Those of you keeping score during my interminable Now! marathon will remember that when Take That reformed in the mid-’00s, I dubbed them ‘Fake That’ in a fit of pique because they’d had the temerity to reform without my childhood favourite, Robbie Williams.
In Edinburgh last week, I saw this advert on the side of a bus:
…and now I’m a bit confused and unnerved. It’s Take That with original members missing (in this case Jason Orange), but Robbie Williams is not one of them. Is it still Fake That, given that I started using that term to express my annoyance at the lack of Robbie? I am not sure I will ever be able to answer this question.
The intro with the group vocal is quite good, and I like the 8-bit videogame inspired backing track, but the rap verses are very dull.
Oh yeah, and it’s another grim, offensive, NSFW video. Not recommended. It’s a yacht ‘n’ almost-naked girls video that basically illustrates everything that has gone wrong with the world in the thirty-six years since Rio first did this theme. Utterly horrendous and depressing.
DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Quavo and Chance The Rapper – No Brainer
Even more uninspired than previous collaboration I’m The One. There’s nothing interesting about this track at all.
The video’s pretty daft and has too much of a teenage ‘look how wild and crazy we are with our booze and illicit substances’ theme to it, but I guess it’s got quite a nice colourful quality.
A new feature today! As I’m finally done with the Now! compilations, I thought I’d continue with my chart geekery by discussing my initial reaction to the new entries in the UK Top 40 every Friday. I warn you in advance: I’ve not been hugely impressed by chart music recently. Still, let’s give it a go.
Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid – Eastside
It’s a pretty tune, but it’s a bit generic.
The video tells an interesting story, but it’s not much to look at.
B Young – 079ME
I do like the rhythm, but for me it’s too similar to Jumanji, his previous hit.
The video is typically HD and summery, and as such very forgettable.
Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes
I really like the orchestral-sounding instrumentals on this one, and it’s got a nice epic feel. Great to hear this kind of pop in the charts, too – it’s refreshingly different.
They’re being tardy with releasing the video though. Sort it out!
6ix9ine, Nicki Minaj and Murda Beats – Fefe
So awful and offensive they didn’t play this one on the radio…
…and the video’s equally appalling. (NSFW, just to warn you.)
The 1975 – Love It If We Made It
I really, really like the 1975 and their retro-sounding pop-rock. This track has great synthy instrumentals and thoughtful lyrics. My favourite of this week’s new hits.
No video though! I was looking forward to something that would mitigate the visual offensiveness of the last one.
Loud Luxury and Brando – Body
Great atmosphere on the chorus, but again it’s a very uninspired tune.
The video is a boring ‘in da club’ video with lots of strippers and drinking. Yawn.
So. Three and a half months, ten and a half solid days of music listening, and 4,019 tracks later, here we are at Day 100, the final day of this Now! compilation marathon. Day 100 means that we have finally reached Now! #100, which has just been released today, 20th July 2018.
Here they are, then – the very last summer hits.
(Let’s take a minute to appreciate this awesome celebratory cover. On the top left, we have the pig that featured on the covers of Now! #3 to Now! #5 – well, it’s actually a much cuter version! On the top right, we have an airship with the logo that was used on the covers of Now! #3 to Now! #16. Love the fireworks too! Perfect cover for this special occasion.)
Track 1: Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
This was number one for quite a few weeks, but it’s not my thing. I find the tune really irritating and a bit repetitive.
Track 2: George Ezra – Shotgun
I like the rhythm on this one.
Track 3: Clean Bandit and Demi Lovato – Solo
Good bit of pop – I quite like the tune. There’s some annoying vocal stuff going on in the chorus though.
Track 4: Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry
Absolutely gorgeous pop tune – I really like this one.
Track 5: Anne-Marie – 2002
Hmm. I do like the clever interpolation on the chorus of a single line – ‘oops, I got 99 problems singing “bye, bye, bye”/hold up, if you wanna go and take a ride wit me/better hit me, baby, one more time‘ – that mixes up the hooks from Britney Spears’ …Baby One More Time, Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye, Dr Dre’s The Next Episode, Nelly’s Ride Wit Me and Britney Spears’ Oops!… I Did It Again. If you remember the turn of the millennium, it’s very evocative.
I can’t stand the theme, though – and the tune on the verses really annoys me!
Track 6: Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
Extremely irritating, cloying tune. I don’t know why I always find Jess Glynne’s stuff so grating, but I do.
Track 7: Years & Years – If You’re Over Me
Great bouncy rhythm – this one’s quite fun.
Track 8: David Guetta and Sia – Flames
Annoying tune on the vocals – not keen.
Track 9: Post Malone – Better Now
Another irritating tune.
Track 10: Jonas Blue and Jack & Jack – Rise
I get this one stuck in my head a lot at the moment. I’m not sure why, ’cause the tune’s very uninspired.
Track 11: Liam Payne and J Balvin – Familiar
I really like this one – it’s got a great Latin feel to it.
Track 12: Banx & Ranx, Ella Eyre and Yxng Bane – Answerphone
Good solid pop tune – I love that singalong chorus.
Track 13: MO, Lotto Boyzz and Mr Eazi – Bad Vibe
Nice summery song – quite like this one.
Track 14: Tiësto, Dzeko, Preme and Post Malone – Jackie Chan
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Post Malone on track 9.
Ridiculous lyrics, annoying tune on the chorus. It’s got a good beat, though.
Track 15: M-22 and Medina – First Time
Another annoying tune, and the EDM backing track is painfully generic.
Track 16: 5 Seconds of Summer – Youngblood
Great epic rock track – the chorus is awesome. Really like this one.
Track 17: Bebe Rexha and Florida-Georgia Line – Meant To Be
Too country-tinged for me, and I really hate that chorus.
Track 18: Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey – The Middle
Yet another very irritating tune.
Track 19: Khalid and Normani – Love Lies
Beautiful tune – lovely and melancholy.
Track 20: Jax Jones, Mabel and Rich The Kid – Ring Ring
Great atmosphere – quite like this tune.
Track 21: Cheat Codes and Little Mix – Only You
Bit of a dull tune – not a fan of this one.
Track 22: Shawn Mendes – In My Blood
Again, I find the tune really annoying, and I don’t like the theme either.
Track 23: MU4 – You Can’t Hurry Love
Now, this is an interesting way to end the first disc! MU4 won a competition on Good Morning Britain to appear on this Now! compilation. The competition winners were asked to cover the Phil Collins classic, which was the very first song on a Now! compilation – track 1 on Now! #1 back in 1983.
I do like the harmonies on this cover, and the retro feel remains intact, which is great. Obviously I’ll always prefer the original, but this version is not bad.
Track 24: UB40 – Red Red Wine
Disc two of this special Now! compilation is not full of new hits, like it usually would be. Instead, it features favourite pop songs that have appeared on Now! compilations throughout the years. As you know if you’re one of the intrepid souls who have been following my Now! marathon right from the start, I don’t usually like it when songs are included that have already been featured on previous entries in the series. However, seeing as this is a special celebration album, I’ll let it slide today!
Red Red Wine first appeared as track 3 on Now! #1 in November 1983. See the link for my review.
Incidentally, seeing as both track 1 and track 3 of Now! #1 have been honoured on this compilation, I wouldn’t have minded a wee shout-out to track 2! The second half of my Now! marathon has not had any Duran Duran for me to love.
Track 25: Phil Collins – Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) first appeared as track 8 on Now! #3 in July 1984. See the link for my review.
Phil Collins is getting a good look-in on this celebratory Now! entry!
Track 26: Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
Livin’ On A Prayer first appeared as track 25 on Now! #9 in March 1987. See the link for my review.
I’m not sure how I feel about the ’80s being represented on this disc by a reggae track, a ballad and a hairmetal song. Just one synthpop or New Romantic track would have made me a very happy girl.
Track 27: Wet Wet Wet – Love Is All Around
Love Is All Around first appeared as track 1 on Now! #28 in August 1994. See the link for my review.
Interesting to see this one again after recent discussion of Drake equalling the second-place number one longevity record!
Track 28: Spice Girls – Wannabe
Wannabe first appeared as track 1 on Now! #34 in August 1996. See the link for my review.
I think eleven-year-old me would have been thrilled to find out the Spice Girls would be featuring on Now! #100, so thirty-three-year-old me will try not to roll her eyes too much!
Track 29: Oasis – Wonderwall
Wonderwall first appeared as track 24 on Now! #34 in August 1996. See the link for my review.
That’s two tracks for Now! #34, which is interesting! Really, though, Wonderwall should have appeared on a Now! compilation earlier, as it had been released about a year before it made its appearance.
Track 30: Robbie Williams – Angels
Angels first appeared as track 7 on Now! #39 in April 1998. See the link for my review.
Another favourite childhood artist that I would thoroughly have wanted to receive this honour back in the day!
Track 31: Cher – Believe
Believe first appeared as track 3 on Now! #42 in March 1999. See the link for my review.
Good to see Cher on here, though I’ll always prefer her ’80s stuff. (Yes, I know that’s the case with most decade-spanning artists.)
Track 32: Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time
…Baby One More Time first appeared as track 1 on Now! #44 in November 1999. See the link for my review.
Well, it would have been wrong if we hadn’t had at least one of the songs featured in Anne-Marie’s 2002 interpolation on track 5!
In my opinion, the ’90s selection on this disc has been a little more representative than the ’80s selection (it helps that twice as many were included), but it’s a shame that there was absolutely nothing from the early ’90s – a bit of classic dance like 2 Unlimited or Snap! wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Track 33: S Club 7 – Reach
Reach first appeared as track 2 on Now! #46 in July 2000. See the link for my review.
Track 34: Destiny’s Child – Survivor
Survivor first appeared as track 13 on Now! #49 in July 2001. See the link for my review.
Track 35: Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head first appeared as track 1 on Now! #50 in November 2001. See the link for my review.
Track 36: Justin Timberlake – Cry Me A River
Cry Me A River first appeared as track 3 on Now! #55 in July 2003. See the link for my review.
Track 37: James Blunt – You’re Beautiful
You’re Beautiful first appeared as track 1 on Now! #61 in July 2005. See the link for my review.
Track 38: Shakira and Wyclef Jean – Hips Don’t Lie
Hips Don’t Lie first appeared as track 2 on Now! #65 in November 2006. See the link for my review.
Rule The World first appeared as track 2 on Now! #68 in November 2007. See the link for my review.
Track 40: Coldplay – Viva La Vida
Viva La Vida first appeared as track 24 on Now! #71 in November 2008. See the link for my review.
Track 41: Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl
I Kissed A Girl first appeared as track 2 on Now! #71 in November 2008. See the link for my review.
Now! #71 getting a double look-in as well!
Very representative selection from the ’00s overall – songs from every part of the decade and lots of different genres.
Track 42: Ed Sheeran – Sing
Sing first appeared as track 2 on Now! #88 in July 2014. See the link for my review.
Mind the six-year jump there, Now! compilers! Could have done with fewer ’00s tracks to make room for some more from the ’10s!
Track 43: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
Uptown Funk first appeared as track 1 on Now! #90 in March 2015. See the link for my review.
My favourite track on this celebratory disc – absolutely deserves to be on here.
Track 44: Justin Bieber – Love Yourself
Love Yourself first appeared as track 2 on Now! #93 in March 2016. See the link for my review.
I’m not sure how I feel about a celebration of thirty-five years and a hundred compilation albums worth of pop music being ended on a Justin Bieber track. They could at least have gone with Sorry, his one good track, which was released around the same time.
Short and sweet from the ’10s, but at least it was more representative than the ’80s selection.
Final note: So, that’s it from me and my Now! marathon, then – well, until Now! #101 comes out in the autumn. I’ll post some stats from the whole thing at some point over the weekend as well, ’cause I love my stats – but other than that, I’m looking forward to having my music listening time back to myself again!
It’s been an interesting few months, and as a pop music geek, it’s really consolidated for me what I already felt about the way chart music has evolved during the course of my lifetime. I’ll always prefer the ’80s stuff, I’ll always cringe when the ’90s stuff reminds me of my childhood, I’ll always think most of the ’00s stuff is really tacky, and I’ll always wish most of the ’10s stuff weren’t such poor quality and so generic.
On many days – especially days when the music was especially terrible and boring – it’s the daily picture feature that has been the most fun. It’s been fascinating and terrifying at the same time to watch my life flash by, season by season.
Finally, surprisingly, after all that, I appreciate the institution of Now! That’s What I Call Music more than ever. I’m actually already looking forward to the next one.
Day 99 brings us to Now! #99, which was released on 23rd March 2018.
I’m starting to get a little suspicious that some of the tracks on these latest Now! compilations weren’t actually hits at all. I know that a) the charts change so rapidly that there too many songs to remember and b) most chart music these days is so generic that it all blurs into one, but my memory is pretty good, and given that all of these songs are supposed to have been in the charts just a few months ago, I’m surprised that there are so many song titles I don’t recognise. I will have to do some research as we go through them.
We’ve finally reached the current year, 2018! Let’s see what pop music has come to these days.
Track 1: Rudimental, Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen – These Days
Now I know I’m nearly at the end of this long Now! marathon – this track is still currently (as of today, 19th July 2018) in the Top 40. We’re so close to the end!
I find the tune pretty irritating and the theme a bit awkward, but there’s some good stuff going on with the lyrics.
Track 2: Dua Lipa – IDGAF
Another tune that really annoys me.
Track 3: Portugal The Man – Feel It Still
Great tune, great danceable beat, and a lyric like ‘let me kick it like it’s 1986 now‘ is always going to go down well with me. Love this one.
Track 4: Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton – Say Something
I really like this tune – it builds very nicely.
Track 5: Taylor Swift – Ready For It?
Good atmosphere, but the tune is very forgettable.
Track 6: Marshmello and Anne-Marie – Friends
This one is insidiously catchy and was stuck in my head for weeks earlier this year. I’m not a fan of the tune or the theme, so it wasn’t pleasant.
Track 7: Bruno Mars and Cardi B – Finesse
I do like that early ’90s feel (which, judging by the style of the video, is deliberate). Like the callback to Walk This Way too.
Track 8: Sigala and Paloma Faith – Lullaby
Another annoying tune, but it’s got a good beat.
Track 9: Craig David and Bastille – I Know You
I really like the rhythm, but I find the song a bit cheesy.
Track 10: Jason Derulo and French Montana – Tiptoe
Good solid danceable pop song – really like this one.
Track 11: Jax Jones and Ina Wroldsen – Breathe
Good beat, good tune – quite like this track.
Track 12: George Ezra – Paradise
I really like George Ezra’s stuff – it’s so different to the generic EDM-hip-hop-pop lyrically-vapid tuneless mush that makes up the bulk of the charts these days. This is an upbeat feelgood song with great lyrics and an awesome chant-along bit near the end.
It’s got a good rhythm, but I could do with some more melody.
Track 31: Dave and Mostack – No Words
Nice tune, but the rap’s too messy for me.
