In among positive news about music sales over 2005 came the fact that the biggest faller (outside physical singles, we imagine) year on year was the humble compilation album, being nearly 16% down. The BPI blamed it on CDR swapping, the twats. We feel it is our duty to make sure the compilation retains its position as the fulcrum of the trade, or at least the handy way to fill those awkward last few racks, so here's this week's compilation chart top ten:
1 Clubbers Guide 2006
USP: Well, it's not like the attraction of a July in Ibiza or Ayia Napa will ever fade, is it? God bless Ministry Of Sound, sticking with the format no matter what prevailing dance music trends throw at it.
STICK THAT ON THE ADVERT: And my, what dance music trends are being thrown at us all these days. Tip to Naughty Boy - your Phat Beach bootleg may have sounded oh so radical in context, just don't keep the title when Leftfield refuse to make your Phat Planet sample legal.
WHAT'S THIS ONE, DAD?: Good to see Karin from The Knife there, obviously as the vocalist on Royksopp's What Else Is There, if not the Thin White Duke remix. We can't work out which is the more worrying title - Work This Pussy (Mad8) or I've Got The Music In Me (Boogie Pimps).
2 Now That's What I Call Music 62
USP: EMI/Virgin's cash cow, or pound-pertaining pig if you want to hark back to the glory days.
STICK THAT ON THE ADVERT: Well, it's all the hits, isn't it? We suspect Bad Day might be held over for about halfway through, though.
WHAT'S THIS ONE, DAD?: Can't see Elton John, Mattafix, Bon Jovi or Texas escaping the kids' Skip buttons. Welcome To Jamrock will just confuse them, or make them cry if it's not the really cautious radio edit.
3 Helter Skelter Presents Hardcore Classics
USP: Two blokes on a low grade PC in Rotterdam on 200bpm rather than four very short-haired college kids trying to play faster than Motorhead in San Francisco, of course.
STICK THAT ON THE ADVERT: Mixed by one Billy 'Daniel' Bunter, apparently. It's not an advert you'd see during Children's ITV, let's say that.
WHAT'S THIS ONE, DAD?: CLSM's semi-legendary John Peel Is Not Enough - an excellent concept, if bugger all use now.
4 Twice As Nice - Weekender
USP: Released on Boxing Day, because of course that's the optimum time for forward thinking superclub business.
STICK THAT ON THE ADVERT: A recent not too commercial R&B primer, essentially, bar the way it starts with Don't Cha and Ciara's 1 2 Step.
WHAT'S THIS ONE, DAD?: The Ying Yang Twins can fuck off, for a start. Plenty to represent the nation, even if it is Audio Bullys and, bloody hell, Wayne Marshall's Ooh Aah G Spot. Ginuwine's Pony crops up towards the end, much mocked at the time for its odd burping noises throughout, little realising that this was Timbaland's first venture into big time production and everyone would be extracting Warp Records-style noises from 303s before too long.
5 The Best Club Anthems Classics
USP: Perhaps the most famous compilation series in dance music, as it's the one with the logo that looks like a gold Letraset Airfix kit. This is their 3CD blowout.
STICK THAT ON THE ADVERT: Tip to compilers - if you're trying to make out that dance music is still as innovative and forward thinking as ever, don't start your big shot compilation with Call On Me, Lola's Theme, Out Of Touch and Somebody To Love.
WHAT'S THIS ONE, DAD?: If there's a track you don't recognise it's because you're too young for K-Klass or Urban Cookie Collective. Out Of Space is the Prodigy track, always good to hear the filtered disco zenith of Cassius 1999, and you'd be surprised how long it's been since you heard Groovejet.
6 The Annual 2006
USP: More state secretarial affairs at the Ministry Of Sound with the calendar event Sarah Cawood always used to do a moody voiceover for.
STICK THAT ON THE ADVERT: Mylo and whoever wrote Doctor Beat must be raking it in with the number of top selling compilations Doctor Pressure is appearing on. What was the point of D.O.N.S. Featuring Technotronic's Pump Up The Jam again?
WHAT'S THIS ONE, DAD?: Paul Epworth's transition from soundman to dance bod is complete as his Goldfrapp Phones Re-Edit is here. What the buggering fuckery is The Disco Boys Featuring Manfred Mann's Earth Band like?
7 NME Presents The Essential Bands
USP: Because the Shine compilers don't seem to be bothering any more.
STICK THAT ON THE ADVERT: I Predict A Riot opens CD1, Speed Of Sound CD2. That's the way, tempt them in early.
WHAT'S THIS ONE, DAD?: Actually less leftfield suggestions than the Best Bands Ever set, although oddly the Killers track is Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine. At least it's not Glamorous Indie Rock'n'Roll. What are the Kaiser kids meant to do when Test Icicles come on?
8 Housework Songs
USP: Completely does away with the need for local commercial radio, the cover shot of a woman singing into a hoover, or possibly an air pumping horn from the local garage, sets the scene.
STICK THAT ON THE ADVERT: Basically it's much the same as you'd get at hen party karaoke, from I Will Survive to Take A Chance On Me, even if it is Erasure's version.
WHAT'S THIS ONE, DAD?: Who gives it the full Aretha to Mike And The Mechanics' Over My Shoulder? Hadn't we all agreed to forget Can’t Fight The Moonlight?
9 The Number One Classical Album 2006
USP: Are there new contenders for the classical canon every year, then?
STICK THAT ON THE ADVERT: Well, interpretations obviously do, as this is classical in the 'classical additions to the tenor canon' sense of the term, ie an inaccurate one. Covering the full gamut of vocal expression from G4 and Bryn Terfel to Amici Forever and Vittorio Grigolo, it manages to find room for the Choirboys' Tears In Heaven, which surely doesn't count.
WHAT'S THIS ONE, DAD?: Allegretto (From Palladio). By Myleene Klass, obviously. How much was that popularising the classics album deal again?
10 The R&B Yearbook
USP: What it says on the tin, although someone appears to have left some of last year's Yearbook inside. How come Frank'ee never made much of her career, eh?
STICK THAT ON THE ADVERT: First four tracks: Lonely, Let Me Love You, Get Right, 1 Thing. From there it goes in much the same direction.
WHAT'S THIS ONE, DAD?: Apart from the inexplicable choice of the Fugees' version of No Woman No Cry, that is. And Terror Squad's Lean Back, which made a massive US impact and did bugger all here. And the oh so timely DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's Summertime. Why is the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, Blow Monkeys track and all, at 11?