Phone Box Thursday: Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Yes, we’re still on the Royal Mile, but I promise this is the last week!  Like most tourist hotspots in the UK, it has a lot of classic red phone boxes.

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

I’m normally all about the symmetry but I actually quite like how the one on the left is slightly taller.  Nice to see someone inside as well!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #22

Day 22, and we’ve arrived at 27th July 1992.

July 1992
This was the way the world (Germany, to be precise) looked in July 1992. We went touring all around Europe that month so we’ve got oodles of pictures showing how the world looked, but I’ve chosen our car in front of a building, ’cause I like pictures of cars.

Let’s see what might have been on the car stereo while we were exploring!

Now! That's What I Call Music #22
Track 1: Erasure – Take A Chance On Me

Erasure get to their ‘Abba covers’ phase.  I’m generally a fan of synth covers of classic songs, and I do like this one, apart from the random rap towards the end.

Track 2: CeCe Peniston – Finally

I’ve always found the chorus on this one annoying.  Sorry!

Track 3: KWS – Please Don’t Go

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

Track 4: Take That – It Only Takes A Minute

Take That make their first Now! appearance!  I adored them so much as a little girl.  Robbie was my favourite, and I was so gutted when he left the group.  To this day, I don’t consider them proper Take That (‘Fake That’, I used to say derisively when they first reappeared in the ’00s) unless Robbie’s involved.

Ahem.  Anyway.

This is a nice solid pop cover of the Tavares classic – good, danceable stuff.

Track 5: Nick Berry – Heartbeat

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

Urgh, Nick Berry‘s back.  I thought after Every Loser Wins, we had all suffered enough.  This one is a pointless ’90s cover of the Buddy Holly classic, presumably to tie in with the TV show Heartbeat.

Track 6: Snap – Rhythm Is A Dancer

Absolute classic, epic dance track – I love this one!  One of my favourites.

Track 7: Utah Saints – Something Good

Brilliant track with epic-level sampling of Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting.  Now, THIS is how you sample appropriately.  Wonderful stuff.

Track 8: The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

One of my favourite tracks from my favourite band – lovely feelgood song with beautiful instrumentals.

Track 9: Marc Almond – The Days Of Pearly Spencer

I’m going to see Marc Almond later this year!  I’m very excited.

Sadly, it won’t be at the one-off Soft Cell reunion gig, which is one of my big gig disappointments this year – I really wanted to go, but due to a miscommunication I missed the ten-minute ticket window.  However, I will be seeing him solo at the Electric Dreams festival, so that sort-of makes up for it.

This track has a lovely epic atmosphere and beautiful instrumentals – really like this one.

Track 10: The Beautiful South – Bell Bottomed Tear

Pretty tune and nice vocals, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 11: Prince – Thunder

I like the epic intro and chorus, and the instrumentals are interesting.  Good track.

Track 12: U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing

Repetitive instrumentals, dull tune.  Not keen on this one.

Track 13: The Shamen – LSI (Love Sex Intelligence)

Good upbeat dance track – happily nodding along here.

Track 14: Electronic – Disappointed

Nice bit of synth electro from Electronic.  Solid stuff.

Track 15: Shakespear’s Sister – I Don’t Care

Nice upbeat track with a rockier edge.  Vocals not as impressive as usual for Shakespear’s Sister, but still solid.

Track 16: Carter USM – Do Re Me, So Far So Good

So, after me going on for weeks about various great Carter USM covers of various tracks, they finally show up on a Now! compilation with one of their original songs!

Great upbeat rock song, typically brilliant Carter lyrics and singalong chorus.

Track 17: Ugly Kid Joe – Everything About You

Could do without the spoken word on the intro, but it’s a classic track and a good head-nodder.

Track 18: SL2 – On A Ragga Tip

The reggae bit’s good, but the track in general is a bit haphazard.

Track 19: The Orb – Blue Room

Nice bit of chillout, though I could do without the siren noises.

Track 20: Richard Marx – Hazard

Epic atmosphere, great solid track.

Track 21: Elton John – The One

Nice tune, but it’s fairly generic for Elton John.  Not a favourite.

