Various Artists

Now That's What I Call Music! 2

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Yes, the title of the Now That's What I Call Music series is corny, but the compilations are undeniably entertaining and even useful. For instance, Now, Vol. 2 contains 18 tracks, almost all of them hits from 1998 and 1999 (Sublime's 1996 hit "What I Got" being the major exception to the rule). The only thing tying these songs together is that they shared space on the charts and airwaves, but that's enough -- it's a terrific time capsule, at the very least, capturing what American pop radio sounded like in the late '90s. Besides, there are some great singles here -- Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time...," the New Radicals' "You Get What You Give," U2's "The Sweetest Thing," Sheryl Crow's "My Favorite Mistake," Fatboy Slim's "Praise You," Garbage's "I Think I'm Paranoid," Spice Girls' "Goodbye," Everclear's "Father of Mine," Jay Z's "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)," Baz Luhrmann's "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)," and Robbie Williams' "Millennium." If you're keeping track, you'll notice that the above songs take up over half of the record, and that makes the disc a real bargain. The remaining songs might not be as good, but they are decent, representative tunes from 1999 and help make Now That's What I Call Music, Vol. 2 an entertaining snapshot of a fleeting era in pop music history.

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