Various Artists

Now, Vol. 72

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Despite concerns that the pick-and-choose nature of the download market would render major hits compilations obsolete, the Now That's What I Call Music brand, now in its 26th year, is still as strong as ever. Now, Vol. 72, the first hits collection of 2009, does exactly what it says on the tin, with 42 Top 40 multi-genre hits, from the electro-pop of Girls Aloud to the sleek R&B of Ne-Yo to the acoustic chillout of Jason Mraz. Of course, each Now album is only as good as the chart hits themselves. In a vintage period for female-led pop, Alesha Dixon's "Mambo #5"-inspired "The Boy Does Nothing" and Lily Allen's dreamy electro-ballad "The Fear" are the highlights of the more commercial disc one, alongside Kid Cudi's infectious dance/hip-hop crossover "Day 'n' Nite," Kelly Clarkson's return to form "My Life Would Suck Without You," and Lady GaGa's world-dominating number one "Just Dance." The inferior second disc veers into more guitar-based territory with the Killers' new wave-influenced "Human," Take That's epic Coldplay-esque "Greatest Day," and James Morrison's heart-tugging duet "Broken Strings" sitting alongside long-awaited comeback singles from the Prodigy and U2. But like every Now album, there are a few tracks that don't exactly represent the current pop climate in an entirely positive light. The X Factor Finalists' cover of Mariah Carey's "Hero" is horribly schmaltzy, even by reality TV's low standards, while Bryn and Nessa's Comic Relief version of "Islands in the Stream" may be fun to watch, but on record is nothing more than bad karaoke. Overall, Now, Vol. 72 sticks rigidly to its winning formula, ensuring that although there are few surprises, its eclectic collection of hits should mean there's something for everyone.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:28
2 4:02
3 3:26
4 3:31
5 3:06
6 3:32
9 3:44
10 4:03
11 3:24
14 3:36
15 3:24
16 3:59
18 3:05
19 3:15
20 4:07
21 3:37
22 4:18
blue highlight denotes track pick