Track 22: Roy Orbison – I Drove All Night

This one was apparently written for Orbison, but I prefer the Cyndi Lauper version, which came out first (I’m not sure which one counts as the ‘cover’ in this case).  Still a great song, though, whoever’s singing it.

Track 23: Jimmy Nail – Ain’t No Doubt

More upbeat than usual for Jimmy Nail – I quite like this one.

Track 24: Joe Cocker – Unchain My Heart

A bit overblown in the vocals at the start, but once the beat gets going it’s quite good – great funk bassline.

Track 25: Curtis Stigers – You’re All That Matters To Me

Another too-slow too-saccharine one from Curtis Stigers, and this time there’s no sax to save it.  Not keen.

Track 26: Wilson Phillips – You Won’t See Me Cry

Nice feelgood tune, nice atmosphere, great sax solo.  Still a little slow for me though.

Track 27: Crowded House – Four Seasons In One Day

Lovely tune, great lyrics – really like this one.

Track 28: Annie Lennox – Why

Nice introspective track from Annie Lennox – I really like her stuff from this period.

Track 29: George Michael and Elton John – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Classic duet, epic track – lovely song.

Track 30: Diana Ross – One Shining Moment

Lovely tune, but again it’s a bit of a slow ballad for me.

Track 31: Vanessa Williams – Save The Best For Last

This is another one of those feelgood ballads that I always heard on the radio on ferries during family holidays around this time.  It was also used in an advert for Bisto or Oxo (I think?  I’m sure it was stock cubes or soup or something ‘comforting’), so I kind of associate it with that vibe.

Track 32: En Vogue – My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)

Great upbeat head-nodder from En Vogue – really like this one, especially the a cappella bit towards the end.

Track 33: Soul II Soul – Joy

This one’s a bit dull in my view – nothing special going on here.

Track 34: Incognito – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing

Great upbeat track to finish on today – love those instrumentals!

Recipe Wednesday: ‘chicken’ pesto

Back doing Recipe Wednesdays again – ’cause I’m hungry, and I can’t cook tea until Geth’s done the dishes.  Sadly I’m not making ‘chicken’ pesto tonight ’cause I don’t have enough syns left before weigh-in tomorrow, but I thought I’d share this recipe anyway.

'Chicken' pesto
‘Chicken’ pesto, or spirali alla genovese if I’m being fancy.

It’s another super-simple pasta recipe.  Boil some pasta for fifteen minutes, and five minutes in, start boiling another pot of chopped mangetout, chopped green beans and garden peas (make sure there’s plenty of the first two if you’re doing Slimming World).  Meanwhile, fry some Quorn chicken style pieces (or you could use real chicken if you’re not veggie) in Fry Light until it’s nice and crispy.

Once everything’s cooked, mix it all together in a giant pan then stir in a jar of supermarket pesto* (12 syns a jar, so 6 syns per person if you’re cooking for two like I am).  Shower with parmesan (30g for a Healthy Extra A) and serve.

This is a longtime favourite of Geth’s, so I make it at least once a week if I’ve got the syns going spare!

*I’ve tried making my own syn-free pesto but it never tastes right!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #21

Day 21, and Now! #21 was released on 13th April 1992.

April 1992
This is the way the world looked in April 1992. If you’re thinking it looks a bit ’80s, that’s because this shiny new-to-us holiday caravan was a few years old when we bought it, and so its original features are actually of a similar era to those of the gorgeous late ’80s house in which Geth and I now live. That TV was definitely not new either (I don’t think they were even still making black and white TVs in 1992).

Let’s have a listen to the stuff that soundtracked those ungodly-long-to-a-seven-year-old three-hour car journeys to the caravan!

Now! That's What I Call Music #21
Track 1: Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

Absolute classic, the ultimate in epic atmospheres.  A welcome return to the charts made it the Christmas number one for 1991.  Beautiful piece of work.

Track 2: Wet Wet Wet – Goodnight Girl

Wet Wet Wet definitely into their slower, more introspective ’90s phase.  Some lovely vocals here.

Track 3: Shakespear’s Sister – Stay

Beautiful, classic song, with both vocalists used to brilliant effect.  Absolutely adore this one.

Track 4: The Temptations – My Girl

There seems to have been a bit of a trend in the early ’90s for ’60s classics coming back into the charts, though I think this example probably had something to do with the My Girl film.  Lovely track, anyway.

