Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #65

Day 65 equals Now! #65, which was released on 20th November 2006.

November 2006
This is what the world looked like in November 2006. This is embarrassing levels of hoarding, but I still have that pack of sparklers – I’ve just not finished the packet yet (mainly because I can rarely be bothered to drag Geth outside to light sparklers on Bonfire Night these days). Maybe now we have a proper garden, I’ll make an effort to finish them off this November. Apart from anything else, if the incense sticks I’ve been burning this week are anything to go by, the sparklers are probably well past their best-before-end date by now.

As it’s still the mid-’00s, let’s hope for more rock and less pop, as the former was definitely better at the time.

Now! That's What I Call Music #65
Track 1: Scissor Sisters – I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’

Despite the name, this is a highly danceable track.  Great tune.

Track 2: Shakira and Wyclef Jean – Hips Don’t Lie

A classic – love that trumpet intro.

Track 3: Girls Aloud – Something Kinda Ooooh

The tune’s a little generic, but it’s a good solid upbeat pop song.

Track 4: The Fratellis – Chelsea Dagger

Oh, it’s this one!  Classic chant-along hook, but it can get super irritating.

Track 5: Amy Winehouse – Rehab

I always found the theme of this one really annoying, but it is a good tune.

Track 6: James Morrison – Wonderful World

Nothing special about this tune – it’s very forgettable.

Track 7: Robbie Williams – Lovelight

Good beat, but I could do with a bit more melody on this one.

Track 8: Christina Aguilera – Ain’t No Other Man

Nice soul tinge, but I find the tune dull.

Track 9: Justin Timberlake – SexyBack

Great beat, great atmosphere.  Really like this one.

Track 10: Nelly Furtado and Timbaland – Promiscuous

Repetitive verse, not enough melody.  The chorus is nice and atmospheric though – they should have just had that bit.

Track 11: Beyoncé – Déjà Vu

Very generic-sounding – not keen on this one.

Track 12: Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone – Ridin’

Great atmosphere, quite like this track..

Track 13: Bob Sinclar, Cutee B, Dollarman, Big Ali and Makedah – Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Basically a cover of C&C Music Factory’s Gonna Make You Sweat with added rapping over the top.  It’s okay, actually.

Track 14: Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit

I couldn’t find a radio edit of this, so I’m having to listen to the whole six minutes.  Repetitive hi-hat intro, annoying repetitive videogame-music hooks, very boring.  It’s probably very danceable if you’ve consumed the right substances.

Track 15: Fergie – London Bridge

Way too messy at the start, and there’s not enough melody for my liking.  Also, the theme is terrible.

Track 16: The Pussycat Dolls – I Don’t Need A Man

Nice tune on the vocals, but in general the track’s not really that interesting.

Track 17: Ne-Yo – Sexy Love

Boring, saccharine, with jarring lines.  Not keen on this at all.

Track 18: Cassie – Me & U

Great atmosphere on the intro, but it’s very generic once it launches into the vocals.

Track 19: Lemar – It’s Not That Easy

I like the mid-century retro tinge, but the tune’s a bit bland.

Track 20: Rihanna – Unfaithful

Love the piano at the beginning – this one’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 21: Westlife – The Rose

Cover of the Bette Midler song.  It’s very typically Westlife, i.e. far too slow and saccharine for me.

Track 22: High School Musical Cast – Breaking Free

It’s a boring tune, and the female vocals are horribly grating and high-pitched!  I’ve had a headache since about thirty seconds in.

Track 23: Razorlight – America

Lovely tune, great chorus – really like this one.

Track 24: Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

Another great festival anthem from Snow Patrol, though it’s kind of slow so I have to be in the right mood for it.

Track 25: Paolo Nutini – Last Request

Boring tune, too slow, cheesy lyrics.  Not my thing.

Track 26: Keane – Nothing In My Way

I quite like the atmosphere, but again it’s too slow for me.

Track 27: The Feeling – Never Be Lonely

The tune’s okay, but it’s too cheesy – there’s not enough edge for me.

Track 28: Kasabian – Empire

Finally, something a bit more upbeat!  Great track, really like this one.

Track 29: The Killers – When You Were Young

Really like the riff and the atmosphere – good stuff.

Track 30: Pink – U + Ur Hand

It’s a bit repetitive, until it gets to the singalong chorus, which is great.

Track 31: Lily Allen – LDN

Great feelgood track – I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 32: All Saints – Rock Steady

All Saints making a comeback.  It feels like that came around fast.  This song’s actually better than most of their old stuff – I really like the beat and the atmosphere.

Track 33: Simon Webbe – Coming Around Again

Good beat, but the tune’s pretty bland.

Track 34: Jamelia – Something About You

Great atmosphere, but again the tune on the vocals is just not interesting enough for me.

