It feels like a terribly long time ago that I started going over this album (it's actually about five weeks) but part of the reason I chose it in the first place was because it's the biggest seller of all the Now! albums and at last count remained among the all-time Top 50, despite having been on sale only briefly; it is, apparently, their policy to delete the albums after three years or so. Forty-two tracks later, do I understand why this happened?
Well, I don't think it was the exceptional quality of the music. Listening back now (admittedly from a 2009 perspective) confirmed my suspicion that some of the album is really good, some poor and some simply forgettable - but that's surely the case for any volume in the series. It could hardly be otherwise really. Neither could it really be said that this one offers an exceptionally broad range of musical styles: there's no hard rock, no hip-hop (unless you count 'S Club Party') and even the typical segment of "alternative" is reduced to three tracks, one of which is by Tom Jones. My best guess, beyond pure luck, is that it happened to hit a rich vein of not-very-album-focussed pop (it was rumoured at the time that some record labels intentionally held back big album releases for 2000, presumably because they thought people would be too busy paying to get into pubs on New Year's Eve to afford any records at the end of the year). Assemble enough of those and it's a strong commercial proposition.
If you can contain your excitement, I've already decided where I'm going next with this blog.
Charting 1997: 27th December
5 months ago