Top 11: Now That’s What I Call Music CDs

June 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

[From the vault: Eleven Magazine, circa Spring 2009.]

Top 11: Now That’s What I Call Music CDs – By His Holiness, Josh.

You saw these commercials all the time on TV:  “Dive into summer with the new Now That’s What I Call Music! Featuring all of your favorite tracks like ‘We didn’t talk on AIM today and it makes me feel neeeeeeh’ by Whiny Emo Boy, and ‘I took a Dump on the Radio’ by Diarrhea Express Train Cart #6.  But I was curious to see if there might be any remotely redeeming quality to be found here.  So this time around, we’re going to look at the Top 11 Now, That’s What I Call Music albums.  Brace yourselves.

11. Now, That’s What I Call Music: Volume 28 – Released this year, featuring “Pocket Full of Sunshine,” “Sexy Can I?” Britney, Metro Station, Jordin Sparks, Daughtry, and Fall Out Boy. More simply, featuring every obnoxious song you hear on the radio today.  It’s probably the heaviest artillery that XM and Sirius could use to convince people to buy a satellite receiver.  Which is why it made the list.

10. Now, That’s What I Call Music: Volume 5 – Definitely the best of the bunch on the metric of having the greatest number of obscure “man, was that really a band or was my grade school slipping hallucinogens in the chocolate milk cartons” tracks.  Like Aaron Carter, 98 Degrees, Sisqo, BBMak, Mandy Moore, and Destiny’s Child.  Yeesh.

9. Now, That’s What I Call Music: #1’s! – They actually managed to sell some copies of a compilation disc made up of the best songs from the rest of their compilation discs.  I don’t know what’s most impressive:  That marketers were able to convince people to actually buy bottled water, or that they convinced people to actually buy this.  I want to meet the serial NOW buyer who had to add this to his/her/its collection.  Sadly, those kinds of places don’t normally allow for visiting hours.

8. Now, That’s What I Call Classic Rock – “Barracuda,” “More Than a Feeling,” “Carry on my Wayward Son,” “Surrender,” “Rock and Roll all Night”. In other words, it’s like buying Guitar Hero without, you know, the whole game thing.  But I bet you there’s a hungover fratboy out there somewhere whose ears just perked up.

7. Now, That’s What I Call Music: Volume 44 (UK) – The best-selling compilation album of all-time.  It has freaking everybody who’s anybody as far as you could tell from the world of casual music listeners who know nobody – Britney, Enrique, The Boys Backstreet and Venga, Diana Ross and Tina Turner, Bob Marley (somehow?) and Lou Bega, Jamiroquai, and one of the Spice Girls.   Damn.

6. Now, That’s What I Call Music: Volume 70 (UK) – For those uninitiated, the NOW series actually goes up to 70, with the 71st coming this November in the UK.  It’s got a couple of acts from this past year’s Lollapalooza, like Kanye West, Duffy, and The Ting Tings, which ought to make the album passable.  But the phrase “beating a dead horse” comes to mind.

5. Now, That’s What I Call Christmas – The best holiday gift to get someone you absolutely freaking can’t stand.  Hours of Christmas music that nobody wants to listen to, mass-marketed and splooged over with Christmas-ey lingo and snowflakes and crap.  It’ll feel great to buy for now, but oh are you on the naughty list for next year.

4. Now, That’s What I Call 25 Years – As a never-before-even-remotely-considered-purchase NOW customer, I’m probably the most legitimately excited about this compilation.  It’s a 3-disc behemoth, but I like that it has a number of classics like Michael Jackson, Queen, and The Police to go along with a bunch of future classics like OutKast, Gnarls Barkley, and Timbaland (I guess you could call them that?).  If my computer died and I didn’t have my hard drive and I didn’t have any friends and I didn’t feel the impulse to steal gratuitiously and I didn’t feel compelled to listen to entire albums instead of one song blips and just the other day I went to my dentist for a routine checkup but ended up lobotomized in a freak accident with the Benny Hill music playing in the background, then I’d still not really consider this.

3. Now, That’s What I Call Music: Volume 69 (UK) – You know, I didn’t even check the track list.  I just think it’s safe to assume that this is a funny album.

2. Now, That’s What I Call Music: Volume 1 – Nothing like an original.  I also would probably enthusiastically support any other album that featured Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” and John Wozniak’s “Sex & Candy”.  Just not the one with “MMMBop” and “Barbie Girl” each a few tracks later.

1. Now, That’s What I Call Music: Volume 11 – It wouldn’t take a genius to arbitrarily decide that the NOW album marked with our namesake would be the best one.  11 does have a couple of solid tracks on it, like Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” and Shakira’s “Objection (Tango)”.  Still doesn’t make the disc (or any of the ones we’ve mentioned, for that matter) worth any of your 10 easy payments of $2.99, though.


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Eleven Magazine 6.5

February 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

Phoenix won a grammy today.  We interviewed Phoenix for our cover story.  We interviewed a grammy-winning artist for Eleven.  Holy smokes.

I thought I’d use my blog today as sort of a wastepaper basket.  We introduced a new feature to the magazine for February, titled The Neighborhood of the Month.  I wanted a spread, and ended up being alotted a single page, so the entire piece I wrote up had to hit the scrap heap.  Good thing there’s the internet, where space is about as scarce as Taylor Swift is awesome (read: not very).

Enjoy the new issue of Eleven, if you’re lucky enough to live in the area.


Neighborhood of the Month: Soulard

I’ve run into Tom Gullickson at five different bars in the last four nights.  By a stroke of chance, or a stroke of luck, he’s inescapable.  And definitely not in a bad way.  At our second encounter, he buys a round of drinks for everyone still left at the bar (The Shanti) at closing time.  He doesn’t know who I am yet, just that I’m drinking beers with one of the GMs of his bar – who I’d only briefly met no more than 5 hours earlier.  I suppose that’s enough to put me (or anyone) in his good book.

This is a running theme I’ve heard from nearly everyone I’ve spoken to in the area.  People live in Soulard, work in Soulard, play in Soulard.  When I later caught up and spoke with Tom, he commented that “most places you go into you’re only a stranger once.”  In a similar conversation, Vedad, the owner of The Gyro House, says “everybody knows everybody.”  A lot of people don’t have cars – why bother, when all of your friends are within walking distance?

The revelation hit me like a sack of shitty Mardi Gras beads.  Soulard is like a big college campus for grown-ups.   And the remarkable thing is: of all the college kids I’ve talked to, nobody knows about this place.

For my first two years of living in St. Louis, Soulard only really existed for one 24 hour period each year: Mardi Gras.  Not that anyone would really complain about beads and cantalope-sized beers.  But it overshadows the fact that, underneath the gold, purple, and green regalia, there’s a neighborhood unique to any other place in St. Louis.

What’s Tom’s favorite thing to do in Soulard?  Bar hop.  He makes it into every bar in the area on a monthly basis.  And he’ll find someone to say hi to almost immediately upon entering.  Does he have a favorite spot?  Of course.  But he won’t tell me.  “I think people need to find their own.”  Could he share a favorite story about his time in the area?  Absolutely – he’s got dozens.  But like any good tale of drunken debauchery, you’d be hard-pressed to convince anyone to let you put a recap in print.

To point:  At Eleven, our inspiration for this expansion of the Neighborhood Watch is to nurture our curiosity about a part of our city that –admittedly, even us experts – didn’t know that much about, and hopefully, to impart the same spirit of adventure in you, the reader.  We created the section to celebrate St Louis as a unparalleled city full of unique places.  And also, more simply, as an excuse to go out drinking and meet new people.  Mission accomplished.

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