Now 44: the greatest compilation CD ever


From the age of five, I have liked pop music just as much as I do now. Although I embraced the iTunes age fairly quickly when it came along, this meant in the eleven or so years post-Spice but before I got my first proper iPod I amassed a vast quantity of CDs all of which have been taking up shelves and shelves of space in my parents' house since I moved out in 2008. My mum has finally put her foot down and decided that I have to sort through my INCREDULOUS AMOUNT OF STUFF which meant at the weekend I spent a tearful two hours going through my CD collection, picking 20 or so that meant so much to me I had to keep them and....*heaving sob*...GOT RID OF ALL THE REST. Oasis album that came free with the Daily Mirror - we hardly knew ye.

Anyway, there was one CD I came across during this heartwrenching experience which stood out from all of the others. November 22nd, 1999. The best compilation CD of all time was released. 

Hmmm, I can hear you thinking. None immediately spring to mind, but I bet the FINAL Q4 OF THE PREVIOUS MILLENIUM HAD SOME BANGERS UP FOR OFFER? Well, dear reader, you have no idea how right you are. Let's take a look at the tracklist.

Now 44 contains no fewer than ten UK number ones, most of which are amazing.

UK Number Ones on Now 44, in tracklist order
Britney Spears - ...Baby One More Time
The best debut single of all time. (And to be honest, if you were to stand in front of me right now and tell me this was the best song of all time, could I disagree with you?)
Lou Bega - Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...)
The best novelty single of all time.
Eiffel 65 - Blue (Da Ba Dee)
The most naff yet most charming ridiculous novelty video of all time.
Steps - Tragedy
The best novelty cover of all time.
Geri Halliwell - Mi Chico Latino
The best solo Spice Girl of all time.
Robbie Williams - She's The One
The most underrated in terms of "it is not cool amongst the Credibles or even General Pop Fans to stan for Robbie Williams, really" male solo artist of all time.
Ronan Keating - When You Say Nothing At All
No defending this. This is literally one of the worst ten songs of all time.
Geri Halliwell - Lift Me Up
Best ridiculous use of aliens in a video of all time. (Sorry Eiffel 65).
Vengaboys-  We're Going to Ibiza!
Everyone loves a song with a place in the title. Best song with Ibiza in the title of all time.
Wamdue Project - King of My Castle
Didn't get this when I was 9. Don't get it now. Most disappointing Top of the Pops concluder of all time.

Back in 1999, if you were a child, anyway, accessing singles was very difficult. I had £8 a month to spend for pocket money. Every penny of this would always go on music. But if I wanted to buy the new B*Witched album, I was pretty screwed in terms of singles for a few months. The magic solution to this would always be to get compilation CDs for Christmas. Of course, in my time I've had many other Now albums. But none has had the impact, the brilliance, the simplicity, of Now 44.

Every song on Now 44 sounds like it could get to number one in 1999. Maybe three of them would have any shot of getting to number one in 2015. 1999 was a very different place to 2015. In 1999 my worries mainly consisted of Pokemon cards. In 2015 I have to pay rent and remember not to have crisps for dinner. In 1999 the Comic Relief single was a charming uptempo Boyzone cover of When The Going Gets Tough with an actually vaguely relevant video. In 2015 the Comic Relief single was Sam Smith and John Legend wailing about how their lovers left them presumably for being so terminally boring. In 1999 Westlife released Flying Without Wings. In 2015 Brian McFadden is presenting a reality show about washing up.

Obviously I couldn't throw Now 44 away as my nine-year-old self would literally never forgive me. She would probably be more upset to hear however that I met Jon from S Club 7 and never even tried to get off with him. If only she knew.

I would like to conclude with a photo of another compilation CD I found at the weekend, which I tearfully resigned to the charity shop pile.

The commentary writes itself.

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