Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #17

Day 17 and we’ve arrived in the 1990s with our Now! compilation journey!  This one was released on 23rd April 1990.

April 1990
This was the way the world looked in April 1990 (actually March – we apparently didn’t take any photos in April – but I don’t imagine it changed much in the course of a couple of weeks). I was clearly much hardier as a child, because I spent a lot of time on British beaches in months when it’s traditionally too cold to do so (i.e. every month of the year), whereas nowadays I’ll stand and shiver for a couple of minutes before going back into the pub.

Let’s see what the 1990s have in store for us!

Now! That's What I Call Music #17
Track 1: Erasure – Blue Savannah

More solid synthpop from Erasure.  Great tune, great epic atmosphere.

Track 2: The Rebel MC – Better World

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

Repetitive beats make for a dull intro, but it’s better once a bit of melody kicks in.

Track 3: Paula Abdul – Opposites Attract

Good beat, but the tune’s a bit dull for my liking.

Track 4: Beats International – Dub Be Good To Me

Classic dance track, really like this tune.  Great vocal melody.

Track 5: UB40 – Kingston Town

Bit of a slow one from UB40, with an irritating tune.  Not really a fan.

Track 6: Candy Flip – Strawberry Fields Forever

Weird synth cover of the Beatles classic.  Pretty much a pointless cover other than the synth, as the vocals definitely don’t do anything new.

Track 7: Tina Turner – I Don’t Wanna Lose You

Fairly standard Tina Turner ballad, a bit dull for me.

Track 8: Phil Collins – I Wish It Would Rain Down

Phil Collins turns his hand to a rock ballad.  To be fair, that guitar is just the right level of over-the-top for me, so I quite like this one.

Track 9: Happy Mondays – Step On

Love this one!  Classic track – I will always dance to this at weddings, in clubs, and in my chair right now.

Track 10: Primal Scream – Loaded

Another classic dance track – love those trumpet hooks.

Track 11: Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence

How were Depeche Mode not on a Now! compilation throughout the entirety of the ’80s? *blink*

Anyway, this classic synthpop track is not a bad way to start.  Epic tune, great vocals, has had me on the dancefloor of a thousand goth clubs.

Track 12: Jesus Jones – Real Real Real

Great upbeat rock-tinged track.  Happily nodding along here.

Track 13: Inspiral Carpets – This Is How It Feels

Lovely electro instrumentals, beautiful classic song.  Really like this one.  Another example where Carter USM did a great and not-at-all-pointless cover.

Track 14: The House Of Love – Shine On

Really like this one!  Great tune – love those guitar instrumentals.

Track 15: Faith No More – From Out Of Nowhere

Another great guitar riff.  Not so keen on the vocals, but it’s a good tune.

Track 16: The Quireboys – Hey You

I quite like the rock turn this Now! compilation has taken!  This one’s a great head-nodder.

Track 17: Technotronic and MC Eric – This Beat Is Technotronic

Great dance track, really like the melody on this one.  Geth just arrived home and talked all over it, so I wasn’t quite able to hear it properly!

Track 18: Lonnie Gordon – Happenin’ All Over Again

Like the tune, but the vocal line is a bit repetitive for my liking.

Track 19: 49ers – Don’t You Love Me

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

Nice upbeat dance track, interesting vocal.  Bit dull otherwise.

Track 20: Jimmy Somerville – Read My Lips (Enough Is Enough)

Another solid pop track from Jimmy Somerville.  Great atmosphere on this one.

Track 21: Cliff Richard – Stronger Than That

More saccharine vocals from Cliff Richard.  His band are doing a good job at the pop-rock though.

Track 22: Jam Tronik – Another Day In Paradise

Interesting electro cover of the Phil Collins track.  Really like this one.

Track 23: JT & The Big Family – Moments In Soul

Interesting instrumentals, good atmosphere, but some of the samples are a little irritating.

Track 24: Mantronix and Wondress – Got To Have Your Love

Nice bass intro, nice instrumentals, good solid pop, though the vocals are a bit dull until the chorus kicks in.

Track 25: Bizz Nizz – Don’t Miss The Party Line

Great electro dance tune, though I could do without the live crowd on the track.

Track 26: E-Zee Possee and MC Kinky – Everything Starts With An ‘E’

Another live crowd spoiling the otherwise good guitar intro.  Then the weird vocal starts and it all goes south.  Also, I’m guessing that title is a drug reference (the ‘ec-ec-ec-ec-ecstasy‘ lyric is also a bit of a clue), which means the 1990s have properly arrived.

Track 27: D-Mob and Nuff Juice – Put Your Hands Together

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

Is that a brief sample of the Halloween theme at the start?  If so, it makes the track 100% more awesome, even though the rest of it is a bit of a messy sample-fest.

Track 28: Adamski and Seal – Killer

Absolute classic – that chorus is great, and the instrumentals are wonderfully epic.

Track 29: Orbital – Chime

Upbeat dance track with some interesting instrumentals – good head-nodder, though it gets a bit repetitive after a while.

Track 30: Tongue ‘N’ Cheek – Tomorrow

Nice sweeping piano intro, then it goes a bit house, then a bit ’70s retro.  Once it gets going, it’s pretty much pop-by-numbers, with a random rap late in the track (yup, the ’90s are definitely here…sigh).

Track 31: Electribe 101 – Talking With Myself

Good instrumentals, dull vocal.  Bonus points for the James Bond theme randomly popping up in the middle of the song, though.

Track 32: Sydney Youngblood – I’d Rather Go Blind

Problematic title and theme, for starters.  Fairly tuneless intro, repetitive vocals, out-of-kilter instrumentals.  Not a fan of this one.

Pilates

I’ve been doing Pilates for about eighteen months now.  My physio decided she was going to start running a class, and I’ve been going ever since.  I found it really helped with the chronic back and leg pain I used to have – that has all disappeared with my weight loss, but it used to be really crippling – and I do a few exercises last thing at night, every day.

I find it especially useful during busy transcription periods, because I use two computers for transcription and so I’m spending twelve hours a day hunched in various positions over a desk, which gives me a lot of neck and shoulder pain.  Knowing the right stretches to do in order to mitigate that at the end of the day is a real lifesaver at the moment.

I think it’s also why I’m not getting so many running injuries at the moment (touch wood!)  I hope that will continue.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #16

Day 16 takes us to 20th November 1989.

November 1989
This is the way the world looked in November 1989, when I was small and Christmas trees were…silver. I am 100% positive that nobody usually put up their Christmas trees in November back in the ’80s – that is most definitely a 21st century thing due to ongoing Christmas creep – but I think my great-aunt and great-uncle got the decorations out early that year so that the wee bro and I could ‘help’. Of course, in my world, Christmas decorations still look like that – or even older – ’cause my mum and her mum before her have been keeping them all as heirlooms since the ’40s.

So, we’ve reached the end of the ’80s in our Now! compilation journey.  Let’s enjoy those last few glorious tracks!

Now! That's What I Call Music #16

Track 1: Tears For Fears – Sowing The Seeds Of Love

So I was super gutted when Tears For Fears announced their tour last autumn, ’cause the tickets were pricy, we would have had to travel to Leeds, and I just couldn’t justify the expense at the time.  It was one of my big gig regrets for 2018.

In the last week, they’ve announced they’ve had to postpone the tour to 2019 for medical reasons.  The tickets all became available again, I found out Alison Moyet was supporting (which I hadn’t known before), and I was feeling a bit more flush than I had in the autumn.  I bought tickets for the Leeds gig.  Of course I did.

So I’m going to see Tears For Fears (and Alison Moyet) in February 2019, and now I don’t have to feel sad and disappointed every time one of their tracks comes on Vintage TV (which is approximately every five minutes).  Winning!

Anyway, this track.  It’s a bit ‘pre-1990s’ for my liking, especially ’cause I adore their early-to-mid-1980s stuff so much, but it’s a nice tune and I always find myself singing along when it comes on Vintage TV.  Which, as I say, is often.

Track 2: Belinda Carlisle – Leave A Light On

Really like this singalong track.  Lovely vocals, lovely tune.

Track 3: Erasure – Drama!

Lovely tinkly slow synth intro before the beat bangs in.  Epic atmosphere, great track.

Track 4: Debbie Harry – I Want That Man

Really like the tune on this one.  Nice upbeat pop.

I think you can probably guess, however, how I feel about the line ‘here comes the twenty-first century/it’s gonna be much better for a girl like me‘.  Yeah.  I’m glad someone’s optimistic.

Track 5: Sydney Youngblood – If Only I Could

Gotta love those bouncy instrumentals.  Great head-nodder.

Track 6: Curiosity Killed The Cat – Name And Number

I’ve always really liked this one!  That chorus is great.

Fun fact: Little Mix avoided a pointless cover of this by doing that strange 2010s thing where you cover the chorus only and then do a completely different verse, meaning you can call the track a different name (in this case How Ya Doin’?).

Fun fact 2: In a further example of my family’s sloth-like speed at adopting new phone technologies, we didn’t get an answerphone until the mid-’90s, so I wouldn’t have understood the premise of this song at the time.

