Having peaked with Now, Vol. 5, released in November 2000, the American edition of the Now That's What I Call Music series of contemporary hits compilations experienced declining sales over the next couple of years, although Now, Vol. 10, released in July 2002, had sold more than a million copies by the time that this volume, Now, Vol. 11, was released. One reason for the sales drop may be a glut; as of 2001, three albums a year, instead of two, were being released. It may be that, canvassing a mere four-month period, the three major labels that contribute to the series -- Universal, EMI, and Sony -- have fewer indelible hits to draw from. This one, which looks over the late summer and early fall of 2002, manages to include six Top Ten pop hits, five Top Ten R&B hits (some the same as the pop hits), and one Top Ten country hit, as well as songs that blanketed radio and video outlets during the period. It doesn't seem likely, however, that the collection will reverse the series' downward trend, if only because it seems to consist largely of the second or third hits out of albums by artists like Shakira and No Doubt, without enough big, long-term hits. As usual, the album is divided up into genres, probably to make it easier for buyers to skip whole sections that they don't like. For example, the rap material is all up front, while the hard rock tracks are sequestered together at the end. In between comes a group of dance-oriented and adult contemporary female voices. The lack of much in the way of big teen pop names (Jennifer Love Hewitt's failed Alanis Morissette impersonation notwithstanding) won't help sales any, either. But, like its predecessors, Now, Vol. 11 is a pop time capsule, for better or worse.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann