NOW That's What I Call Music! 7 — Various Artists
Hits compilations never used to be cool, at least in the days when K-Tel Records used to hawk them shamelessly with those hyper-charged TV ads.
But that's all changed since the arrival of the “NOW” series of mega-sellers.
The latest edition is NOW 7, which is packed with 19 chart-toppers, an at times disarmingly eclectic blend of dance, pop, hip-hop, and rock 'n' roll. Where else but on a “NOW” album could one find Backstreet Boys, Mystikal, and Aerosmith side by side? This is the place, and for better or worse they're all here, along with the likes of 'N Sync (“This I Promise You”), Janet Jackson (“All For You”), and Eve, who teams with No Doubt's Gwen Stefani for “Let Me Blow Ya Mind.”
A lot of the pop songs, like Britney Spears's over-produced “Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know” and Backstreet Boys' “The Call,” are exceedingly light, but the hip-hop cuts kick the set up a notch or two, especially 3LW's “Playas Gon' Play” and Nelly's “Ride Wit Me.” As is typical in “NOW” compilations, things rock harder as the disc goes on, with Lifehouse's “Hanging By a Moment,” Aerosmith's “Jaded,” and American Hi-Fi's surging “Flavor of the Weak” bringing the disc to a rousing conclusion.