Review: Various Artists, ‘Now 47’


Ultimately Now 47 is a compilation…yep.  

Various Artists⎪ Now 47 ⎪ UMe ⎪⎪US Release Date: August 6, 2013

Assembling a compilation of pop hits should be easy and painless, but the problem is that usually by the time given hits arrive on a compilation, they’ve come and passed.  Now 47 (yes, it’s really the 47th installment) runs into that problem sometimes.  There are some superb choices that are sizzling right now, and then there are some that have past their prime or have been superseded by the next artist’s respective single or by someone else.  Pop music only stays hot for a season and many times, the Now series is two steps behind.

I Love It” opens up, courtesy of Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX.  It’s a stomping, danceable pop number that definitely sets the tone and did work on the Billboard Hot 100.  It has been around for a minute, but it’s hard to knock it.  Similarly, “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake has been a staple at radio and continues to perform well on the charts.  It doesn’t hurt it was one of the bright moments from The 20/20 Experience either.  So far, so good.  If I have to play devil’s advocate though, JT seems to have moved on from the single now promoting his upcoming The 20/20 Experience 2.  Just saying.

Selena Gomez-20130703-86Should “#Beautiful” from Mariah Carey featuring Miguel appear? Eh… It was a moderate hit (peaked at number 15 on the Hot 100), but certainly had its share of skeptics and lacked the radio savvy of past Carey hits.  It’s hard to deny Mariah Carey given her elite status, but “#Beautiful”…puzzler is puzzling.  I won’t even mention the pointless twitter hashtag.  I’d love to protest the inclusion of Selena Gomez’s annoying “Come & Get It”, but since I’m supposed to be objective-subjective as a critic, I agree with the starlet’s inclusion, particularly given Gomez’s recent chart success.

Radioactive” is a brilliant choice of inclusion, even if Imagine Dragons’ anthem has been going and going for sometime.  To me, it is as timeless as what we find in pop music these days, so no rubs here… I still rock out to it.  “When I Was Your Man” is also timeless, but Bruno Mars has single “Treasure” going for him now, so it seem’s as if his former number one joined the compilation a bit late.  Labrinth’s “Beneath Your Beautiful” is a bit of an odd choice, but it does give listeners a new artist/song they may have not previously heard or been familiar with.  Emeli Sandé’s name as a guest on the track definitely should carry weight following her success as an artist with “Next To Me” as well as writing/co-writing songs for others.

Clarity” featuring Foxes is well-suited, particularly as Zedd’s profile continues to rise.  “I Need Your Love” featuring Ellie Goulding is fine as well, particularly given the popularity of electro-pop music as of late.  “The Other Side” didn’t match Jason DeRulo’s top-rate hits like “Whatcha Say” or “Ridin’ Solo”, but does represent sort of the predictable, electro-pop/dance sentiment.  That said, I don’t think it brings much new to the table nor makes me want to jump over to the other side…  And of course Ke$ha is thrown into the mix (“Crazy Kids” featuring Juicy J)… no comment. LOL.

Cups”, everybody’s favorite song from Pitch Perfect is a perfect fit given the popularity of the Anna Kendrick number.  “Safe and Sound” arrives without a hit from Capital Cities.  “Safe and Sound” is the album opener from Capital Cities’ debut album, In A Tidal Wave of Mystery.  I had never heard the song but had heard of it, and found myself allured by it’s magic upon finally listening to it. “Heart Attack” follows, though Demi Lovato is onto “Made in the U.S.A.”, so you might question its appearance.

Demi Lavato-RWP-01263522” is arguable given Reds bow back in 2012, though to Taylor Swift’s credit, it was released as a single just this year.  “Here’s To Never Growing Up” is a nice choice in my eyes, though it hasn’t yielded the past success that Avril Lavigne has been  accustomed to.  I was onboard when it first arrived, but maybe I’m in the minority.  The compilation closes with tracks deemed ‘NOW What’s Next!’.  This includes tracks from artists A Great Big World (“This Is The New Year”), Nikki Williams (“Glowing”), Midnight Red (“Take Me Home”), and Mkto (“Classic”).  My opinion? It gives newer/unknowns exposure, so I can’t criticize that.

Ultimately, Now 47 is a compilation… it has its great moments and also falls into the pitfalls of the compilation.  It gives a sampling of pop that has made deep dents in the chart as well as some questionable inclusions.  If you want a decent ‘mixtape’ of popular songs that cracked the top 40, then this Now (and all of the previous ones) is for you.  I do believe there are one too many electro-pop numbers, but it is the trend.

Verdict: ✰✰✰

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