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Now That’s What I Call Music’ Recap

Kevin Noonan | Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday’s recap of “Now That’s What I Call Music!” brought us up to the turn of the millennium. That time covers 47 editions between the United States and the United Kingdom, beginning in 1983 in the U.K. and 1998 in the U.S.

Today, we take a look at the 2000s and the 2010s. In the spirit of “We won the Revolutionary War – How about them apples?” the focus will be on the American releases, of which there are now 44.

“Now That’s What I Call Music!” – the matchmaker.

Y2K came and went, the world didn’t end (December 21, 2012, baby, I can feel it this time) and “Now Music!” just kept on rolling. But in their first American release in the 2000s (fourth edition), they took a step further – featuring both Jennifer Lopez, or “J-Lo” as the kids call her, and Marc Anthony, or “Him? Really?” as I call him. It was clearly a bonding moment (libel note: it was likely not a bonding moment), as the two began dating a short time following and married in 2004.

Creed. Wait, Creed? Creed.

Vol. 6 in 2001 features Creed’s all-time classic, “Arms Wide Open.” In addition to being a perennial contender for the Grammys for “Greatest Song Ever” and “Song Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry,” the song manages to steal the show from the enduring family-friendly and morally upstanding hit, Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me.”

Oof, Mandy Moore.

Mandy Moore makes her fourth appearance in the 2000s on the eighth volume, in 2001. These things are clearly not predictors of future success. Judging by her recurring role on “Entourage,” in which she played herself, her career didn’t exactly pan out like she expected (See: washed up actors who play themselves on “Entourage” in more just a cameo).

Speaking of people who must have an uncle or cousin involved as an exec on these things…

Lenny Kravitz keeps popping up throughout the early 2000s. In the ninth volume, in 2002, it’s with his classic hit, “Dig In.” It got all the way up to No. 72 on the Netherlands charts.

“Now 10”: The Empire (of terrible music) Strikes Back

In 2002, “Now” hit its tenth edition in the U.S. Nickelback gets its first appearance, Lenny Kravitz is back again, Moby and Celine Dion got on there somehow and the Baha Men are featured with a song that isn’t “Who Let the Dogs Out.” But wait, there’s hope “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton. I forgive you, “Now 10.”

I’ll take “Songs I Listen to While Sad or Doing Homework” for 500.

Redundant, I know. “Now 13” (2003) features two of the all-time great homework/alone-time songs in “Big Yellow Taxi” by the Counting Crows and “Clocks” by Coldplay. It also features Natasha Bedingfield’s brother, who apparently is a real person and does music and stuff.

The source of all bullying for a very specific subgroup of girls.

In what hopefully led to a rapid decline in the number of children named Stacy, Fountains of Wayne’s single “Stacy’s Mom,” the video for which stars Rachel Hunter, is featured on “Now 14,” in 2003. The album tries to sink itself with tracks from both Nickelback and Three Doors Down, but Chingy’s “Right Thurr” and Good Charlotte’s “Boys and Girls” save the day.

Eminem finally gets some validation.

It takes until “Now 16” in 2004 for Eminem to break through into the vaunted track list of a “Now Music” album, but he finally makes it through his Detroit rap group D12’s single, “My Band.” Also on Vol. 16 – JoJo, who I totally forgot about. Sixth grade was forever ago.

Ray J was famous before Kim Kardashian, apparently.

Ray J pops up on “Now 21,” in 2006, with his single “One Wish.” No worthy joke here could be printed, so let’s just skip it. Ironically, Christian rocker Relient K is on the same album.

Ahh…Chris Brown and Rihanna.

Vol. 22 (also 2006) features, for the second edition in a row, both Chris Brown and Rihanna. Hindsight is 20/20, and in hindsight that was probably a bad decision. Also, fun fact, Chris Brown and Rihanna are reportedly back together again. Maybe hindsight isn’t 20/20.

Oh my goodness. Fergie, go away.

Fergie shows up as a solo artist on three straight releases, culminating in “Now 27” (2008) with her single “Clumsy.” I’m getting a flashback migraine just thinking about her solo career. Also on “Now 27” is one of the first instances of “Huh, this Taylor Swift chick might be a little nuts,” with Taylor Swift’s single “Teardrops on My Guitar.”

I wonder if Lady Gaga and Katy Perry hang out and do stuff together.

“Now 27,” in 2009, featured then newly-up-and-coming artists Lady Gaga and Katy Perry with their respective hits “Just Dance” and “Thinking of You.” I bet they shop at the same dress store. I bet it’s called “Crazy, Edible Arrangements for Attention Seekers Ltd.” Also on “Now 27” are “American Idol” contestants David Cook and David Archuleta. Haha.

Look how far we’ve come.

The latest American volume, “Now 44,” features Chris Brown not once but twice, which is of course disappointing. Additionally, it lists a Justin Bieber single, “As Long As You Love Me,” which is an eye-roll in and of itself, but the song features legitimate rapper and G.O.O.D. Music collaborator Big Sean. Come on, Big Sean. Self-respect, man. Otherwise, thanks to “Gagnam Style,” it’s not wholly unenjoyable. Which, after some reflection, is the motto of these things in general, I think.

Contact Kevin Noonan at [email protected]

 The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.