NOW 26With a heavy emphasis on rap/hip-hop/R&B, the 26th volume of the ubiquitous “NOW” series doesn’t offer many surprises. But that’s the draw to the series’ target audience isn’t it? In a collection of “20 Chart-Topping Hits” every song should be almost painfully familiar to anyone who listens to Top 40 radio or has spent any amount of time in a club over the past three months.

Starting off with the thumping “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” the first ten songs are heavy beat-driven tunes including the ever-popular Justin Timberlake’s “Lovestoned” and  Sean Kingston’s reggae-influenced “Beautiful Girls.” Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” is the most eloquent of this grouping, though not his best offering.

The more club-influenced songs of the first half of the album segue nicely into more poppy fare with Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry (Popular)” and Pink’s “Who Knew?” Though the songs themselves are slightly overwrought pop tunes, there’s no denying that these are the hits of recent mainstream radio.The final quarter of the album is dedicated to more pop-rock groups like Good Charlotte, Nickelback, and the more recently popular Daughtry.

Though this volume offers a variety of music types, it’s all distinctly light pop music without too much substance. But anyone buying this album is probably not looking for substance. Anyone looking for a hearty dose of radio tunes (who would rather own a collection on cd than just purchase their faves on itunes) this album is the way to go.

Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: Anyone who wants their cd player or Ipod to sound like the radio
Stay Away if: You’ve already downloaded most of these from Itunes anyway

To purchase NOW 26, visit Amazon

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