Turns Out 69 Is More Fun Than You’d Think In NOW That's What I Call Music, Vol. 69
Essentially mirroring the dialogue of my Narrative review for the most recent KIDZ BOP 39 compilation album, I’ve taken enough trips around the sun to have seen the inception of the now-iconic NOW That’s What I Call Music series within my lifetime, from its early days as the go-to music discovery tool for those who want to spice up their party playlists but don’t necessarily have the musical education to curate such hot-ticket items on their own to its inevitable place within the cultural lexicon as a shorthand for the most generic of mainstream music interests available. The major difference between the two properties though – aside from not relying on the underdeveloped talents of pre-teen performers – is that NOW That’s What I Call Music has virtually always gathered together the best that the radio-friendly popular music circuit has to offer, keeping its thumb pressed firmly on the pulse of mainstream culture & providing mixes that are tonally-balanced, universally-acclaimed by modern audiences & utterly devoid of duds within its track-list so long as that year’s respective genre trends weren’t complete trash; After all, just because a certain style was particularly popular on the radio doesn’t always mean it’s worth listening to on a regular basis – Yeah, I’m talkin’ about YOU Dubstep songs from the early-teens & Eurodance from the early-noughties. Though the UK-born compilation machine seemed to show no signs of stopping as it reached American shores in the late-nineties, eventually spinning into the massively-successful property it is today, the previously multiple-Platinum rated series started to hit a snag around 2009, with less than half of its subsequent releases hitting Gold-tier sales & everything from 2015-onward either sounding tonally-identical across each album – likely attributed to the overwhelming presence of Tropical Pop & Reggae Fusion at the time – or simply missing the hottest trends by months & even years at a time thanks to the ever-increasing speed at which the industry could move in a more heavily-connected internet era exemplified by low-cost music-streaming platforms like Spotify & YouTube; As such, the last thirty record releases in the series have failed to garner as much attention as their predecessors had, resulting in the NOW That’s What I Call Music name losing a lot of its flavour & audiences taking it about as seriously – read: not at all – as its younger sibling KIDS BOP, relegating it to an undeserved joke status moving forward – Thankfully, the music industry as a whole took some major leaps forward in 2018, with all manner of acts from Pop, Hip Hop, Rock, Country, Latin, Folk & even the essentially-defunct EDM scene pulling all the stops to push their brands out of the doldrums of banality towards a more resplendent age of creative expression, the most recent NOW That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 69 being a shining example of just how far we’ve come in the last year alone.
The Whole Gang’s Here & Ready To Party
From even the most cursory explanation, the NOW That’s What I Call Music series is all about giving audiences a collection of the year’s hottest hits so they can stay up with what’s going on in the overarching social conversation, receiving a surface-level experience of music’s most popular performances & assuring listeners they won’t look like a fool when they have to make small-talk with a distant relative at their cousins wedding or when trying their best to court a prospective suitor down at the club; I mean, nobody wants to be a square with zero creative interests in todays day & age, right? – By all accounts, NOW That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 69 serves its purpose, gathering together every icon of modern music whilst injecting a few curveballs to keep things interesting along the way. It features everything from the maturation of Shawn Mendes in his groovy genre-bending Pop tune “Lost In Japan,” the smooth & sensual rebirth of youthful Alternative R&B hopeful Khalid in his surprisingly laidback jam “Better” & the award-winning cinematic duet between Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper that stole the nation’s heart “Shallow,” not only making sure you’re educated on what mainstream audiences are talking about but giving you jams worthy of your precious few hours of listening time in a world where a stressful work week has taken an increasingly-hefty toll on the wellbeing of everyday citizens, allowing you to sit back & enjoy some of the best lyrical narratives in years with the confidence that they’re legitimately fulfilling sonic adventures; Contrast this with previous years where the most popular compositions – at least in terms of views & likes on YouTube – were of the Trap & Tropical Pop variety & you’ll start to see why people were so hesitant to buy a new NOW That’s What I Call Music album, American high-schoolers’ favourite acts like Lil Pump & 6ix9ine literally dumbing down the industry to the point where most mainstream listeners found themselves alienated from pop culture altogether, driving them away from compilation series because they couldn’t feasibly enrich their lives in any meaningful way – It’s undoubtedly a difficult & tumultuous sea for industry execs to traverse when trying to sell a product that adheres to mainstream trends whilst simultaneously satisfying audiences aurally, but NOW That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 69 righted the ship just in the nick of time to salvage the brand’s steadily-declining appeal.