Track 32: B Young – Jumanji
It’s got an okay beat, but the tune’s very uninspired.
Track 33: Raye and Mr Eazi – Decline
It’s based heavily around an interpolation of 2002 hit Always On Time by Ja Rule and Ashanti. I just find it very unoriginal.
Track 34: Notes and Mabel – My Lover
Double repeated artist alert! We’ve already had both Notes and Mabel on track 15.
This tune really irritates me.
Track 35: Rak-Su, Wyclef Jean and Naughty Boy – Dimelo
This is an interesting one. It was the X Factor winner’s single for 2017, and for the last couple of years the X Factor winner’s single has not been featured on the spring Now! compilation like it used to be – both Louisa Johnson’s Forever Young and Matt Terry’s When Christmas Comes Around were left out, the latter presumably partly because nobody wants to hear an explicitly Christmas-themed song in the spring. Part of this, I believe, is because of the X Factor‘s decline in popularity recently, but it’s meant we’ve not been following an interesting change. Louisa Johnson’s winner’s single was a cover as usual – Forever Young was originally a Bob Dylan song – but Matt Terry’s When Christmas Comes Around was an original song (written by Ed Sheeran), which was a first for the X Factor since Shayne Ward’s That’s My Goal, and signalled an interesting move away from its irritating karaoke format. This move towards original songs continued in the 2017 competition, with many of the contestants (notably Rak-Su and Grace Davies) performing tracks they had written themselves.
As such, this winner’s single from Rak-Su is self-written – an upbeat Latin-tinged hip-hop track with great lyrics and a clever interpolation of Wyclef Jean’s lines from Hips Don’t Lie – and as a result it’s the only X Factor winner’s single I’ve ever liked. It’s a great track. It’s just a shame we had to put up with years of awful pointless cover versions to get to this stage.
(I should note that, despite the above essay, I’ve never actually watched the X Factor. My interest in this stuff is purely from a chart geek perspective.)
It’s nice to hear some rock music, but the tune’s a bit dull. It’s got a good retro-sounding instrumental in the middle though.
Track 45: Oasis – Live Forever
This wasn’t actually back in the charts this year (so it’s yet another non-hit, although of course it was a hit on its original release in 1994), but there was an increased awareness of it due to Liam Gallagher performing it at the Brits in tribute to the Manchester Arena bombing victims.
One more thing: I just want to add a quick note about all the non-hits that have littered this playlist. While I’ve only just noticed it with this one, I suspect non-hits have been a thing for quite a few Now! compilations leading up to this, as there have been quite a few instances where I’m surprised I recognise so few of the tracks (as I mentioned in the intro, while it is tough to remember hundreds of generic songs, I have followed the charts religiously this decade and have a good memory).
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I can sort of understand it in a way, as 95% of chart music in the late ’10s is woefully, utterly dire. It’s awful – the worst quality it has ever been in my lifetime. Most of it is completely generic, uninspired and half-arsed, and so I have a bit of sympathy for the Now! compilers deciding to include songs that they think are good but didn’t trouble the charts for whatever reason, rather than yet another terrible identical-sounding EDM track that somehow managed to get to number 24 for a few weeks.
At the same time, what I’ve always liked about the Now! compilations is that they do reflect the most popular music of the time – good and bad. I feel that including songs that weren’t hits, that weren’t soundtracking people’s lives by being played on the radio and on TV shows and at sports events – well, it kind of takes away from the status of these albums as cultural artefacts of the time. I’m a little sad about that. We’ll see what tomorrow brings with the release of the 100th entry in this long music marathon.
Day 98 takes us to Now! #98, which came out on 17th November 2017.
The following are not likely to be played at goth clubs, but let’s see what the party season songs were for this most recent Christmas period.
Track 1: Camila Cabello and Young Thug – Havana
Good solid pop tune – love the Latin feel. Really nice song.
Track 2: Post Malone and 21 Savage – Rockstar
There are some interesting instrumentals going on, but it’s got quite a depressing feel.
Track 3: Sam Smith – Too Good At Goodbyes
Too slow and ballad-y for me.
Track 4: Pink – What About Us
It’s an okay song with an important theme, but I find it a bit depressing.
Track 5: Dua Lipa – New Rules
Absolutely wonderful track, gorgeous instrumentals, great tune, clever lyrics and vocals. The video is immense too.
Track 6: Ed Sheeran – Galway Girl
Inspired by the Irish folk classic of the same name, but nowhere near as good. Still a nice upbeat song though.
Track 7: Charlie Puth – How Long
I really like this one – great atmosphere, awesome tune, retro feel.
Track 8: CNCO and Little Mix – Reggaetón Lento
Very danceable Latin-tinged pop – good stuff.
Track 9: J Balvin and Willy William – Mi Gente
More great Latin pop (Despacito really kicked off a trend in 2017). I remember dancing to all of these in Zumba class. This one’s got an awesome atmosphere and a really interesting rhythm.
Track 10: Justin Bieber and BloodPop – Friends
I really like the bassline, but the tune’s pretty uninspired.