Track 35: Bodyrox and Luciana – Yeah Yeah

Irritating backing track, irritating vocals, no melody.  Not to my liking at all.

Track 36: David Guetta and The Egg – Love Don’t Let Me Go (Walking Away)

Mash-up of The Egg’s Walking Away and David Guetta’s Love Don’t Let Me Go.  It’s pretty messy, and the original tracks aren’t exciting enough in my book to provide any interest.

Track 37: Cascada – Everytime We Touch

Another reminder from your friendly local proofreader that ‘every time’ should be two words – there’s no such word as ‘everytime’.

Cheesy vocals, generic trance backing track.  The chorus is a cover of the Maggie Reilly track of the same name (which was thus responsible for the grammatical error) from 1992, but thankfully I’m not familiar enough with the original to be as offended as I usually am by trance covers.

Track 38: Michael Gray and Shelly Poole – Borderline

The sample of ’70s hit Ready For Your Love gives this track a nice retro tinge, but it’s otherwise pretty bland.

Track 39: Beatfreakz – Superfreak

Pointless cover of the Rick James classic, Super Freak (not sure why Beatfreakz made it all one word).  This sounds more like a remix than a cover, but I can’t find enough information on it to be sure.

Track 40: El Chombo – Chacarrón

Daft novelty song made famous through internet memes and such.  Nothing redeeming here.

Track 41: Gnarls Barkley – Smiley Faces

Great atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit dull in my book.

Track 42: McFly – Star Girl

Extremely bland tune, very forgettable.

Track 43: Matt Willis – Hey Kid

I like the instrumentals, but it’s too slow and I find the vocals boring.

Track 44: David Hasselhoff – Jump In My Car

Daft cover of the ’70s rock classic from the Hoff.  I’m not familiar with the original, but I’m guessing this cover’s probably pointless.  I actually quite like it, so I should definitely make sure to check out the original.

Track 45: Meat Loaf – It’s All Coming Back To Me Now

Super dramatic cover of the song made famous by Céline Dion (for all the drama about how Meat Loaf always saw it as his song, see the Wikipedia page).  It’s the kind of epic, atmospheric power ballad that Meat Loaf does best, and this version is fantastic, although I do really like the Céline Dion one as well.

Phone Box Thursday: Durham Railway Station, Durham

Today’s phone box is the one that stands on the platform at Durham railway station.

Red phone box
Red phone box, Durham Railway Station, Durham, 14th May 2016.

Living in the North East, I see this phone box a lot – every time I travel south by rail.  This is what it looks like from the train:

Red phone box
Red phone box, Durham Railway Station, Durham, 25th March 2016.

It’s nice to see it every time I go through Durham!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #64

Day 64 takes us to Now! #64, which came out on 24th July 2006.

July 2006
This is how the world looked in July 2006, or at least it did if you were at T in the Park, with me and my mate Gemma looking suitably terrified in front of the ‘Maze of Terror’. I already told you she loved the Thrills.

Let’s see what bands might have been playing the festival circuit that year.

Now! That's What I Call Music #64
Track 1: Gnarls Barkley – Crazy

Great vocals from Cee Lo Green, but there’s something about the tune I’ve always found a bit depressing.

Track 2: Nelly Furtado – Maneater

This one has always been said to be inspired by the Hall & Oates track of the same name.  I’ve never been able to hear any similarities, but this is still a great song – it’s just not as good as Hall & Oates.  But then, few things are.

Track 3: Infernal – From Paris To Berlin

Nice bassline, nice ’80s-sounding dance track.  Really like this one.

Track 4: Rogue Traders – Voodoo Child

I’ve always loved this one, mainly ’cause it was used brilliantly in the Doctor Who episode ‘The Sound Of Drums’ when the Master wreaks havoc on the Earth.  Great dance track.

Track 5: McFly – Don’t Stop Me Now

Terrible pointless cover of the Queen song.  Actually, I shouldn’t say pointless, because the vocals are so poor compared to Freddie Mercury that it’s really obviously different.  Another good ‘point’ of this song is that it illustrates that there is a very good reason why nobody ever covers Queen songs, and that is because nobody has a hope of getting close to the brilliance of the originals.  I have no idea why McFly thought they could get away with this one.

Track 6: Pink – Who Knew

Dull tune that has none of the edge you usually get with Pink.  It sounds more like the kind of cheesy soft-rock you’d get from Kelly Clarkson or somebody like that.

