Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #71

Day 71 equals Now! #71, which came out on 17th November 2008.

November 2008
This is how the world looked in November 2008. The glasses glare in this picture is terrible but it was the best of a bad bunch! I still own all those clothes, though I’m not sure if I’ll wear the dress again ’cause it’s a bit floaty and ’00s and my taste is a bit more classic nowadays.

Let’s see what the Christmas party songs were that year.

Now! That's What I Call Music #71
Track 1: Girls Aloud – The Promise

Nice feelgood retro-tinged tune, quite like this one.

Track 2: Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl

Appalling theme, but it’s a great pop tune.

Track 3: Pink – So What

Another classic from Lego Rock Band that I used to drum along to.  Love this chant-along track.

Track 4: Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire

Daft lyrics that everyone took the piss out of at the time, but it’s a great rock tune and has turned into a bit of a classic.

Track 5: Kid Rock – All Summer Long

Feelgood nostalgic song based around the riff from Sweet Home Alabama.  I’ve actually always quite liked this one.

Track 6: Rihanna – Disturbia

Great atmosphere – quite like this tune.

Track 7: Ne-Yo – Miss Independent

Great electro hook, but the vocals are a bit too saccharine for me.

Track 8: The Pussycat Dolls – When I Grow Up

Another great chant-along chorus.  Really like this track.

Track 9: Madcon – Beggin’

Good beat, nice retro tune – happily nodding along.

Track 10: Chris Brown – Forever

Nice feelgood atmosphere, but I find the tune pretty dull.

Track 11: Jennifer Hudson – Spotlight

I find the vocals on this ballad pretty generic, but the backing track is lovely.

Track 12: James Morrison – You Make It Real

Boring and slow, with an irritating tune.  Not keen.

Track 13: Will Young – Changes

Another one that’s too slow for me, but the retro-tinged tune’s quite interesting.

Track 14: Jordin Sparks – Tattoo

Cheesy vocals, too slow, but there’s some interesting stuff going on in the background.

Track 15: Geraldine McQueen – The Winner’s Song

How many tracks have there been during this Now! project where I’ve mentioned that I’ve got a soft spot for the song because it was used to great effect in Peter Kay’s Britain’s Got The Pop Factor, his brilliant X Factor parody?  Well, I’ve lost count, but it’s been a lot, and now we’ve finally got to autumn 2008, when it was first shown on TV (I can’t believe it’s nearly a decade old – Geth and I still watch the DVD every Christmas).  This ballad was written specially for the show’s fictional winner, Geraldine McQueen (by Gary Barlow no less), neatly parodying the overblown ballads that were always released as X Factor winners’ singles at the time.

Incidentally, while Geraldine is supposed to be Northern Irish, you can hear Peter Kay’s Lancashire accent a mile off in his singing voice.

Track 16: Sugababes – Girls

Great pop track based around Here Come The Girls, a ’70s song that never really took off at the time but was eventually used in a series of Boots adverts in 2007.  Love this tune.

Track 17: The Saturdays – Up

Nice danceable track, good solid pop.

Track 18: Boyzone – Love You Anyway

Great instrumentals – quite like this one.

Track 19: Katy Perry – Hot N Cold

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Katy Perry on track 2.  It’s a particularly egregious repetition as both tracks are solo singles, though I suppose they have both become pop classics.

This one I always enjoyed dancing to on Just Dance for the Wii.  Between that and Lego Rock Band, this era of the Now! project is really making me want to plug the Wii back in!

Track 20: Sash! and Stunt – Raindrops (Encore Une Fois)

Mash-up of Sash!’s Encore Une Fois and Stunt’s Raindrops.  It’s not horrible – even if I still don’t think these tracks work together at all – but I’ll definitely be lining up the original Encore Une Fois to listen to after this playlist is done.

Track 21: Basshunter – Angel In The Night

Takes a while to get going.  Once it does, there’s some random rock guitar that doesn’t go with the dance track, but I like rock guitar so I’m going to let it slide just this once.

Track 22: Eric Prydz – Pjanoo

Great piano hook, as you might expect from the title.  Good stuff.

Track 23: Steve Mac – Paddy’s Revenge

Dance track with Irish music over the top.  It sounds bizarre but it actually works okay.

Track 24: Coldplay – Viva La Vida

One of the few Coldplay tracks that I actually unashamedly like.  This is a great tune with a wonderful atmosphere.

Track 25: The Script – The Man Who Can’t Be Moved

A bit cheesy and soft-rock for my liking.

Track 26: Razorlight – Wire To Wire

Nice tune, nice atmosphere.  Good track.

Track 27: Noah & The Whale – 5 Years’ Time

This is from the early years when Laura Marling was still with the band, and her backing vocals are really great on this.  Lovely tune.

Track 28: Iglu & Hartly – In This City

There are some interesting instrumentals going on, but the tune’s very generic and forgettable.

Track 29: The Ting Tings – Shut Up And Let Me Go

My favourite of the Ting Tings’ hits.  Great beat, awesome chant-along track.

Track 30: Kaiser Chiefs – Never Miss A Beat

Nice tune – bit of a ’60s rock tinge, too.

Track 31: Snow Patrol – Take Back The City

Boring tune, not particularly keen on this one.

Track 32: The Verve – Love Is Noise

Lots of messy, irritating lines.  Pretty awful.

Track 33: Guru Josh Project – Infinity 2008 [Klaas Vocal Edit]

Remix of the 1989 track.  The instrumental hook’s okay, but I could do without the other stuff going on with this one.

Track 34: Christian Falk and Robyn – Dream On

Irritating vocals, but I quite like the backing track.

Track 35: Duffy – Stepping Stone

Nice atmosphere, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 36: Flobots – Handlebars

Daft theme, daft instrumentals.  Quite like this one.

Track 37: Keane – Spiralling

Messy, but I appreciate the retro tinge.

Track 38: McFly – Lies

Another good retro feel to this track.

Track 39: Alphabeat – Boyfriend

Good solid piece of electropop – really like this one.

Track 40: Biffy Clyro – Mountains

Once it gets going, this is a cracking rock song.

Track 41: Ida Maria – I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked

Boring tune, nowhere near as good as the title suggests.  The chorus is okay, though.

Track 42: Little Jackie – The World Should Revolve Around Me

Nice feelgood atmosphere, but again the tune’s just not interesting enough for me.

Track 43: Gym Class Heroes and The-Dream – Cookie Jar

Another nice atmosphere, but the song’s pretty forgettable.

Track 44: Taio Cruz – She’s Like A Star

Quite a nice tune, but it’s a little repetitive.

Track 45: Platnum – Love Shy (Thinking About You)

Fairly generic dance track.  This Now! compilation has generally tailed off in quite a rubbish way.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #70

Day 70,and we’ve reached Now! #70, which came out on 21st July 2008.

July 2008
This is what the world looked like in July 2008. My hair was still longer than Geth’s (it’s been a good few years since that was the case) and we sort of both had ill-conceived hair dye going on (dudes just don’t get highlights done any more – I wonder why that particular trend remained firmly in the ’00s?), but pubs, as I’ve mentioned before, never really change.

Let’s see what those summer hits were that year.

Now! That's What I Call Music #70
Track 1: Estelle and Kanye West – American Boy

Great tune.  There were a couple of good dances to this on Strictly at the time, so I mainly associate it with that.

Track 2: Dizzee Rascal, Calvin Harris and Chrome – Dance Wiv Me

Great track – love the rhythm, love the chorus.  Highly danceable.

Track 3: Mint Royale – Singin’ In The Rain

Cover of the musical classic with weird messy remix-y bits.  There’s about three good tracks here all mashed together into one bad one.

Track 4: Sam Sparro – Black And Gold

Great atmosphere, quite like this one.

Track 5: Duffy – Warwick Avenue

Nice tune, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 6: Sara Bareilles – Love Song

I like the piano, but the vocals are pretty generic.

Track 7: Gabriella Cilmi – Sweet About Me

Great tune, awesome theme.  Big fan of this track.

Track 8: Ne-Yo – Closer

Lovely tune – I really like the instrumentals, and the chorus is gorgeous.

Track 9: Girls Aloud – Can’t Speak French

Good rhythm, but there’s something that’s always annoyed me about the theme of this one.

Track 10: Kylie Minogue – In My Arms

Not massively keen on this track – it’s a bit messy for me and I don’t think much of the tune.

Track 11: Sugababes – Denial

Quite like the beat on this one, and it’s not a bad tune either – good to nod along to.

Track 12: Jonas Brothers – SOS

Awful cheesy kiddie-sounding vocals, dodgy faux pop-pop-punk sound.  Not a fan.

Track 13: Alphabeat – 10,000 Nights

Quite like the retro-tinged piano, but the tune annoys me.

Track 14: The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

Great chant-along track, but I prefer the other two big Ting Tings hits from that year – fingers crossed they’re on future Now! editions!

Track 15: The Kooks – Always Where I Need To Be

I like the guitar on the intro, but in general this one sounds a bit uninspired and forgettable to me.

Track 16: Pendulum – Propane Nightmares

Great atmosphere, love the instrumentals – and that electro hook is great.

Track 17: Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You

Quite like the backing track, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 18: Scouting For Girls – Heartbeat

Interesting instrumentals, but again I’m not keen on the main tune.

Track 19: The Feeling – Turn It Up

Nice tune, interesting piano bit.  Quite like this one.

Track 20: The Hoosiers – Cops And Robbers

Great theme, awesome atmosphere to go with it.  Brilliant track.

Track 21: Paul Weller – Have You Made Up Your Mind

Nice classic sound, but I find the tune a bit bland.

Track 22: Coldplay – Violet Hill

Takes ages to get going.  When it does, though, it’s a nice tune with a classic rock feel and a good atmosphere.

Track 23: Rihanna – Take A Bow

Lovely tune, quite like this one.

Track 24: Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown – No Air

It’s a nice tune, but I find the vocals really overblown.

Track 25: will.i.am and Cheryl – Heartbreaker

It’s an okay tune, but 3 Words was a much better collaboration between these two.

Track 26: Usher and Young Jeezy – Love In This Club

Quite like the tune on the backing track, but the vocal’s pretty boring.

Track 27: Mariah Carey – Touch My Body

Daft, awkward theme, and the song’s just not my thing – I find it a bit irritating.

Track 28: Leona Lewis – Better In Time

Nice piano, but the tune is pretty dull, and it’s too slow for me.

Track 29: Chris Brown – With You

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Chris Brown on track 24.

Boring and cheesy song – not my thing.

Track 30: Ironik – Stay With Me

Lovely tune on the backing track, but then there’s a lot of clashing sung vocals (which are a hideous chipmunk-tuned sample of Westlife’s Written In The Stars) and rapping and it all gets far too messy.

Track 31: Taio Cruz – I Can Be

Some interesting instrumentals, but again the vocals are not doing it for me.

Track 32: The Script – We Cry

Nice atmosphere, with a slight eerie-ness about it.  The vocals are really uninspired though.

Track 33: Britney Spears – Break The Ice

Another great backing track with so-so vocals over the top.

Track 34: Timbaland, Nicole Scherzinger and Keri Hilson – Scream

Good atmosphere, but there’s too much going on in this track for my liking.

Track 35: Flo Rida and T-Pain – Low

This one’s a favourite of mine, largely for the lyric ‘the baggy sweatpants and the Reeboks with the straps‘.  This is referring to the Reebok Freestyle Hi, which is my favourite trainer of all time (I have them in seven different colours), though I never wear them with sweatpants unless I need a warm layer for walking to exercise classes in the winter – leggings or jeans all the way otherwise!  The epic atmosphere is just a bonus.

Track 36: Wiley – Wearing My Rolex

Good dance beat, daft theme, good bit of grime.  I find this one quite endearing.

Track 37: DJ Q and MC Bonez – You Wot!

It’s a bit messy, but it’s very danceable.

Track 38: Basshunter – All I Ever Wanted

Classic dance tune.  I should find the vocal hook irritating, but I actually quite like it.

Track 39: Scooter – Jumping All Over The World

Daft theme as ever from Scooter.  Irritatingly messy, but I LOVE that sample from Sailor’s A Glass Of Champagne, one of my favourite ’70s glam rock tracks.

Track 40: Ultrabeat and Darren Styles – Discolights

Another great atmosphere, but again the vocals are letting it down.

Track 41: Alex Gaudino and Shena – Watch Out

The Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag sample is obviously awesome, but it jars pretty badly with the vocals, which themselves are kind of a rip-off of Mousse T’s Horny.

Track 42: September – Cry For You

I really like the electro hooks, but yet again the vocals are bland and uninspired.

Track 43: Fragma – Toca’s Miracle 2008

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).  (Urgh, and we were doing so well today!)

We’ve already had the original on Now! #45, and as usual, the new-version-with-a-year-added-to-the-title is not different enough from the first version to justify including it again!

See the link for my review.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #69

Day 69 brings us to Now! #69, which came out on 17th March 2008.

March 2008
This is the way the world looked in March 2008. Yup, it’s another car picture, this time of Dad’s Saab in the snow. It didn’t actually cope very well with snow, hence why he now has a Land Rover.

On with the hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #69
Track 1: Duffy – Mercy

I’ve always really liked this track – classic, danceable tune.

Track 2: Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music

Great dance track!  Happily nodding along here.

Track 3: Basshunter and DJ Mental Theo’s Bazzheadz – Now You’re Gone

Great tune, love the atmosphere – and that bass is awesome.

Track 4: Girls Aloud – Call The Shots

I don’t find this tune very interesting, but the atmosphere’s quite good.

Track 5: Nickelback – Rockstar

I mentioned in the Now! #56 review that there are only two Nickelback tracks worth listening to, and neither is for reasons to do with the song itself.  How You Remind Me is the first (see Now! #51 review for why) and this is the second, because of the video with all the celebrities and random fans miming along.

Track 6: OneRepublic – Stop And Stare

A bit slow and depressing for my liking.

Track 7: David Jordan – Sun Goes Down

Interesting track, great harmonies, epic guitar.  Quite like this one.

