Who can remember popping a MuchDance album into your Sony Walkman back in the day? Compilation albums were the best — kind of like your original playlists. Up until around 2006 I knew what I was getting in my Christmas stocking, and that was this year’s latest MuchDance album. Thank you mom.
The MuchDance series is an important part of Canadian music history, combining some of pop music’s biggest moments into a series of albums that were mixed and released by a Canadian company. The series followed the Dance Mix series (which I’m sure many of you remember very well) and made its first release in 1997. Here is a list of them all (excluding 2017) ranked mostly on key pop culture moments from best to worst.
Maybe I’m just living in the past, but MuchDance’s golden years were most definitely from 1999-2004. Ace of Base, Destiny’s Child, Fatboy Slim, and both of the most popular boy bands of that time mark this album with enough nostalgia to fill a 90s dance party.
Highlight: You could be living under a rock and have still seen a movie or two that features “The Rockafeller Skank.”
Lowlight: The Tony Moran Mix of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” is pure cheese.
Sugar Jones’ presence on this album is enough to make it awesome. So, so many great tunes here, including J-Lo’s “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” and Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me.” Raise your hand if you sang along to City High’s “What Would You Do?” to your parents’ horror! Not to mention the classic heartbreak sing-along track by O-Town “All Or Nothing” … I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s blasted this in the car once or twice (I hope).
Highlight: Destiny Child’s “Bootylicious” for the win. That “Edge of Seventeen” intro is an instant mood changer.
Lowlight: None. This whole album’s a banger.
After we all simultaneously discovered that we weren’t actually going to die on New Year’s Eve, MuchDance 2000 kicked off the new millennium with some of the most memorable hits from the early 2000s, including Vengaboys’ “Boom Boom Boom Boom,” Len’s “Steal My Sunshine,” and Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca”
Highlight: It’s a tie between Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” and J-Lo’s “If You Had My Love” — two huge debut singles that introduced two of early millennium pop’s biggest influencers.
Lowlight: Joee’s Arriba was meh.
Among the most memorable moments of 90s pop music is the line “chic-a-cherry cola” in Savage Garden’s “I Want You.” This MuchDance also has LL Cool J, Puff Daddy and Faith Evans, and Diana King’s badass electronica remake of “I Say A Little Prayer.” Bonus points for Robyn’s single “Do You Know (What it Takes),” off her debut album and paired with that amazing purple plastic tracksuit.
Highlight: Hanson’s “MMMBop” is a 90s kid anthem, while Biggie’s “Hypnotize” is a damn classic.
Lowlight: The Cardigans’ “Lovefool” was cool for five seconds in Cruel Intentions.
Another wonderful album that opens with Destiny’s Child. We also have P!nk’s early R&B days, some‘N Sync, S Club 7, Mariah Carey, Eminem, Britney Spears, Vengaboys, Dr. Dre, Toni Braxton…basically every artist that defined the early 2000s.
Highlight: Hands down Toni Braxton’s “He Wasn’t Man Enough.”
Lowlight: Sisqo’s “Thong Song” is a solid throwback but it was actually a good song.
Despite only going platinum three times (pretty low compared to other MuchDance albums) this album is loaded with memorable hits, many of them summing up the early 2000s.
Highlight: This MuchDance album opens with Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love,” a song that not only began the love story of Beyonce and Jay-Z, but also came off of the very album that birthed Queen Bey as a solo artist. It’s a smash hit. Notable mentions are 50 Cent’s “Inda Club,” JT’s “Rock Your Body,” and every house party’s favourite sing-along, R Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).”
Lowlight: Swollen Members’ “Watch This” is as lame as the name “Swollen Members.”
Shakira, Ashanti, P. Diddy, Usher, N’ Sync (surprise), Mario, Ja Rule, Moby, post-exclamation mark Pink, and Destiny’s Child, Enrique Iglesias…need I say more?
Highlight: Mario’s “Just a Friend 2002” because I never understood why there was a “2002” in the title and I’d like to meet someone who doesn’t know the lyrics.
Lowlight: Swollen Members again sorry.
This album that should have been called 2011 Club Hits suitably opens with LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” marking the summer that shuffling became a thing on every dance floor. Summer hits like Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory,” Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything,” and Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink to that)” claim their spots on this album. We also have a wholesome remix of Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” and the mom-favourite “Moves Like Jagger,” as well as Selena Gomez’s early Disney liberation tracks “Love You Like a Love Song.”
Highlight: LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” is an invaluable addition to the pop music canon.
Lowlight: “My name is KAY-ay-ay-ay-ay, KAY-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay”…..it’s just annoying to listen to as it is to look at.
We’ve got memorable hits like “Blurred Lines,” “Wake Me Up,” and Cedric’s remix of “Summertime Sadness,” but we’ve also got a few duds.
Highlight: “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke and Pharrell. You couldn’t turn the radio on without hearing this song for at least a year after it was released.
Lowlight: Bonnie McKee’s “American Girl” because I would never associate this song with the summer of 2013.
This album starts off strong, with Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling,” Sean Kingston’s “Fire Burning,” Pitbull’s “Hotel Room Service,” and “Cascada’s “Evacuate the Dancefloor” taking up the first four spots on the album. We also see David Guetta’s “When Love Takes Over,” some Gaga, Ciara, Katy Perry, and P!nk. Then you mix in some duds like Belly’s “Hot Girl” and Classified’s “Anybody Listening” and you’ve got yourself an album of hits that flow together like oil and water. Also, as a die-hard Britney Spears fan, I will admit that “If U Seek Amy” was not among her best work.
Highlight: Cascada’s “Evacuate the Dancefloor” is a timeless club favourite.
Lowlight: Jonas Brothers “Paranoid (Soul Seekers Remix).”
The best part about the songs on this particular album is that they all come with memorable music videos. Pink’s “Stupid Girls,” Beyonce’s “Check On It,” Jessica Simpson’s “Public Affair,” and Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” to name a few. We also see a change in Nelly Furtado’s tone with “Promiscuous” and who could forget Chamillionaire’s “Ridin”?
Highlight: Rihanna “S.O.S.,” because nobody can touch Rihanna when it comes to knowing how to create hits.
Lowlight: Chamillionaire’s “Ridin” because it was the reason for Weird Al’s “White & Nerdy,” which is in my top 10 of most annoying songs on the planet.
We’ve got some fresh hits here, including Justin Bieber’s “Somebody to Love” and Usher’s “Dj Got Us Fallin’ In Love” and Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite.”
Highlight: I will never not want to blast “Like A G6.”
Lowlight: Too much Pitbull for one album.
Some solid dance party hits on this one. The Pussycat Dolls’ “When I Grow Up,” Ne-Yo’s “Forever,” Rihanna’s “Disturbia,” and Chris Brown’s “Forever.” 2008-2009 also saw Britney Spears comeback with Blackout, which was commemorated by this album with the inclusion of her single “Break The Ice.”
Highlight: Rihanna’s “Disturbia” became a top 10 hit in over 20 countries.
Lowlight: Danny Fernandes “Private Dancer”
Hilary Duff’s “Stranger” is such an underrated pop moment. This album also sees Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls,” Kat DeLuna’s “Whine Up,” and the “Buy U A Drank” wordsmith himself, T-Pain.
Highlight: Three-way tie between Nelly Furtado’s “Do It” (whaddup Canada), Tiga’s “You Gonna Want Me” (because it’s a banger) and Rihanna’s “Umbrella.”
Lowlight: Without Fergie’s presence, will.i.am’s “I Got It From My Mama” is a forgettable five-second hit.
2014-2015 saw a lot of girl power happening in the 2010s pop music scene, and MuchDance 2015 definitely took notice. We’ve got tracks by some of the music industry’s fiercest, including Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minah, Sia and Katy Perry.
Highlight: It was so, so, so cool to see a Canadian pop artist go viral the way Kiesza did with her pop masterpiece “Hideaway.”
Lowlight: I definitely would have subbed Maroon 5’s “Maps” out for Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off,” which I feel is missing from this record.
It’s a little awkward trying to figure out where such a recent release would fit in 20 years of pop albums, but MuchDance 2016 definitely feels like one of the series’ weaker offerings.
Highlight: Major Lazer “Lean On” was a summer jam if I ever knew one.
Lowlight: Maroon 5 “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like a Mother******” was a hit for a few days after it dropped, but only because it has the long word for mofo in the title.
This album starts off strong with Black Eyed Peas, Gwen Stefani, and The Pussycat Dolls kicking off the first three spots, but it suffers from an identity crisis. The songs on this track don’t flow well together, and listening to it in one take might feel like your entire mp3 is on shuffle.
Highlight: Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” was a solid sing-along.
Lowlight: Eminem’s “Mockingbird” has no place on this album.
Most of the songs on this album are dismissible, although it did mark a moment in pop culture when Ashlee Simpson tried to get out of her big sister’s shadow. MuchDance didn’t seem to get the hint, considering they put “Pieces of Me” on this album along with a remix of Jessica Simpson’s “Take My Breath Away.” The sister theme is pretty prominent here — the Duff sisters’ remake of “Our Lips Are Sealed” are also on this one.
Highlight: Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” marks a pivotal moment in hip hop as well as the rapper’s debut album The College Dropout.
Lowlight: Jennifer Lopez’s “Baby I Luv U!” was one of the more least successful singles on this album.
MuchDance 2013 opens with the pop culture phenomenon “Gangnam Style,” a song that you probably don’t want to hear ever again. There’s also a little bit of One Direction, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and some Drake. It’s a decent album, but not among its most memorable. 2012-2013 felt a bit like a filler year in pop, with many big-name artists making neutral radio hits that were neither good nor bad, just boring.
Highlight: Drake’s “The Motto.” Kudos to a song that popularized the phrase “You only live once.”
Lowlight: Flo Rida’s “Whistle.” That song was creepy as hell.