Francesca Donovan | Contributing Writer | Friday, 3 July 2015


10 Totally Awesome 'Now That's What I Call Music!' Albums To Revisit

The Debrief: We just got the memo that CDs are still cool, which is a great excuse to start listening to Mis-Teeq again

More people are buying CDs, according to a new report by the music industry statistics body BPI. Whether it’s because Walkmans are totally retro or because we can’t afford Spotify Premium and hate the ads, there has been a 4% rise in the consumption of recorded music in 2015. 

The reverse in the decline of CD sales has been partly credited to the Now That’s What I Call Music! double disc compilation series which is on it’s 90th release. Now 90 – featuring Sia and Wretch 32 – sold 264,000 copies in it's first week, making it the highest selling album of the year. 

Never one to buck a musical trend, The Debrief Team has come up with all the best Now That’s What I Call Music! CDs you need to revisit right now. Hold on to your portable Discman, because these tunes will knock your Beats off. 


1. Now That’s What I Call Music: Volume 32


To kick things off we’re looking to the Old School, the reining kings of pop culture. Any album that combines two Oasis and The Human League classics (namely, Roll With It and Don’t You Want Me Baby) and throws a curveball in the form of Renegade Master by Wildchild is fine by us. Cher’s Walking in Memphis also features, for all your girl power hairbrush lip-syncing/singing/screeching needs. 


2. Now That’s What I Call Music: Volume 50


This compilation proves to you why the Now CDs were so awesome; the guys at EMI took every sub-genre of popular music, leaving no stone unturned and put them all into one two-hour long musical mind-melt of ‘OMG this is my jam!’ moments. Volume 50, released in November 2001, was always going to be a biggie. Brace yourself, because here comes a long song list explaining why you NEED this album. It features: Perfect Gentleman, Wyclef Jean; What Would You Do?, City High; Smooth Criminal, Alien Ant Farm; Because I Got High, Afroman; Heaven Is A Halfpipe, OPM and of course, the usual suspects: Kylie, Destiny’s Child, Westlife, Jamiroquai, Steps, Mis-teeq, Five and J.Lo.  

Kate Winslet and Victoria Beckham also make fleeting appearances with their questionable singles (srsly, Kate Winslet released a single, it’s the God’s honest truth). If that doesn’t spark your curiosity and persuade you to invest in a little slice of musical history, I don’t know what will. 


3. Now That’s What I Call Music: Volume 68


This volume is the epitome of the noughtie’s musical guilty pleasures. We’re talking Leona Lewis and her unbeatable 2007 period song, Bleeding Love. Shayne Ward and his terrible, terrible text talk in No U Hang Up. Take That and their majestic renaissance. Fear not though, it also features Stronger by a pre-artiste Kanye, that song by Feist that soundtracked every advert in 2007 ever (1, 2, 3, 4) and numbers by two of our all-time favourite female singer/songwriters, Robyn and Amy Winehouse.


4. Now That’s What I Call Music: Volume 69


The following year saw the release of another pretty kickass volume of chart songs from the Now folk. Remember that time everyone went mad for Nickleback 2.0 when they released Rockstar? And when Duffy was a thing? And when Soulja Boy’s song was the most over-quoted lyric in the history of overkill. And when Timberland became the first producer whose face you could actually recognise? And when Basshunter dominated the teen party circuits. This album tells all of those stories, song by song. It also features Britney’s comeback hit Piece Of Me, which means this compilation is everything to us.  


5. Now That’s What I Call Music: Volume 85


Summer of 2k13 was a great time for mega hits. Enter: Now 85! The inclusion of Get Lucky and Blurred Lines really needs no justification. Further bangerz by Icona Pop and Charlie XCX (aka. The nineties bitches of I Love It fame) join the party alongside PJ & Duncan, Iggy Azalea and Taylor Swift, of course. This compilation also extends an open invite to all the big names in dance and electronic music. From David Guetta to Sebastian Ingrosso, the B-side is full of bass beats. 


6. Now That’s What I Call Music, Volume 35


Now, it’s all getting a bit too modern for us, so let's hark back to November 1996: Volume 35 and the era of Spice Girls, The Lighthouse Family, East 17 and Pulp. Personal highlights on this double disc CD include Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Deep Blue Something and Insomnia by Faithless for some ravin’ and misbehavin’.


7. Now That’s What I Call Music: Volume 26


Even further into your shadowy memories we delve. December 1993 is the year, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, reissues Relax and EVERYONE buys the iconic slogan tee for the second time round. Now 26 includes Frankie and his gang's chart-topper along with That's The Way Love Goes by Janet Jackson (because if Michael isn't in our top 10, then his sister had better be). However, this is the CD to buy if you’re a little bit obsessed with Will Smith circa The Fresh Prince. The track he laid down with his best bud DJ Jazzy Jeff, Boom! Shake The Room is sure get you moving and shaking in rooms all over town. 


8. Now That’s What I Call Music, Volume 75


Enough of the boys – time for the girls to take centre stage. After all, the era of the millennial marked the onslaught of powerhouse front women that stormed the music industry. The first Now That’s What I Call Music CD of our decade was on point in reflecting that. Opening with Gaga’s Bad Romance, the complication goes on to feature Rude Boy by Rhi Rhi, Florence and The Machine, Never Be Your Woman (the Shy FX version feat. Emeli Sande), Ego by Beyonce and our main girl Miley Cyrus belting out The Climb. Although we are obsessed with Smilerz post-Hannah Montana, this old ballad does remind us of a simpler time. It was also my school leavers’ song (sob lame sob) so I’m biased. 


9. Now That’s What I Call Music, Volume 48 


This is simply a brilliant and eclectic mix of songs. From S Club 7’s last hurrah to Papa Roach’s Last Resort (for your angry days when you hate everything and everyone), this CD encompasses the diversity of modern music. Well, in 2001 anyway. Classics is a terriblely overused word but this album really does have ‘em. Honest. It features Clint Eastwood, Gorillaz; I’m Like A Bird, Nelly Furtado; Buck Rogers, Feeder; Piano Loco, DJ Luck & MC Neat and It Wasn’t Me, Shaggy. Because we all know the rap and do hashtag smugface when we kill it up in da club. Don’t deny it. 


10. Now That’s What I Call Music, Volume 1


Finally, drrrrrumroll, for all the vinyl veterans out and die-hard compilation collecters out there, EMI have re-released the first ever Now That’s What I Call Music! We’ve come full circle and here’s the original. Volume 1 of 90. Featuring Red Red Wine, Total Eclipse of the Heart and Karma Chameleon (because why on earth not?!), this compilation represents what Now That’s What I Call Music! was all about, a cross-section of the most ‘pop’ contemporary music of the time. And it is goooood.

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Follow Francesca on Twitter @Francesca_Don



Tags: Music