected” (The Darkchild Remix) by Britney Spears
2. “Can’t Get You out of My Head” by Kylie Minogue
3. “Escape” by Enrique Iglesias
4. “I’ve Got You” by Marc Anthony
5. “Girlfriend” (The Neptunes Remix) by *NSYNC featuring Nelly
6. “I’m Gonna Be Alright” (Trackmasters Remix) by Jennifer Lopez featuring Nas
7. “Don’t Say Goodbye” by Paulina Rubio
8. “Move It Like This” by Baha Men
9. “More Than a Woman” by Aaliyah
10. “Uh Huh” by B2K
11. “Always on Time” by Ja Rule featuring Ashanti
12. “Sugarhigh” by Jade Anderson
13. “halfcrazy” by musiq
14. “Underneath Your Clothes” by Shakira
15. “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton
16. “A New Day Has Come” by Celine Dion
17. “We Are All Made of Stars” by Moby
18. “First Date” by blink-182
19. “Stillness of Heart” by Lenny Kravitz
20. “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback
Have you listened to the latest episode of the podcast? It’s all about 90’s rap and hip hop! Click here to listen!