Track 7: The Beautiful South – You Keep It All In

Nice jaunty instrumentals, and in comes Jacqui Abbott on the vocals – we are definitely post-Housemartins now.  Not my favourite Beautiful South track, but it’s a nice tune with typically whimsical lyrics.

Track 8: Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Surrender

A bit slower from Wet Wet Wet, but I really like those instrumentals.  Chorus could be more epic, though.

Track 9: Queen – Breakthru

Nice vocal harmony intro to a slightly erratic track.  The tune is a bit dull, but it’s still pretty solid from Queen.

Track 10: Tina Turner – The Best

Classic singalong track – one of those ones where I’m up on the dancefloor at the wedding disco.  Epic song.

Track 11: Transvision Vamp – Born To Be Sold

Slower and a bit acoustic from Transvision Vamp today.  I still really like it, though.

Track 12: Wendy & Lisa – Waterfall ’89

Slow pop-by-numbers, dull repetitive tune, nothing special.

Track 13: Kate Bush – The Sensual World

Church bell intro!  You don’t hear that on every pop song, but then it is Kate Bush.  Love the tune too, nice epic atmosphere.

Track 14: Fine Young Cannibals – I’m Not The Man I Used To Be

For some reason, on Now! #16 there were a few tracks that featured on the CD release only.  I don’t know if it’s because CDs had more space, and the Now! compilers were excited about the novelty of that, or what.  Anyway, this is the first of them.

Nice instrumentals, but this track is a bit slow and dull for my liking.

Track 15: Then Jerico – Sugar Box

A bit saccharine, but I quite like the tune, especially when it gets a bit rockier as the track goes on.

Track 16: Living In A Box – Room In Your Heart

Wow.  We’ve reached 1989 and even Living In A Box were doing dull ballads.  Nothing to elevate this one.

Track 17: Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting

I’ve always had a soft spot for this ballad.  It’s the kind of thing I should hate, but I don’t.

Track 18: Milli Vanilli – Girl I’m Gonna Miss You

It’s Milli Vanilli and their possibly-fake vocals again!  I actually really like this one, it’s a lovely tune and theme.

Track 19: The Rebel MC and Double Trouble – Street Tuff

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

Nice upbeat dance track, like the sampling.  Good stuff.

Track 20: Bobby Brown – On Our Own

Good instrumentals and sung vocals on this one – the rap’s a bit dull though.

Track 21: Technotronic and Felly – Pump Up The Jam

Classic dance track – another ‘oh, it’s this one!’ moment.  Happily chair-dancing right now.

Track 22: Lil’ Louis – French Kiss

Another track that was on the CD release only.

Repetitive intro that goes on too long – get on with it!  The shortest version I was able to find is eight minutes long, so it takes forever to get going.  Not my kind of thing, especially when it slows down and brings in the orgasm noises.  I’m guessing this is not the version that was on the Now! compilation.

Track 23: Adeva – I Thank You

Highly pre-1990s dance track.  Vocals a bit over-the-top for me.

Track 24: D-Mob and Cathy Dennis – C’mon And Get My Love

Really like the drum machine on that intro.  Solid dance tune.

Track 25: De La Soul – Eye Know

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

Too repetitive for me, and I don’t like the backing tune.

Track 26: Inner City – Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’

Not an Inner City fan anyway, and this one is kind of slow and repetitive.  Not for me.

Track 27: Big Fun – Can’t Shake The Feeling

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

Something about the tune annoys me.  It’s fairly pop-by-numbers otherwise.

Track 28: Cliff Richard – I Just Don’t Have The Heart

Actually quite an upbeat one from Cliff Richard!  His vocals are still super cheesy and irritating though.

Track 29: Jimmy Somerville and June Miles Kingston – Comment Te Dire Adieu

Great track!  Daft French atmosphere, awesome tune.  I’m chair-dancing again here!

Track 30: Brother Beyond – Drive On

Another ‘CD release only’ track..

A bit cheesy, but I really quite like this – it’s just nice, pure, upbeat pop.

Track 31: Shakespear’s Sister – You’re History

Really squawky and squeaky in the vocals, with Siobhan Fahey going a bit overboard, obviously still feeling that post-Bananarama freedom.  Quite an interesting tune, though.

Track 32: Oh Well – Oh Well

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

Nice funky melody, quite a nice track when they’re not rapping.

Track 33: Neneh Cherry – Kisses On The Wind

Bit of a messy sample mishmash at the start, but it’s okay once it gets going.

Track 34: Redhead Kingpin & The FBI – Do The Right Thing

Headache-inducing intro, repetitive track.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 35: Fresh 4 and Lizz E – Wishing On A Star

Not a fan of this drum ‘n’ bass cover, but at least it does something different to the Rose Royce original.