Track 11: Zayn and Sia – Dusk Till Dawn
Nice epic chorus, but on the whole the tune’s a bit generic.
Track 12: Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj – Swish Swish
Great beat, but agin the tune’s not very exciting.
Track 13: Demi Lovato – Sorry Not Sorry
This tune really irritates me.
Track 14: Stefflon Don and French Montana – Hurtin’ Me
Another one where I just don’t like the tune. I also find the theme irritating.
Track 15: Louis Tomlinson, Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals – Back To You
Yet another annoying tune!
Track 16: Khalid – Young Dumb And Broke
I quite like this one – it’s got an interesting rhythm and an endearing theme.
Track 17: Maroon 5 and Sza – What Lovers Do
Nice feelgood song – the vocals are a little irritating, but I quite like the tune.
Track 18: Jason Derulo – If I’m Lucky
Good atmosphere, but the tune’s very generic.
Track 19: Clean Bandit and Julia Michaels – I Miss You
Again, I just don’t find this tune very interesting.
Track 20: Alma – Chasing Highs
Uninspired and depressing.
Track 21: Zedd and Liam Payne – Get Low
Another very bland tune.
Track 22: Charli XCX – Boys
Great track! Fun theme, interesting instrumentals. The celebrity-filled video is great too.
Track 23: Rita Ora – Anywhere
It’s got a good beat, but it’s another bland tune.
Track 24: Marshmello and Khalid – Silence
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Khalid on track 16.
This is a lovely tune though.
Track 25: Avicii and Rita Ora – Lonely Together
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Rita Ora on track 23.
I find the tune on this really irritating, but the backing track is great.
Track 26: James Hype and Kelli-Leigh – More Than Friends
Generic-sounding dance cover of En Vogue’s ’90s classic Don’t Let Go. The original song is beautiful. This track is anything but.
Track 27: Yungen and Yxng Bane – Bestie
That chorus is incredibly annoying.
Track 28: Mabel and Kojo Funds – Finders Keepers
So is the chorus on this one.
Track 29: Chris Brown – Questions
This is the second hit in the space of eighteen months that interpolates Kevin Lyttle’s 2003 classic Turn Me On, after Cheat Codes and Dante Klein’s Let Me Hold You (Turn Me On) in 2016. I think it’s fairly poorly done, and I love the original so I find all these poor imitations pretty irritating.
Track 30: Craig David – Heartline
Dull and generic.
Track 31: Selena Gomez and Marshmello – Wolves
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Marshmello on track 24.
I quite like the tune on this one, though.
Track 32: MK – 17
Another really irritating tune.
Track 33: Axwell & Ingrosso – More Than You Know
I like the guitar at the start, and the tune’s okay if a bit generic.
Track 34: Liam Payne – Bedroom Floor
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Liam Payne on track 21.
It’s another fairly generic tune, but I remember I had the chart on in the background last year, and this was playing and got to the lyric ‘but your clothes say different on my bedroom floor‘. Geth interjected crossly, ‘Stop stealing her clothes then!’ It really cracked me up and is all I can think about when I hear this song now.
Track 35: Duke Dumont, Gorgon City and Naations – Real Life
Another boring tune that sounds like every other dance track this decade.
Track 36: CamelPhat and Elderbrook – Cola
Really squicky theme – to put it bluntly, it’s blatantly a song about spiking someone’s drink. It’s a shame, ’cause it would be a good track if it weren’t for that.
Track 37: Lil’ Uzi Vert – XO Tour Llif3
Some interesting instrumentals going on, but the tune’s very bland.
Track 38: Big Shaq – Man’s Not Hot
Very funny hip-hop parody, and it’s got a good rhythm to boot. Really like this.
Track 39: Chris & Kem – Little Bit Leave It
Apparently these dudes were on Love Island or something. I’m not sure why someone allowed them to release a song – it’s extremely grating.
Track 40: Cardi B – Bodak Yellow
I find this one extremely depressing.
Track 41: Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid – 1-800-273-8255
Repeated artist mega alert! We’ve already had Khalid on both track 16 and track 24. Give someone else a chance!
This one’s got a nice tune, but it’s too slow for me.
Track 42: Paloma Faith – Crybaby
I like the rhythm, but the tune’s very dull.
Track 43: The Script – Rain
The tune’s okay except for that annoying chorus.
Track 44: Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Grace (We All Try)
The tune’s quite interesting, but again it’s too slow for me.
Track 45: Liam Gallagher – Wall Of Glass
Very refreshing to hear some actual rock music – it’s something different, finally.
Track 46: The Killers – The Man
Love the retro disco sound on this one. Great stuff.
Day 96’s Now! compilation was released on 7th April 2017.
Another new year, some more new hits.
Track 1: Ed Sheeran – Castle On The Hill
I wasn’t sure about this track when I first heard it, but it’s really grown on me – it’s a real singalong classic. Things that are great about it:
The very relatable poetic evocation of what it feels like to be nostalgic for your teenage years.
The reference to Tiny Dancer.
The section describing what all the old friends are doing now – I think it’s lyrically very beautiful.
