Various Artists Review: Now That’s What I Call Motown

2009 collection, a special installment from the hugely successful Now… series of compilation albums, released to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of one of the greatest record labels in music history. Now That’s What I Call Motown presents 25 of the most beloved and timeless classic R&B tracks from some of the greatest music artists of all-time, all on one CD. Includes cuts from The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Miracles, Mary Wells, Rick James, The Commodores and many others.

When I heard that Universal Motown Records was going to release a Now That’s What I Call Motown CD, my first thoughts were, “Oh great, here comes another Now Music CD.” But my thoughts turned a complete 180 degrees when the album was playing overhead at the Borders Books and Music store, outside of “Motown,” where I currently work. Since I work in the cafe within the store, I really do not have a say in what CD’s get played; usually the managers decide. But I was very thankful when this particular CD was put into the stereo player.

I heard the first song of the disc, Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want),” I, (as well as a few of my other co-workers) started dancing, and what seemed to be another dreaded work day, was no more. Our spirits were lifted. Maybe it was the fact that we live and play in the city where most of the songs on the album were produced, and knowing that had put a smile on our faces.

Detroit, Michigan. It’s known by many names: “Motown,” “Motor City,” and even “Hockey Town,” but I call it home. Detroit, unfortunately, has gotten a bad reputation from the media recently, with the text scandal involving former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the downfall of the auto industry. For the most part, I’m proud to consider myself a “Detroiter” because there are many great things about the city. Listening to this record makes me forget about all the negative events, and it lets me focus on “The D’s” stronger points. Now That’s What I Call Motown marks the 50th anniversary of Barry Gordy Jr.’s foundation of “Motown Records.” It’s an occasion that will always have its place in history.

As my work day went on, the funky beats of the Temptations, the Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder pumped through the stereo. Now That’s What I Call Motown has songs for everyone to dance and sing along to. Even though we were not born in those eras, my co-workers and I (most of us are in our 20’s), loved listening to Diana Ross and the Commodores.

My favorite track is Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” The soulful jazzy song was lost in the back of my mind until I listened to it again. The lyrics really make me think about the events of world today and evaluate where I stand. When Marvin Gaye flows through my ears, I think of what I can personally do to try and help make the world a better place, not only for myself, but for others as well.

The sun had set and it was time for the store to close. The 25-song compilation was still playing and the staff was humming to the tunes that reminded us of our hometowns.

I would highly advise picking up this album, especially if you are in need of a musical boost during your day.

Review by Kimberly Gallagher

Grade: A
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Buy on Amazon: Various Artists


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