Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #85

Day 85 takes us to Now! #85, which was released on 22nd July 2013.

July 2013
This is how the world looked in July 2013. Geth and I were on a trip up to Edinburgh when one of those rare-for-Scotland 30°C days arrived, and the one thing I’d not packed was a swimsuit, so all I could do on this beach trip was paddle. Since then, I’ve packed one every time I’ve gone away during the summer, just in case.

I believe this was a good year for summer hits.  Let’s see if I’m remembering correctly.

Now! That's What I Call Music #85
Track 1: Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers – Get Lucky

Great feelgood funk track – love this tune.

Track 2: Robin Thicke, TI and Pharrell Williams – Blurred Lines

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve only just had Pharrell Williams on track 1.

This track…urgh.  Infamously and rightly banned by the University of Edinburgh student union, among various other music-playing organisations, because the lyrics are really rapey and gross.  The sad thing is that it would be a really great track if it weren’t for the lyrics, ’cause the tune is great and it’s really danceable.

Track 3: Passenger – Let Her Go

Gorgeous, introspective tune – really like this one.

Track 4: Justin Timberlake – Mirrors

Nice epic atmosphere, great track.

Track 5: Naughty Boy and Sam Smith – La La La

The theme is slightly irritating, but overall it’s an interesting song, which is unusual for an era where most things are really samey.

Track 6: Icona Pop and Charli XCX – I Love It

Great chant-along track – I’ve always really liked this one!

Track 7: John Newman – Love Me Again

Another song that I really like.  The instrumentals are great.

Track 8: Jason Derulo – The Other Side

Forgettable tune, but the chorus is nice and epic.

Track 9: Pink and Lily Allen – True Love

I find this one a bit cheesy and annoying.

Track 10: Taylor Swift – 22

Good solid pop track – very danceable.

Track 11: The Wanted – Walks Like Rihanna

Every time I run the Great North Run, I find that because it’s the biggest race in the UK and the biggest half marathon in the world – nearly 60,000 runners these days – there’s no shortage of characters to keep me entertained (and believe me, you need that when running along miles and miles of identical-looking motorway).  One guy runs the race with a portable karaoke machine, and last year, when I encountered him, he was doing this song – except he’d changed the lyrics to ‘I can’t sing, I can’t dance, but who cares, I run like Mo Farah‘.  It’s possible you had to be there, but I found it hilarious, and it really got me through the rest of the race.  Thanks for that, portable karaoke guy!

Anyway, it’s another solid pop song.

Track 12: Bruno Mars – Treasure

Bruno Mars still doing his 1980 pastiches – today he’s aping Michael Jackson.  Good stuff.

Track 13: Olly Murs – Dear Darlin’

This one’s a bit of a dull ballad, so I’m not keen.

Track 14: Demi Lovato – Heart Attack

Great song with an awesome epic chorus.  Love it.

Track 15: Selena Gomez – Come And Get It

Great tune – love the rhythm on this one.

Track 16: PJ & Duncan – Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble

’90s classic, back in the charts to raise money for Childline.  It actually got to number one this time round, probably because Ant & Dec had promised to perform it on Saturday Night Takeaway.  It’s still as enjoyably daft as it was in 1994.

Track 17: Iggy Azalea – Bounce

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

Track 18: Fuse ODG – Antenna

Love the rhythm on this one – very danceable.

Track 19: Nelly – Hey Porsche

The theme really irritates me, and the tune’s very uninspired.

Track 20: Paramore – Still Into You

Great tune, though the theme is a bit cheesy.

Track 21: Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

I was talking about this one yesterday when reviewing the identically-titled Rita Ora song.  On the whole it’s a bit dull, but it’s got a great chorus.

Track 22: Gabz – Lighters (The One)

Cringeworthy kiddie vocals, appallingly cheesy theme.  Just awful.

Track 23: Rudimental and Ella Eyre – Waiting All Night

Great beat, okay tune, but it’s pretty repetitive.

Track 24: Jessie J, Big Sean and Dizzee Rascal – Wild

Bland tune on the verses, but the chorus is okay.

Track 25: Duke Dumont and A*M*E – Need U (100%)

I find the vocals really irritating on this one.

Track 26: will.i.am and Justin Bieber – #thatPOWER

Very generic electro lines, boring tune.

Track 27: David Guetta, Ne-Yo and Akon – Play Hard

Great rhythm, great bassline, great Better Off Alone sample.  Annoying video, but you can’t have everything.

Track 28: Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love

I’ve always found the tune on this one very irritating.

Track 29: Pitbull and Christina Aguilera – Feel This Moment

Annoying, repetitive track, but the Take On Me interpolation is quite fun.

Track 30: Sebastian Ingrosso, Tommy Trash and John Martin – Reload

Boring dance track, very forgettable tune.

Track 31: Armin van Buuren and Trevor Guthrie – This Is What It Feels Like

Fairly bland dance song with an annoying chorus.

Track 32: Chase & Status and Louis Mattrs – Lost And Not Found

Nice atmosphere, but the vocals are really dull.

Track 33: Chris Malinchak – So Good To Me

Another boring tune, one of those ‘summer chillout’ tracks that were all the rage at the time.

Track 34: Disclosure and Eliza Doolittle – You And Me

Dull and forgettable.

Track 35: Breach – Jack

Very little melody in this – just drum machine, spoken word and fairly tuneless bassline – but at least it’s something different.

Track 36: Wiley, Angel and Tinchy Stryder – Lights On

Bland tune, but at least this one’s actually got a tune.  Very forgettable though.

Track 37: Dizzee Rascal and Robbie Williams – Goin’ Crazy

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Dizzee Rascal on track 24.

Interesting rhythm, but again the tune’s very uninspired.

Track 38: Psy – Gentleman

Follow-up to Gangnam Style that obviously wasn’t anywhere near as memorable as the original.

Track 39: The 1975 – Chocolate

Love this tune – great instrumentals, great lyrics.

Track 40: Union J – Carry You

Saccharine and bland.

Track 41: The Saturdays – Gentleman

A slightly more standard song about a ‘gentleman‘ than Psy’s attempt above.  It’s actually quite edgy for the Saturdays, and I like the retro references in the lyrics.  Good stuff.

Track 42: Charlie Brown – On My Way

Slow ballad, not my thing.

Track 43: Tom Odell – Another Love

Lovely piano at the start, and it’s got a nice atmosphere – quite like this tune.

Track 44: Michael Bublé – It’s A Beautiful Day

Nice and upbeat, but the song’s a bit too cheesy for me.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #78

Day 78 takes us to Now! #78, which was released on 11th April 2011.

April 2011
This is how the world looked in April 2011. Geth and I would have been midway through one of our walks along the Union Canal, which was our favourite thing to do on a sunny day in Edinburgh.

Let’s see what I would have been listening to during the last few months in our Tollcross flat.

Now! That's What I Call Music #78
Track 1: Bruno Mars – Grenade

Too saccharine for me, but the tune’s okay.

