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“NOW” and Then: U.K. Compilation Series Celebrates Three Decades in Three Discs

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Now 30 YearsWhen I was heavily ensconced in a retail job, I had the task of stocking new music and movie releases and sharing the new releases with the rest of the store on Tuesday morning. Without fail, every time a NOW That’s What I Call Music! compilation came out, someone would marvel how many such compilations existed, prompting me to tell my co-workers that they should check out the NOW series as it originated in the U.K., back in 1983, where they were double albums and released with slightly more frequency to the point where the 84th volume hit stores in March (as opposed to the single-disc 47th volume that streeted in the U.S. last Tuesday).

Of course, here at The Second Disc, I’m surrounded by record collectors and pop enthusiasts, so this illumination is nothing new. (That’s one of many reasons why I’m a lot happier editing these pages, I’ll tell you that!) But anyway, the point is that NOW That’s What I Call Music is indeed celebrating 30 years – and its doing so with a new, triple-disc compilation of highlights from its lengthy run.

NOW That’s What I Call 30 Years features an interesting, semi-chronological hodgepodge of pop cuts from the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s and today, from Michael Jackson to Madonna, Take That to the Spice Girls, Adele to PSY. It’s disappointingly centered on the traditional pop scene on both sides of the Atlantic, thereby ignoring some of the R&B and rock-infused diversity that the NOW series was often known for (Radiohead appeared on at least one volume, for cryin’ out loud). As such, it’s a very, very patchy portrait of pop, passing a good chunk of the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. (Also, a considerably more minor quibble, but what’s up with the 20th Century-Fox meets Pink Floyd cover art?)

But NOW are one of the best – and one of the only – games in town as far as anthologizing pop music for the masses, so NOW That’s What I Call 30 Years might be a set for your collection when it’s released May 27 in England. Hit the jump to check out the full track list and order your copy off Amazon.

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And the Tracks Are…: “2012 Grammy Nominees” Disc Due

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With the 54th Annual Grammy Awards mere weeks away on February 13, it’s getting close to one of music’s most vaunted pre-Grammy traditions: the release of the annual Grammy nominees compilation.

Due out January 24, 2012 Grammy Nominees compiles exactly the artists you’d expect, from multiple award nominees (British soul songstress Adele, pop acts Bruno Mars and Katy Perry, modern rock legends the Foo Fighters and country star Taylor Swift) to rising stars (rappers J. Cole and Nicki Minaj, alt-rockers Foster the People, dubstep artist/producer Skrillex). At 22 tracks from Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera to Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse, it’s every bit the who’s who of pop music in 2011 you’d expect.

But there’s a bit of an interesting twist this year: fans who buy the album, either physically or digitally, will be able to participate in a contest with a grand prize of tickets to next year’s Grammy Awards. Details on that event are here, and details of the album are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 12, 2012 at 14:41

Reissue Theory Guest Post: Coldplay, “Parachutes”

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A special guest post comes to you during this oddly-scheduled week from Eric Luecking of Record Racks, a very well-executed music blog for your perusal. Here, he gives a Reissue Theory-style look at Coldplay’s debut album, some ten years later.

Depending upon your location, we’ve either passed the 10th anniversary of Coldplay’s debut LP “Parachutes” (July 10, 2000 in the U.K.), or we haven’t quite made it there yet (November 7 in the U.S.). The Second Disc wants to take the time to honor one of the bands who has been everywhere in the media since then.

They’ve been called everything, both good and bad. People have taken shots at them, such as the scene in The 40-Year Old Virgin with Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd’s classic, “You know how I know you’re gay?” exchange. The answer: “You like Coldplay.” My brother, who was DJing at a Top 40 station when “Yellow” started blowing up, compared Chris Martin’s vocals to that of a hyena (perhaps one of the most funny comparisons I’ve heard yet). However, people have also called them a great stadium rock band.

They’ve been compared to Radiohead, although they’re much more in line with U2. The one thing they do share in common with Radiohead, though, is that they have a ton of B-sides. Their debut LP was no exception to that rule. So in putting together a mock-up of a deluxe edition reissue, we’ve assembled a gaggle of those B-sides. Please note that their EPs released around this time (Blue Room, Brothers and Sisters, Acoustic, Trouble: Norwegian Live, Don’t Panic: Dutch Live) were not considered for inclusion unless tracks from them otherwise appeared on a single.

As an interesting side note, the rumor always had it that for the original LP the album order was changed prior to its release due to it initially sounding rather depressing.  They spruced it up, and thus the album as we know it was finalized.

Disc 1: Original LP (Parlophone (U.K.)/EMI America (U.S.) 7243 5 27783 2 4, 2000)

  1. Don’t Panic
  2. Shiver
  3. Spies
  4. Sparks
  5. Yellow
  6. Trouble
  7. Parachutes
  8. High Speed
  9. We Never Change
  10. Everything’s Not Lost
  11. Life is for Living (hidden track)

Disc 2: B-sides and rarities

  1. Careful Where You Stand
  2. For You
  3. Help is Around the Corner
  4. No More Keeping My Feet on the Groundbreaking
  5. Brothers and Sisters (Alternate Version)
  6. Shiver (Jo Whiley Lunchtime Social)
  7. You Only Live Twice (Live from Norway)
  8. Don’t Panic (Oui FM Session Acoustique)
  9. Trouble (Live from Denmark)
  10. Shiver (Live from Denmark)
  11. Sparks (Live from Denmark)
  12. Bigger Stronger (Live from Norway)

Disc 3: Live on Morning Becomes Eclectic (recorded live for KCRW-FM, 12/20/2000 – released on a bonus CD from Virgin Megastore)

  1. Don’t Panic
  2. Spies
  3. Shiver
  4. Yellow
  5. Trouble

Disc 2, Tracks 1-2 from “Shiver” CD single – Parlophone 7243 8 88511 2 1, 2000
Disc 2, Tracks 3-4 from Yellow CD single – Parlophone CDR 6538, 7243 8 88851 2 6, 2000
Disc 2, Tracks 5-6 from “Trouble” CD single – Parolophone CDRS 6549, 7243 889408 2 5, 2000
Disc 2, Tracks 7-8 from “Don’t Panic” CD single – Parlophone 7243 8 79138 2 0, 2001
Disc 2, Tracks 9-11 from “Don’t Panic” CD single – Parlophone 07243 879350 2 0, 2001
Disc 2, Track 12 from “Don’t Panic” CD single – Parlophone 7243 8 79080 2 4, 2001

Written by Mike Duquette

August 18, 2010 at 07:00

Posted in Coldplay, Features, Reissues

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