NOW 57 [US]

The fifty-seventh volume in the Now That's What I Call Music - The U.S. Edition - hits the streets on Friday, the fifth of February.  Crammed with sixteen hit singles and "6 FREE tracks from up and coming artists!" as part of the ongoing Now Presents What's Next! program.  Former YouTube sensation and Zoolander 2 star Justin Bieber apologizes over a pulsing riddim in the Skrillez produced opening track on the disc, a track the Bieb and his four writing partners call "Sorry".  The song invaded the charts in a bad, bad way shortly after its October release, topping five of the eight Billboard charts it landed on, including the almighty Hot 100.  The song's music video, which does not feature the man-boy at all, has garnered over 700 million views as I type this.
Third track in is Ariana Grande with her Top 10 hit "Focus".  Ugly hair color aside, Ari's still rocking dem eyes and dancing and whipping her hair around as if her life depended on it.  Listen closely and you can hear Jamie Foxx spit some Mystikal-like raps.  Hoping there are far more catchier tunes and videos from her new album or Ms. Thang will be quickly fading from my playlists.
My two favorite songs on the whole album are next to one another down at numbers 13 and 14.  First up is Coldplay and the lead single from what they have said is their final album before Chris Martin leaves for a solo career.  Fingers crossed that the pretty disco stomper "Adventure Of A Lifetime" opens their Super Bowl Halftime Show.
My other favorite song on the album is the Jeep commercial "Renegades" by X Ambassador.  Say what you want about the song's dubious corporate origins and it's unsatisfying brevity, it sounds absolutely divine in the Blueberry.  And the video is inspiring as heck.

Also streeting on February 5th is Now That's What I Call Power Ballad Hits, which is not to be confused with this album, a massive three disc set which came out in the UK just a year ago.  But you would completely forgiven if Now That's What I Call Power Ballads Hits seemed familiar to you and you had this 2009 album tucked in your car's visor as it is musically identical to the newly renamed 2016 album.  But if downloaded the album digitally back then, what you got was Now That's What I Call Classic Power Ballads, a nearly identical musical twin to the compact disc version with exception of track three.  Downloading the album, you got Kiss's "Forever" but if you bought the CD like you know you should have, you got Def Leppard's "Love Bites".  Why the switcheroo?  Def Leppard steadfastly refuses to allow their record company to make available online digital versions of their studio albums that came out before 2013 with one exception: a 2014 Deluxe Edition of their 1996 album Slang

Back on December 18th, the digital only Now That's What I Call A Workout 2016 was released.  It is an entirely upbeat collection of pop and dance songs including several remixes.

On January 22, 2016, the Americanized version of Now That's What I Call Rock dropped.  (The 3 disc UK version, featuring the same cover image, came out in 2014.)  This disc features twenty tracks of a wide variety of what passes for "rock" music these days and I don't mean that as derogatory - just that a lot of varying styles of music are flying under the "rock" banner.  My favorites are "Mess Around" by Cage The Elephant, the previously mentioned "Renegades" and the wonderful "S.O.B." by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.

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