Broadening Your Horizons For A Richer Music Existence
Aside from simply helping you pretend to be a knowledgeable individual who’s hip to current trends, the most successful NOW That’s What I Call Music entries are the ones which stray from the path ever-so-slightly, throwing in a handful of lesser-known tracks of equally-high status from genres most listeners are unfamiliar with, thereby giving them an entry point to worlds they otherwise would’ve been too scared or even uninterested in exploring based on their own personal preferences with music; For instance, a listener who only listens to Pop royalty like Taylor Swift & Adele might never check out a strange symphonic Indie Rock number like “Heavy Flag (NOW What’s Next!)” from the Michigan-based Folk trio The Accidentals, while a strict K-Pop Stan who religiously consumes BTS & Jay Park could potentially go years without venturing into Latin Dance music like DJ Snake’s intense Reggaeton hit “Taki Taki,” its star-studded cast of Selena Gomez, Ozuna & Cardi B giving just the right push to encourage listeners to venture further into a genre they’d previously overlooked. It’s this melodic variance that really sets NOW That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 69 apart from its predecessors, running the gamut of styles in resplendent fashion in an effort to not only teach audiences some new experiences but to represent the power of the music industry itself to move listeners with wildly-different soundscapes, boldly placing corny Country Pop acts like Dan + Shay in their somber love ballad “Tequila” alongside sensual Synth R&B numbers such as Ariana Grande’s empowering “Breathin” before seamlessly transitioning into bombastic Electro House numbers like “Body (feat. brando)” by Loud Luxury & getting casually-joyful in others like supergroup LSD’s “Thunderclouds (feat. Sia, Diplo & Labrinth),” understanding that they each possess their own powerful songwriting attributes which help to give the record as a whole a narrative fluidity that showcases more than one sort of energy level – If tonal balance & creative discovery are the currency of compilation albums, NOW That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 69 is rich beyond comprehension with compelling musical content, its pockets overflowing with convincing reasons for you to download & collect its songs into your weekly rotation.
The Right Hits At The Right Time
As much credit as I can give NOW That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 69 for filling itself with a stellar representation of how superior 2018’s performances were in comparison to the last decade, I think perhaps the most impactful element of its success is its punctuality, pushing out a comprehensive collection of popular tunes which haven’t yet lost their luster from subsequent megahits on the radio, taking care to select only the best tracks of the year’s latter-half rather than even bothering with anything from the very beginning of 2018, essentially setting itself up for success by aligning with current interests instead of trying to capitalize on long-gone trends like anyone who uses a meme more than a week from its inception; This timeliness is seconded only by the collection’s prioritization of progressive writing styles over fading genres interests of years gone-by, focusing on the increasing popularity of the Diva House revolution in songs like Silk City’s “Electricity (feat. Diplo, Dua Lipa & Mark Ronson)” or Calvin Harris & Sam Smith’s collaboration “Promises” whilst simultaneously showcasing the industry’s steady push towards narrative romanticism with dreamy ballads like “There’s No Way (feat. Julia Michaels)” from Lauv & the aloof ethereal musings of Camila Cabello in “Consequence,” truly delivering an aural experience that looks towards the future rather than holding on to the past – Naturally, it’s going to take a whole lot more than a semi-successful retrospective album like NOW That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 69 to put the music market back on its rightful path to greatness, but as far as the 36-year old series is concerned this is the best production we’ve seen in ages, reassuring myself & the industry at large that there’s hope for the Pop machine yet if we continue supporting the artists who’re actually putting in the work to make our listening experience more pleasurable & stop throwing our money away week after week on the most basic trash the scene has to offer just for the sake of trendiness.
2. Track List (20)
3. Official (19)
4. Live (8)
5. Featuring Remixes (10)
7. Similar Albums
8. Similar Artists (1)
9. Album Info
- Various Artists