Today in the post I received a lovely copy of NOW 17 on double LP. It’s in mint condition, and I hasten to add that the reason it came here is because I collect records and am currently collecting a complete set of all the NOW albums that existed on LP (1-35, for those who are interested).
One thing I have noticed about the NOW albums is that a lot of them are packed with what we ought to politely refer to as ‘better suited to being spread thinly on a field of vegetables to aid their growing’ than music. NOW 17 does not disappoint in this respect. Actually, I would go as far as to say that the needle on my turntable now feels dirty for having dragged itself through that filth. I count only three, maybe four tracks that are remotely worthwhile. In honest truth a fair few of these records don’t even register in the section of my memory entitled ‘crap music I remember and hate from my formative years’. That means that they must have been total here-today-gone-tomorrow one hit wonders. Well, if you can call them that.
Depeche mode’s 1990 hit “Enjoy the silence” is certainly the best track on there. However, I understand why there are now so few surviving copies of NOW17 – it is utter rubbish. Manufactured sacharin pish and false psuedo dance mucis that leaves the impression of a record exec who was about as far away from ‘it’ as it is possible to be saying “Hey, I know what the kids want, because I’m with it!”. Sorry matey, but they changed what ‘it’ was sometime in the late 1950s and forgot to send you the memo. It is little wonder that there was such an explosion at the time in popularity of underground groups and styles that led to the first great revolution and death of the charts. I remember now why acid house and rave became so big so fast when the ‘official’ record company offerings comprised of garishly dressed teenagers in sideways baseball caps and not a trace of stubble on their clean cut and (urggggghhhh!) wholesome faces.
The NOW series went through a really bad time. I can recomend wholeheartedly copies of NOW 6, 8 and 10 (available for no more than £1 from any decent secondhand record shop) but after 10, they certainly slipped bigtime. It wasn’t until NOW 20 that they started to find their way again, and there was certainly another big blip to come. But that was after LP copies stopped being pressed (the end came at NOW 35 – a very rare copy to find on LP) so is luckily outside the scope of my LP collection. I shall breath a sigh of relief.