Track 2: Adele – Rolling In The Deep

Great atmosphere – love the chorus on this one.

Track 3: Jessie J – Do It Like A Dude

The theme’s a bit daft, but there are some nice instrumental lines here.

Track 4: Rihanna – S&M

Great piece of electropop – really like this tune.

Track 5: Kesha – We R Who We R

Irritating tune, very uninspired.

Track 6: The Wanted – Gold Forever

Released as the official Comic Relief single for 2011.  Sadly the song’s really bland.

Track 7: Matt Cardle – When We Collide

What was it I was saying three days ago?

Right on schedule, here’s X Factor winner Matt Cardle’s pointless cover of Biffy Clyro’s Many Of Horror.  Rather offensively, they changed the title of the song, because it clearly wasn’t bland enough for the kind of people who buy X Factor winners’ singles.  What’s hilarious is that the cover is SO pointless that on occasion, Cardle even apes Simon Neil’s Scottish accent.

Track 8: Take That – The Flood

Yay!  Take That are no longer Fake That!  Well, for one album at least.  Robbie Williams returned for the Progress album, and all was finally right with the world again.  This song is a gorgeous, epic, atmospheric tune – lovely stuff.

Track 9: Ellie Goulding – Your Song

Interesting folky cover of the Elton John classic (which was performed by Ellie Goulding for the first dance of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their wedding reception, fact fans).  The operatic Moulin Rouge! version from 2001 had cast a long shadow over the ’00s in terms of other people copying that take on the song when they did cover versions, so it was refreshing that this cover was so different again.

Track 10: JLS and Tinie Tempah – Eyes Wide Shut

Far too cheesy for my tastes, and the electro line sounds the same as every other dance track of this era.

Track 11: David Guetta and Rihanna – Who’s That Chick?

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on track 4.

This is a great piece of bouncy pop, though – awesome tune.

Track 12: Taio Cruz and Travie McCoy – Higher

Taio Cruz did two versions of this song, one with Travie McCoy and one with Kylie Minogue.  I prefer the Kylie version, I have to say.  It’s still a good tune though.

Track 13: Chris Brown – Yeah 3x

Another dance track where the instrumentals sound the same as every other dance track released around this time.

Track 14: Britney Spears – Hold It Against Me

Daft theme, as the lyrics are based around that terrible pun of a pick-up line, but the tune’s okay.

Track 15: Alexis Jordan – Happiness

I’ve always quite liked the video for this one.  Do you remember how in the late ’00s/early ’10s, women’s fashion shoes were all ludicrously high six-inch-stiletto affairs with round covered platforms?  (As with most things, I only got rid of (most of) mine in my cull earlier this year.)  Like every other female pop artist of the era, Alexis Jordan wears them in the video here, but there’s a weird bit that makes it look like she can’t walk in them.

Anyway, the song’s kind of forgettable, but it’s got a nice feelgood atmosphere.

Track 16: Parade – Louder

Good beat, but the chorus is annoying.

Track 17: Olly Murs – Thinking Of Me

Nice jaunty track, quite like this tune.

Track 18: Avril Lavigne – What The Hell

Great bit of pop-rock – love that singalong chorus.

Track 19: McFly and Taio Cruz – Shine A Light

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Taio Cruz on track 12.

I’ve always found this tune pretty irritating.

Track 20: Noah & The Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.

Great folk-rock track – awesome lyrics, lovely tune.

Track 21: Susan Boyle and Geraldine McQueen – I Know Him So Well

Cover (complete with hilarious parody video) of the classic ’80s duet by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson.  It’s the kind of cover I would normally decry as pointless, but the point here is comedy, and they absolutely nailed it.  The charity fundraising for Comic Relief doesn’t hurt either.

Track 22: Jessie J and B.o.B – Price Tag

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Jessie J on track 3.

This is a very nice feelgood tune though – good stuff.

Track 23: Chipmunk and Chris Brown – Champion

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Chris Brown on track 13.

I like the intro – lovely piano, nice choral bit, great atmosphere.  The tune on the chorus is nice as well.

Track 24: Wiz Khalifa – Black And Yellow

Great tune, awesome atmosphere.

Track 25: Rihanna and Drake – What’s My Name?

Repeated artist mega alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on both track 4 and track 11!  I am not impressed, Now! compilers.

This one’s an okay tune, but it’s a little repetitive.

Track 26: The Black Eyed Peas – The Time (Dirty Bit)

Messy cover of ’80s classic (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, with lots of…well…dirty bits (i.e. squeaky, tuneless feedback).  I shouldn’t like it, but it’s actually very danceable.

Track 27: Nicole Scherzinger – Poison

Nice solid pop track, really like this tune.

Track 28: Enrique Iglesias, Ludacris and DJ Frank E – Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)

Daft theme (don’t get me started on the explicit version), but it’s got a good beat.

Track 29: Cee Lo Green and Wiz Khalifa – Bright Lights Bigger City

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Wiz Khalifa on track 24.

This one’s a bit slow for my liking, but it’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 30: Katy Perry and Kanye West – ET

Awesome epic atmosphere, lovely tune, and the video is beautiful.

Track 31: Pink – Perfect

I find the theme of this one a bit awkward and the tune a bit dull.  Not a fan.

Track 32: Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding – Wonderman

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Tinie Tempah on track 10 and Ellie Goulding on track 9.

This song is lovely, though – that chorus is just gorgeous.

Track 33: Willow Smith – Whip My Hair

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

The theme is a little cheesy, but then she was about nine at the time.  Good song otherwise.

Track 34: Katy B and Ms Dynamite – Lights On

I’m not hugely keen on the tune, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 35: Martin Solveig and Dragonette – Hello

Great dance track!  Really like this feelgood tune.

Track 36: Flo Rida and Akon – Who Dat Girl

Dull tune, boring rap.  Not keen.

Track 37: Far East Movement, The Cataracs and Dev – Like A G6

Daft lyrics, but it’s a good head-nodder.

Track 38: Wretch 32 and L Marshall – Traktor

Great beat – happily chair-dancing here.  Awesome lyrics too.

Track 39: Aggro Santos and Kimberley Walsh – Like U Like

Love this tune, and the verses have an awesome rhythm.

Track 40: Devlin and Yasmin – Runaway

This one’s a bit generic – nothing special here.

Track 41: Tinchy Stryder and Melanie Fiona – Let It Rain

Boring and forgettable.

Track 42: Chase & Status and Liam Bailey – Blind Faith

I like the ’90s tinge, but on the whole the track’s far too messy for my liking.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #74

Day 74 takes us to Now! #74, which was released on 23rd November 2009.

November 2009
This is the way the world looked in November 2009 – or at least it did if your boyfriend was undergoing his PhD graduation from the University of Edinburgh, which I realise is a bit specific. Old College is always beautiful, and has been for centuries. I gave that coat a reprieve during the cull, but I don’t see it surviving my new de-hoarding mentality for much longer – it’s kind of unflattering, no matter what weight I am.

