A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
By the time NOW! 17 rolls around to track 12, the overwrought \"Angels,\" in which Jessica Simpson's voice tries to approximate a breathy, nasal melody, you'll be longing for the oomph of earlier tracks by the Beastie Boys, the Black Eyed Peas, or even Lil' Flip and Lea's sexist and sexy duet, \"Sunshine.\" Like the other Now That's What I Call Music! compilations, #17 presents 20 recent hits with little thought to interesting sequencing and very few surprises.
Is it any good?
Musical high points are not necessarily the "safest" songs on the CD. The Jadakiss track, "Why," offers vivid social commentary and exquisite production along with some strong imagery. The next track, "Locked Up" by Akon with Styles P., an interesting morality tale about incarceration, sounds thin and tedious by comparison.
The mix of songs aims for more musical variety than on the past few in the series, and that's NOW 17's strongest point. Along with the usual intense sequence of hip-hop followed by limpid pop, there's hard rock ("Cold" by Crossfade) and some interesting songs by Switchfoot, Finger Eleven, Franz Ferdinand, and Bowling for Soup. Gretchen Wilson and Keith Urban deliver a strong country-rock finale.