Day 34 brings us to Now! #34, which came out on 12th August 1996.
Let’s hear those summer hits!
Track 1: Spice Girls – Wannabe
At eleven, I was exactly the right age for the Spice Girls, and from the moment this first song of theirs came out, I adored them. I bought every single and every album in HMV on the day they came out, I had every single Spice magazine (still do), I had the limited edition Spice Girls Impulse body spray. I was a huge fan, to put it mildly, and I remember carefully writing down the lyrics of this song and editing it over the course of several months, trying to work out what they were saying (I’ve mentioned before that I’m no good with being able to hear lyrics, and a lot of it was so nonsensical that there were endless arguments in the playground about what the words were – it was only when the album came out in December, complete with lyric insert, that I was able to confirm them properly).
Nowadays, I find this first track pretty cringeworthy – they did much better songs later on. I still remember how much I loved it at the time, though, the summer I moved from primary school to high school. Interesting times.
Track 2: Robbie Williams – Freedom
Pointless cover of the George Michael track. Although Robbie was my favourite member of Take That and I was gutted when he left, I find his solo stuff can be a bit hit and miss, and this cover doesn’t add anything to the original.
Track 3: Peter Andre and Bubbler Ranx – Mysterious Girl
Quite liked it at the time – nowadays I see it as a ‘so-bad-it’s-hilarious’ classic.
Track 4: Dodgy – Good Enough
I was never hugely keen on this one, though I quite enjoyed it when we saw them live at Beautiful Days in 2013.
Track 5: Ocean Colour Scene – The Day We Caught The Train
I adore Ocean Colour Scene (they were my favourite band for quite a while in my teens) and this is an absolute classic – great tune, great instrumentals, great lyrics.
Track 6: Larry Mullen Jr and Adam Clayton – Theme From Mission: Impossible
‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).
The two less famous members of U2 taking on the Mission: Impossible theme for the film version. It’s perhaps slightly rockier than the original, but not hugely different. I’ll give it a pass, though, ’cause you wouldn’t want a classic theme like this to be changed too much.
Track 7: Underworld – Born Slippy
Really liked it at the time, find it dated and annoying now.
Track 8: JX – There’s Nothing I Won’t Do
Quite like the tune on this dance track, but the vocals annoy me.
Track 9: Gina G – Ooh Aah (Just A Little Bit)
The UK’s Eurovision entry for 1996. Loved it at the time, find it irritating now. I’m finding that’s a bit of a theme with 1996. I must not have been hugely discerning at eleven.
Track 10: Pianoman – Blurred
Nice piano lines, as you might expect – the rest of the track is a bit messy, especially the misplaced sample from Blur’s Girls And Boys.
Track 11: Livin’ Joy – Don’t Stop Movin’
Oh, it’s this one. The vocals are at least interesting, but I find the style irritating and a bit generic.
Track 12: Louise – Naked
Finally a decent one from Louise – great solid pop track.
Track 13: Mark Morrison – Return Of The Mack
Classic tune, quite like this one. It’s been sample-covered horribly by at least two different ’10s artists, but I’m sure we’ll get to those later.
Track 14: 2Pac and Dr Dre – California Love
Really like this one! Great song, love that chorus.
Track 15: Pato Banton – Groovin’
Dull tune, dull vocals, not keen.
Track 16: Reel 2 Real – Jazz It Up
Quite a funky danceable beat, but it’s a bit of a dull tune.
Track 17: Maxi Priest and Shaggy – That Girl
Nice jaunty vocals, but that sample of Booker T & The MGs’ Green Onions is super repetitive.
Track 18: Los Del Mar – Macarena
No, that’s not a typo. Los Del Mar were basically a tribute band that only existed in order to cover Macarena by Los Del Rio (who were themselves little more than a one-hit wonder). Maybe the Now! compilers couldn’t get the rights to the original.
The cover is pretty pointless – it’s pretty much note for note the River Fe-Mix version of the original.
Track 19: Umboza – Sunshine
Another misplaced sample, this time Bamboléo by the Gipsy Kings. The rest of the track is fairly generic.
Track 20: Josh Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness
We’ve had this already, on Now! #32, which was only a couple of compilations ago! That’s just lazy.
Urgh. See the link for my review.
Track 21: Todd Terry, Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown – Keep On Jumpin’
Messy semi-cover of the ’70s hit, with samples and random lines all over the place. It’s pretty awful.
Track 22: Robert Miles – Children
I’ve always loved this one! Gorgeous electro tune.
Track 23: George Michael – Jesus To A Child
Lovely, melancholy song from George Michael. Beautiful tune.
Track 24: Oasis – Wonderwall
A little late to the party for the Now! compilers, as this was more of a late 1995 hit, but it’s a classic, probably the best song Oasis did in my opinion, and so still very welcome.
Track 25: The Bluetones – Slight Return
Oh, it’s this one! Pleasant tune, happily nodding along right now.
Track 26: Paul Weller – Peacock Suit
Dull tune, very dad-rock. Not keen.
Track 27: Bon Jovi – Hey God
I normally like Bon Jovi, but I find this one a bit uninspired.
Track 28: Bryan Adams – The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You
Found it annoying at the time, just find it a bit so-so now.
Track 29: Belinda Carlisle – In Too Deep
Nice instrumentals, but the vocal is pretty dull.
Track 30: Suggs – Cecelia
Loved this reggae-tinged cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic at the time, still love it now! Great track.
Track 31: Blur – Charmless Man
I’ve always found the tune to this one a bit annoying. Not my favourite Blur track.
Track 32: Suede – Trash
Good head-nodder from Suede – really like this one. Great singalong chorus too.
Track 33: Joan Osborne – One Of Us
That old-timey American traditional rhyme at the start is super annoying, but the song itself is an absolute classic – great tune.
Track 34: Crowded House – Instinct
Nice tune, really like this one.
Track 35: Lighthouse Family – Ocean Drive
Feelgood track with an awesome singalong chorus. Lovely.
Track 36: Tina Turner – On Silent Wings
Dull tune, dull ballad. Not a fan of this one.
Track 37: Everything But The Girl – Wrong
Good beat, but I’m not keen on the tune.
Track 38: OMC – How Bizarre
I’d forgotten about this one! Pleasant, jaunty track, really like it.
Track 39: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Walking On The Milky Way
Lovely tune, really interesting track.
Track 40: Space – Female Of The Species
Loved it at the time, love it now. I remember endless arguments in the back of the car about whether the lyric was ‘more deadlier‘, which was what it sounded like, or the grammatically correct ‘more deadly‘. I think I argued for the latter position, just because I couldn’t believe a professional band would write such a horrendously wrong sentence (ah, childhood innocence). A quick google just now tells me it was indeed the latter, but it really does sound like the former.
Track 41: Cast – Walkaway
Nice tune, but a bit slow for me.
Track 42: Boyzone – Coming Home Now
Liked it at the time, find the tune pretty irritating now.