Track 7: Sandi Thom – I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)

ARGH.  I almost don’t have the words to describe how awful I’ve always found this song.  It was the first notable example of a teenage singer discovered on YouTube.  The song, completely unironically, manages to conflate the late ’70s punk movement with the late ’60s hippy movement – hey, those alternative types are all the same, right?  If she really meant what she was singing about, the whole ‘born too late into a world that doesn’t care‘, she would at least have done enough research to know the difference.  ARGH.  Also, when I was at T in the Park 2006, she was given a five-minute slot on the main stage, because SHE ONLY HAD ONE SONG.

Sandi Thom, you are a totally fake 20th century girl.  Everything about this song is utterly cringeworthy.

ARGH.

And breathe.

Track 8: The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way

Too twee, acoustic-y, and cheesy for me.

Track 9: The Feeling – Fill My Little World

I’ve always found this one revoltingly twee, and worse, horrendously catchy.  I’ve got a horrible feeling it’s going to be stuck in my head again now after years of blissfully forgetting about it.

Track 10: Keane – Is It Any Wonder?

Quite like the guitar riff – it’s a bit edgier than I’d usually expect from Keane.  The vocals are still pretty bland though.

Track 11: Snow Patrol – You’re All I Have

Boring tune, very forgettable.

Track 12: Razorlight – In The Morning

Some nice interesting lines going on here, quite like this one.

Track 13: Orson – Bright Idea

The beat’s interesting, but the tune is a bit depressing.

Track 14: The Zutons – Valerie

Great tune, love that chord progression.  I know the Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse cover became more well-known, but I’ve got a real soft spot for the original.

Track 15: Dirty Pretty Things – Bang Bang You’re Dead

Good rock track, but the lines are a bit messy, and the tune on the vocals is kind of generic.

Track 16: The Automatic – Monster

Great track – it’s featured on Lego Rock Band, so I had a lot of fun drumming along to it back in the day.

Track 17: Paul Oakenfold and Brittany Murphy – Faster Kill Pussycat

Nice bassline, nice interesting vocals – good stuff.

Track 18: Chicane and Tom Jones – Stoned In Love

Good dance beat, but the tune’s pretty bland.  Not even Tom Jones’ vocals can make this one interesting.

Track 19: Primal Scream – Country Girl

Unfortunately, due to the theme, this one’s a bit country-inspired, and country music is not my thing at all.

Track 20: Bon Jovi – Who Says You Can’t Go Home

Bon Jovi starting to sound a bit dad-rock.  Not hugely keen on this one.

Track 21: Matt Willis – Up All Night

Matt Willis going solo from Busted and thankfully sounding a little more grown-up.  It’s not a bad rock song.

Track 22: Fall Out Boy – Dance, Dance

Great beat, interesting vocals.  Really like this one.

Track 23: Lily Allen – Smile

It’s a nice tune, but Lily Allen’s best stuff would appear later on.

Track 24: Rihanna – SOS

Good atmosphere, good solid pop track.

Track 25: The Black Eyed Peas – Pump It

The Latin tinge from the Misirlou sample (better known as the Pulp Fiction music) is great.  Happily nodding along here.

Track 26: The Pussycat Dolls and Snoop Dogg – Buttons

Great atmosphere, nice Eastern-tinged instrumentals.

Track 27: Ne-Yo – So Sick

Pretty tune on the instrumentals at the beginning, but the vocal line’s pretty boring.

Track 28: Busta Rhymes – Touch It

Messy rap, no melody, not my thing.

Track 29: Christina Milian and Young Jeezy – Say I

I like the retro ’70s-sounding backing track, and the vocals are quite interesting.

Track 30: Sérgio Mendes and The Black Eyed Peas – Mas Que Nada

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had the Black Eyed Peas, just five tracks ago.

Great Latin track – still a favourite for warm-ups and cool-downs in Zumba classes everywhere.

Track 31: The Ordinary Boys and Lady Sovereign – Nine2Five

Great uptempo song with that Ordinary Boys ska tinge – and somehow Lady Sovereign’s rap style melds really well with it.

Track 32: Sugababes – Red Dress

Great bassline, good beat, good pop track.

Track 33: Beatfreakz – Somebody’s Watching Me

Pointless ‘cover’ (actually a remix that doesn’t give proper credit to the original artist) of the Rockwell classic that leaves out the verses and just samples the chorus.  Definitely need to go listen to the original after this.

Track 34: Sunblock and Robin Beck – First Time

Another remix masquerading as a cover, this time of Robin Beck’s 1988 hit.  Yet another ’80s classic where I will be listening to the original after this Now! compilation is done!

Track 35: Bob Sinclar and Steve Edwards – World, Hold On (Children Of The Sky)

Great atmosphere, great beat – quite like this track.

Track 36: Supermode – Tell Me Why

Cover of a nonexistent mash-up of the Bronski Beat songs Smalltown Boy and Why?  When we used to run our Electrolicious Sundays night at Mr Modos, Geth would always mix the original Smalltown Boy into this, which really emphasised the shortcomings of this cover.  More originals to listen to when I’m done here!