The fact that Suffolk Police needed to emphasise road safety in response to the ‘driving at ninety down these country lanes‘ lyric. If you’ve ever driven on British country lanes, you’ll know why ninety miles an hour is not a good idea.
Good solid piece of pop – I really like this tune.
Track 4: The Weeknd and Daft Punk – Starboy
Another great atmosphere.
Track 5: The Chainsmokers – Paris
The tune’s pretty depressing, but the lyrics are quite good.
Track 6: Starley – Call On Me [Ryan Riback Remix]
There’s something I find really irritating about the tune on the vocals, but I quite like the instrumentals.
Track 7: Anne-Marie – Ciao Adios
Great pop track! Really danceable – we did a cooldown to this one in Zumba class for a while – and the tune’s good too.
Track 8: Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
The tune’s a bit generic, but I like the ’80s feel.
Track 9: Zara Larsson – I Would Like
I find this tune really irritating.
Track 10: Katy Perry and Skip Marley – Chained To The Rhythm
Interesting theme, and it’s got a good beat.
Track 11: Sean Paul and Dua Lipa – No Lie
Another irritating tune.
Track 12: Martin Jensen – Solo Dance
It’s an okay beat, but it’s pretty forgettable.
Track 13: Zedd and Alessia Cara – Stay
I really don’t like this tune – it’s very depressing. Also, I was really irritated at the time when the Viva music channel would always mute out the word ‘rum’ in the lyric ‘drinking rum and cola‘, because apparently it’s not acceptable even to say the names of alcoholic drinks before the watershed nowadays.
Track 14: Sigrid – Don’t Kill My Vibe
Boring and slow.
Track 15: Steve Aoki and Louis Tomlinson – Just Hold On
Very generic dance track, nothing special here.
Track 16: Dua Lipa – Be The One
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Dua Lipa on track 11.
It’s got quite a good chillout feel, but I’m not keen on the tune.
Track 17: Jonas Blue and Raye – By Your Side
Highly irritating tune, and it’s too high-pitched.
Track 18: Coldplay – Hypnotised
Too slow, forgettable tune, so dull I can’t concentrate.
Track 19: John Legend – Love Me Now
The tune’s okay, but it’s another one where I can’t get onboard with the theme.
Track 20: Robbie Williams – Love My Life
Great to see Robbie Williams still going strong, even if this song is almost tipping into self-parody.
Track 21: George Michael – Fastlove
We’ve already had this one on Now! #35, but as it was included here as a tribute to the late great George Michael shortly after his passing, I’ll let it slide.
See the link for my review.
Track 22: Jax Jones and Raye – You Don’t Know Me
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Raye on track 17.
I really like this track though – the bridge is awesome, and it’s got a great beat.
Track 23: The Weeknd and Daft Punk – Feel It Coming
Double repeated artist alert! We’ve already had both the Weeknd and Daft Punk on track 4.
This one’s too cheesy for me, and not upbeat enough. I like the retro feel though.
Track 24: Martin Garrix and Dua Lipa – Scared To Be Lonely
Repeated artist mega alert! We’ve already had Dua Lipa on both track 11 and track 16. This is getting annoying!
Yet another irritating tune.
Track 25: Kygo and Selena Gomez – It Ain’t Me
Again, there’s something that really annoys me about the tune.
Track 26: Rae Sremmurd and Gucci Mane – Black Beatles
Great rhythm, but the tune’s very repetitive.
Track 27: Machine Gun Kelly and Camila Cabello – Bad Things
I quite like this one – the tune on the chorus is nice.
Track 28: Sage The Gemini – Now And Later
I find this track pretty dull – it could do with a bit more melody.
Track 29: Tinie Tempah and Tinashe – Text From Your Ex
I quite like the atmosphere, but the tune’s nothing special.
Track 30: Stormzy – Big For Your Boots
Great rap track – the rhythm on this is awesome.
Track 31: Tom Zanetti and Sadie Ama – You Want Me
Takes ages to get going. When it does, the tune’s very irritating and sounds almost off-key.
Track 32: Martin Solveig and Ina Wroldsen – Places
Another annoying tune.
Track 33: Robin Schulz, David Guetta and Cheat Codes – Shed A Light
I’m just not keen on this at all – it’s cheesy and generic.
Track 34: MO and Kent Jones – Not In Love
It’s another very forgettable tune, but I quite like the reggae-tinged beat.
Track 35: Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Skin
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Rag ‘N’ Bone Man on track 2.
The tune’s very pretty, but it’s too slow for me.
Track 36: Train – Play That Song
Extremely irritating and twee!
Track 37: The Vamps and Matoma – All Night
That chorus is insanely annoying with its kiddie-sounding vocals, and the rest of the track’s not much better.
Track 38: Ariana Grande and Future – Everyday
Too slow for me, and the track’s very messy.
Track 39: Major Lazer, PartyNextDoor and Nicki Minaj – Run Up
Another irritating tune, but it’s got quite a good beat.
Track 40: Post Malone and Quavo – Congratulations
Not keen on the tune on this one.
Track 41: Julia Michaels – Issues
I really don’t like this one – the vocal style and rhythm are kind of stop-start, the tune’s nothing special, and the theme annoys me.
