Remember the television commercials for Now That's What I Call Music!? The incredibly excited announcer? The hype for a CD that's essentially a slice of what's been playing on the radio incessantly for the past month? The badly animated transitions between clips from music videos? It seemed like a new CD came out every other week. Well, it seems like that's kind of true. Although the Now series only began in the US in 1998, they've put out at least two albums out every year since. What's more, the series is actually based off of a British series of CDs that's released 87 so far. Now, only 16 years after the series premiered in the United States, they've racked up 50 releases.
The albums may not hit platinum anymore, like they did back in the days when people still actually bought CDs, but the series has managed to top the Billboard Top 100 18 times in the meantime. So let's look back at the good days, shall we? Travel back in time to the first three releases of series, when butterfly clips constituted a good hairstyle and snap bracelets weren't yet banned...
Now That's What I Call Music! (1998)
The Ones Still Stuck in Your Head: Hanson, "Mmmbop"; Backstreet Boys, "As Long As You Love Me"; K-Ci & Jojo, "All My Life"; Aqua, "Barbie Girl"
The Ones You Forgot About: Fastball, "The Way"; All Saints, "Never Ever"; Tonic, "If Only You Could See"
The Outlier: Radiohead's "Karma Police." Not that it's a bad song, but the general consensus always seemed to be that mainstream radio forgot about Radiohead after "Creep."
Now That's What I Call Music! II (1999)
The Ones Still Stuck in Your Head: Britney Spears, "...Baby One More Time"; Fatboy Slim, "Praise You"; Semisonic, "Closing Time"
The Ones You Forgot About: Blackstreet & Mya featuring Mase and Blinky Blink, "Take Me There"; Cake, "Never There"; R. Kelly, "When a Woman's Fed Up"
The Outlier: Baz Luhrmann, "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)". A song that's basically just the Moulin Rogue director doing a spoken word of the famous graduation speech, "Wear Sunscreen," over a minimalist '90s drumbeat. You know, your basic chart-topping stuff.
Now That's What I Call Music! 3 (1999)
The Ones Still Stuck in Your Head: Smashmouth, "All Star"; blink-182, "What's My Age Again?"; Enrique Iglesias, "Bailamos"
The Ones You Forgot About: Chante Moore, "Chante's Got a Man"; Oleander, "Why I'm Here"; Case, "Happily Ever After"; Ideal, "Get Gone"
The Outlier: All of the forgettable R&B. Does anyone remember Chante Moore, Case, or Ideal? How did they make the cut in a year that produced "Doo Wop (That Thing)" by Lauryn Hill and "No Scrubs" by TLC?
Now That's What I Call Music! 4 (2000)
The Ones Still Stuck in Your Head: Macy Gray, "I Try"; Eiffel 65, "Blue (Da Ba Dee)"; Aaliyah "Try Again"; Train, "Meet Virginia"
The Ones You Forgot About: Joe, "I Wanna Know"; Sonique, "It Feels So Good"
The Outlier: Montell Jordan, "Get it On Tonight." What happened to you, Montell Jordan? Everyone forgets everything made after "This is How We Do It," but this song is grooving. Where are you, Montell Jordan? The world needs your jams.
Images: Sony/Universal Music