Various Artists – Now That’s What I Call Party Anthems 3 (Sony / UME) review
The biggest pop hits of the last few years distilled into one collection
You can choose to be grumpy and negative about new music (just like your parents probably were), or you can embrace it. Sure, current Top 40 isn’t breaking any new ground, but if you look around, there’s plenty to enjoy, even if you don’t want to admit it to some of your hipster friends. Now That’s What I Call Party Anthems 3 collects some of the biggest hits over the last few years and is surprisingly listenable.
Any collection that contains “Uptown Funk” is a good thing. The Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars Neo-Disco anthem is two years old and yet is still one of the most-requested songs anywhere. “Shut Up and Dance,” from the Cincinnati rock band Walk the Moon, is featured here in a remix form, which makes it more danceable. The pulsing “Lean On” from Major Lazer is another great dance tune, while the girl-group bubblegum of “Lips Are Movin’” from Meghan Trainor is just good fun.
Oh there’s plenty of songs to make you drive your car off the road too. ILoveMemphis’ “Hit the Quan” is virtually devoid of melody, and sounds like Cookie Monster is rapping at one point, and it doesn’t get much more absurd than “Watch Me” from Silento, yet put it on and watch as everyone makes a fool of themselves trying to do the moves.
Most everything here is from 2014-15, so I’m not sure why the producers decided to dig back to 2011 for will.i.am’s “Scream and Shout” (featuring Britney Spears). Justin Bieber still sounds like puberty hasn’t kicked in for “Beauty and a Beat.”
The disc redeems near the end, first with the R&B throwback “My Boo,” from Ghost Town DJ’s, and then “Best Day of My Life,” from American Authors, also in a remix form.
It’s never a bad idea to have a collection of recent hit songs at the ready. If you’ve got kids or grandkids young enough, these are the clean versions that are suitable for all ears (and not the ones they’re probably watching on Youtube). And, who knows? You might find yourself singing along. —Tony Peters