Phone Box Thursday: Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Yup, we’re still here!

Red phone box
Red phone box, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, 25th January 2016.

The box next to the phone box is an Edinburgh police box.  Police boxes are still fairly common in Edinburgh, but as they’re obviously not used for their original purpose anymore, they’ve all been turned into coffee stands.

The other phone boxes you can see in the background will be featured next week!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #15

Day 15’s Now! compilation was released on 14th August 1989.

August 1989
This is what the world looked like in August 1989. Beautiful sunshine, beautiful view, and I’m clearly complaining about something, ’cause I’m four. At least I’m complaining while wearing an awesome ’80s coat though.

On with the tracks!

Now! That's What I Call Music #15
Track 1: Queen – I Want It All

Brilliant track, one of my favourites from Queen.  Wonderful guitar solo from Brian May, of course, but the best bit is when it goes quiet for a drums ‘n’ chanting singalong.  Great stuff.

Track 2: Simple Minds – Kick It In

After an uninspiring slow intro, this track does what it says on the tin, thankfully.  Vocals a bit experimental for my liking, though.

Track 3: Fine Young Cannibals – Good Thing

Bit of a retro-sounding track from Fine Young Cannibals.  Nice tune, but a bit repetitive for me.

Track 4: Holly Johnson – Americanos

I’m not hugely keen on Holly Johnson’s post-FGTH solo stuff.  There’s something irritating about the tune and instrumentals on this one.

Track 5: Transvision Vamp – Baby I Don’t Care

Great pop-rock track from Transvision Vamp.  Nice singalong chorus, great guitar.

Track 6: INXS – Mystify

Nice bouncy instrumentals, nice vocals, lovely epic quiet chorus.  Really like this one.

Track 7: Roxette – The Look

Love this track!  Great guitar, great vocals, awesome tune.  Roxette are one of those bands where I like pretty much all of their stuff, but this is a real standout.

Track 8: Stevie Nicks – Rooms On Fire

Slight aside for a minute while I bemoan the fact that I am no longer going to try and get tickets to see Fleetwood Mac this year because they’ve had drama again, with Lindsey Buckingham quitting, and I WANTED TO SEE ALL FIVE OF THEM BECAUSE THAT’S THE CLASSIC LINEUP DAMMIT.  This is the only gig disappointment of 2018 that I have not been able to mitigate somehow.

Anyway, this Stevie Nicks solo track is lovely and epic, absolutely holding its own against the Fleetwood Mac back catalogue.  Cracking song.

Track 9: Paul McCartney – My Brave Face

Nice upbeat track, nice tune.  Good head-nodder.

Track 10: Gerry Marsden, Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson and The Christians – Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey

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

Never been keen on any version of this track, ’cause the chorus annoys me.  I do appreciate the instrumental treatment of this one, though.

Track 11: The Beautiful South – Song For Whoever

So, back on Saturday when I was listening to Now! #10, Geth went on this big ominous ramble during Build by the Housemartins that that was the point when the Housemartins were starting to sound like the Beautiful South, and that it would only be a matter of time before the former went bang and the latter rose from the ashes.  That did of course happen in the late ’80s, but as much as I do prefer the Housemartins, I don’t think the Beautiful South are a bad thing.  This song is lovely and has just the right level of whimsy for my liking.

Track 12: Kirsty MacColl – Days

Beautiful cover of the Kinks track.  There’s enough interesting things done with the instrumentals here (not to mention MacColl’s gorgeous vocals) to make the cover non-pointless, and the result is lovely and sweeping.

Track 13: Danny Wilson – The Second Summer Of Love

Not sure about this folk-rock track – I quite like the bridge, but the chorus is a bit cheesy.

Track 14: Waterfront – Cry

Good instrumentals on the intro, but the track is a bit generic.  Sax solo does save it a bit.

Track 15: Hue & Cry – Violently

Another slow one from Hue & Cry – again, a bit dull for me.  They just never matched Labour Of Love as far as I’m concerned.

Track 16: Cliff Richard – The Best Of Me

1989: the year everyone decided Cliff Richard was a thing again for some reason.  This one is mouldy cheddar, but what do you expect?

Track 17: Soul II Soul and Caron Wheeler – Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)

I’ve always liked that ‘back to life/back to reality‘ hook.  Nice head-nodder as well.

Track 18: Neneh Cherry – Manchild

Nice tune and great instrumentals, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 19: Bobby Brown – Every Little Step

Dull tune, but the beat’s all right.

Track 20: Inner City – Do You Love What You Feel

Nice intro – then the dull vocal kicks in.  Not a fan.

