A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that many of these songs are unlikely to make it into many parents' comfort zones for younger or less mature kids.
What's the story?
The producers of NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC! 18 have come up with yet another wildly inconsistent and badly sequenced collection of recent hits. It's hard to imagine what these folks are thinking when they decide on the song order on these compilations, but you could have some family fun rearranging the songs for a more interesting musical, narrative (or even alphabetical), flow.
Is it any good?
The strong promise of the first couple of tracks (U2's "Vertigo" followed by Gwen Stefani's "What You Waiting For?") is not kept as the album limps through a very narrowly defined selection of "hits." Things start rolling downhill by the third track, Lindsay Lohan's tedious and overwrought "Rumors." Snoop Dogg follows with "Drop It Like It's Hot." The song's wonderful, visceral poetry (in its original R-rated glory) is reduced to nonsense in this clumsy edit, but some disturbing concepts and phrases ("pistol-whip," for example) remain.
Then comes Destiny's Child with "Soldier" and Ashanti's "Only U," two marvelously performed and produced songs that seem to aim to set feminism back a generation or two. You can settle in for a long nap until Frickin' A's cute, credible cover of "Jesse's Girl," followed by Skye Sweetnam's "Tangled Up In Me," and a breath of fresh country air with Keith Urban's corny-but-evocative "You're My Better Half," a great listening track for both acoustic and electric guitar students. Buy at your own risk.