Track 5: Simply Red – Stars

Nice instrumentals, but the vocals and tune on this one annoy me.

Track 6: The KLF – Justified And Ancient

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

Bit of a messy track, with too much going on.  Not keen on the tune to the vocals either.

Track 7: Madness – It Must Be Love

Re-release of Madness’ awesome 1981 cover of the Labi Siffre song.  Great to have this song and its fabulous sax solo back in the mix!

Track 8: Genesis – I Can’t Dance

Great rock-edged head-nodder from Genesis.  Love that singalong chorus, not to mention the classic shuffle in the video!

Track 9: Julia Fordham – (Love Moves In) Mysterious Ways

Nice piano instrumentals, but it’s too much of a slow, dull ballad otherwise.

Track 10: Crowded House – Weather With You

I’ve always liked the atmosphere of the verses on this – lovely guitar and vocals.

Track 11: Right Said Fred – Deeply Dippy

Typically daft track from Right Said Fred – nice tune on the bridge though.

Track 12: Mr Big – To Be With You

Argh, annoying vocals from the start, and that chant-along chorus only makes it worse!  Never been a fan of this one – too cheesy for me.

Track 13: Everything But The Girl – Love Is Strange

Everything But The Girl are a bit hit and miss for me.  This one’s too slow and too repetitive as far as I’m concerned.

Track 14: Roxette – Church Of Your Heart

Solid pop-rock as ever from Roxette – nice tune, good head-nodder.

Track 15: Brian May – Driven By You

Nice upbeat rock track, suitably epic lines going on.  Really like this one.

Track 16: The Wonder Stuff – Welcome To The Cheap Seats

I actually had this one in my head earlier today because the interview I was transcribing for work contained the phrase ‘we’re in the cheap seats’.

Anyway, the song is an absolute belter and one of my favourite Wonder Stuff tracks.  Stunning folk-rock instrumentals, singalong chorus, and bonus backing vocals from Kirsty MacColl.  Beautiful.

Track 17: The Jesus & Mary Chain – Far Gone And Out

Great upbeat rock track – Jesus & Mary Chain are another band that nailed that ’90s sound early on.

Track 18: James – Born Of Frustration

Love this tune and the way it builds – that trumpet hook is truly epic!

Track 19: The Cure – High

Lovely, sweet track from the Cure – gorgeous tune.

Track 20: Shanice – I Love Your Smile

The vocal hook on this one has always annoyed me, and that rap is awful and misplaced.  It gets one point for the sax solo, though.

Track 21: The Pasadenas – I’m Doing Fine Now

Pleasant, inoffensive cover of the ’70s classic.  A little dull for my tastes, though.

Track 22: Kylie Minogue – Give Me Just A Little More Time

Another generic cover of a ’70s track.  Not a fan of this trend.

Track 23: East Side Beat – Ride Like The Wind

Nice atmosphere, good upbeat dance track.

Track 24: 2 Unlimited – Twilight Zone

Typically epic dance from 2 Unlimited – great track.

Track 25: The KLF and The Children Of The Revolution – America: What Time Is Love?

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

An annoying doubling-up-the-artist faux pas from the Now! compilers – we’ve not had one of those for a while!

Unfortunately, this track is just as messy as the earlier one in my book – some nice samples, but they get drowned out by the cacophony.

Track 26: Clivilles & Cole – A Deeper Love

This one’s a bit generic – the piano instrumentals and vocals sound like pretty much every song that was released around this time.

Track 27: Opus III – It’s A Fine Day

Really like the vocal melody on this one.

Track 28: Erasure – Breath Of Life

Another perfect piece of synthpop from Erasure – those synth lines are to die for.

Track 29: MC Hammer – Addams Groove

Daft novelty track to tie in with the Addams Family film.  Still better than most of the stuff MC Hammer did.

Track 30: Salt-N-Pepa – Expression

Not enough in the track to keep my interest here – pretty much Salt-N-Pepa-by-numbers.  I do quite like the line ‘excuse us while we rap’, though.

Track 31: CeCe Peniston – We Got A Love Thang

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

Annoying vocals, generic tune.  Not a fan.

Track 32: Paula Abdul – Vibeology

Like the instrumentals, but the song structure is a bit messy.  Also, that I-can-only-imagine-it’s-a-pregnancy-reference ‘in the funky way’ hook is insanely annoying.

Track 33: Alison Limerick – Make It On My Own

Not enough melody for me here – this one’s pretty dull.

Track 34: Tina Turner – Way Of The World

As is typical with most Tina Turner songs of this era, this one’s a bit slow and dull for me.  Nice sax solo though.

Track 35: Curtis Stigers – I Wonder Why

Mega sax intro, but it can’t save this boring, saccharine ballad.  Not for me.

Track 36: Diana Ross – When You Tell Me That You Love Me

And we’re back to an overblown, slow ballad to close the compilation.  Nice tune, but it’s just too cheesy for me.

My practice 10k

I went for a long slow 10k this morning.  I made sure to take it really easy, but I’m still running quite a bit quicker than I was when I was pushing myself this time last year, so I’m hopeful of a really good time for Sunderland now.

That’s the long run done, so after parkrun this weekend, it’ll just be a quick 4k next Tuesday to rest the legs for the race.  Really pleased with how things are going!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #20

Day 20’s Now! compilation was released on 18th November 1991.

November 1991
This is the way the world looked in November 1991 (actually October, so we’re in the wrong month with the photos for the fourth day in a row. Maybe my parents were always too distracted by TV adverts for Now! compilation releases to take any photos during those months?) It’s more timeless rocks, just like yesterday, for which I apologise. My dress with the pompoms was super cute though…and I still have that scrunchie.

I doubt any of the following tracks will be as pleasing as my pompom dress, but let’s have a listen anyway.

Now! That's What I Call Music #20

Track 1: Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff – Dizzy

Big Wonder Stuff fan – have seen them fairly often – so I really like this cover of the Tommy Roe classic that they did with Vic Reeves.  There’s enough folky instrumentals here to make it quite different from the original – good stuff.

Track 2: Belinda Carlisle – Live Your Life Be Free

Vocals are a bit overblown here for my liking, but I do like the track, especially the rockier edge.

Track 3: U2 – The Fly

Urgh, the ’90s, when U2 got boring.  Dull tune, repetitive vocals, no fun anymore.

Track 4: Pet Shop Boys – Where The Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)

And speaking of U2…being a synthpop nut, I do actually prefer this cover to the original.  Sorry, Bono & Co.

Track 5: Erasure – Love To Hate You

Another solid synth track from Erasure – gotta love that I Will Survive sampling.  This is a good example of a sample from a classic tune being used in a track that actually suits it.

Track 6: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Sailing On The Seven Seas

I’m a huge fan of OMD’s stuff, and this is a good solid track, even though it’s not quite as synthy as their earlier work.  Great chant-along vocals.

Track 7: Simply Red – Something Got Me Started

I know I said before that the ’80s are my favourite Simply Red era, but this is definitely my favourite individual song of theirs.  Great instrumentals, wonderful atmosphere on the vocals, nice upbeat tempo, and that sax-into-piano solo is mega.  Love it.

Track 8: Lisa Stansfield – Change

Dreary vocals, boring backing track.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 9: Zoë – Sunshine On A Rainy Day

Something about the vocal annoys me here.  I’m not keen on the tune either.

Track 10: Salt-N-Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex

This was a favourite for kids in my class to sing loudly in my primary school playground in 1991, probably because it was risque and hence kind of rebellious in the thinking of a six-year-old.

I think it was also popularised by the ‘Let’s Talk About Juice’ version in the Fruit-Tella advert (was it Fruit-Tella?  Let me google that a minute.  Um, googling was inconclusive, but it did tell me that it was definitely Fruit-Tella that did the ‘I’m Too Juicy’ takeoff of Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy, so I’m fairly sure they must have done this one too).

I will probably end up doing a whole post soon about how advertising doesn’t work in this respect.  I remember pretty much every TV advert shown during my ’90s childhood, but I can hardly ever remember what the exact product was that they were advertising.

Track 11: Color Me Badd – I Wanna Sex You Up

Bit of a repetitive one, but I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for it due to it being another one that was used in Britain’s Got The Pop Factor.

Track 12: Kenny Thomas – Best Of You

It’s a nice upbeat tempo, but I find the song a bit dull.