Track 21: D-Mob and LRS – It’s Time To Get Funky

Good dance track, quite like this one.

Track 22: Donna Allen – Joy And Pain

Love that sax!  Nice tuneful ballad, even if the vocals are a bit repetitive.

Track 23: Gladys Knight – Licence To Kill

Love a James Bond soundtrack song!  (We’ll gloss over the missed opportunity of A View To A Kill for now.)  Epic almost-orchestral instrumentals, building atmosphere, great vocals – this is what you want.

Track 24: Natalie Cole – Miss You Like Crazy

Super saccharine ballad, annoying chorus.  Not my thing.

Track 25: Pet Shop Boys – It’s Alright

More classic synthpop from Pet Shop Boys.  Love those synth hooks.

Track 26: Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers – Swing The Mood

Novelty cartoon rabbit that I quite liked at the time, being four.  The mix of classic swing and rock ‘n’ roll tracks leaves a little to be desired, though.

Track 27: Swing Out Sister – You On My Mind

Nice upbeat track, lovely tune, good vocals – I quite like this one.

Track 28: Bananarama – Cruel Summer ’89

I don’t know whose idea this 1989 remix was, but it’s a good excuse to hear some classic Bananarama again!  Great track when it’s not the weird remix bit.

Track 29: De La Soul – Say No Go

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 1: lazy tribute version substitute.

Finally, some rap that’s actually interesting!  Great instrumentals too.

Track 30: Norman Cook and MC Wildski – Blame It On The Bassline

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

Here’s another phoenix from the ashes of the Housemartins’ split, back in the days before he was going by Fatboy Slim.  This was actually the Beats International project, although I guess they hadn’t come up with the name yet.

Really quite like this mishmash of samples, especially the Blame It On The Boogie hooks.

Track 31: Double Trouble and The Rebel MC – Just Keep Rockin’

Nice upbeat dance track – happily nodding along here.

Track 32: The Cure – Lullaby

My favourite song from my favourite band!  Now THIS is a good way to end a compilation.  Indescribably beautiful mournful track – I will adore it forever.

Feeling the cold

We’ve finally seen some spring weather in the last week or so.  Outside, it’s been lovely – the winter was so long and awful that being able to walk around in bare legs and light jackets last week felt like being on holiday somewhere tropical.

Inside, however, when I’m sitting still (which I’ve been doing a lot, obviously, as I’ve got a lot of work to do at the moment), I’m still really feeling the cold, and have had to have the electric fire going next to me most of the time now that we’ve pretty much switched off the central heating for the summer.  It’s one of those disadvantages of weight loss – I just don’t have that excess blubber to keep me warm anymore.

I’m definitely looking forward to it warming up more for the summer – I feel silly having the fire on this late in the season!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #14

Two weeks into this review series, and Now! 14 takes us to 20th March 1989.

March 1989
This is how the world looked in March 1989. Nice garden stonework features, lots of plants, and head-to-toe red outfits.

Both me and the wee bro were clearly better dressed than this lot, but let’s listen to their songs anyway.

Now! That's What I Call Music #14
Track 1: Marc Almond and Gene Pitney – Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart

The Gene Pitney solo original from the ’60s is one of my all-time favourite songs.  This version with Marc Almond doesn’t quite match the original for me, but it’s still really good.

Track 2: Phil Collins – Two Hearts

Phil Collins back on form after that awful one from yesterday.  Great bouncy singalong chair-dancer.

Track 3: Erasure – Stop!

Love the spiky synth on this one.  More great pop from Erasure.

Track 4: Bananarama and LaNaNeeNeeNooNoo – Help!

An early example of a Comic Relief single, with Bananarama teaming up with their parody versions (actually French and Saunders) for a not-quite-pointless cover of the Beatles classic.  There’s not much added to the song other than the daft comedy spoken word sections, but the backing instrumentals are quite interesting.

Track 5: Hue & Cry – Looking For Linda

More upbeat than Ordinary Angel yesterday, but the chorus annoys me.  Sorry!

Track 6: Yazz – Fine Time

Yazz has ditched the Plastic Population, and judging by this song, I can’t decide whether it was the best move.  The tune is nice and soulful, but perhaps a little slow for me.  No annoying chorus, though, so that’s a huge improvement.

Track 7: Kim Wilde – Four Letter Word

Obligatory Kim Wilde gig mention.  Yes, she played this one too!

Bit of a slower, quieter one from Kim Wilde, but still a great pop track – really nice build to the atmosphere.

Track 8: Sam Brown – Stop

This is the second track on this compilation with this title.  Between this and the Transvision Vamp/Duran Duran mixed message from yesterday, I’m beginning to think bands in the late ’80s were running out of originality when it came to titles.