Track 37: Mousse T and The Dandy Warhols – Horny As A Dandy

Mash-up of Horny and Bohemian Like You.  I’ve mentioned before how much I hate mash-ups.  This just makes me want to go and listen to the two originals to scrub this mess from my brain.  I think it’s going to be a long night on Spotify.

Track 38: The Shapeshifters and Chic – Sensitivity

Love that classic funk – great retro sound.  Also, apparently it was only Nile Rodgers representing Chic on this track, but I suppose he basically is Chic now.

Track 39: Beverley Knight – Piece Of My Heart

Fairly pointless cover of the ’60s classic, but it’s a great song whoever does it.

Track 40: James Morrison – You Give Me Something

Oh, it’s this one.  Boring tune, and it’s too slow for me.

Track 41: Will Young – Who Am I

Interesting backing track, but the vocal’s very repetitive.

Track 42: Ronan Keating and Kate Rusby – All Over Again

Bit of an odd pairing that I would never have guessed did a song together.  It’s slow and sappy and not my kind of thing, but I suppose the vocals are quite nice.

Track 43: Girls Aloud – Whole Lotta History

Nice tune, nice atmosphere, but I find the vocal lines a bit messy and jarring.

We’ve avoided any ‘Not on Spotify’ moments again!  Hopefully this will become more and more regular.

2018 Ciders #33: Sainsbury’s English Vintage Cider

For post-Blaydon celebration at the weekend, I asked Geth to grab me some interesting cider, and this is what he came back with.

Sainsbury's English Vintage Cider
Sainsbury’s English Vintage Cider.

I wouldn’t normally think to grab Sainsbury’s own brand cider, but it wasn’t a bad pint – quite apple-y, and not too dry.  The taste is a bit generic, but it would do in a pinch in future if I couldn’t find anything else.

 

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #63

Day 63 means Now! #63, which takes us to 10th April 2006.

April 2006
This is how the world looked in April 2006. To save you all from yet another MySpace selfie, I’ve selected a picture of a road that Mum and Dad took on their travels. Enjoy!

I’m as interested as anyone to know what the hits were in 2006, as I was listening pretty much exclusively to goth and industrial by this point and so I don’t remember the chart stuff.

Now! That's What I Call Music #63
Track 1: Corrine Bailey Rae – Put Your Records On

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

It’s a nice tune, but it’s not really my style – I find this kind of thing pretty dull.

Track 2: The Pussycat Dolls and will.i.am – Beep

Great atmosphere, great beat, but it could do with some more melody.

Track 3: The Black Eyed Peas – My Humps

Semi-repeated artist alert!  We only just had the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am on the last track.

Awful then, still awful now.  The lyrics are just terrible.

Track 4: Orson – No Tomorrow

Interesting guitar lines, but I find the tune pretty boring.

Track 5: The Ordinary Boys – Boys Will Be Boys

Great ska-tinged track – I’ve always really liked this tune.

Track 6: Meck and Leo Sayer – Thunder In My Heart Again

Remix of Leo Sayer’s 1977 track Thunder In My Heart. It’s highly danceable and uses the original song very nicely.

Track 7: Hi Tack – Say Say Say (Waiting 4 U)

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

I appreciate the sample from Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson’s Say Say Say, and the rest of the track’s actually okay – it’s another one where the sample is used very well.

Track 8: Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)

The 1985 classic, back in the charts due to Pete Burns’ appearance on Celebrity Big Brother.  It’s one of my favourite songs – I’ve loved it ever since hearing it as the theme to the Sounds Of The ’80s TV show in the early ’90s.  Stunning track.

Track 9: Chico – It’s Chico Time

Awful novelty song that still troubles the music channels as part of their ‘Christmas party’ playlists.

Track 10: Shayne Ward – That’s My Goal

The second X Factor winner’s single and the first to get the Christmas number one.  I’ve got a bad feeling that we’re going to be seeing X Factor winners on every spring Now! compilation for a good few years.  The only good thing about this saccharine ballad is that it’s Shayne Ward’s original song, in contrast to the pointless karaoke you normally get with X Factor contestants.

Track 11: Sugababes – Ugly

Generic tune, and I find the theme on this one very hamfisted.

Track 12: Simon Webbe – No Worries

The beat’s a bit jarring, and in general the track is pretty messy – too much going on.

Track 13: Will Young – All Time Love

The tune’s nice, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 14: Kelly Clarkson – Because Of You

Another slow ballad, and those have to be super atmospheric or interesting for me not to find them bland.  This one is not super atmospheric or interesting.

