NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 16 [US] review

Author’s note: This blog post was originally made as part of the author’s final requirement for the MMS 142 (Internet Technologies) course, namely, a website creation using content management system (CMS). The topic he chose is making reviews of music albums.

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Album details

Year of release: 2004

Genre: Top 40

Record label: Universal Music Group

No. of tracks: 20

How I got it

This “vintage” NOW album, which was originally released around the time I was in second grade (!), was my first-ever purchase on ebay. It was sold at a very dirt cheap price due to its age, as well as it was in a used condition, specifically classified as “very good”. I bought it from a Cainta-based online outlet called Kantato (as in “kanta” + “ito”); as such, my payment to the seller was only made via bank deposit. Unfortunately, the shipment was held back until after the All Saints’ and Souls’ holidays were over, as I made the payment the Friday before the long weekend.

As the record plays

Being released in the early-to-mid-noughties (2000s) era, I was thinking that this particular volume of the US NOW series would be quite mediocre, and its purpose is just to fill up my NOW collection that needs growing badly. But alas, upon listening to the album in full, I was actually amazed. A combination of the tracks that I already know plus tracks I haven’t heard before, especially the rock ones – they do the trick for me!

D12’s “My Band”, the opening track, was a song that I became aware of after it was featured on one of the older videos of YouTube celebrity Ryan Higa, in which he mimed a selection of songs in celebration of having his braces removed. It’s the last song in that viral video, namely the “my salsa…” part.

The first half of the album is dominated by R&B-oriented pop and hip-hop tracks, including OutKast’s “Hey Ya!” and Beyoncé’s “Naughty Girl”, which I believe were indeed the summer beats of 2004. I might as well include a special citation to the song “Dip It Low” by Christina Milian, after listening to it for the first time, which indeed included quite a summer-y vibe.

Meanwhile, the song “Move Ya Body” by Nina Sky always reminds me of the reggaeton song “Dale Candela”, best known here in the Philippines for being associated with actor Gerald Anderson, fresh from his Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition 1 stint.

It boggles my mind somehow that the compilers placed JoJo’s “Leave (Get Out)”, a teen pop track, in between the R&B/hip-hop tracks “Slow Motion” by Juvenile & Soulja Slim, and “One Call Away” by Chingy & J. Weav. I was thinking, shouldn’t JoJo be placed after Chingy and before Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson?

Speaking of Simpson, I’m afraid her cover of Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” of Top Gun fame didn’t do justice to the song, in addition to her own previous numbers such as “I Think I’m In Love with You”, and unfortunately is the weakest song in this 20-track bunch.

The last few tracks of the album was the biggest surprise for me that left me in awe. Besides Hoobastank’s “The Reason” which was definitely a big rock hit during that year, and therefore I already knew of before my routine NOW purchases, tracks 15-18 were quite the highlights, too, and I pretty much enjoy them, owing to a fresh listening experience – i.e. I never heard of them before getting the CD.

The tracks of Lenny Kravitz (“Where Are We Runnin’?”), Yellowcard (“Ocean Avenue”), and Switchfoot (“Meant to Live”) were very good placements in the rock music lot of the album, and surprisingly, Three Days Grace as well, with the track “Just Like You”, from their self-titled 2003 album. I have initially known Three Days Grace on the wrestling video game WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007, as two songs from their “One-X” (2006) album, “Animal I Have Become” and “Riot”, were featured in that game.

The final two tracks are as follows: “Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys, who, judging by the band’s name, I initially thought were Latino musicians, as well as country-sounding upon first listening to the song, before finding out they were a rock (!) band; and “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson, the only country song among the bunch, which the NOW team somehow love to put at the end of the CD. I wonder why.

Track-by-track verdict

  1. D12 – “My Band” (3/5)
  2. OutKast – “Hey Ya!” (4/5)
  3. Beyoncé – “Naughty Girl” (5/5)
  4. Nina Sky feat. Jabba – “Move Ya Body” (3/5)
  5. Christina Milian – “Dip It Low” (4/5)
  6. The Black Eyed Peas – “Hey Mama” (2/5)
  7. Beenie Man feat. Ms. Thing – “Dude” (2/5)
  8. Petey Pablo – “Freek-a-Leek” (1/5)
  9. Juvenile feat. Soulja Slim – “Slow Motion” (3/5)
  10. JoJo – “Leave (Get Out)” (5/5)
  11. Chingy feat. J. Weav – “One Call Away” (3/5)
  12. Britney Spears – “Everytime” (5/5)
  13. Jessica Simpson – “Take My Breath Away” (1/5)
  14. Hoobastank – “The Reason” (5/5)
  15. Lenny Kravitz – “Where Are We Runnin’?” (4/5)
  16. Yellowcard – “Ocean Avenue” (4/5)
  17. Three Days Grace – “Just Like You” (4/5)
  18. Switchfoot – “Meant to Live” (4/5)
  19. Los Lonely Boys – “Heaven” (3/5)
  20. Gretchen Wilson – “Redneck Woman” (3/5)

Average of ratings: 3.40/5.00

Final words

Definitely not one of my favourite ones, with the only consolation being the tracks I know before purchasing this album, as well as my newfound guilty pleasure of the rock tracks chosen for this album. I’m just quite thankful that there is a Pinoy seller that has any NOW album in their stock, and with a happy and smooth transaction, the album will remain very valuable, for it was my first experience with online shopping, much to the disappointment of my mother.

Ken

09/11/2016

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