Absolutely love this track – beautiful tune, wonderful epic atmosphere.

Fun fact: Jamelia did the most pointless of pointless covers of this in 2003 for the Love Actually soundtrack – it sounds EXACTLY the same.

Track 9: Roy Orbison – You Got It

Was Roy Orbison really still going in 1989?  *googles*  Apparently so.

Really like this tune, especially that bridge.  Nice head-nodder.

Track 10: Fine Young Cannibals – She Drives Me Crazy

Hands down my favourite Fine Young Cannibals song.  Absolutely classic track with a beautiful simplicity to the vocals and lyrics, and some stunning guitar instrumentals.  Adore this one.

Track 11: INXS – Need You Tonight

That hook!  Another one that used to be used to announce the ad breaks on VH1 Classic.  An all-time favourite, with wonderful vocals and a great atmosphere.

Track 12: Status Quo – Burning Bridges (On And Off And On Again)

Annoying riff to start that reminds me of a sing-song nursery rhyme.  This is echoed in the chorus.  The verses are okay though.  Then there’s that random instrumental of the tune that I only know from Manchester United’s Come On You Reds song in the ’90s.  Just a bit of a mess, really.

Track 13: Then Jerico – Big Area

Nice tinkly intro, which smashes into a bit of epic guitar-led atmosphere.  Boring vocals, but the instrumentals are great.

Track 14: Morrissey – The Last Of The Famous International Playboys

Fairly upbeat for Morrissey.  Bit of a dull tune though.

Track 15: Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Boring slow guitar track.  My least favourite kind of music!  Not a fan at all.

Track 16: Simple Minds – Belfast Child

Beautiful track from Simple Minds, based on traditional melody As She Moved Through The Fair.  A favourite since childhood.

Track 17: Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance

I’ve got a soft spot for this classic, which I find to be a great singalong head-nodder.

Track 18: Inner City – Good Life

A little repetitive, but better than Big Fun yesterday.

Track 19: S-Express – Hey Music Lover

Super irritating spoken sample at the start!  I like the synth lines though.

Track 20: Living In A Box – Blow The House Down

Nice upbeat pop track, good head-nodder.  Really like that chorus.

Track 21: The Style Council – Promised Land

I’m a little surprised the Style Council were still going in ’89 – I was sure Paul Weller had gone solo by then.  Oh well, gotta keep improving that music knowledge.

Nice track though – good bouncy song, great synth going on in there.

Track 22: Adeva – Respect

Vocals a bit erratic for my liking, but a good dance track.

Track 23: Tone Lōc – Wild Thing

I quite like that clappy intro.  Rap bit is kind of dull though.

Track 24: Natalie Cole – I Live For Your Love

The dullest type of dull ballad, only marginally saved by the tinkly instrumentals.  Not keen.

Track 25: Robin Beck – First Time

Really like the tune on this one – great rock ballad.

Track 26: Paula Abdul – Straight Up

Great chair-dancing track.  Love the chorus too, good singalong potential.

Track 27: Samantha Fox – I Only Wanna Be With You

Upbeat cover of the Dusty Springfield classic.  Different enough not to be pointless (there’s no mistaking that ’80s synth), but there’s something cheesy and annoying about it.

Track 28: Brother Beyond – Be My Twin

Vocals are too saccharine, but I quite like the tune.  Nice sax solo too.

Track 29: Climie Fisher – Love Like A River

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

We’re getting towards the end of the compilation!  Do I dare hope?  Could today finally be the day when every track from the original compilation is present and correct on Spotify…oh.  Oh well.  So close.

Typically cheesy vocals for Climie Fisher, although there’s a nice almost-edge to the instrumentals underneath.

Track 30: Duran Duran – All She Wants Is

Yup, I still love Duran Duran, and this one is predictably wonderful (that bassline! that synth! those vocals! that chanting!) as ever.  Just a cut above.

Track 31: Level 42 – Tracie

All right, all right, I’m clicking on that ticket link now!  I’m buying those tickets!  I’ve received the email confirmation!  I’m going to see Level 42 in October!

It was for the best that I did that tonight, too, ’cause there were only two floor seats left that were next to each other!

This one’s a great jaunty track with some nice synth hooks.  Hope they play it when I go see them!

Track 32: Michael Ball – Love Changes Everything

I’ve got a soft spot for Michael Ball, mainly ’cause he’s so ubiquitous on British TV these days.  This track from the musical Aspects Of Love is as saccharine as you would expect, but it makes a nice change from the slow pop ballads that have been ending the last few Now! compilations.