Track 15: Westlife – Amazing

Nice tune, nice atmosphere, but the chorus is a bit cheesy for me.

Track 16: Andy Abraham – Hang Up

The X Factor runner-up to Shayne Ward, fact fans.  This track has a nice retro feel and could have come from the ’70s or ’80s, which is a great thing in my book.

Track 17: McFly – I Wanna Hold You

Good beat, interesting lines, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 18: Son Of Dork – Ticket Outta Loserville

Nice bit of daft pop-punk – quite like this tune.

Track 19: Friday Hill – One More Night Alone

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Good head-nodder, nice tune.

Track 20: Liberty X – A Night To Remember

Utterly pointless cover of the Shalamar classic, released as the official Children In Need single for 2005 (so insert usual disclaimer about the ‘point’ being charity fundraising).  It’s pretty much identical to the original.

Track 21: Rihanna – If It’s Lovin’ That You Want

Interesting lines that come together to create quite a good atmosphere for this song.  Quite like this one.

Track 22: Liz McClarnon – Woman In Love

Pointless cover of the Barbra Streisand classic.  It’s a great song whoever does it, but there’s nothing new added here.

Track 23: Girls Aloud – See The Day

Pointless cover of the Dee C Lee classic.  Also now a Christmas song, due to its ubiquity on the music channels’ Christmas playlists because of its wintry video.  Again, I love the song whoever does it, but I just don’t see the point of releasing such a near-identical version.

Track 24: Nizlopi – JCB Song

Great song – gorgeous tune, brilliant lyrics, awesome theme, great chant-along section.  A classic.

Track 25: Embrace – Nature’s Law

Nice piano instrumentals, lovely atmosphere.  I normally find Embrace’s stuff really dull, but this is a nice tune, even with the slightly drone-y vocals.

Track 26: Robbie Williams – Advertising Space

Nice atmosphere, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 27: Coldplay – Talk

Great riff, but the vocals are depressing as ever from Coldplay.

Track 28: A-ha – Analogue (All I Want)

A welcome return to the charts for A-ha!  This track has a suitably epic atmosphere, a great bassline, really nice piano and a lovely tune on the vocals.

Track 29: The Feeling – Sewn

Boring tune, too slow.

Track 30: Richard Ashcroft – Break The Night With Colour

Another tune that I just can’t get interested in.

Track 31: Texas – Sleep

Nice tune, but again it’s not uptempo enough for me.

Track 32: Kaiser Chiefs – Modern Way

Not the most interesting track off the Employment album, but I still really like the tune.

Track 33: U2 – All Because Of You

Great riff, but the tune’s a bit dull and repetitive.

Track 34: Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down

Love the guitar, but the vocals are pretty irritating.

Track 35: Goldfrapp – Ride A White Horse

I’m always disappointed that this isn’t a cover of T.Rex’s Ride A White Swan with alternative lyrics.  Still, it’s a great electropop tune.

Track 36: Gorillaz – Dirty Harry

Some interesting lines and hooks, but it’s very repetitive.

Track 37: MVP – Bounce, Shake, Move, Stop!

Daft theme, and I’d prefer a bit more melody, but it is a good head-nodder.

Track 38: Sunblock – I’ll Be Ready

Bit of a repetitive sample mishmash, but it’s got a good beat.  The sample is Jimi Jamison’s Baywatch theme from 1994, but I had to look that up – I never watched enough of the show (I always found the premise really daft) to remember the theme!

Track 39: The Shapeshifters – Incredible

Quite like the instrumentals, but the main tune is very bland.

Track 40: The Source and Candi Staton – You Got The Love [New Voyager Radio Edit]

We’ve already had this song TWICE, if you can believe that, on Now! #19 and Now! #36!  The New Voyager mix is definitely not different enough to justify including it a third time!

See the first link for my review (including the Florence & The Machine annoyance that I keep being reminded of whenever another Now! compilation features this song) and the second link for the first time I got angry about this repetition!

Track 41: Kubb – Grow

Boring, slow and depressing.

Track 42: José González – Heartbeats

Oh, it’s this one.  Again, it’s too slow for my taste, though the guitar lines are quite interesting.

Back to the house project

Well, after a couple of months that were taken up with work and holidays, I finally have time over the next few weeks to get on with the house again.

The main project is the study, which is still just a pile of boxes, but there’s a few other things to do as well – mainly putting up bookcases and Tetris-ing things around.  I’m mainly working this week, but at the weekend I will have time to get started on the bookcases –  meaning we’ll have access to our books for the first time since January.  Exciting!  I’ve almost forgotten what we actually have.

I’m glad I’ll finally be able to get into that study next week as well – I’m looking forward to having a whole extra room.  Eventually.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #62

Day 62 takes us to Now! #62, which came out on 21st November 2005.

