Now That’s What I Call Music #42 (review)

Various Artists – Now That’s What I Call Music #42 (Universal / EMI / Sony) review

The Now series continues to deliver the goods – the latest hits, with Now That’s What I Call Music #42. Somehow, this collection manages to stay one step ahead of the game – as of this writing, it contains the #1 song in the country,  Australian sensation Gotye’s quirky “Somebody That I Used to Know,” the most psychedelic-sounding song to top the charts since the Sixties.

But, that’s just for starters.  The disc opens with another chart topper, Kelly Clarkson’s “me, myself and I” anthem “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).”  Her third number one single in the US, she’s also shown her versatility by being the only artist to top the pop, dance, adult contemporary and country charts (think about that for a moment…no one else has ever done that!).  Then, Flo Rida helped put the late Ms. Etta James back on the radio with  “Good Feeling,” which features a clever sample of her song “Something’s Got a Hold on Me.”

Now #42 also shows some trends emerging – there are no less than three DJ’s on this disc –  can there be two more hotter artists than French DJ David Guetta and Nicki Minaj ? They team together for the pulsating “Turn Me On.”  Another DJ, Scotsman Calvin Harris returns after helping out on Rihanna’s blockbuster “We Found Love,” to have a hit of his own with “Feel So Close.” The third record-spinner is Australian newcomer Havana Brown and her debut single “We Run the Night,” featuring rapper Pitbull.  Another “sign of the times” inclusion is Karmin, and their hit “Brokenhearted.” The duo first rose to prominence as a Youtube sensation for their covers of Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj songs.

While some things change, others stay the same.  There will always be a market for “boy bands,” and the latest export from Britain is One Direction, and their debut “What Makes You Beautiful,” which was also prominently featured in a a recent episode of Glee. Another chart mainstay, Madonna, returns with a song she debuted during the last Super Bowl (to much controversy) “Give Me All Your Luvin,” featuring Nicki Minaj and MIA.

One of the newest songs on the collection is “Turn Up the Music” from Chris Brown, while Bruno Mars has another smash with “It Will Rain,” which was featured on the Twilight – Breaking Dawn soundtrack.  The hits just keep on coming for LMFAO, with “Sorry For Party Rocking,” their fourth single from their latest album.

In the rock territory, Train returned to the same hit-making duo that helped write their smash “Hey Soul Sister,” for “Drive By,” and “Get Yourself Back Home” is a cleaned up version of the Gym Class Heroes’ track “Ass Back Home.” In the country department, Eric Church provides some Eighties nostalgia courtesy of “Springsteen,” which never really mentions “the Boss,” and is more about the memories his songs evoke of a relationship long ago.  “Ours” is the staggering sixth successful single off Taylor Swift’s last album.  And, before you cringe – consider this – she’s the only artist on this collection to have sole writing credit on a song.

The last four tracks on the set are labeled “What’s Next,” and highlight some of the up and coming acts, but these are not throwaways either.  “All the Right Places” from Zach Heckendorf is a nice slice of 70’s pop/soul, featuring a Rhodes piano and a ska rhythm on the chorus, while a new band out of England, Graffiti6, dig back to the Sixties for “Free,” which has a rhythm borrowed from “Mony Mony” by Tommy James and the Shondells.

Now #42 should provide the soundtrack to many a great summer party. –Tony Peters