Track 8: Kelly Rowland – Work [Freemasons Remix]

Upbeat and danceable, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 9: Soulja Boy – Crank That (Soulja Boy)

Good atmosphere, but there’s not enough melody for me, and I find the rap style irritating.

Track 10: Britney Spears – Piece Of Me

Slightly awkward theme, and it could do with being a bit more uptempo.

Track 11: T2 and Jodie Aysha – Heartbroken

Too messy on the intro, and then the tune’s irritating once it gets going.

Track 12: H ‘Two’ O and Platnum – What’s It Gonna Be

Another annoying tune with headache-inducing high-pitched vocals.

Track 13: Taio Cruz – Come On Girl

Good head-nodder, but the tune’s pretty generic.

Track 14: Kylie Minogue – Wow

Another solid pop track from Kylie Minogue.  Great tune.

Track 15: Robyn – Be Mine!

Irritating vocals, boring tune.  Not keen on this one.

Track 16: Cascada – What Hurts The Most

Slow ballad intro before it launches into the usual Eurodance.  The tune’s fairly uninspired, but it’s quite danceable.

Track 17: Booty Luv – Some Kinda Rush

More ’70s-tinged dance from Booty Luv.  Good stuff.

Track 18: Samim – Heater

Repetitive, messy and irritating – not my thing at all.

Track 19: Mary J Blige – Just Fine

Jarring electro instrumentals that don’t really go with the soul-tinged vocals.  Also, the tune’s pretty forgettable.

Track 20: Jay Sean – Ride It

Great tune and atmosphere – lovely track.

Track 21: Shayne Ward – Breathless

Slow ballad, too saccharine for me.

Track 22: Leon Jackson – When You Believe

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

Pointless cover of the Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston soundtrack song for The Prince Of Egypt.  This was the X Factor winner’s single for 2007 and also the Christmas number one, as was standard for the late ’00s and early ’10s (otherwise known as the era when Simon Cowell ruined everything that was fun about the Christmas number one race).  Leon Jackson was one of those X Factor winners who immediately faded into obscurity and never released anything else, hence why his stuff’s not even on Spotify.

Track 23: Adele – Chasing Pavements

It’s an okay tune, but a bit slow for me.  I’ve never been that keen on the stuff off Adele’s 19 album – 21, for me, was her real masterpiece.

Track 24: Timbaland and OneRepublic – Apologise

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had OneRepublic on track 6.

This one’s nice and atmospheric – love the piano at the start.  Great tune.

Track 25: Alicia Keys – No One

Nice tune, but the vocals are too saccharine and overblown for my liking.

Track 26: Mika – Happy Ending

Not keen on the tune, and it’s too slow for me.

Track 27: Kanye West and Chris Martin – Homecoming

Interesting instrumentals, great tune on the sung vocals – quite like this one.

Track 28: The Hoosiers – Goodbye Mr A

Quite like the circus-y instrumentals at the start – good upbeat track.

Track 29: The Feeling – I Thought It Was Over

Retro feel, good beat, nice tune.  Really like this one!

Track 30: Alphabeat – Fascination

Another nice upbeat song with a retro tinge – happily chair-dancing again.

Track 31: Scouting For Girls – Elvis Ain’t Dead

Classic tune, but I have to be in the right mood for it, as I sometimes find the style annoying.

Track 32: One Night Only – Just For Tonight

Love the instrumentals, but I find the vocals a bit dull.

Track 33: Hot Chip – Ready For The Floor

Nice to hear some electropop, but this one’s a bit repetitive.

Track 34: Bloc Party – Flux

Good beat, good electro lines – very danceable.

Track 35: Utah Saints – Something Good ’08

Shaking my head a bit here, ’cause we already had the original on Now! #22, and this redone version is not different enough to the original, in my book, to justify its inclusion.

See the link for my review of the song.

Track 36: Mark Brown and Sarah Cracknell – The Journey Continues

Dull tune, and I don’t like the way the operatic vocals clash with the pop ones.

Track 37: Amy MacDonald – This Is The Life

Another nice folk-rock song from Amy MacDonald – great tune on the vocals.

Track 38: Kate Nash – Pumpkin Soup

There are some interesting lines here, but in general the track’s a bit messy with too much going on.

Track 39: Sugababes – Change

Slow, dull ballad.  There’s always one.

Track 40: Goldfrapp – A&E

Again, this one’s too slow for my liking.

Track 41: Amy Winehouse – Love Is A Losing Game

Lovely tune, gorgeous vocals as ever from Amy Winehouse.

Track 42: Eva Cassidy and Katie Melua – What A Wonderful World

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

So Eva Cassidy did a slow, acoustic-y cover of the ’60s classic, and then when she became posthumously famous, Katie Melua decided to do one of those creepy duets from beyond the grave by replacing half the vocals with her own.  It’s not at all inspired or fun to listen to.