Track 42: Lorde – Green Light
This is a great song – I love the beat and the way it builds. Wonderful track.
Track 43: Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean and Migos – Slide
The kiddie-sounding bit of the vocals are just incoherent shouting, and the tune’s pretty dull, but I like the retro-sounding instrumentals.
Day 95, and we’re at Now! #95, which was released on 18th November 2016.
Time for some party season hits!
Track 1: James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
I can’t stand this one! It’s so saccharine, and the theme just sits really awkwardly with me.
Track 2: Little Mix – Shout Out To My Ex
Great solid piece of pop – really like this.
Track 3: Clean Bandit, Sean Paul and Anne-Marie – Rockabye
The Christmas number one for 2016 – and, notably, the first Christmas number one since 1999 that wasn’t either a charity single or a talent show winner. It’s a good song – although I find the theme too cheesy – but really I like this one for the hilarious bit in the video where all the old dudes in the pub mime along to Sean Paul’s vocals.
Track 4: The Chainsmokers and Halsey – Closer
It’s a bit repetitive, but I quite like this tune. The lyrics are pretty daft though!
Track 5: Major Lazer, Justin Bieber and Mø – Cold Water
It’s an okay tune, but it’s a bit generic.
Track 6: Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj – Side To Side
Great piece of pop – love the rhythm on this.
Track 7: Sia – The Greatest
I find the chorus really grating, but the tune on the verses is okay.
Track 8: Calvin Harris – My Way
Nothing to do with the Frank Sinatra song. This one’s got an irritating tune, and is very repetitive.
Track 9: Hailee Steinfeld, Grey and Zedd – Starving
Cheesy, too slow, and the lyrics are a bit awkward.
Track 10: MO – Who Do You Think Of?
This is the girl group MO, not to be confused with the solo singer Mø who also appears on this Now! compilation (twice). This is a good, danceable pop tune – quite like this one.
Track 11: Neiked and Dyo – Sexual
Highly irritating tune, too high-pitched, awkward theme. Not a fan.
Track 12: Anne-Marie – Alarm
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Anne-Marie on track 3.
Great atmosphere, but again I’m not keen on the theme.
Track 13: Olly Murs – You Don’t Know Love
I quite like this one – there’s a nice ’80s tinge to the backing track.
Track 14: Mø – Final Song
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Mø on track 5.
Pretty tune though, quite like this one.
Track 15: Maroon 5 – Don’t Wanna Know
The tune is super irritating, but the video, which parodies the Pokémon Go phenomenon, is great.
Track 16: JP Cooper – September Song
The chorus for this rips off the chorus of Jealous by Nick Jonas, so whenever I get one or the other stuck in my head it usually turns into an unwelcome mash-up. The rest of the tune is just annoying.
Track 17: Shawn Mendes – Mercy
Too slow for me, but it’s an okay tune.
Track 18: Ellie Goulding – Still Falling For You
Dull, saccharine and irritating.
Track 19: Emeli Sandé – Hurts
Great tune, great atmosphere. Really like this one.
Track 20: Michael Bublé – I Believe In You
Too cheesy for me.
Track 21: Craig David – All We Needed
The official Children In Need single for 2016 – and it’s finally something that’s not a cover! I’m so glad the trend has finally shifted!
What I’m not glad about is that this track is super slow. The piano’s nice, though.
Track 22: Drake, Wizkid and Kyla – One Dance
This was number one for fifteen weeks in the summer of 2016, equalling the second place for longest-lasting number one held by Wet Wet Wet since 1994 for Love Is All Around. I found this really interesting – because I have clear memories of the Wet Wet Wet chart run from when I was nine, I was able to compare the way fifteen weeks felt as a child versus as an adult. It went a lot quicker as an adult, because time always does (I’m a firm believer in the theory that we are constantly subconsciously comparing intervals of time to our total life so far, which is why time just gets faster and faster as you age), but it also felt like I did and achieved more, probably because I was running and working so much during that summer.
Anyway, the track. It’s got a good beat, and the tune’s okay, but it certainly didn’t deserve to be number one for fifteen weeks. Thankfully it didn’t equal or beat Bryan Adams’ 1991 record of sixteen weeks for Everything I Do (I Do It For You), so that still stands.
Track 23: DJ Snake and Justin Bieber – Let Me Love You
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Justin Bieber on track 5.
This tune is almost unbearably irritating and cheesy. Not my thing at all.
Track 24: Fifth Harmony – That’s My Girl
The tune’s a bit annoying, but it’s got a good rhythm.
Track 25: Sigma and Birdy – Find Me
Too slow, but the atmosphere’s okay.
Track 26: Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha – In The Name Of Love
Pretty tune on the vocals, but the electro hook annoys me.
Track 27: Nevada, Mark Morrison and Fetty Wap – The Mack
This is the second ’10s cover version of Mark Morrison’s 1996 hit Return Of The Mack, after the one by Mann, Iyaz and Snoop Dogg in 2011 (which was also called The Mack). It doesn’t really add anything to the original.
