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Various Artists

NOW 4

(Universal)

The Now That’s What I Call Music (NOW) collection has become America’s biggest-selling multi-artist album series. The series debuted in the United States in 1998, after already garnering enormous international success over the past 15 years with its 40 volumes and a staggering 55 million records sold worldwide. That same success has carried forth in America with each of the previous U.S. releases, NOW 1, NOW 2 and NOW 3 having been certified multi-platinum while achieving top 10 status on the Billboard charts.


The most recent offering, NOW 4 has already made history having the dubious distinction of being the first non-soundtrack, multi-artist album to debut at number one on the Billboard pop charts. Like its predecessors, the collection features 18 recent and current hits from today’s biggest stars. And while the record doesn’t maintain the stylistic diversity of the first three volumes which featured an equal representation of pop, rock and R&B, it is jam-packed with enough teeny-pop hits to keep things hopping in dance clubs and roller rinks for some time (or a least until NOW 5 is released).


The record features previous NOW alums Britney Spears (“You Drive Me Crazy”), Backstreet Boys (“Larger Than Life”), Lenny Kravitz (“I Belong To You”), Hanson (“This Time Around”), Smashmouth (“Then The Morning Comes”) and blink-182 (“All The Small Things”). Number one hits by Savage Garden (“I Knew I Loved You”) and Aaliyah (“Try Again”) share valuable disc space with Top 10 artists like Marc Anthony (“I Need To Know”), Sonique (It Feels So Good”), Macy Gray (“I Try”) and Jennifer Lopez (“Waiting For Tonight”). Other artists include Eiffel 65, Joe, Montell Jordan, Ben Harper And The Innocent Criminals, Train and Mandy Moore.


If you are one of those whose hopes were that the NOW collections would just somehow fade away; then you best brace yourselves. The success of NOW 4 confirms that more volumes are forthcoming. A cause for celebration for teenagers, a nightmare for parents who will undoubtedly get an earful on a daily basis. After all, hits are meant to be played and played and played…..

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