Various Artists – Now that’s What I Call Tailgate Anthems (Sony/UMG) review

Journey and Usher on the same collection?  This is party music, 2017

As a mobile DJ, I’ve seen a shift in pop music. It used to be that Top 40 fans were satisfied with just that – the music that occupies the Top 40. But, that is no longer the case. Younger music fans are a lot more in tune to music that their parents (and even grandparents) listened to. For proof, check out Now That’s What I Call Tailgate Anthems, one of the most unique collections ever assembled in this series.

Instead of focusing on the latest hits, or a particular genre, the premise of this set is to assemble music that you’re likely to hear at a sporting event – in other words, this is music that everyone will like.

The disc kicks off with Queen’s ubiquitous, bleacher stomper “We Will Rock You,” but does not contain the logical followup “We Are the Champions.” Next are the two songs that have seemed to define the entire decade of the Eighties: “Livin’ on a Prayer” from Bon Jovi and “Don’t Stop Believin” from Journey. Whether they like it or not, virtually every citizen of the United States under 50 knows the words to both of those – they are simply unavoidable.

Kiss’ anthem “Rock & Roll All Nite” is represented in a rare, single version off the Alive! album. Europe’s “The Final Countdown” and Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” are played to usher in virtually every sporting match in America.

Things switch gears for the final 11 tracks, all focusing on music over the last decade or so. “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas and “Get the Party Started” from P!nk are sure to get your gathering, big or small, going in the right direction. As things heat up, kick into “Don’t Stop the Party” from Pitbull, and “Let’s Go” from Calvin Harris. Then, as the night gets sweaty, hit them with “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon and finally Usher’s “Yeah.”

The disc ends with a trio of country/pop party tunes from Sam Hunt, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean – they’re certainly more pop than country.

The 18 tracks on Now That’s What I Call Tailgate Anthems represent a snapshot of what is considered “mass appeal” in 2017 – music that just about everyone will dig. With just a little bit of clever sequencing, you’ve become the DJ – providing a great soundtrack to any party. —Tony Peters