The folks behind the “NOW” collections of disposable music have found a new angle for their latest compilation: the Olympics.
“NOW That’s What I Call British” is a mercenary excuse to tie U.K. music to the London locale of the 2012 summer games. The flimsy theme doesn’t camouflage the money-grabbing strategy behind the selection of the 18 tracks, diverse songs that target an array of demographics ranging from preteens to their parents (and beyond), pop fans to modern rockers.
Yet once potential buyers get over their outrage at the blatant manipulation of “NOW That’s What I Call British,” they can get down to the business of ... enjoying it.
Two of the first three cuts are classics from the 1990s — Radiohead’s “Creep” and Blur’s “Song 2” — and who’s going to argue with Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” or Gorillaz’s “Feel Good Inc.”? There’s everything from the perverse thrills of Lily Allen’s deceptively sweet “Smile” to James Blunt’s weirdly romantic “You’re Beautiful.” Playful, high-energy songs like Jessie J’s “Domino” and Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” add lift, while Calvin Harris delivers warmth with the soulful “Feel So Close.” Meanwhile, established acts like Coldplay (“Viva La Vida”) and Sade (“Soldier of Love”) are balanced by more recent upstarts like Florence + The Machine (“Dog Days Are Over”) and Leona Lewis (“Bleeding Love”).
And if you’ve got to have pop fluff, it doesn’t get much brighter than Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine.” Even the compilation’s nod to boy bands (once the mainstay of “NOW” collections) is the easily digestible “Glad You Came” by The Wanted.
Not many music lovers would like all of these songs, obviously, but the “NOW” folks figure you only need to want three or four to be a potential customer — and thereby this collection is casting an enormously wide net.
So go ahead and get caught up in it. You can feel used and dirty tomorrow.
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of five)
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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