Track 13: Prince and The New Power Generation – Gett Off

Prince is another artist who really went downhill in the ’90s as far as I’m concerned.  Not enough melody or joy for me here.

Track 14: Rozalla – Faith (In The Power Of Love)

Nice upbeat dance track, and that sax solo is lovely.  Some really interesting instrumentals here.

Track 15: 2 Unlimited – Get Ready For This

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

Absolute classic dance track from childhood – played at every birthday party in the early ’90s, often during pass-the-parcel in order to ramp the adrenaline up.

Track 16: Moby – Go

Nice epic atmosphere, though the track is a bit repetitive.

Track 17: The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu – It’s Grim Up North [Part 1]

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

This is another alias of the KLF, incidentally.  Good brooding dance track, really like this one.  That Jerusalem sampling is inspired.

Track 18: PM Dawn – Set Adrift On Memory Bliss

Okay a cappella intro, but then we’re straight into the misplaced sampling of Spandau Ballet’s True with awful spoken word and cacophonic clashing vocals over the top.  Just terrible.

Track 19: Paul Young – Don’t Dream (It’s Over)

Utterly pointless cover of the Crowded House classic from a whole five years earlier.  Why did people even buy covers like this?  Surely the original was still available to buy on an album in the record shops!

Track 20: Enya – Caribbean Blue

Beautiful chillout track from Enya – lovely stuff.

Track 21: Julian Lennon – Saltwater

Really nice instrumentals, though the vocals are pretty dull.

Track 22: Paula Abdul – Rush Rush

Nice tune, but it’s a bit slow for me.  Interesting violin solo, though!

Track 23: Jason Donovan – Any Dream Will Do

This was too cheesy for me even as a six-year-old, though lots of my classmates loved it, which meant we had to sing it in music class a lot.  Blurgh.

Track 24: Cathy Dennis – Too Many Walls

Again, solid pop, but I’d prefer it if it were a bit more upbeat.

Track 25: Alison Moyet – This House

Obligatory ‘going to see this artist soon!’ squee.  Well, if you can count next February as ‘soon’…

Beautiful slow ballad with an epic, dramatic atmosphere and gorgeous lyrics.  Hope she plays this one when I go see her!

Track 26: Marc Cohn – Walking In Memphis

Classic, beautiful song – absolutely love this one.

(I even have a real soft spot for the later Cher cover, though that one really is pointless – it’s just this version with Cher’s vocals on top.  Anyway, I won’t get ahead of myself in case it features later.)

Track 27: Glass Tiger – My Town

Cheesy pop-rock, pretty generic.  Not a fan.

Track 28: Scorpions – Wind Of Change

Lovely epic atmosphere, great rock ballad.

Track 29: INXS – Shining Star

Nice interesting track from INXS – great vocals, good build to the song, nice sax towards the end.

Track 30: Roxette – Joyride

Another great upbeat bit of pop-rock from Roxette – great stuff.

Track 31: James – Sit Down

A classic bit of ’90s indie.  When I saw them at Beautiful Days in 2009 they actually finished with this one, which is apparently not at all usual, because being their biggest hit it’s the one they’re sick of.  I do like it, though.

Track 32: Voice Of The Beehive – I Think I Love You

Really like those guitar instrumentals, and the atmosphere is great.  This is probably the best version of the Partridge Family track as far as I’m concerned – it’s so different and so interesting.

Track 33: Slade – Radio Wall Of Sound

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

Slade’s earlier stuff is amazing to me, but this track is a bit rock-by-numbers, though I do like that singalong chorus.

Track 34: Monty Python – Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

Not sure why this classic Life of Brian soundtrack song was back in the charts, but here it is.  Pleasant diversion, but it’s a bit ‘novelty’ for me.

Track 35: Don McLean – American Pie

Often back in the charts since its original 1971 release, this is a great classic to end on!  Beautiful lyrics, lovely tune, absolutely worth its eight-minute-plus running time.

Work update

Today was the first day of week three out of four of this particular busy work period.  I’m halfway through!

I’m managing the work quite well now that I’ve got used to the lack of sleep.  I’m also still managing to keep up with my running and blogging, so I’m feeling a lot more balanced and happy than I was last time round.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d still kill for a day where I could just sit on the sofa and stare vacantly into space (not to mention a long soak in the bath…or a lie-in…or any of those other things that I don’t have time for at the moment), but in less than two weeks’ time I will be able to do all of that again. Just have to keep pushing on!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #19

Day 19, and we’ve reached 25th March 1991.

March 1991
This is the way the world looked in March 1991 (actually April, as March was photo-less – we seem to be having that issue a lot at the moment). Rocks and trees are some of those lovely timeless things that haven’t changed since before humans were around and will still be here long after we’ve gone, so I imagine these ones still look the same. I don’t think little girls wear hair ribbons as much as they used to, though (and coats are definitely not as stylish nowadays).

Let’s see what was on the radio at the time!

Now! That's What I Call Music #19

Track 1: The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go

No idea why this early ’80s classic was back in the charts, but I love it – one of my favourite Clash songs – and as chart music quality was rapidly declining at this point, I’ll take what I can get!

Track 2: Scritti Politti and Shabba Ranks – She’s A Woman

Nice tune, but there’s a bit too much going on throughout the track, so it sounds a bit messy.

Track 3: The Source and Candi Staton – You Got The Love

…and my heart just sank as I realised that the Florence & The Machine song from 2009, which I always quite liked, is a pointless ’00s cover of this track.  The lesson: never become complacent about your level of music knowledge.

(This is why I hate pointless covers so much, incidentally – I’ve always felt really aggrieved to learn that chart songs I adored when I was growing up in the ’90s were actually bland, unimaginative, nothing-new, cash-in covers of ’70s and ’80s songs.  While I typically transfer my affection to the original in such cases, I still feel pretty cheated.)

Track 4: The KLF and The Children Of The Revolution – 3AM Eternal

Nice stormy-atmosphere intro, nice vocals, nice chillout track.  Good stuff.

The version I found on Spotify has some random sampling of The Blue Danube in, for some bonus relaxation points.

Track 5: C&C Music Factory and Freedom Williams – Gonna Make You Sweat

One of those ‘ohh, it’s this one!’ moments.  I always just assumed this track was called Everybody Dance Now.  Classic dance tune, anyway, and I’ll be up on the wedding dancefloor for this.

Track 6: Nomad and MC Mikee Freedom – (I Wanna Give You) Devotion

Dull and repetitive dance song with boring sung vocals and uninspired rapping.  Not for me.

Track 7: EMF – I Believe

I really like EMF, and this is a great guitar-driven dance track.  Happily nodding along here.

Track 8: 808 State – In Yer Face

Nice electro track, love the instrumentals on this.

Track 9: Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy

Massive Attack were really killing it during this period – really like this one.  The way it builds is beautiful.

Track 10: MC Hammer – Pray

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

This one’s not bad – I quite like the melody on the sung vocals and it’s nice and upbeat.  Could do without the sampling of When Doves Cry, though (I do NOT like it when brilliant classic pop tunes are sampled as backing music in newer songs).

Track 11: Kim Appleby – GLAD

Nice piece of solid pop, a welcome breather from all the dance and hip-hop.  Lovely.

Track 12: Kylie Minogue – What Do I Have To Do?

Another great upbeat pop track from the ever-reliable Kylie (who’s still having chart hits in 2018, incidentally, but we won’t talk about that just yet).

Incidentally, I’m sure most people realise that Kylie Minogue guest starred in an episode of Doctor Who (Voyage of The Damned, 2007), but the only reason I’m pointing that out…

Track 13: Hale & Pace and The Stonkers – The Stonk

…is that Hale & Pace did too (Survival, 1989).  Nice bit of prophetic track-listing there, Now! compilers!

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

Daft novelty track from the comedy duo, which, judging by the lyrics and video, I’m guessing was for Comic Relief.  I actually quite like those guitar instrumentals.

Track 14: 2 In A Room – Wiggle It

Quite like the backing track and the chorus, but the verse is a bit repetitive.

Track 15: Vanilla Ice – Play That Funky Music

I wasn’t aware that Vanilla Ice did an awful cover of the Wild Cherry classic, but I’m not exactly surprised.  It’s very different to the original, so not a pointless cover, but there’s nothing good about all the stuff that’s different, especially not the typically bad rapping.

