Various Artists

Now That's What I Call Music! 40 [UK]

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AllMusic Review by Becky Byrkit

EMI/Virgin/Polygram's relentless, cut-to-the-chase series of chart-topper compilations can be a grim prospect if it's been a grim year in music, and there have been some doozies. This pleasant retrospective of 1998, however, paints a cheerful, sexy, and reasonably diverse year in mass-music mania. Now That's What I Call Music (whoever "I" is!) features the Disneyland safetypop of the Backstreet Boys' harmonies in "As Long as You Love Me" and Hanson's elevator epidemic "MMM-Bop," as well as the truly 900-number hit "Sex and Candy" by the upstart Marcy Playground. Soulful, dimple-faced girl band All Saints out-Spice Girl the Spice Girls with "Never Ever," and the comparison is immediate with the Girls' own "Say You'll Be There." Cherry Poppin' Daddies' "Zoot Suit Riot" is almost too mature to be included in this gathering, but kids eat this stuff right up. Other nods to the upper-echelon (but not necessarily better-echelon) musical ranks include Lenny Kravitz and his anthemic "Fly Away" and career-destined Radiohead's "Karma Police." Light on angst, a likable and accurate anthology -- even a little R-rated.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 John Travolta 04:49 Amazon
2 Spice Girls 04:12 Amazon
3 Karen Ramirez 03:52 Amazon
4 Billie 03:45 Amazon
5 All Saints 04:00 Amazon
6 Mousse T 03:39 Amazon
7 Maya / The Tamperer 03:13 Amazon
8 Aqua 03:21 Amazon
9 Steps 03:03 Amazon
10 Groove Generation / Leo Sayer 03:53 Amazon
11 Carl Douglas / Bus Stop 03:48 Amazon
12 Ultra Naté 03:36 Amazon
13 Lutricia McNeal 03:25 Amazon
14 Lighthouse Family 05:20 Amazon
15 Boyzone 03:38 Amazon
16 All Saints 04:58 Amazon
17 K-Ci & JoJo 03:41 Amazon
18 Blackstreet / Janet Jackson 04:15 Amazon
19 R. Kelly / Sparkle 05:12 Amazon
20 Peter Andre 02:52 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick