The NOW That’s What I Call Music! series has never been especially thought-out, the unifying factor among every volume more or less being “Here are some songs that are popular.” Every now and then, however, their legacy designation of a hit you love has the power to make you reckon with your own mortality. Writer Sam Maggs experienced this very sensation in a tweet about a semi-recent chapter in the NOW saga called NOW That’s What I Call Dad Rock:
The shock is palpable as Maggs and several other Twitter users of a particular age realize that, to paraphrase True Detective, time is a motherfucker, and yes, Sum 41's “In Too Deep” and Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” are both nearly 20 years old at this point—long enough for the songs’ respective writers to date, marry, and get divorced. For someone in their 30s, any early-00s hit is now just as far-removed from them in years as anything from the ‘70s or ‘80s was when they were in high school.
Still, it’s worth noting that NOW’s idea of “dad rock” is rather ill-defined. While the tracklist is populated by many radio contemporaries of Sum 41 and Lavigne, there are also ‘90s stalwarts like the Spin Doctors, not to mention a laundry list of more traditional “classic rock” artists such as Queen and Eric Clapton. In fact, Queen’s “We Will Rock You” opens both NOW That’s What I Call Dad Rock and 2015'S Now That’s What I Call Classic Rock, which also strangely includes a 2013 song by Bring Me The Horizon. Not to be outshone in the laziness department, the Dad Rock comp features “The Sound” by The 1975:
So what exactly is the criteria here? And just what is the difference between “classic rock” and “dad rock”? It doesn’t matter. The point is, you’re old, the music you grew up with is old, and, if you’re not old, you will be soon. Best to just follow the lead of @AmandaDoiron11:
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