November 2005
This is how the world looked in November 2005. One of the many things I learnt from José, who was not the most passive of cats, was the art of cat-wrangling. I applied that particular skill just this afternoon, when Guinness, the cat from next door, successfully breached our house’s defences due to Geth leaving the patio door open and I had to put him out again.

Let’s have another go with these mid-’00s hits.

Now! That's What I Call Music #62
Track 1: Sugababes – Push The Button

The tune’s a little repetitive, but it’s a good solid pop song.

Track 2: Robbie Williams – Tripping

Really like the beat on this – lots of interesting stuff going on.  Good track.

Track 3: The Pussycat Dolls and Busta Rhymes – Don’t Cha

I shouldn’t like this, but it’s got a good rhythm and I’ve always been quite fond of it.

Track 4: Daniel Powter – Bad Day

Awful and whiny.  The complete opposite of my kind of thing.

Track 5: David Gray – The One I Love

I find this one really dull and kind of annoying.

Track 6: Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone

I like the rock-tinged guitar, but the vocals are too generic for me.

Track 7: Will Young – Switch It On

Good beat, but the tune’s not interesting enough.

Track 8: Girls Aloud – Biology

It’s an okay pop song, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 9: McFly – I’ll Be OK

The tune’s annoying, and the vocals are really not my thing.

Track 10: Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict A Riot

Absolute classic.  This one was great to see live at T in the Park 2005 – the energy in the crowd was immense.

Track 11: Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To

Interesting as ever from Franz Ferdinand – great tune.

Track 12: KT Tunstall – Suddenly I See

I’ve always found this tune incredibly irritating.

Track 13: t.A.T.u – All About Us

I wasn’t aware that t.A.T.u made a brief comeback in 2005.  Good atmosphere, quite like this one.

Track 14: Hilary Duff – Wake Up

Irritating high-pitched vocals, boring tune.

Track 15: Rachel Stevens – I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)

The attempt at a rock edge is a bit cringeworthy, but the tune is quite good.

Track 16: Liberty X – Song 4 Lovers

Starts off as a slow piano ballad with a nice atmosphere, then somebody starts rapping all over everything.  Dreadful.

Track 17: Friday Hill – Baby Goodbye

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

The instrumentals are nice, but the vocals are a bit too cheesy for me.

Track 18: Simon Webbe – Lay Your Hands

Everything about this is extremely dull.  Not my thing at all.

Track 19: Mariah Carey – We Belong Together

Another slow ballad with a bland tune.

Track 20: Elton John – Electricity

Lovely piano line, but it’s a little slow for me.

Track 21: Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles

Nice Celtic-inspired instrumentals, but I don’t like the vocal line.

Track 22: Westlife – You Raise Me Up

One of the most saccharine ballads from the most saccharine of bands.  It’s almost unbearable.

Track 23: Gorillaz – DARE

Great tune, brilliant hooks.  Love this one.

Track 24: Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl

Good chant-along chorus, good beat.  Really like this.

Track 25: Kanye West – Diamonds From Sierra Leone

The Shirley Bassey Diamonds Are Forever sample is cracking, and I do like the ‘forever ever‘ nod to Ms Jackson by Outkast.  Great atmosphere on this one.

Track 26: Coldplay – Fix You

This was everywhere during summer 2005 as Coldplay headlined Glastonbury.  The tune is nice and anthemic, if extremely overplayed, but the theme and lyrics are really problematic.

Track 27: Oasis – The Importance Of Being Idle

Nice interesting tune from Oasis, much better than the generic stuff they’d been putting out for a few years at this point.  Love the instrumentals.

Track 28: The Black Eyed Peas – Don’t Lie

Interesting intro, but once it gets into the main part of the track it’s a bit dull.

Track 29: Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani – Can I Have It Like That

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Gwen Stefani on this compilation.

Good beat, but there’s not enough melody for my liking.

Track 30: Goldfrapp – Ooh La La

Nice piece of chilled-out pop – I’ve always quite liked this one.

Track 31: Mylo and Miami Sound Machine – Doctor Pressure

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Mash-up of Mylo’s Drop The Pressure and Miami Sound Machine’s Doctor Beat.  I hate mash-ups, as they usually ruin both songs.  This one’s not horrible, but I’d still far rather listen to the original version of Doctor Beat.

Track 32: Bob Sinclar and Gary Pine – Love Generation

The spoken word intro is pretty uninspired, but the guitar line is nice, if a bit repetitive.

Track 33: Daddy Yankee – Gasolina

Who knew Daddy Yankee (of Despacito fame in 2017) actually had a hit back in 2005?  Every day’s a learning experience.

This track’s got a great atmosphere and some interesting lines, but it could do with some more melody.