Track 28: Tieks and Dan Harkna – Sunshine
It’s got a good beat, but the tune annoys me.
Track 29: Zara Larsson – Ain’t My Fault
Okay tune, but the theme is really problematic.
Track 30: Bob Marley & The Wailers, Lvndscape and Bolier – Is This Love
Semi-cover of the 1978 classic, with some dance rhythms over the top. It’s got a good atmosphere, but it can’t touch the original.
Track 31: Digital Farm Animals, Cash Cash and Nelly – Millionaire
Irritating kiddie-style vocals on the chorus, and the tune annoys me.
Track 32: Snakehips and Zayn – Cruel
Forgettable tune, boring vocals.
Track 33: Matoma and Becky Hill – False Alarm
Another bland tune.
Track 34: Galantis and Hook ‘N’ Sling – Love On Me
I’ve never been keen on the vocals on this one, which sound to me like someone is faking a Scottish accent.
Track 35: Charli XCX and Lil’ Yachty – After The Afterparty
Irritating tune, but I quite like the theme.
Track 36: Dua Lipa – Blow Your Mind (Mwah)
Good beat, annoying chorus.
Track 37: Louisa Johnson – So Good
Good solid piece of pop with a great atmosphere. Not keen on the theme though.
Track 38: James TW – When You Love Someone
Pretty tune, but it’s a bit too slow and acoustic-y for me.
Track 39: Wilkinson and Karen Harding – Sweet Lies
I find this tune very generic, and the beat is like every other dance track this decade.
Track 40: Craig David and Sigala – Ain’t Giving Up
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Craig David on track 21.
I quite like the tune and the tinkly instrumentals, but the chorus is kind of annoying.
Track 41: Charlie Puth – Dangerously
Good atmosphere, but it’s a little too high-pitched for me and the theme’s a bit saccharine.
Track 42: Offaiah – Trouble
Very repetitive tune, not keen.
Track 43: Christine & The Queens – Tilted
Good, interesting track. I really like the instrumentals on this one, and there’s something lovely and classic about the vocals.
Track 44: Lady Gaga – Perfect Illusion
I like the rock edge on this one.
Track 45: Niall Horan – This Town
Saccharine acoustic ballad, and I don’t like the theme. In short, it’s pretty much everything I dislike.
At my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding, my sister-in-law’s bridesmaids all sang a version of this with altered lyrics about the wedding couple, so it tends to be that version I think of when I hear this song.
Track 24: Galantis – No Money
I find this one insanely irritating – awful tune, appalling kiddie-sounding vocals.
Track 25: DJ Snake and Bipolar Sunshine – Middle
Slow and depressing.
Track 26: Desiigner – Panda
Great brooding atmosphere, but I could do with a bit more melody.
Track 27: Kent Jones – Don’t Mind
Irritating theme, irritating tune, irritating lyrics. Not keen on this one at all.
Track 28: Cheat Codes and Kris Kross Amsterdam – Sex
Dodgy dance cover of Salt-N-Pepa’s ’90s hit Let’s Talk About Sex, with new verses in order to bastardise the original safe sex theme into one about general horniness. Have I mentioned before that I hate this century?
Track 29: Sigala, Imani Williams and DJ Fresh – Say You Do
Boring tune on the vocals, but I quite like the instrumentals (steel drums again!).
Track 30: Blonde and Craig David – Nothing Like This
Nice beat, and the vocals are quite interesting, but the tune’s a bit repetitive.
Track 31: Charlie Puth and Selena Gomez – We Don’t Talk Anymore
Beautiful tune – really like this one.
Track 32: Ariana Grande – Into You
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Ariana Grande on track 13.
I’m a big fan of this song though – it’s probably my favourite Ariana Grande track. Great solid piece of pop.
Track 33: David Guetta and Zara Larsson – This One’s For You
Not keen on this tune, but the track builds quite well.
Track 34: Jonas Blue and JP Cooper – Perfect Strangers
I’ve always found this tune really grating.
Track 35: Dua Lipa – Hotter Than Hell
Good beat, very danaceable.
Track 36: Kygo and Kodaline – Raging
I quite like the guitar on this one, but it’s not upbeat enough for me.
Track 37: Selena Gomez – Kill ‘Em With Kindness
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Selena Gomez on track 31.
I quite like this tune though, even if the chorus is a bit repetitive.
Track 38: will.i.am and Pia Mia – Boys And Girls
Great beat on this one – happily nodding along right now.
Track 39: Reggie ‘N’ Bollie – New Girl
Daft theme and lyrics that I’m not wholly keen on. The tune’s nice and feelgood, though, and I like the beat.
Track 40: Tinie Tempah and Wizkid – Mamacita
Love the Latin tinge on this one! Great stuff.
Track 41: Craig David – One More Time
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Craig David on track 30.
I really like the rhythm and the vocal style, but the tune’s fairly bland.
Track 42: Sigala, John Newman, Nile Rodgers, Cedric Gervais and Laurent Simeca – Give Me Your Love
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Sigala on track 29.
That is a long list of artists for a not-especially-inspiring song. The tune’s okay, but it’s nothing special.