In the words of N'Sync, 'what's the deal with this pop life and when is it gonna fade out?' Well, if this three-cd compilation is anything to go by, then the answer is: not anytime soon. Ironically, the clean-cut American quintet isn't actually among the 66 artists featured across this album.
Kicking off with Little Mix's recent single Black Magic, the tracks here span almost a 10-year period, from present hits back to Take That's 2006 smash Rule The World. Pop as a genre arguably has been around for an awful lot longer than a decade, but perhaps the folks at Now! who put this together felt it was easier to focus on a specific time frame, or that the age of people they're expecting to purchase this record aren't old enough to remember anything prior to this period. Either way, this compilation demonstrates that there have been both a huge amount of both ridiculously catchy and ridiculously awful songs that have captured the public's attention in the past few years.
It's almost a prerequisite that Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk is included, and it certainly reminds you why the catchy hooks and memorable lyrics of pop songs help the genre dominate the music industry. Followed by Roar from Ms. Katy Perry, Sexy And I Know It by LMFAO, CeeLo Green's Forget You, Happy by Pharrell Williams and Lady Gaga telling us about her Bad Romance, there's certainly enough hits to get you smiling and singing along (however much you try to resist). There's also songs in this mix that are questionable as pop and could easily be classed in other genres - there's Lean On from Major Lazer x DJ Snake, a blend of dancehall/electronica; the dreamy indie synths of MGMT's Kids; and Rudimental ft. John Newman's drum and bass tones of Feel The Love to name a few. However, pop or not it's no bad thing these have been included, as they're all absolutely fantastic tracks.
However, with the good comes the bad, and there's certainly a few fillers we could do without. Bills by LunchMoney Lewis, Rachel Platten's Fight Song and Am I Wrong from Nico & Vinz fall into this category, but even the tracks by more recognisable names such as One Direction, Maroon 5, Timbaland and Kelly Clarkson are far from their most popular, so seem like strange choices to have included as representing the best of the genre. Oh well, at least Simon Mayo can still excitedly say their names in the voiceover on the TV advert.
Despite the fact there are some huge names conspicuously absent from the line-up (Kylie? Taylor Swift? Rhianna? Beyonce? Even Britney Spears in only featured on a will.i.am track), at an average price of about 16p a song, it's undeniably fantastic value for money and there's enough crowd-pleasers on here to (just about) overshadow the duds . Here's to the next 10 years of the cheesy but wonderfully diverse world of pop!