So, we come to the end of another decade of music.  How did chart music sound as we waved goodbye to the ’00s?

Now! That's What I Call Music #74
Track 1: Cheryl – Fight For This Love

Gorgeous, atmospheric song – I love the instrumentals.  A longtime favourite.

Track 2: Michael Bublé – Haven’t Met You Yet

It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s a nice tune.

Track 3: The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling

That title should be ‘I Got A Feeling’ – ‘gotta’ is an informal contraction of ‘got to’, which makes no sense here!

Great tune though – classic party song.

Track 4: David Guetta and Akon – Sexy Chick

Good atmosphere and good tune on the chorus, but I find the vocals a bit generic.

Track 5: La Roux – Bulletproof

Great electro track, awesome beat.

Track 6: Taio Cruz – Break Your Heart

More awesome electro instrumentals on the backing track.  Good tune.

Track 7: N-Dubz – I Need You

There’s some good lines in here somewhere, but in general the track’s a bit messy.

Track 8: Jason Derulo – Whatcha Say

Another one that’s very typical of the electro-based atmospheric sound that was on everything at the time.

Track 9: Jay Sean and Lil’ Wayne – Down

Oh, it’s this one!  The tune should annoy me, but I actually quite like it.

Track 10: Alesha Dixon – To Love Again

Slow ballad that’s not interesting enough for my liking.

Track 11: Chipmunk and Dayo Olatunji – Oopsy Daisy

Super irritating vocals and theme, not a fan of this one.

Track 12: Tinchy Stryder and Amelle Berrabah – Never Leave You

Another good atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit uninspired.

Track 13: Little Boots – Remedy

Great bassline, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 14: Pixie Lott – Boys And Girls

Nice retro ’60s feel, and there’s a good singalong chorus.

Track 15: Mini Viva – Left My Heart In Tokyo

Another awesome electropop tune – love that bass!

Track 16: Sean Kingston – Fire Burning

Daft theme, but it’s a great dance track.

Track 17: Pitbull and Nicole Scherzinger – Hotel Room Service

I quite like the vocal hook on this one, even if it is a bit repetitive.  Good tune.

Track 18: Sugababes – Get Sexy

Daft theme, irritating lyrics – although I do like the callback to Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy, and the electro hook is great.

Track 19: The Saturdays – Forever Is Over

Too ballad-y for me, though I do appreciate the rock tinge.

Track 20: Young Soul Rebels – I Got Soul

Interesting cover of the Killers track All These Things That I’ve Done, released in aid of the War Child charity.  In this context, the repeated line ‘I got soul but I’m not a soldier‘ is a bit haunting (whereas usually I can’t hear the line without being reminded of the Bill Bailey parody that pointed out the line makes as much sense as ‘I got ham but I’m not a hamster’).

Track 21: Agnes – I Need You Now

Too saccharine for me, though there are some interesting instrumentals going on in the background.

Track 22: JLS – Beat Again

Super cheesy, but it’s quite a good tune.

Track 23: Lady Gaga – Paparazzi

Love this one!  Great tune, brilliant chorus.

Track 24: Beyoncé – Sweet Dreams

Wonderful atmosphere, great beat.  Very danceable.

Track 25: Shakira – She Wolf

More great electro instrumentals – awesome tune.

Track 26: Jay-Z, Kanye West and Rihanna – Run This Town

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

Another great brooding atmosphere.  Unfortunately the vocals are fairly uninspired.

Track 27: Mr Hudson and Kanye West – Supernova

Repeated artist alert!  We just had Kanye West on the last track.

Nice tune though – quite like this one.

Track 28: Robbie Williams – Bodies

Some interesting almost-monastic singing on the intro, which jars a bit once it gets into the bass-heavy main track.  The chorus is great, though.

Track 29: Dizzee Rascal – Holiday

Great electro hook, good dance beat.  Really like this track.

Track 30: Calvin Harris – Ready For The Weekend

Great dance track.  I especially appreciate the line ‘I put on my shoes and I’m ready for the weekend‘.  Nothing wrong with a new pair of shoes every Friday!  (There are lots of things wrong with that.  I know.)

Track 31: Whitney Houston – Million Dollar Bill [Frankie Knuckles Radio Mix]

Love that retro disco feel.  Good stuff.

Track 32: Ian Carey Project – Get Shaky

Good instrumentals, but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 33: Chase & Status and Plan B – End Credits

Lovely tune, gorgeous guitar, stunning atmosphere – and then the dull vocals spoil it!  Oh well.

Track 34: The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition

I find the vocals a little irritating, and the tune’s not interesting enough for my liking.

Track 35: Muse – Uprising

I’m just going to register my annoyance that Muse had been releasing great hits since 2000 and it took the Now! compilers until 2009 to feature one of their songs.

This track has a wonderful eerie electro line, great bass, and awesome brooding vocals.  Love it.

Track 36: Snow Patrol – Just Say Yes

Even Snow Patrol were doing the electro instrumentals in 2009!  Shame the rest of the tune is dull.

Track 37: Florence & The Machine – You’ve Got The Love

Pointless cover of the Source and Candi Staton song, as I may have discussed on the THREE OCCASIONS that the original has been featured on Now! compilations (still can’t get over that).  As such, we now have a fourth track in the Now! canon that sounds exactly the same!  Urgh.

Track 38: Lily Allen – 22

Nice retro tune.  Great lyrics too, but they’re a little depressing!

Track 39: Paolo Nutini – Pencil Full Of Lead

Great classic ragtime sound!  Love that trumpet riff.

Track 40: Mika – We Are Golden

Lovely tune, awesome singalong chorus.  Really like this one.

Track 41: Cobra Starship and Leighton Meester – Good Girls Go Bad

It’s a bit messy, but as with pretty much every other track on this compilation, there’s lots of awesome electro lines and bass going on.

Track 42: Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man

I normally find Mumford & Sons a bit dull, but this is a great bit of folk-rock – really like this song.

Track 43: Just Jack – The Day I Died

Too twee for me – those lyrics are just irritating.

Track 44: Esmée Denters – Outta Here

I like the backing track, but the tune is bland and repetitive.

Track 45: Deadmau5 and Rob Swire – Ghosts ‘N’ Stuff

Too much going on with this track, and none of it is very interesting.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #73

Day 73 means Now! #73, which was released on 20th July 2009.

July 2009
This is how the world looked in July 2009. I seem to have fallen into a theme for these summer releases where the picture is ‘photo of me and Geth out for Kieran’s birthday’ (Kieran’s birthday always being an epic pub crawl around Edinburgh back in those days). I still wear that jacket ALL THE TIME in the summer – it’s sort of both lightweight and rock-chick-looking. I got it in a vintage shop (The Rusty Zip on Teviot Place, now taken over by W Armstrong & Son, the biggest vintage brand in the city) in the early ’00s, and from the fabric I would guess it’s from the ’90s originally.

Time for some summer hits!  With bonus electropop, because 2009.

