Now That's What I Call British

Now That’s What I Call Music may have overtaken the world, but it began in Britain, so having an American compilation introducing the best of British pop feels a bit like going through the looking glass. Nevertheless, the London Olympics of the summer of 2012 provide a good excuse for Now That’s What I Call British, a hodge-podge of post-Brit-pop singles, some that made it big in the U.S., and many that did not. Now That’s What I Call British is bookended by Damon Albarn, the man who is arguably responsible for the Brit-pop boom of the ‘90s, but neither Blur’s “Song 2” -- a song deliberately designed to sound like American grunge -- nor Gorillaz’s “Feel Good Inc” sound very Brit-pop. In fact, the sound is generally missing here -- Lily Allen's “Smile” comes closest -- but there is a lot of distinctly British balladry, pop, dance, and rock, all anchored by Coldplay (“Viva la Vida”), Radiohead (“Creep”), Florence + the Machine (“Dog Days Are Over”), Amy Winehouse (“Rehab”), Leona Lewis (“Bleeding Love”), and Natasha Bedingfield (“Pocketful of Sunshine”). The rest isn’t as noteworthy or well-known but it’s not bad, and it’s all recognizably British if not necessarily the sound that Anglophiles consider quintessential British pop. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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