Track 16: Jesus Loves You – Bow Down Mister

Not a fan of the all-over-the-place vocals in the intro, or the folky guitar bit that follows.  Apparently this was Boy George’s project post-Culture Club.  It’s very different to his previous stuff, and not my cup of tea, unfortunately.

Track 17: Enigma – Sadness [Part 1]

Always love that monastic chanting.  Great classic chillout track.

Track 18: Praise – Only You

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

Another nice chillout track – lovely vocals.

Track 19: Oleta Adams – Get Here

For some reason, they always played this one on the radio on ferries in the early ’90s when I was travelling with my family, so I strongly associate it with cabin bunk beds and pristine white sheets.  Classic ballad, lovely tune.

Track 20: Rick Astley – Cry For Help

Who knew Rick Astley was still having hits into the ’90s?  Wow.

The track’s got a nice tune and a good atmospheric chorus – quite like this one.

Track 21: Robert Palmer – Mercy Mercy Me/I Want You

Good, interesting track from Robert Palmer – great vocals, nice tune.

Track 22: Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes – (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life

The Dirty Dancing soundtrack classic, back in the charts for some reason (I’d like to think that reason was that none of the new stuff being released was anywhere near as good, but I know that music taste is subjective, blah blah boring blah, and so others will disagree.  They’re wrong though – this feelgood singalong number complete with epic sax solo is worth a million repetitive house tracks).

Track 23: The Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

Another old track back in the charts, this time from the ’60s.  A bit saccharine for me, but it’s such a classic I’ll forgive it.

Track 24: Seal – Crazy

Great epic atmosphere, brilliant tune.  A classic in my book.

Track 25: Banderas – This Is Your Life

Bit of a repetitive dance number, though the vocal melody is quite interesting.

Track 26: Stevie B – Because I Love You (The Postman Song)

Slow track, but it’s got a great atmosphere – I really quite like this.

Track 27: Chris Rea – Auberge

Could do without the ‘music video’ whistling and car noises on the intro.  Just start the track, please.

Once it gets going, it’s quite interesting, if a bit slow.

Track 28: Chris Isaak – Blue Hotel

Typical dramatic atmosphere from Chris Isaak, with some great Spanish-tinged guitar.  Great tune.

Track 29: Free – All Right Now

Slightly annoying chorus, but it is a good chant-along track, especially after a few pints.

Incidentally, an old uni mate whose surname is Allwright once told me that her dad had declared this their official family song.  I did do some googling to see if I could find a good equivalent for mine, but in all honesty I don’t think I’m into the family song thing.

Track 30: INXS – Disappear

Great solid pop song, nice tune, good rockier chorus.  I like this one.

Track 31: Belinda Carlisle – Summer Rain

Really interesting tune with a great atmosphere on the verses – big fan of this.

Track 32: The Railway Children – Every Beat Of The Heart

A little saccharine for me, but the tune is quite nice.

Track 33: Thunder – Love Walked In

Bit more acoustic-y than I usually go for, but I really like the tune and the atmosphere, especially when it goes full-on rock ballad a couple of minutes in.

Track 34: Queen – Innuendo

You can always rely on Queen for a nice dramatic tune.  Good track to end today’s compilation.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #18

Day 18, and today’s Now! compilation takes us to 19th November 1990.

November 1990
This is the way the world looked in November 1990 (actually December, but November was another one of those months we didn’t take any photos). Pirate Lego, thankfully, hasn’t changed (or at least it hasn’t if you keep all your stuff from childhood! The new larger pirate minifigures are just wrong). Also, those twentieth century carpets are still a regular sight in British pubs, who obviously all got a job lot circa 1980.

Here’s some music from some people who may have grown out of Lego by 1990, ’cause apparently it’s only millennials who keep playing with that stuff into adulthood.

Now! That's What I Call Music #18
Track 1: The Beautiful South – A Little Time

Nice tune, vocals and atmosphere, but this track’s a bit slow for me.

Track 2: Steve Miller Band – The Joker

This one was later a Modos classic when I hung about there in 2008-2011 – it was always on DJ Mantash’s playlist.  Good times.

Good tune, great lyrics, solid head-nodder.

