Various Artists • Now 51 • Legacy • US Release Date: August 5, 2014
Breaking News: Now 51 may have actually gotten the contemporary music compilation, right. Yes, it’s shocking, but Now 51 may be the ‘breakthrough’ for the ever-popular series in recent times. No, Now 51 is not perfect – there are still a couple of oddities– but the good seems to outweigh the bad.
First, let’s start with the good. Big time hits from Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, and Magic! all make the cut. Had “Problem,” “Fancy,” or “Rude” been excluded, Now 51 would have definitely suffered, period. Additionally, other popular joints from 5 Seconds of Summer (“She Looks So Perfect”), Idina Menzel (“Let It Go”), and Paramore (“Ain’t It Fun”) also fill in spots and are worthwhile by all means.
Also, some other terrific inclusions of tracks continually gaining in popularity, including Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” Sia’s “Chandelier,” and Kongos’ “Come With Me Now.” Smith and Sia’s tracks both currently reside in the top 10 and have been growing in popularity, something that can’t be said of some tracks on Now compilations.
The bad cons (for a lack of better word) from Now 51 – well’s there’s nothing horrid per se. Katy Perry’s “Birthday” isn’t quite a homerun as far as its popularity compared to other singles from the artists during her Prism period. Still, she is Katy Perry. The inclusion of Pitbull’s “Wild Wild Love,” featuring G.R.L., is more puzzling, considering its modest peak at #30 on the Hot 100 – Pit has had bigger hits. Again, you might argue his ‘hits’ status.
All in all though, there isn’t near the room to complain about Now 51. Again, it’s no masterpiece, but this is easily one of the better-constructed volumes of the series. Kudos.
Favorites (Best Choices): “Problem,” “Fancy,” “Rude,” “Stay With Me,” “She Looks So Perfect,” “Chandelier”