Track 34: Rihanna – Pon De Replay

Good beat, very danceable.

Track 35: Amerie – 1 Thing

The instrumentals are okay, but the vocals are too high-pitched for me and give me a bit of a headache.

Track 36: Akon – Bananza (Belly Dancer)

It’s got a good beat, but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 37: Mattafix – Big City Life

Some interesting lines going on here, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 38: Damian Marley – Welcome To Jamrock

Nice reggae beat, but there’s not enough going on with the tune.

Track 39: Depeche Mode – Precious

The lead single off the beautiful Playing The Angel album.  This track is absolutely stunning, with a haunting atmosphere and gorgeous instrumentals.

Track 40: U2 – City Of Blinding Lights

Not hugely keen on this one – the tune is a bit uninspired.

Track 41: The Magic Numbers – Love Me Like You

I still find this tune a bit twee, but there’s a kind of mid-’00s summery nostalgia about it now.  Maybe because the Magic Numbers seemed to be constantly on Jools Holland and BBC festival footage and the like in 2005.

Track 42: Texas – Getaway

Really like this track – lovely tune, great instrumentals.

Track 43: Bon Jovi – Have A Nice Day

Nice classic rock sound – I love that Bon Jovi never really change.

Stuff I like about my parents’ house #2: Sony Walkman

Yup, it’s a classic.

Sony Walkman
Dad’s had this Sony Walkman for as long as I can remember.

We definitely used to have two Sony Walkmen, but I’m not sure what happened to the other one.  The one you can see me listening to in the picture for the Now! #34 review from summer 1996 is, I think, the same one as pictured here.  I have a vague memory of the other one not working very well, which means it’s probably long gone.  This one is a survivor, though, and is still happily hanging about.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #61

Day 61 equals Now! #61, which came out on 25th July 2005.

July 2005
This is the way the world looked in July 2005. I had apparently got to that stage in my life and in world history where all photos were either selfies (or ‘MySpace photos’ as they were called in the ’00s), pictures of my cat sleeping in unlikely places, or drunken pub pictures. I’m sure my friends will thank me if I stick to the selfies and cat pictures.

Hoping for some festival rock anthems here and not too much saccharine pop!  Fingers crossed.

Now! That's What I Call Music #61
Track 1: James Blunt – You’re Beautiful

Overplayed and ludicrously saccharine, but it’s been parodied so much and become so infamous that I actually find it quite funny now.

Track 2: 2Pac and Elton John – Ghetto Gospel

Track from 2Pac’s posthumous 2004 album.  It samples Indian Sunset, hence the Elton John credit.  The sample is beautifully used, and works really well with the rap here.

Track 3: Coldplay – Speed Of Sound

Nice tune, nice piano, nice atmosphere.  Quite like this one.

Track 4: Gorillaz and De La Soul – Feel Good Inc

Great beat, great danceable track.  Good stuff.

Track 5: The Black Eyed Peas – Don’t Phunk With My Heart

There’s a bit too much going on here for me, but the sung vocal is quite nice.

Track 6: Audio Bullys and Nancy Sinatra – Shot You Down

Yes, their grammatically correct name should be ‘Audio Bullies’.  Urgh.

The track is basically a remix of Nancy Sinatra’s version of Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).  The sample is great, but the rest of the track is pretty dull.

Track 7: Jem – They

Oh, it’s this one!  Really like the vocal harmony hook that runs throughout the track.

Track 8: Natalie Imbruglia – Shiver

It’s quite a nice atmosphere, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 9: KT Tunstall – Other Side Of The World

Boring tune, and it’s too acoustic-y for me.

Track 10: Oasis – Lyla

Bland Oasis-by-numbers track.  Nothing interesting here at all.

Track 11: Razorlight – Somewhere Else

Nice anthemic festival rock, really like this one.

Track 12: Bodyrockers – I Like The Way

Love the guitar riff, but it takes until the chorus for the track to get going properly.

Track 13: Kaiser Chiefs – Everyday I Love You Less And Less

It should be ‘every day’, not ‘everyday’.

It’s a great song though – that first Kaiser Chiefs album was really good.  I remember seeing them play an awesome set at T in the Park 2005.

Track 14: Caesars – Jerk It Out

Oh, it’s this one!  Great hook, great tune – really like this track.

Track 15: The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It

Not the most exciting track off the Hot Fuss album, but it’s still a really nice song.

Track 16: Hard-Fi – Hard To Beat

Really like this track – interesting tune, good beat.

Track 17: Weezer – Beverly Hills

Good rock beat, but the tune’s a bit lacking for me.

Track 18: Rob Thomas – Lonely No More

I quite like the tune until it gets to the uninspired chorus.