Track 3: Elton John –  Sacrifice

Quite a nice ballad – lovely tune, nice tinkly synth hooks.

Track 4: Roxette – It Must Have Been Love

Really like this Roxette ballad – lovely vocals, great atmosphere.  Awesome track.

Track 5: Phil Collins – Something Happened On The Way To Heaven

Epic intro, epic tune.  Like this one.

Track 6: Wilson Phillips – Hold On

Great rock ballad!  Love the tune and the vocals.

Track 7: Sinéad O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U

Classic, beautiful song.  Perfect lyrics, stunning melody.

Track 8: The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody

No idea why this was back in the charts, but it’s a ’60s favourite for me, so I’m not complaining!

Track 9: Belinda Carlisle – (We Want) The Same Thing

Probably my favourite Belinda Carlisle track – brilliant, epic rock ballad.

Track 10: Status Quo – The Anniversary Waltz [Part 1]

Irritating retro-tinged dad-rock medley of all of Status Quo’s worst tracks.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 11: INXS – Suicide Blonde

Great instrumentals, nice upbeat atmospheric pop-rock.  Really like this one.

Track 12: Public Image Ltd – Don’t Ask Me

Good tune, like the guitar intro, interesting vocals (well, it is John Lydon).  Great track.

Track 13: Talk Talk – It’s My Life

I’m a little surprised to find this featuring so late, ’cause I had it in my head as being late ’80s.  Great synth line, great tune.

Track 14: The LAs – There She Goes

The LAs crack the definitive ’90s sound early on.  Super acoustic and plaid-sounding.

Track 15: Tina Turner – Be Tender With Me Baby

Pretty dull ballad, but some of the instrumentals are quite interesting.

Track 16: Robert Palmer and UB40 – I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight

Standard reggae tune from UB40, with Robert Palmer’s vocals giving it plus points.

Track 17: Pet Shop Boys – So Hard

Pet Shop Boys enter the ’90s with some slightly harder electro.  The usual great synth lines are still intact though.

Track 18: Bass-O-Matic – Fascinating Rhythm

Nice bassline (as you might expect) but everything else is a bit generic.

Track 19: Soul II Soul and Kym Mazelle – Missing You

Boring soul track with standard early ’90s beat, nothing special.

Track 20: DNA and Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner

Love that jaunty singalong hook!  Fantastic track.

Track 21: Sting – Englishman In New York

An all-time favourite – lovely, melancholy song with beautiful lyrics and a gorgeous sax solo.  Love this one.

Track 22: The Cure – Close To Me ’90

Really like this 1990 reworking of the 1985 classic.  Great track from the Cure.

Track 23: Neneh Cherry – I’ve Got You Under My Skin

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

Not enough melody here for me, although there’s quite a nice bassline that starts up mid-track.

Track 24: Blue Pearl – Little Brother

Dull tune, annoying vocals.  Not keen on this one.

Track 25: Kylie Minogue – Step Back In Time

Annoying chorus alert!  It would be a solid pop song, but that chorus makes it the kind of unwanted earworm that I need to cleanse with OMG ANYTHING OTHER THAN THIS.

Track 26: Kim Appleby – Don’t Worry

Nice ’70s-retro-tinged pop tune.  Quite like this one.

Track 27: Technotronic – Megamix

Largely enjoyable medley of dance tracks, some better than others.

Track 29: Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

This silly novelty track was played at every birthday party I went to in the early ’90s.  It’s not high art, let’s face it, but I still find myself happily nodding along.

Track 30: Betty Boo – Where Are You Baby?

For some reason, I’ve got a vague, distant memory of Betty Boo being a figure of derision in Smash Hits in the early ’90s.  But then, lots of artists were, so I could be getting confused.

The track’s not much to write home about either way – bad rap verse, mid-century-retro-tinged chorus.  Not my thing.

Track 31: The Adventures Of Stevie V – Dirty Cash (Money Talks)

Like the atmosphere on this one – good solid pop, with a bit of sax in there for good measure.

Track 32: MC Hammer – Have You Seen Her?

Irritating slow track from MC Hammer with slightly creepy vocals.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 33: Jimmy Somerville – To Love Somebody

Odd, slow reggae cover of the Bee Gees classic.  Still, better than the saccharine ballads that usually end these compilations.