If this was a yearly series, “NOW” would be eligible for a driver’s license!
Unfortunately – even though it’s the 16th entry – we’ve only covered 6 years worth of music, so let’s see how this entry performs.
“NOW That’s What I Call Music! 16” hit store shelves on July 27th, 2004. I was entering my teenage years and heading into the eighth grade while music was headed all over the place. “NOW 16” does a good job of reflecting this eclectic blend of popular music, featuring a fair balance of different genres. In this blend, I found a lot of surprises. There were more than a few songs I’d never heard that I ended up enjoying quite a bit and some more that I found more appealing after growing up. Regardless, let’s get into the deeper thoughts.
What would you guys do if I didn’t start with the opening track? “NOW 16” opens with “My Band” by D12, which apparently stands for The Dirty Dozen. I had no idea that Eminem was ever part of a larger music group. I also had no idea that D12 put out some pretty good rap. Obviously, the track heavily leans on Eminem’s particular rap style, which I am admittedly fond of, but the other rappers fit well with his high-pitched and fast-paced tone. I’d definitely be willing to put this into my music library.
Next up is Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” Now, normally I’m not one to give positive words to a song that had a ton of radio play, but I hadn’t heard this song in a long time and it’s still super catchy. I remember this song being on the radio near-constantly when it first hit the airwaves, but I think it was just a victim of overplay originally. It’s upbeat and fun. Given some breaks in between each listen, I feel like this song would be a nice little addition to some kind of part playlist. Just don’t put it in 12 times in a row.
A JustUs Geeks’ favorite, Petey Pablo, makes another “NOW” appearance with his track “Freek-A-Leek.” This track is a well-done blend of rap and R&B. The music is reminiscent of the slow jams of a romantic, sensual R&B ballad, but the rap-style lyrics hardly fit that aesthetic. It has a really good beat and tries to curb some of the repetitious nature prominent in this era’s rap songs. Plus, it’s Petey Pablo. His two hits are the best.
Later in the album, we get a few more positive songs. “Meant to Live” by Switchfoot is a pretty good, heavy-sounding rock song. It’s a little slower than I usually like, but the clean vocals combined with the hard-hitting music makes for a rather enjoyable slow song. “Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys lightens up the mood with a bright, clean tune. It’s upbeat and didn’t really suffer from the massive radio over-play that some of the other tracks on this album did.
“NOW That’s What I Call Music! 16” isn’t completely without its faults, though. The album loses some steam in the middle with off-putting tracks like “One Call Away” by Chingy featuring J. Weav. Britney Spears returns again, but after the spectacular “Toxic” her song “Everytime” just fails to hit its mark. The opening lyric “Notice me” sums up her career at this point, with Spears just grasping for any attention. Jessica Simpson has a song on this one, too. It’s that horrible cover of “Take My Breath Away” that she did. That’s all I need to say.
I would put “NOW That’s What I Call Music! 16” soundly in the “not bad” bucket. While it’s definitely not as strong as some of its predecessors and has a ton of over-played tracks, it’s a good mix of sound with some genuinely enjoyable songs thrown in. It contains a few songs that I would consider “obscure,” but they’re mostly pleasant surprises. It does, however, have Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman” on it. Seriously, who let that woman into a studio to record a song? If another “NOW” has her on it, I might just have to quit.
Before you check out this album, do yourself a favor and click on this picture:
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What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Go give “NOW 16” a listen at the very least. It’s a pretty good one.
For those who want to explore the full album, here’s the complete track listing for “NOW That’s What I Call Music! 16”:
1. “My Band” by D12
2. “Hey Ya!” by Outkast
3. “Naughty Girl” by Beyoncé
4. “Move Ya Body” by Nina Sky featuring Jabba
5. “Dip It Low” by Christina Milian
6. “Hey Mama” by The Black Eyed Peas
7. “Dude” by Beenie Man featuring Ms. Thing
8. “Freek-a-Leek” by Petey Pablo
9. “Slow Motion” by Juvenile featuring Soulja Slim
10. “Leave (Get Out)” by JoJo
11. “One Call Away” by Chingy featuring J. Weav
12. “Everytime” by Britney Spears
13. “Take My Breath Away” by Jessica Simpson
14. “The Reason” by Hoobastank
15. “Where Are We Runnin’?” by Lenny Kravitz
16. “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard
17. “Just Like You” by Three Days Grace
18. “Meant to Live” by Switchfoot
19. “Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys
20. “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson