Sometimes music lovers crave the perfect mix of music, but often have trouble finding it. Here is a list of five compilation series worth checking out, whether you’re in the mood to exercise, feel nostalgic, dance or just chill out.
Number Five: Jock Jams. Jock Jams is a compilation series, featuring music from the 90s and 80s, including hip-hop, disco, mixes, house music, and often times sports phrases are spoken on each record. Jock Jams was part of my childhood; I remember listening to it before softball or soccer games. In this way, it’s perfect music for athletes (Jock Jams was released by Tommy Boy Records).
Volume 1 (1995) features songs by 2 Unlimited, Tag Team, Black Box, Rob Base, C&c Music Factory, EMF, Gary Glitter and Village People. Volume 2 (1996) contains tracks by Coolio, CeCe Peniston, Amber, The Jock Jams Cheerleaders, Reel 2 Real, KC and the Sunshine Band and The Bucketheads. Volume 3 (1997) features tracks by Dick Vitale, Republica, Quad City DJ’s, Freak Nasty, Blackstreet featuring Dr. Dre, DJ Kool, Rednex and Funky Green Dogs.
Volume 4 (1998) contains songs by Austin Powers, Notorious B.I.G., 3rd Party, Will Smith, Backstreet Boys, Fatboy Slim, House of Pain and Chumbawamba.Volume 5 (1999) features songs by Vengaboys, Madonna, Busta Rhymes, Usher, Deborah Cox, Next and Cheryl Lynn. The All Star Jock Jams (2001,) the last compilation released by Jock Jams, features songs by Twisted Sister, Britney Spears, Baha Men, Groove Armada, Blur, Moby and Kool and the Gang.
Number Four: MTV Party to Go. MTV Party To Go is a compilation series that began in 1991. These albums contain a mix of pop, dance, hip-hop and remixes of slower songs. The first album (volume 1,) came out in 1991, and features songs by MC Hammer, Information Society, Vanilla Ice and Digital Underground. Specific tracks include Paula Abdul’s “Knocked Out,” DNA featuring Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner,” and Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” Volume 2 (1992) features remixes of songs like Enigma’s “Sadness Part 1,” P.M. Dawn’s “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss,” DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” and Salt-N-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex.”
The album also featured original versions of “Now That We Found Love” by Heavy D. & The Boyz, “All 4 Love” by Color Me Badd and “Motown Philly” by Boys II Men. MTV Party to Go Volume 3 (1993) features tracks like Jodeci’s “Come & Talk to Me,” Positive K’s “I Got a Man,” Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love” and Madonna’s “Deeper and Deeper.” Volume 4, also released in 1993, features remixes of songs like “Give it Away” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Baby Baby Baby” by TLC, “Jump” by Kris Kross, “Rhythm is a Dancer” by Snap!, and “Please Don’t Go” by KWS. Volume 5, released in 1994, features songs by Dr. Dre, Snow, K7, Tag Team, H-Town, SVW and 2Pac.
MTV Party to Go Volume 6, also released in 1994, features tracks by All-4-One, A Tribe Called Quest, Aaliyah, Ace of Base, Warren G, Crystak Waters and Tevin Campbell. Volume 7(1995) contains songs like Adina Howard’s “Freak Like Me,” Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down,” Total’s “Can’t You See,” Ini Kamoze’s “Here Comes the Hotstepper” and Madonna’s “Human Nature.” Volume 8, released in 1995, features tracks like “Big Poppa” by The Notorious B.I.G., “Feel Me Flow” by Naughty by Nature, “Boombastic” by Shaggy, “Can’t Cry Anymore” by Sheryl Crow, “1st of tha Month” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need to Get By” by Method Man and Mary J. Blige.
Volume 9 (1996) contains songs like “Hey Lover” by LL Cool J, “One More Chance” by the Notorious B.I.G., “Tell Me” by Groove Theory, “Missing” by Everything but the Girl and “Runaway” by Real McCoy. MTV Party to Go Volume 10 is the last of the series to go by volume numbers; it features songs like Amber’s “This is Your Night,” SWV’s “You’re the One,” 2Pac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love” and Monica’s “Ain’t Nobody.”
MTV Party to Go 1998 (released in 1997) is the first of the series to go by year in the title instead of volume number. This 1998 mix includes a remix of Lil’ Kim’s “Ladies Night,” Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack,” Ginuwine’s “Pony” and Dru Hill’s “In My Bed”; regular versions of songs include “Quit Playing Games (with my Heart)” by Backstreet Boys, “I’ll Be” by Foxy Brown featuring Jay-Z and “Block Rockin’ Beats” by The Chemical Brothers. The 1999 album (released in 1998) features tracks like Destiny Child’s “No, No, No Part 2,” Big Punisher’s “Still Not a Player,” Noreaga’s “Superthug,” Robyn’s “Show Me Love” and Sugar Ray’s “Fly.”
The 2000 album (released in 1999) contains songs like “Here we Go” by N’ Sync, “Crush” by Jennifer Paige (remix version,) “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes (remix version,) “Where my Girls At” by 702 and “Sexual” by Amber (remix version.) The last album released in the series was 2001’s MTV Party to Go Remixed, which featured remixes of songs like Montell Jordan’s “Get It On Tonite,” DMX’s “Party Up,” Joe’s “I Wanna Know” and Brian McKnight’s “Back at One. Overall,MTV Party to Go is chock-full of hit songs you can dance to.
Number Three: The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits. The Source Presents: Hip Hop Hits is a compilation series introduced by The Source magazine and distributed by Polygram Records. Volume 1 (1997) includes hit songs like “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G., “Look Into My Eyes” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, “Crush on You” by Lil’ Kim and “Triumph” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Volume 2 (1998) features songs like “Do For Love” by 2Pac, “Party Ain’t a Party” by Queen Pen, “Still a G Thang” by Snoop Dogg, “Gone Till November” by Wyclef Jean and “House & Carriage” by Cam’ron featuring Mase. Volume 3 (1999) contains tracks like “Holla Holla” by Ja Rule, “Quiet Storm” by Mobb Deep, “Slippin’” by DMX, “Hard Knock Life” by Jay-Z, “Simon Says” by Pharoahe Monch and “Guilty Conscience” by Eminem and Dr. Dre.
Volume 4 (2000) contains hits like “Country Grammer” by Nelly, “The Light” by Common, “Bad Boyz” by Shyne and Barrington Levy, “It’s So Hard” by Big Punisher and Donell Jones, “Oooh” by De La Soul and Redman and “Wobble Wobble” by 504 Boyz. Volume 5 (2001) features songs like “I’m a Thug” by Trick Daddy, “I’m Real” by Ja Rule and Jennifer Lopez, “Area Codes” by Ludacris and Nate Dogg, “Purple Pills” by D12, “Get Ur Freak On” by Missy Elliot and “Put Ya Hands Up” by Jadakiss. Volume 6 (2002) includes tracks like “Rollout” by Ludacris, “Still Fly” by Big Tymers, “Without Me” by Eminem, “Down 4 U” by Ja Rule/Ashanti/Charli Baltimore/Vita and “Pass the Courvoisier (remix)” by Busta Rhymes, P. Diddy and Pharrell.
Volume 7 (2003) features hits like “Act a Fool” by Ludacris, “Mesmerize” by Ashanti and Ja Rule, “The Jump Off” by Lil’ Kim and Mr. Cheeks and “Can’t Let You Go” by Fabolous, Lil’ Mo and Mike Shorey. Volume 8 (2004) contains tracks like “Recognize” by Scarface, “Hotel” by R. Kelly and Cassidy, “Into You” by Fabolous and Tamia, “Skills” by Gang Starr and “Clap Back” by Ja Rule.” Volume 9 (2004) features songs like “Rubberband Man” by T.I., “Game Over” by Lil’ Flip, “Locked Up” by Akon, “Slow Motion” by Juvenile and Soulja Slim, and “Welcome Back” by Mase. Volume 10 (2005) includes hits by Ciara, Petey Pablo, Terror Squad, Benzino, Lil’ Wayne, Geto Boys and Pitbull.
Number Two: Luv Collection. The Luv Collection Series consists of four albums of all different musical genres, however, they all have one thing in common: all songs featured are love songs. All of the albums from this collection came out in 1996 and were released as the EMI-Capitol R&B Luv Collection.
Smooth Luv (The Ultimate R&B Love Songs Collection) features songs like “That’s the Way Love Goes” by Janet Jackson, “At Your Best (You Are Love)” by Aaliyah, “Weak” by SWV, “Lady” by D’Angelo, “No Ordinary Love” by Sade and “It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over” by Lenny Kravitz. Real Luv (The Ultimate Country Love Songs Collection) contains tracks like “Whenever You Come Around” by Vince Gill, “Walls Can Fall” by George Jones, “You Saved Me” by Patty Loveless, “Baby Blue” by George Strait, “Not on Your Love” by Jeff Carson and “Rope the Moon” by John Michael Montgomery. Hot Luv (The Ultimate Dance Songs Collection) includes songs like “Be My Lover” by La Bouche, “The Sign” by Ace of Base, “100% Pure Love” by Crystal Waters, “The Rhythm of the Night” by Corona and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Nicki French.
My favorite compilation in this series, however, is Movie Luv (The Ultimate Movie Soundtrack Collection.) This mix features ballads and hit songs from movies like Pretty Woman, Ghost, Reality Bites, P.M. Dawn, Top Gun, Aladdin and Dirty Dancing. Songs featured on this album include “Colors of the Wind” by Vanessa Williams, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers, “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin, “Stay (I Missed You) by Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories and “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette.
Number One: Late Night Tales / Another Late Night. Late Night Tales / Another Late Night is a compilation series with the tagline, “music and stories worth staying up for.” According to their website, “Late Night Tales invites the world’s best artists to delve deep into their music collections to create the ultimate ‘late night’ selection.” Each album is known for featuring a cover done by the main band while also featuring spoken words at the end. The series started in 2001 under the UK independent record label, Night Time Stories Ltd.
Currently, there are thirty-nine albums in the Late Night Tales/Another Late Night archives (seven are from Another Late Night; thirty-two from Late Night Tales.) Artists included in the series include Jon Hopkins, Franz Ferdinand, Friendly Fires, Belle and Sebastian, MGMT, Midlake, Snow Patrol, Arctic Monkeys, Fatboy Slim, Air, The Flaming Lips, Four Tet, Zero 7, Belle and Sebastian and Groove Armada (the latter two bands contributed two volumes each to the series.) Since there are so many different albums to choose from, I’m going to pick some of my personal favorites.
I’ll begin with Late Night Tales: Flaming Lips, which contains songs by Bjork, Chris Bell, Roxy Music, The Chemical Brothers, Lush, The Psychedelic Furs, Nick Drake, Brian Eno and Radiohead. The Flaming Lips contribute a cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” except this cover is called the Harry Potter’s and George W. Bush’s Severed Head Army remix. Late Night Tales: Turin Brakes features tracks by Gillian Welch, Smog, Talk Talk, G. Love & Special Sauce, John Hammond and J.J. Cale. Turin Brakes contribute a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Moonlight Mile.”
Late Night Tales: Air contains tracks by The Cure, Black Sabbath, Nino Rota, The Band, Japan, Cat Power and Elliot Smith. Air contributes the track “Musica,” accompanied by Alessandro Baricco. Lastly, Late Night Tales: Snow Patrol features songs by Captain Beefheart, A Tribe Called Quest, DJ Food, King Biscuit Time, Jim Noir, School of Seven Bells, TV on the Radio and Super Furry Animals. Snow Patrol contributes a cover of INXS’s “New Sensation.”