Now! That's What I Call Music #73
Track 1: Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Great electropop tune, very danceable.  It’s become a bit of a classic.

Track 2: Cascada – Evacuate The Dancefloor

Good atmosphere on this one, with some great electro hooks.

Track 3: David Guetta and Kelly Rowland – When Love Takes Over

Great beat, but I find the tune on the chorus pretty irritating.

Track 4: Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone

Dull tune, and the acoustic-y intro is jarring with the main electro dance bit.

Track 5: La Roux – In For The Kill

Wonderful, atmospheric electro track.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 6: Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz – Number 1

Fittingly, this did get to number one in the charts at the time.  Good beat, good tune.

Track 7: AR Rahman and The Pussycat Dolls – Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)

Love that Eastern tinge – great chant-along track.

Track 8: Chipmunk and Emeli Sandé – Diamond Rings

Good rhythm on this one – I like the jazz-tinged backing track.

Track 9: Lily Allen – Not Fair

Awesome tune, love the lyrics.

Track 10: Pixie Lott – Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)

Great, classic big band sound – really like this tune.

Track 11: Pink – Please Don’t Leave Me

Love the guitar riff, but the vocals are a bit cheesy for my liking.

Track 12: The Veronicas – Untouched

Lovely instrumentals, great ’80s tinge.  Good track, only spoilt by the irritating vocals.

Track 13: Katy Perry – Waking Up In Vegas

Good rock edge, great lyrics.  Quite like this one.

Track 14: Girls Aloud – Untouchable

Lovely atmospheric ’80s-tinged guitar intro, pretty tune on the vocals.  Very nice.

Track 15: Agnes – Release Me

I find the tune on this pretty irritating, and the instrumentals very generic.  Not keen.

Track 16: Freemasons and Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)

Great atmospheric track – yet more ’80s-tinged electropop!  I’d forgotten how much I liked 2009 for music.

Track 17: Alesha Dixon – Let’s Get Excited

Good beat, good solid bit of pop.  Happily nodding along.

Track 18: The Saturdays – Work

Love the electro instrumentals – another awesome pop track.

Track 19: Take That – Up All Night

It’s a little too acoustic-y for my liking, but I do appreciate the ’60s tinge.

Track 20: Britney Spears – If U Seek Amy

Let’s gloss over the juvenile title.  The instrumentals are great and the atmosphere is nice and epic.

Track 21: Jordin Sparks – Battlefield

Irritating vocals, but I suppose the tune is quite nice.

Track 22: Shontelle and Akon – Stuck With Each Other

Uninspired tune, boring vocals.  Not a fan of this track.

Track 23: Beyoncé – Halo

Gorgeous tune, great atmosphere.  This is the kind of ballad I can get behind.

Track 24: Daniel Merriweather – Red

This one, meanwhile, is a boring, slow ballad.  Not for me.

Track 25: Keri Hilson, Kanye West and Ne-Yo – Knock You Down

There’s some nice electro lines here, but I find the vocals pretty dull.

Track 26: Ciara and Justin Timberlake – Love Sex Magic

Love that ’70s-style funk.  Great beat, very danceable.

Track 27: The Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow

Another great chant-along track – happily chair-dancing here again!

Track 28: Soulja Boy and Sammie – Kiss Me Thru The Phone

Some very irritating and jarring electro hooks and vocals going on here, but the atmosphere’s quite good.

Track 29: Akon, Kardinal Offishall and Colby O’Donis – Beautiful

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Akon on track 22.

Very generic dance tune, boring vocals that sound like everything else released at the time.

Track 30: Flo Rida and Wynter Gordon – Sugar

Obviously I love the daft sampling of Eiffel 65’s Blue (Da Ba Dee).  The rest of the track is pretty messy and uninspired though!

Track 31: Ironik, Chipmunk and Elton John – Tiny Dancer (Hold Me Closer)

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Chipmunk on track 8.

The track’s based around a sample of the 1972 original, hence the Elton John credit.  It sounds fairly terrible with all that rapping over the top.

Track 32: Pitbull – I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)

Bonus points for the sample from The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind), and I do like the Latin tinge, even if the rap is a bit generic.

Track 33: Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden – Bonkers

Great dance tune, brilliant vocal hook – big fan of this one.

Track 34: The Prodigy – Warrior’s Dance

Gorgeous, atmospheric tune on the intro – then it launches into a highly danceable bass-driven track.  Great stuff.

Track 35: 3OH!3 – Don’t Trust Me

Another very danceable track, and a good tune.

Track 36: Kasabian – Fire

Iconic guitar riff, builds wonderfully.  Love this tune.

Track 37: Florence & The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Lovely atmosphere, gorgeous vocals.  Very nice track.

Track 38: Noisettes – Never Forget You

Great mid-century retro feel, with a nice reggae beat mixed in there as well.

Track 39: Little Boots – New In Town

Not keen on the stop-start intro, and the tune’s not very interesting.

Track 40: James Morrison – Please Don’t Stop The Rain

I quite like the piano and the atmosphere, but the vocals are too saccharine for me.

Track 41: Paolo Nutini – Candy

It’s the kind of instrumentals that would normally be too acoustic-y for me, but I quite like them.  The vocals, on the other hand, are just annoying.

Track 42: Empire Of The Sun – We Are The People

More acoustic guitar, but again I quite like it – it’s very atmospheric.  Lovely tune.

Track 43: Deadmau5 and Kaskade – I Remember

Fairly uninspired dance tune, but it’s another track that’s got quite a nice atmosphere.

Track 44: Chicane – Poppiholla

Instrumental cover of the Sigur Rós classic Hoppípolla.  It’s a lovely tune, and this reworking is very nice.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #72

Day 72 brings us to Now! #72, which came out on 6th April 2009.

April 2009
This is how the world looked in April 2009. That is the kind of happy face you only get from me on the first day it’s warm enough to sit out in a beer garden after a long winter.

2009 really brought the electropop, from what I remember, so let’s get cracking!

Now! That's What I Call Music #72
Track 1: Lily Allen – The Fear

Great tune, great lyrics.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 2: Lady Gaga and Colby O’Donis – Just Dance

Awesome danceable piece of electropop.

Track 3: Flo Rida and Kesha – Right Round

It’s based around the hook from Dead Or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), so I was always going to like this one.  Flo Rida’s rap style actually goes really nicely with it.

Track 4: Alesha Dixon – The Boy Does Nothing

Alesha Dixon’s post-Strictly solo comeback song.  Love this tune, and the retro big band feel is much appreciated.

Track 5: The Saturdays – Just Can’t Get Enough

Pointless cover of the Depeche Mode classic, and one of the official Comic Relief singles for 2009 (so charity fundraising, as ever, is the ‘point’).

Track 6: Kelly Clarkson – My Life Would Suck Without You

This one’s pretty acclaimed, but I’ve always found the tune and theme really annoying.

Track 7: Tinchy Stryder and Taio Cruz – Take Me Back

Nice atmosphere – I like the electro lines.

Track 8: Kid Cudi and Crookers – Day ‘N’ Nite

Boring, repetitive tune, with some irritating vocal tics going on.

Track 9: Britney Spears – Womaniser

Great pop track – love the hooks on this one.

Track 10: TI and Rihanna – Live Your Life

It’s based around the hook from O-Zone’s Dragostea Din Tei, which gives the track quite an interesting sound.

Track 11: Akon – Right Now (Na Na Na)

Nice tune, quite like this one.

Track 12: Shontelle – T-Shirt

Interesting vocals, but I find the tune very generic.

Track 13: Ne-Yo – Mad

Boring tune, annoyingly saccharine vocals.

Track 14: The Saturdays – Issues

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had the Saturdays on track 5.

I quite like the rhyming of the lyrics on this one, but the tune’s a bit dull.  The Saturdays did much better songs later on.

Track 15: Leona Lewis – Forgive Me

Great vocals, great atmosphere, but the tune’s pretty forgettable.

Track 16: Girls Aloud – The Loving Kind

Another boring tune, and the vocals make it a bit too ballad-y for me.

Track 17: September – Can’t Get Over

Good beat, good electro lines.  The vocals are a little generic though.

Track 18: Steve Angello, Laidback Luke and Robin S – Show Me Love

Semi-cover of Robin S’s 1993 hit, mashed up with various other things.  It’s not very inspired.  See my Now! #24 review for the original song.

Track 19: N-Dubz – Strong Again

Boring tune, but I quite like some of the vocal hooks.

Track 20: Katy Perry – Thinking Of You

Dull ballad, not keen on this one.

Track 21: Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah

The annual bit of karaoke from the X Factor winner.  To give credit to Alexandra Burke, this is not a pointless cover: there have been so many different and beautiful versions of the Leonard Cohen classic, and she did put her own stamp on it, but it just doesn’t have as much feeling in it as classic versions like those of Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright.

Speaking of the X Factor

Track 22: X Factor Finalists 2008 – Hero

There was an annoying trend in the late ’00s/early ’10s where the final twelve contestants in the X Factor would release a group single with everyone getting a line, which, just like the winner’s single, was inevitably a pointless cover of a classic song.  This meant that everyone who was interested in pop music but didn’t care about the X Factor had to put up with not one but two irritating karaoke numbers in the charts around Christmas time.  2008’s offering was a pointless cover of the Mariah Carey song.  (As often happens, the ‘point’ was charity fundraising, this time for Help For Heroes and the Royal British Legion.  Charity fundraising = awesome!  Releasing a soulless, uninspired remake of an existing song = not awesome.)

Track 23: Take That – Greatest Day

It should feel epic and sweeping – but I just find the tune irritating.  I’m not sure why.

Track 24: Alesha Dixon – Breathe Slow

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Alesha Dixon on track 4.

This one’s got a nice backing track, but the tune is fairly generic.

Track 25: James Morrison and Nelly Furtado – Broken Strings

Irritatingly cheesy and slow ballad.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 26: Taylor Swift – Love Story

Super saccharine soft pop-rock!  Again, not my thing.  I prefer Taylor Swift’s more pure pop stuff from the early-to-mid-’10s.

Track 27: Pink – Sober

Nice guitar, interesting theme, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 28: The Killers – Human

I still remember people getting irritated about the grammar of the line ‘are we human or are we dancer‘.  Would it sound better and less jarring if the lyric was ‘dancers‘?  Yes.  Is it grammatically incorrect?  Technically, no.  Brandon Flowers is using ‘dancer‘ to mean a sort of faux-species here, and the use of the singular as an adjective in the same way that ‘human‘ can be used as an adjective is, I believe, meant to emphasise this.

Anyway, it’s quite a good tune.

Track 29: The Script – Breakeven

I’m generally not keen on this kind of soft rock, and this is no exception.  Bland tune, very forgettable.

Track 30: Jason Mraz – I’m Yours

I find this kind of cheery, bouncy, acoustic-y track really irritating.  Sorry!

Track 31: Noisettes – Don’t Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go)

Great bassline, lovely bit of electropop.  Really like this one.

Track 32: Metro Station – Shake It

Really like the instrumentals on this track – great guitar, great synth.  It all adds up to a nice retro ’80s tinge, which I’m all about!

Track 33: U2 – Get On Your Boots

Interesting vocals, good guitar line, quite like this one.

Track 34: MGMT – Kids

Oh, it’s this one!  Lovely electro hook, great bassline.

Track 35: The Prodigy – Omen

I saw the Prodigy at M’era Luna 2009, and this song was the anthem of the weekend, with everyone singing it all over the place.  Great dance track, builds beautifully, wonderful atmosphere.

Track 36: Kevin Rudolf and Lil’ Wayne – Let It Rock

Another great bassline and another awesome atmosphere – good track.

Track 37: Wiley and Daniel Merriweather – Cash In My Pocket

I like the ’60s retro tinge on this one.

Track 38: Kanye West – Heartless

Nice tune, quite like this track.

Track 39: TI and Justin Timberlake – Dead And Gone

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had TI on track 10.

Nice piano intro, nice epic atmosphere.  Great stuff, though it would be better without the rap.

Track 40: Daniel Merriweather and Wale – Change

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Daniel Merriweather on track 37.  Give someone else a chance, Now! compilers!

This is a great track, though – lovely tinkly piano, good beat.

Track 41: Pet Shop Boys – Love Etc.

Nice to see Pet Shop Boys back in the charts.  I have missed that perfect synth!  Wonderful tune.

Track 42: Duffy – Rain On Your Parade

More great instrumentals!  Lovely atmosphere on this one.

Track 43: Vanessa Jenkins, Bryn West, Tom Jones and Robin Gibb – Islands In The Stream

Daft semi-cover (semi due to Robin Gibb’s involvement) of the Bee Gees-written song made famous by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, featuring comedy characters Vanessa Jenkins (Ruth Jones) and Bryn West (Rob Brydon) from the sitcom Gavin & Stacey.  This was another song released for Comic Relief 2009.  The video‘s funny, but the song’s a bit pedestrian until Tom Jones shows up at the end.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #68

Day 68 takes us to Now! #68, which was released on 19th November 2007.

November 2007
This is how the world looked in November 2007. Well, it did if you were in a smoky neon synthpop club with your boyfriend, which is frankly the best place to be when you’re twenty-two.

It’s the time of year for party tracks.  Don’t disappoint me, Now! compilers!

Now! That's What I Call Music #68
Track 1: Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

Lovely tune, quite like this one.

Track 2: Take That – Rule The World

I’ve always found this one a bit jarring, because the verse and chorus are two beautiful tunes that don’t really work with each other.  Just when you’re enjoying one, it breaks the mood by switching to the other.  Should have been two separate songs.

Track 3: Kylie Minogue – 2 Hearts

I like the stripped-back instrumentals at the start – it gives the track lots of edge and atmosphere.  The vocals are great too.

Track 4: Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse – Valerie

I mentioned this cover four days ago in my review of the Zutons original on Now! #64.  It’s a great, bombastic big band version, and I really like it, but the classic-rock-tinged original still has the slight edge for me.

Track 5: Sugababes – About You Now

Quite like this tune – nice solid pop song.

Track 6: Kanye West – Stronger

Really like this atmospheric electro-infused track – it’s probably the best song Kanye West ever did.

Track 7: Craig David – Hot Stuff (Let’s Dance)

It’s based around a sample of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, which is obviously appreciated, but the rest of the track is very generic and just makes me want to go listen to Let’s Dance instead.

Track 8: Sean Kingston – Beautiful Girls

Pretty tune, quite like this one.  At the time, because I wasn’t following chart music very closely, I kept getting it mixed up with Mika’s Big Girls (You Are Beautiful).  The songs are very different, but that’s the power of a title.

Track 9: Shayne Ward – No U Hang Up

I like the electro-tinged instrumentals – it’s getting into that late ’00s era when that was in vogue, yay! – but the vocals are too cheesy for me.

Track 10: Timbaland, DOE and Keri Hilson – The Way I Are

Oh, it’s this one!  That electro hook is absolutely classic.  Great atmospheric track.

Track 11: Britney Spears – Gimme More

It’s Britney, bitch‘.  I remember everyone found this comeback a bit laughable at the time, but it was sampled brilliantly a few years later when she did Scream And Shout with will.i.am.  I really like the electro bassline on this one, too.

Track 12: Rihanna – Shut Up And Drive

Great guitar on this one – it’s an unusual style for Rihanna, but I really like it.

Track 13: Girls Aloud – Sexy! No No No…

Awesome epic atmosphere – it builds really nicely at the start and then launches into a brilliantly frenetic rock-tinged song.  Big fan of this one.

Track 14: Robyn and Kleerup – With Every Heartbeat

Quite like the chilled-out backing track, but the vocals are too high-pitched for me.

Track 15: Enrique Iglesias – Tired Of Being Sorry

Nice Latin tinge, though it jars slightly with the electro instrumentals.

Track 16: Groove Armada and Mutya Buena – Song 4 Mutya (Out Of Control)

Nice retro ’80s-sounding backing track, but I’m not hugely keen on the vocal style constantly veering between sung and spoken.

Track 17: Se:Sa and Sharon Phillips – Like This Like That

Nice upbeat track, with more retro instrumentals.  Very danceable.

Track 18: Ida Corr and Fedde Le Grand – Let Me Think About It

There’s a bit too much going on in this dance track, and it doesn’t all work together.

Track 19: Axwell and Max C – I Found U

Bit of a throwback to early ’90s dance, with some added ’70s retro instrumentals for good measure.  The tune’s boring though.

Track 20: Freaks – The Creeps (Get On The Dancefloor)

Another dull tune, with a very repetitive backing track.

Track 21: Peter Gelderblom – Waiting 4

House remix of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ By The Way.  It’s okay, but it’s one of those ones where I just want to listen to the original instead.

Track 22: David Guetta and Chris Willis – Love Is Gone

Some very irritating siren-sounding instrumentals in the middle of this one, but otherwise it’s quite a good upbeat electro track.

Track 23: Plain White Ts – Hey There Delilah

Pretty tune, but it’s a bit too acoustic-y and twee for my liking.

Track 24: James Blunt – 1973

Always love a 20th-century-inspired title!  Unfortunately the tune is not 20th-century-inspired – I was hoping it would be four-on-the-floor glam rock.  Instead, it’s a fairly standard melancholy one from James Blunt – pretty tune, but not really my style.

Track 25: Newton Faulkner – Dream Catch Me

Boring tune, irritating twangy guitar.  Not keen.

Track 26: The Hoosiers – Worried About Ray

Interesting instrumentals, good atmosphere, but the vocals irritate me.

Track 27: Scouting For Girls – She’s So Lovely

This one has always annoyed me – I find the tune and theme very twee.

Track 28: Feist – 1234

Too acoustic-y for me, and again I find the vocals irritating.

Track 29: Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight

We’ve already had this one on Now! #12!  I don’t care how awesome that 2007 Dairy Milk ad with the gorilla was – there’s no excuse for repeating songs!

As ever, see the link for my review.

Track 30: Avril Lavigne – When You’re Gone

Lovely piano at the start, but the vocals are too high-pitched and hurt my head.

Track 31: McFly – The Heart Never Lies

Horribly saccharine and repetitive.  Not my kind of thing at all.

Track 32: Amy MacDonald – Mr Rock And Roll

Nice tune – if I were in a folk-rock mood I would absolutely love it, but I’ve not been that way inclined lately.

Track 33: KT Tunstall – Hold On

Not keen on the jarring guitar lines at the start, but it’s got quite a good atmosphere.

Track 34: The Killers and Lou Reed – Tranquilise

I shouldn’t like this, as the lines are sort of messy and jarring, but it actually works really well to create an awesome epic atmosphere.

Track 35: Stereophonics – It Means Nothing

Dull and drone-y, not a fan of this one.

Track 36: Peter, Björn & John and Victoria Bergsman – Young Folks

Oh, it’s this one.  I’ve always found that whistling really annoying, especially due to its use in the Homebase adverts!

Track 37: Freemasons and Bailey Tzuke – Uninvited

Great atmosphere, but the vocals are irritatingly generic.

Track 38: Mika – Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)

Daft theme, but it’s quite nice and feelgood.  At the time, because I wasn’t following chart music very closely, I kept getting it mixed up with Sean Kingston’s Beautiful Girls…oh, wait, I’ve done that anecdote.  Great bassline and retro feel, anyway.

Track 39: Amy Winehouse – Tears Dry On Their Own

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Amy Winehouse on track 4.

Great tune though, quite like this one.

Track 40: Jennifer Lopez – Do It Well

Some great, epic instrumentals going on here – good stuff.

Track 41: Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry

Slow and cheesy – not keen on this track.

Track 42: Akon – Don’t Matter

Nice tune, but the vocals are a bit too saccharine for me.  Also, it kind of rips off R Kelly’s Ignition.

Track 43: Nicole Scherzinger and will.i.am – Baby Love

Super irritating tune on the vocals!  Don’t like this at all.

Track 44: Westlife – Home

The usual nauseatingly saccharine guff from Westlife.  Time to line up that original version of Let’s Dance.

Three days in a row without a ‘Not on Spotify’ incident!  It would be nice if we’d seen the last of them, but I suspect there will still be a few lurking about.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #67

Day 67 means Now! #67, which was released on 23rd July 2007.

July 2007
This is the way the world looked in July 2007. We were in a hotel bar in Lerwick, Shetland, celebrating Mum and Dad’s silver wedding anniversary. Hotel bars don’t seem to have changed that much to my eye, but then I’ve never been very observant when it comes to trends in decor.  Fashion is another matter – because it rained pretty much the entire week we were there, that was the exact point that I uneasily noticed Crocs were suddenly a huge thing.

