We’ve made it to “NOW That’s What I Call Music! 5!” That’s almost a tenth of the way through, but so much music left to go!
The world was graced with “NOW 5” on November 14, 2000. This album is the first to feature a song recorded in the 00s. If we go by track order, the first “NOW” song that fits this bill is “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” by 98 Degrees. It’s an unfortunate song to hold the title, but it has the distinction nonetheless. By the way – kid me was nine at this time, but I digress; let’s get on with “NOW 5.”
The opening track is “It’s Gonna Be Me” by *NSYNC. This track is really indicative of *NYSNC’s poor quality. Timberlake’s strong vocals do not fit with the over-processed sound of the music behind it. While I was exposed to them when I was younger, I still remember finding Backstreet Boys much more palatable. That still stands today, though I’d listen to a solo Justin Timberlake over both of them at any time. Sadly, this is one “NOW” where the album follows the trend of the opening song.
Unfortunately, not a lot of the songs on the list are really enjoyable. Particular ones that can be completely skipped include “Case of the Ex” by Mýa, “Don’t Think I’m Not” by Kandi, and “I Think I’m in Love with You” by Jessica Simpson. Those are just three of the songs that can be skipped with no discussion. Others can be skipped, but they could benefit from some negative critiquing.
“Shake it Fast” by Mystikal is the number one song that I can remember from when I was younger. I remember it from other kids at school (with freer tastes in music) and from several films. The song is pretty inane. It’s harsh and repetitive with grating vocals and almost unbearable music backing. It’s the musical version of nails on a chalkboard.
Another song following the trend of terribleness is “I Wanna Be With You” by Mandy Moore. Continuing her tradition of bad songs on “NOW” albums, Moore’s track is a slow jam that could be featured on the Wikipedia page for “Generic” as an example of plain, dull music. The lyrics are sappy and straightforward, and the music is nothing but cookie-cutter sound-machine garbage. Moore really should’ve stuck to movies in this era.
Finally the last song of demerit comes from Aaron Carter. That’s right; it’s everyone’s favorite hit, “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It).” This song features sick 90s inspired beats and a thirteen-year-old that apparently has enough social contacts to summon a rocking party at a moment’s notice. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have the amount of friends that could drive themselves at thirteen to make a “party of the year” as happening as this one seemed to be. I remember hearing this song as a nine year old and thinking it was ridiculous then, too. Simply getting grounded for hosting a Vegas-style bash in my house? Yeah, right.
To be fair, not every song on the album is completely terrible.
Everclear re-emerges with “Wonderful,” a really good song with that distinct Everclear sound. Its slow, garage-band style is an excellent palate cleanser after all of the unfortunate songs that come before it, not to mention they’re welcome returning alumni to the “NOW” series.
Speaking of returning, I have to say that Backstreet Boys keep catching my attention each album. “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” is actually a pretty nice turn from the five-times-featured “NOW” group. It may be some form of brainwashing, but the more songs of theirs I listen to, the more I find myself wanting to hear more of them. Either that, or I really want to know how long their “NOW” streak continues.
Finally, a welcome standout song comes in the form of the funky beats of “Faded” by soulDecision. I never heard this song as a kid, but I’m pretty sure I would’ve enjoyed it. I do now, and while it may be comparable to some of the processed songs on the album with it, I can’t hate it.
Overall, “NOW 5” is probably the worst in the series. There’s not much merit to it, and it’s just generally bad. If you’re in the habit of buying these silly old things, I’d say only get “NOW 5” only for the sake of completion. I’m putting this one in the trash bin.
For those who enjoy torturing their ears, here’s the full, terrible track listing for “NOW That’s What I Call Music! 5”:
1. “It’s Gonna Be Me” by *NSYNC
2. “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” by 98 Degrees
3. “Jumpin’ Jumpin'” by Destiny’s Child
4. “Don’t Think I’m Not” by Kandi
5. “I Think I’m in Love with You” by Jessica Simpson
6. “Faded” by soulDecision
7. “Shake It Fast” by Mystikal[N 1]
8. “Case of the Ex” by Mýa
9. “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” by Aaron Carter
10. “Lucky” by Britney Spears
11. “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” by Backstreet Boys
12. “Incomplete” by Sisqó
13. “I Wanna Be with You” by Mandy Moore
14. “Doesn’t Really Matter” by Janet Jackson
15. “Back Here” by BBMak
16. “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” by Nine Days
17. “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down
18. “Wonderful” by Everclear
19. “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi
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