Back to long runs

I’m probably going to turn into a bit of a running bore on here in the build-up to the Sunderland 10k, largely because it’s pretty much the only thing I’m doing at the moment other than working!

I went for a 7.5k run this morning, which was the furthest I’ve run since October.  I felt great – for the first time in a long time, I was in a nice, comfortable, steady state where I felt like I could run forever.  My leftover niggles from last year seem to have disappeared (touch wood) and I was almost tempted to add another few kilometres.  That’s next Tuesday, though – gotta build up properly!

I really feel like I’m in a great place for Sunderland now, and considering that a few weeks ago I was worried that I hadn’t got back to training in time to run it properly, I’m thrilled with the way things are going.  Looking forward to see how I do on the practice 10k distance next week!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #13

Day 13’s Now! compilation came out on 21st November 1988.

November 1988
This is the way the world looked in November 1988. I wasn’t actually put in a cage that often. If I had kids they’d be in a cage – uh, sorry, ‘playpen’ – 24 hours a day. This is one of the many reasons I know I’m not meant to be a parent.

Let’s see what pop hits the Now! compilers have for me today.

Now! That's What I Call Music #13
Track 1: Yazz & The Plastic Population – The Only Way Is Up

Classic party track, and that blaring horn at the start is great, but I find the tune to the vocal a bit annoying.

Track 2: Womack & Womack – Teardrops

Nice tune, though it’s a bit repetitive for me.

Track 3: Erasure – A Little Respect

I adore this one!  Brilliant singalong party track.  Also, I can’t not post that excellent Tube singalong video.

Track 4: The Christians – Harvest For The World

A little ashamed to say that I’m not familiar enough with the Isley Brothers original to be able to say whether this cover is pointless or not.  There’s lots of very ’80s twiddly instrumentals, but the vocal is a bit mid-century throwback, so it’s hard to guess.

Track 5: Hue & Cry – Ordinary Angel

Interesting instrumentals at the start, a bit Eastern-tinged.  Nice tune, though it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 6: UB40 and Chrissie Hynde – Breakfast In Bed

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

Fairly standard UB40 slow reggae – great vocals from both singers.  I actually like this even more than their cover of I Got You Babe.

Track 7: Robert Palmer – She Makes My Day

Really nice tune from Robert Palmer – interesting instrumental lines and great vocals.

Track 8: Breathe – Hands To Heaven

Nice instrumentals, but far too slow and saccharine for me.  Apart from the sax solo.  You can’t go wrong with a sax solo.

Track 9: Phil Collins – A Groovy Kind Of Love

Not a pointless cover as it’s very different from the Mindbenders original.  It’s much slower and a lot more boring.  Not a fan.

Track 10: Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

I’ve always quite liked this jaunty tune.  Didn’t they use to sell singing novelty fish that sang this song, or am I imagining that?

Track 11: The Art Of Noise and Tom Jones – Kiss

Nothing can beat the original Prince version, but this cover is not bad at all.  It’s very different to the original, and I’m a big fan of Tom Jones and his distinctive voice.  That guitar solo is great too.

Track 12: Bryan Ferry – Let’s Stick Together

Nice upbeat track, originally released a decade earlier, so the stylings are obviously very ’70s.  Love the instrumentals though, and though it’s a late ’70s song, there’s something quite glam rock about it – Ferry still channelling his earlier Roxy Music days.

Track 13: Kim Wilde – You Came

At the Kim Wilde gig last week (sorry, not going to shut up about that just yet!), Kim dedicated this one to the audience.  Great solid pop track with an awesome epic singalong chorus.

Track 14: Bomb The Bass – Don’t Make Me Wait

Bit of an irritating intro, but the track is good once you get past that – great synth line, great vocals, great tune.

Track 15: Brother Beyond – The Harder I Try

This one’s a bit cheesy for me, but the tune’s quite nice and it’s a good head-nodder.

Track 16: The Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

Not sure why this one was back in the charts, but it’s a classic for a reason.  Great track.

Track 17: Fat Boys and Chubby Checker – The Twist (Yo, Twist!)

It’s that Fat Boys cackle at the start again, but this retro-tinged rap track would not have been at all scary to my toddler self.  Definitely a party song.

Track 18: Wee Papa Girl Rappers – Wee Rule

Quite an interesting song – I like the tune on the chorus, and it’s nice to hear female-fronted rap in the ’80s style.

Track 19: Salt-N-Pepa – Twist And Shout

Speaking of which…  Was it a thing in 1988 to fuse rap with retro rock ‘n’ roll stylings?  I wouldn’t have expected to like that, but I do.  This one’s great, with rap verses straddling the classic chorus.  The opposite of a pointless cover.