Let’s get on with those summer hits.  Not that it felt very summery in Shetland!

Now! That's What I Call Music #67
Track 1: Rihanna and Jay-Z – Umbrella

Classic pop song that was everywhere in 2007.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 2: Gwen Stefani and Akon – The Sweet Escape

Great atmosphere, great vocal hook.  Quite like this track.

Track 3: Gym Class Heroes and Patrick Stump – Cupid’s Chokehold

I really like the hints of ’70s rock inspiration – there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on here.

Track 4: Kate Nash – Foundations

Interesting instrumentals, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 5: Avril Lavigne – Girlfriend

Highly irritating high-pitched pop-pop-punk.  Avril Lavigne’s stuff did get easier on the ear later on.

Track 6: Take That – Shine

Another great tune from ‘Fake That’ – generally when Mark Owen’s singing lead, you’re onto a winner.

Track 7: Enrique Iglesias – Do You Know? (The Ping Pong Song)

Great chorus and synth line, but the song’s not nearly as interesting as the title suggests.

Track 8: Mika – Love Today

Brilliant, danceable track, one of my favourites from this era.  Great tune.

Track 9: Mutya Buena – Real Girl

I like the sample of Lenny Kravitz’s It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over – it gives the track a nice retro tinge – but the vocals are pretty bland.

Track 10: Beyoncé and Shakira – Beautiful Liar

Love the Eastern-tinged instrumentals – this one’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 11: Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado – Give It To Me

Nice eerie instrumentals, making for another awesomely atmospheric song.

Track 12: Amerie – Take Control

This one’s pretty uninspired – nothing interesting here.

Track 13: Christina Aguilera – Candyman

Great classic big band feel – really like this one.

Track 14: Kelly Clarkson – Never Again

I find the lines on this very jarring and the vocals too high-pitched and headache-inducing, which is a shame ’cause there’s a good atmospheric tune in there somewhere.

Track 15: McFly – Baby’s Coming Back

Boring tune, cheesy vocals.  Not keen on this.

Track 16: Natasha Bedingfield – I Wanna Have Your Babies

Terrible title, irritating vocals.  The tune’s okay though.

Track 17: Fergie and Ludacris – Glamorous

Love the tune on the backing track, and the sung vocals are quite interesting, but I could do without the rap bits.

Track 18: Justin Timberlake – LoveStoned/I Think She Knows

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Justin Timberlake on track 11.

Some interesting instrumentals, but on the whole the tune’s not really doing it for me here.

Track 19: Ne-Yo – Because Of You

Saccharine and boring.  Not my thing.

Track 20: Akon and Snoop Dogg – I Wanna Love You

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Akon on track 2.

Unfortunately I seem to have accidentally added the explicit version to my Spotify list, and everything about it is just offensive.  Sometimes hilariously so, but mostly just offensive.

Track 21: Robin Thicke – Lost Without U

There’s a slight lounge-y retro tinge that is quite nice, but in general I’m not really feeling this tune.

Track 22: Snow Patrol – Signal Fire

All the versions on Spotify are very proud of the fact this song was used in Spiderman 3 and so have ‘FROM THE MOTION PICTURE SPIDERMAN 3’ and things like that stamped all over them.  I don’t remember it for that – I remember it because it was used in a random Doctor Who fanvid, which gives you a good indication of where my head was at the time.  The track itself is pretty dull and depressing.

Track 23: Maroon 5 – Makes Me Wonder

Interesting ’80s-tinged instrumentals, which is always a good thing.  The tune’s pretty forgettable though.

Track 24: Mark Ronson and Daniel Merriweather – Stop Me

Cover of the Smiths track Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before, with added bits from the Supremes’ You Keep Me Hangin’ On.  A double cover!  As it’s Mark Ronson, though, there’s nothing pointless about it – the track is quite innovative.

Track 25: Hellogoodbye – Here (In Your Arms)

Irritating vocals, twee lyrics.  The backing track’s nice and ’80s-tinged once it gets going, but unfortunately it’s mostly drowned out by the boring tune.

Track 26: Alex Gaudino and Crystal Waters – Destination Calabria

Mash-up of the saxophone hook from Rune’s Calabria and Alex Gaudino’s earlier track Destination Unknown.  Of the two tracks, I think it’s Calabria I want to go listen to after this, ’cause I love a good bit of saxophone.

Track 27: Booty Luv – Shine

Fairly generic dance track, but it does have a good retro ’70s disco tinge to it.

Track 28: Calvin Harris – The Girls

Awkward theme to the lyrics, but the synth line’s good.  I think I’m going to have to hunt for an instrumental version.

Track 29: Reverend & The Makers – Heavyweight Champion Of The World

Good upbeat tune, quite like this one.

Track 30: Paolo Nutini – New Shoes

Daft but highly appreciated theme, good atmosphere, nice tune.  Good stuff.

Track 31: Paul McCartney – Dance Tonight

Good tune, interesting guitar.

Track 32: Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

Gorgeous tune with a beautiful melancholy atmosphere, probably the best track Amy Winehouse ever did.

Track 33: The Fray – Over My Head (Cable Car)

Cheesy and boring, not to my liking at all.

Track 34: The Twang – Either Way

Pleasant if repetitive tune, but the spoken word verses are very irritating.

Track 35: Editors – Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors

Great title!  Very topical at the time given the recently-introduced smoking ban.  The track itself is a bit slow, but it’s got a good anthemic feel.

Track 36: Manic Street Preachers and Nina Persson – Your Love Alone Is Not Enough

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

Track 37: Fall Out Boy – Thnks Fr Th Mmrs

That should be ‘Thanks For The Memories‘, if you’re struggling with the silly ‘wacky’ vowel-less title.

Great eerie atmosphere, excellent upbeat rock track.  Really like this one.

Track 38: Klaxons – It’s Not Over Yet

Great backing track, and the chorus is nice and epic.

Track 39: Super Mal and Luciana – Bigger Than Big

Upbeat but slightly messy dance track – there are some good lines but they get lost in the mishmash of stuff that’s going on.

Track 40: Groove Armada, Stush and Red Rat – Get Down

Tuneless and messy with bad rapping over the top – not a fan of this at all.

Track 41: Unklejam – What Am I Fighting For?

Great atmosphere, great synth, and a wonderful ’80s feel – loving this one!

Track 42: The Chemical Brothers – Do It Again

Great beat, really interesting vocals.  Very danceable.

Track 43: Jamie T – Sheila

Awful vocals, messy instrumentals, not enough melody.  Poor track to end the compilation on.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #66

Day 66 brings us to Now! #66, which came out on 2nd April 2007.

April 2007
This is how the world looked in April 2007, or at least it did if you were drinking with me, Sharpy and Kieran in the pub. I like to think that none of us look any older eleven years later, though I have thankfully stopped dyeing my hair and doing the lazy roots thing.

I seem to remember that 2007 was not a bad year for chart music.  Let’s see if my memory is correct.

