The NOW compilers have spotted another golden opportunity for a topical compilation, so this will leave you wondering, cheap cash in or good effort?, when I saw the track lineup I actually lean towards the sentiment that this is a pretty good effort, the patriotic cover rather oddly doesn't actually feature the union jack flag outside the obvious choice of the red, white & blue colour scheme, but it does rather aptly display a picture of Queen Elizabeth II and other quintessential things that no doubt mark the atmosphere of Britain out to tourists such as military guards, rolling countryside & the characteristically red phone box all they are missing is a picture of a mini Austin Powers style. Of course those of us that live in Britain know that these are very cliched symbols of our nation nevertheless you do feel more than a trickle of patriotism from them.
So what tracks? It feels like there's a bit of overlap with Now Classical with the usual national anthems, and we have some rather well chosen and characteristically british traditional songs and theme tunes, along with just a couple of up to date classics such as the themes to Inspector Morse & Downton Abbey, CD2 goes for more of the pop side and I'm pleased to say they have decided to look right back through the old decades to find the real old vintage classics we have a quirky assortment which goes from Vera Lynn's World War II popular classics right through to 60's classics from the likes of Tom Jones, Gerry & The Pacemakers & Dusty Springfield. It's easy to feel that something like this can end up being cheesey and they couldn't get the Beatles but there's one thing this compilation does feel like and that's British which is obviously all you can ask of it, the icing on the cake might have been to put The Spice Girls on as well, it might be an obvious cash in for the jubilee but you can hardly fault it it does do what it says it will do. It sits along Now USA released only in that forementioned country which showcases patriotic country hits and the US national anthem. One thing you'll certainly notice is the emphasis on tradition as the majority of the tracks are much older all time classics with the newest entry being the theme from Downton Abbey.
NOW has been doing a lot more of these more themed compilations lately and whilst some have been very good, some such as NOW Love & NOW Running have ended being very wide of the mark and just including a lot of very generic and aimless tracks, but lately NOW Wedding & NOW Disney have been particularly good, NOW Classical was a bit hit & miss but still a worthy entry, and this is another one that is simply worth having as well.
So whilst there will be people who will call this out as a quick cash-in but it's certainly a perfectly timed and very apt one, this is one of the most interesting and unique compilations that NOW have ever offered, I'm not even sure which other compilation could possibly compile these tracks in such a way, whether you want to get in the spirit of the Jubilee or not I'd say this is a very good compilation just to diversify your music collection and for the cultural background that's interesting to explore, well done to the NOW compilers for keeping the themes in the populist arena.