Track 20: Yello – The Race

Ohhhh…it’s this one!  Classic party tune, but I didn’t know what it was called or who it was by.  Every day’s a learning experience.

Track 21: Inner City and Kevin Saunderson – Big Fun

Fairly standard for Inner City – nodding my head, but the tune’s not super exciting.

Track 22: D-Mob and Gary Haisman – We Call It Acieed

Infamous vocal, classic dance track.  Bit repetitive for me, but it’s a good party song.

Track 23: Beatmasters and PP Arnold – Burn It Up

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

I find this one a bit dull, nothing out of the ordinary, though I quite like that trumpet hook.

Track 24: Milli Vanilli – Girl You Know It’s True

By the time I started reading Smash Hits in the early ’90s, Milli Vanilli were a bit of a joke in the pop magazines as it was widely believed that they didn’t actually provide the vocals on their records.  I’m not sure if this was true, but it was the kind of thing that was a symptom of the irritating move towards manufactured pop groups.

As for the song itself, the possibly-fake vocals are a bit cheesy, but the instrumentals are great.

Track 25: Level 42 – Heaven In My Hands

I have the Sage Gateshead tab open ready on my browser to order those tickets!  I’ve just…not done it yet.  I will soon.

More fab instrumentals, great upbeat guitar, interesting track.  Like this one.

Track 26: Jane Wiedlin – Rush Hour

Chair-dancing here from the start – great singalong chorus, great tune.

Track 27: The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

The unofficial Scottish national anthem, played whenever we score points at the rugby.  Get several hundred Scots in a room, play this song, and watch the chaos ensue.  The ultimate in singalong classics.

Track 28: T’Pau – Secret Garden

The chorus annoys me, but otherwise it’s quite a good tune.

Track 29: Transvision Vamp – I Want Your Love

Really interesting song with great vocals.  Big fan of this one…

Track 30: Duran Duran – I Don’t Want Your Love

…and the title juxtaposition here is hilariously schizophrenic.  I hope that was deliberate, Now! compilers!

Duran Duran may not want our love…but I think you know what I’m about to say.  I love Duran Duran, and this song is another cracker.  Lovely vocal harmonies on the verses, nice epic atmosphere, brilliant singalong chorus, great lyrics.

Track 31: The Human League – Love Is All That Matters

Interesting to hear the Human League’s later ’80s stuff here.  The synth isn’t nearly so prominent, and it’s a bit smoother and more polished-sounding than their earlier stuff, especially the backing vocals.  Nice tune, too, and that outro is beautiful.

Track 32: All About Eve – Martha’s Harbour

Classic goth ballad.  I’ve always liked this one, so I’ll forgive the Now! compilers for ending yet another compilation with a ballad.

Missing my wall decorations

Intensive transcription projects at work always do strange things to me.  The last transcription period, in autumn 2017, involved a couple of projects, the larger of which was for a study about an experimental coffee machine.  I had actually given up caffeine in 2013 and hadn’t touched it since, but the combination of a lack of sleep and hours and hours every day spent listening to people talk about coffee had fairly predictable consequences, and I fell off that particular wagon.  I’ve been drinking a couple of coffees every day since then.

This time round, the transcription project I’m working on is for a study about public artworks.  I’m not really ‘into art’ in the traditional sense – I don’t tend to visit galleries unless dragged by someone else, I couldn’t care less what the ‘meanings’ of artworks are, and I’ve never done much reading about the subject – but I like things that are nice to look at, and that’s what I have on my walls.  Or it’s what I would have on my walls under normal circumstances.

The thing is, pictures are always the very last thing I put up when I’m sorting out a new house, as I think of them as the ‘finishing touch’.  This is why, unfortunately, the walls have always been a bit bare in my last few rented properties – because by the time I’ve got to that stage of the house sorting, I’m thoroughly sick of the whole thing and I’ve really slowed down with it, and so I never get round to doing the pictures properly before we realise that we’ll be moving again soon and so there’s no point putting anything else up.

This time around will be different – I may have already mentioned once or twice that I am OMG NEVER MOVING AGAIN, because this house move has been so stressful, and so I will definitely have the time and motivation to get the picture collection actually finished.  Sadly, the house is still some way off being sorted – all of our pictures and other wall decorations are currently stuck in the study, which I will be spending May going through.  As such, the walls have to remain bare for a while longer.  I do have a couple of posters up on the upstairs landing, as I needed to keep them out of the way and uncrumpled while I was sorting things out, but everything else will have to wait.

Which is a shame, as it would be nice to have some pretty artwork on the walls to look at while I’m spending hours listening to people talking about art.  I guess the artwork on our boardgame boxes will have to suffice.