Now! That's What I Call Music #66
Track 1: Mika – Grace Kelly

Great tune, very danceable, interesting vocals.  I’ve always really liked this one, especially the classic-sounding epic atmosphere.

Track 2: Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby

Great rock track – another one that I loved playing on Lego Rock Band.  The Wurzels’ live cover, which I saw at Beautiful Days 2010, is also something to behold.

Track 3: Sugababes and Girls Aloud – Walk This Way

Weak cover of the classic Aerosmith vs. Run DMC version.  It doesn’t really work when you have two artists from the same genre, i.e. girl groups who sing pop.  It was released as the official Comic Relief single for 2007, so hopefully it kept the charity money rolling in.

Track 4: Take That – Patience

This one marks the arrival of what I always considered ‘Fake That’ (the Robbie Williams-less lineup).  Gorgeous song though.

Track 5: Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around…Comes Around

Great instrumentals, good atmosphere, but the vocals are a bit dull in my book.

Track 6: Nelly Furtado – Say It Right

Another great atmosphere and a nice tune.  Quite like this one.

Track 7: Beyoncé – Irreplaceable

Nice, powerful song – you can really hear the disdain coming through the vocals.  Good tune too.

Track 8: Kelis and Cee Lo Green – Lil’ Star

Repetitive intro, takes ages to get going.  Once it does, the tune is okay but the vocals are a bit twee for my liking.

Track 9: Akon and Eminem – Smack That

Great brooding atmosphere – quite like this one.

Track 10: Just Jack – Starz In Their Eyes

Nice retro-tinged guitar and bassline, interesting vocals.  Good stuff.

Track 11: Calvin Harris – Acceptable In The ’80s

One of my favourites, obviously, and something I will always dance to no matter my mood.  The whole ‘I got love for you if you were born in the ’80s, the ’80s‘ section is just a classic dance hook and a great lyric.  Love it to bits.

Track 12: Mason and Princess Superstar – Perfect (Exceeder)

Great beat, great rhythmic vocals, very danceable track.

Track 13: Booty Luv – Boogie 2Nite

Another good beat, and the ’70s disco tinge is also much appreciated.  It’s actually a cover of a song by Tweet, but I’m not familiar with the original.

Track 14: Eric Prydz and Pink Floyd – Proper Education

Dance remix of Another Brick In The Wall.  The samples from the original provide a great atmosphere, but it’s one of those examples where I just want to go and listen to the original song afterwards.

Track 15: Sharam – Party All The Time

Dance cover of Eddie Murphy’s 1985 hit.  Other than the dance beat, not much is added here.  They’ve just sampled the chorus over and over and made it really repetitive.

Track 16: Cascada – Truly Madly Deeply

Eurodance cover of the Savage Garden song.  The original is gorgeous and didn’t deserve to be ruined like this.  Awful.

Track 17: Girls Aloud – I Think We’re Alone Now

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Girls Aloud on track 3.

Interesting cover of the Tiffany classic – there’s some edgy instrumentals added and a really good beat.  It’s quite refreshing to have a cover that’s not entirely pointless, but the vocals are still pretty much identical to the original version.

Track 18: Seamus Haji and KayJay – Last Night A DJ Saved My Life

Dance cover of the Indeep song from 1982.  Is it karaoke night or something?  That’s six covers in a row.  Let’s have some original songs, please.

Track 19: Camille Jones and Fedde Le Grand – The Creeps

Great beat, nice eerie instrumentals.  Really like this one.

Track 20: Jamelia – Beware Of The Dog

I love the Personal Jesus sample, and there’s a nice rhythm to the vocals.  Good track.

Track 21: Gwen Stefani – Wind It Up

That yodeling at the start is just awful!  Once the song gets going, though, it’s quite interesting.

Track 22: JoJo – Too Little, Too Late

Slow, bland ballad, with a depressing tune.  Not my thing.

Track 23: Leona Lewis – A Moment Like This

Pointless cover of the Kelly Clarkson song.  This was the X Factor winner’s single for 2006 and also the Christmas number one, so it still shows up on all the music channels every Christmas time.

Track 24: The Fray – How To Save A Life

The tune’s very depressing-sounding, but at least it builds nicely.

Track 25: The View – Same Jeans

Twee theme, but the tune’s okay, and I quite like the chorus.

Track 26: Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control

Great bassline, great beat, great vocals.  Really like this track.

Track 27: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Catch You

Nice edgy instrumentals, more great bass, interesting vocals.  Another great song.

Track 28: Klaxons – Golden Skans

Interesting track, nice vocals.  Quite like this one.

Track 29: Fall Out Boy – This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race

Great beat, good epic atmosphere, interesting vocals, brilliant rock chorus.  Another awesome song.

Track 30: The Killers – Read My Mind

Like the atmosphere, and the tune is nice.  Disc two of this Now! compilation is really delivering so far!

Track 31: U2 – Window In The Skies

I like the way this one builds, and the chorus is really interesting.

Track 32: Robbie Williams and Pet Shop Boys – She’s Madonna

Great synth line, great tune – really like this collaboration.

Track 33: The Fratellis – Whistle For The Choir

Too acoustic-y for me, and I find the tune pretty generic.

Track 34: The Ordinary Boys – I Luv U

This one’s a little too cheesy and slow for my liking.

Track 35: Snow Patrol – Open Your Eyes

Slow, bland vocals, and those repetitive one-note guitar chords really irritate me.

Track 36: Razorlight – Before I Fall To Pieces

Nice upbeat tempo and feelgood guitar lines.  Quite like this one.

Track 37: Scissor Sisters – She’s My Man

Great guitar riff, great bassline.  Highly danceable track.

Track 38: The Feeling – Love It When You Call

I like the beepy instrumental at the start, and the guitar riff’s quite nice, but the vocals are not edgy enough for my liking.

Track 39: McFly – Sorry’s Not Good Enough

The theme is a bit cheesy, but the instrumentals are interesting.

Track 40: Lily Allen – Alfie

Love the old-timey carnival/big band sound of this one.  Great song, really different to everything else that was going on at the time.

Track 41: Jamie T – Calm Down Dearest

Irritating theme and faux ‘drunk’ vocals.  Not a big fan of this.

Track 42: Sugababes – Easy

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Sugababes on track 3.  This and the Girls Aloud repetition would have been best avoided by leaving off Walk This Way so that we could all have happily forgotten about that one.

This track’s got some very repetitive vocals, but the retro-tinged atmosphere and bassline are great.

Track 43: Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good

Lovely, melancholy track.  Really nice tune.

Track 44: The Proclaimers, Brian Potter and Andy Pipkin – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

Daft semi-cover featuring the comedy characters Brian Potter (Peter Kay) from Phoenix Nights and Andy Pipkin (Matt Lucas) from Little Britain.  We’ve already had the original on Now! #13, so see the link for my review of that utter classic.

This recording, which was another song released for Comic Relief 2007, got to number one and outsold the original.  Go figure.

We’ve avoided any ‘Not on Spotify’ moments for a fourth time!

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.

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.