Track 19: The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost

At the time, I was really not keen on the Magic Numbers as I found their stuff very twee.  I’m still not the biggest fan, but I don’t hate this track as much as I used to.  The tune’s okay.

Track 20: Jack Johnson – Good People

Not my kind of thing – it’s too acoustic-y and I’m not keen on the tune.

Track 21: U2 – Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own

Nice tune, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 22: Akon – Lonely

The sample of the sped-up chipmunk version of Bobby Vinton’s Mr Lonely is inspired, and the rest of the track’s okay to listen to.

Track 23: Mario – Let Me Love You

Boring, generic tune.  Not my kind of thing.

Track 24: Gwen Stefani and Eve – Rich Girl

Interesting vocals, great take on If I Were A Rich Man.  It’s actually a cover of the Louchie Lou and Michie One song from 1993, but I’m not familiar with that version.

Track 25: Will Smith – Switch

Great beat, but the song’s a bit dull.

Track 26: MVP – Roc Ya Body (Mic Check 1 2)

Really like the sung vocals on the chorus, and it’s got a good beat.

Track 27: Mariah Carey – It’s Like That

Generic tune, not keen on this one.

Track 28: Nelly – N Dey Say

Love the sample of Spandau Ballet’s True, but the rap over the top just annoys me.

Track 29: Bobby Valentino – Slow Down

Boring tune, nothing redeeming here.

Track 30: Faith Evans – Again

Not keen on the tune – just find it very bland.

Track 31: Joss Stone – Don’t Cha Wanna Ride

Good beat, but again the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 32: Roll Deep – The Avenue

I like the sample of ’80s hit Heartache Avenue, though I’m not too keen on the rap over the top.  This seems to be a theme today.

Track 33: Charlotte Church – Crazy Chick

This was the album where Charlotte Church basically rebelled against her wholesome opera-voiced kid image and went pop instead.  The song’s a bit twee, and the tune’s nothing special.

Track 34: Rachel Stevens – So Good

Great instrumentals, great atmosphere, but the vocals are pretty generic.

Track 35: Inaya Day – Nasty Girl

Cover of the ’80s Vanity 6 song.  Good beat, but it’s another dull, generic tune.

Track 36: Deep Dish – Say Hello

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Quite like the tune on the instrumentals, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 37: Freeloaders and The Real Thing – So Much Love To Give

The Real Thing’s contribution here is the sample.  Great tune as a result, but it’s a little repetitive.

Track 38: Kylie Minogue – Giving You Up

Good tune, interesting vocals – quite like this one.

Track 39: Girls Aloud – Wake Me Up

Good atmosphere, but I just don’t find the tune interesting enough.

Track 40: Crazy Frog – Axel F

I mentioned my disdain for this awful ringtone-advert cover of the Harold Faltermeyer track way back in my review of the original on Now! #5.  Why anybody spent money on this stuff is beyond me.

Track 41: Tony Christie – Avenues And Alleyways

Tony Christie still riding his wave of resurgence post-Amarillo.  This is a nice tune and the classic style is a refreshing change from regular chart music.

Track 42: McFly – You’ve Got A Friend

Cover of the Carole King classic.  It’s very uninspired and far too acoustic-y for me.

Track 43: Heather Small – Proud

Re-release of the 2000 hit in honour of 2005’s successful London 2012 Olympics bid.  I literally last heard this two days ago, over the PA while waiting in the start pen for the Blaydon Race – it’s still used a lot for sporting events and things like that.  It’s quite a nice, uplifting song.

Race Review: Blaydon Race 2018

For the second year running, Geth and I did the Blaydon Race yesterday.  It’s a bit of an odd distance – five and a bit miles – and it’s always on the ninth of June, which can feel a bit odd when it falls on a weekday, but it’s become a traditional race in the North East.  The route is based on the lyrics of the Blaydon Races song, and you get a bottle of beer in your goody bag.  It’s a great race.

Sadly neither Geth nor I had a great race yesterday.  First of all, it was a really hot day and everyone was feeling it on the route.  The start was delayed due to problems with getting the roads closed in time, then roadworks meant there was a bottleneck near the start that slowed everyone down, so Geth went off too fast after that to try to make up the pace, and ran out of energy during the last mile.  Meanwhile, I had a few foot issues – a bruised toenail getting gradually worse and making downhill sections very painful, leading to bad form, leading to more foot pain.  I then got a stitch that was so bad I was still feeling it this morning.  I came in at one hour and thirty-five seconds, which was a great course PB – twelve minutes and fifty-two seconds faster than last year – but I was so gutted not to get sub-hour, which I would have done easily if I hadn’t had all those issues.

Still, the bus queue was a lot shorter than last year, and the t-shirt is more awesome.  I will be back next year, presuming I can get a place!