Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #51

Day 51 brings us to Now! #51, which was released on 25th March 2002.

March 2002
This is how the world looked in March 2002. I am really glad that I don’t work as agency waiting staff any more! Black skirt and white shirt was the boring uniform we all had to wear. I’m just going to have a minute of remembrance for that awesome fern wallpaper, which my folks got rid of a few years back as part of their ongoing project to have all the walls in the house painted in plain colours.

Let’s see what was in the charts as I was finishing high school.

Now! That's What I Call Music #51
Track 1: Enrique Iglesias – Hero

Nice tune, but the vocals are far too saccharine for me.

Track 2: Blue – Fly By II

I can’t really remember how this differs from the original Fly By, but never mind.  It’s a nice enough tune, with a good singalong chorus.

Track 3: Ali G and Shaggy – Me Julie

A novelty song by a comedy character shouldn’t have this good an atmosphere.  Shaggy’s contribution helps as well.

Track 4: Daniel Bedingfield – Gotta Get Thru This

When I was in my final year of high school, pretty much every first year had this as their ringtone (this was the era when MIDI ringtones were a thing).  They would all sit on the bus showing off their ringtones on their Nokias, which is probably why I mostly walked to school that year.  (My MIDI ringtone on my Nokia 3310 was the Bergerac theme tune.  I never claimed to be a normal teenager.)

Um, the track’s okay, actually, when it’s not being MIDI-beeped at you from several different phones at once.

Track 5: Aaliyah – More Than A Woman

Great instrumentals, great atmosphere.  Not so keen on the vocals, but it’s an okay track in general.

Track 6: Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman – Somethin’ Stupid

Fairly pointless cover of the Frank and Nancy Sinatra classic.  Considered a Christmas song nowadays, as it was the Christmas number one for 2001.

Track 7: R Kelly – The World’s Greatest

Dull, cheesy, repetitive.  Not my thing.

Track 8: S Club 7 – Have You Ever

Saccharine ballad, irritating tune.  Next, please.

Track 9: Britney Spears – Overprotected

Annoying theme, but I quite like the tune.

Track 10: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Murder On The Dancefloor

I always quite liked this track, although it became a bit overplayed when Sophie Ellis-Bextor did Strictly many years later.

Track 11: Kylie Minogue – In Your Eyes

Great atmosphere, great pop tune.  Really like this one.

Track 12: DB Boulevard – Point Of View

Quite a nice tune, until the annoying vocals kick in.

Track 13: Lasgo – Something

Great atmosphere, but the vocals are really generic.

Track 14: PPK – Resurection

Yes, they did spell ‘resurrection’ with a missing ‘r’, and yes, it is killing me to have to type it out like that.

It’s a dance track with a nice hook – quite like the tune.

Track 15: DJ Aligator Project – The Whistle Song

Yes, they did spell ‘alligator’ with a missing ‘l’.  Musicians must have had it in for proofreaders in 2002.

Irritating, repetitive track with a lot of whistle blowing, as you might expect.

Track 16: Flip & Fill and Kelly Llorenna – True Love Never Dies

Lovely tune on the vocals – really quite like this one.

Track 17: Hear’Say – Everybody

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

Nauseatingly cheesy theme, irritating tune.  Just awful.

Track 18: Allstars – The Land Of Make Believe

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

Very bad cover of the Bucks Fizz classic.  Poor quality vocals, muddy backing track, generally pointless cover.

Track 19: Victoria Beckham – A Mind Of Its Own

Messy, jarring track.  Not keen on this at all.

Track 20: Steps – Words Are Not Enough

Cheesy, boring track.  Steps had really gone downhill at this point.

Track 21: Geri Halliwell – Calling

Nice atmosphere, classic sound.  Quite like this one.

Track 22: Rik Waller – I Will Always Love You

Uninspired cover of the Dolly Parton track in Whitney Houston style.  Unless you’ve got a better voice than Whitney – and who does? – you should leave this song well enough alone.

Track 23: Stereophonics – Handbags And Gladrags

It’s a little less depressing than most Stereophonics tracks, but that’s not saying much.

Track 24: Nickelback – How You Remind Me

When I get annoyed by this song, I just remember a show on afternoon TV at the time where kids were encouraged to phone in and sing along to their favourite songs.  This song is a lot better when the lyric about having ‘been down into the bottom of every bottle‘ is being creepily sung by seven-year-olds.

Track 25: Alien Ant Farm – Movies

Good pop-punk head-nodder – quite like this one.

Track 26: Sum 41 – In Too Deep

Another pleasant pop-punk tune – it reminds me of all the house parties I went to at the time.

Track 27: Puretone – Addicted To Bass

I always really liked this one – great vocals, great bassline (as you might expect).

Track 28: Christina Milian – AM To PM

Great tune, good singalong chorus.  A favourite from that time.

Track 29: Ja Rule and Ashanti – Always On Time

Quite like the chorus on this one – I was really annoyed when it was covered by Raye and Mr Easi as Decline a few months ago.

Track 30: City High and Eve – Caramel

Irritating vocals, dull tune, not keen.

Track 31: Beverley Knight – Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Boring track, nothing interesting here at all.

Track 32: Samantha Mumba – Lately

Another bland tune, very forgettable.

Track 33: Backstreet Boys – Drowning

Dull, saccharine ballad – not keen.

Track 34: Mary J Blige – Dance For Me

It’s nice to have an upbeat track after some very dull ones, but the tune’s pretty uninspired.

Track 35: Afroman – Crazy Rap

The guitar’s nice, but the endless incoherent shouting at the start is really irritating.  Once it gets into the track, it’s pretty dull and tuneless.  Also, I’m listening to the explicit version, and I can’t imagine any of these lyrics would have been allowed on the radio or on a Now! compilation – maybe they just played an instrumental version or something.

Track 36: Princess Superstar and High & Mighty – Bad Babysitter

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

Loved this one at the time!  It was often played at Uluru, which was the pub that my mates and I frequented during my final year of high school.

Track 37: Platinum 45 and More Fire Crew – Oi!

Tuneless and repetitive.  Not a fan of this at all.

Track 38: Goldtrix and Andrea Brown – It’s Love (Trippin’)

More repetitive beats, and the tune’s very forgettable.

Track 39: X-Press 2 and David Byrne – Lazy

I like the piano instrumentals, but I’ve always found the vocals really annoying.

Track 40: Jakatta – So Lonely

Fairly pointless cover/remix of the ’80s hit Ever So Lonely, using the original vocals.

Track 41: The Chemical Brothers – Star Guitar

Tuneless and messy.  Not for me.

Track 42: Lange and Skye – Drifting Away

Beat-driven track that is so dull I can’t concentrate on it.

Track 43: Dreamcatcher – I Don’t Wanna Lose My Way

The tune’s nice, but it’s pretty generic and forgettable trance.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #49

Day 49, and Now! #49, which was released on 30th July 2001.

July 2001
This is the way the world looked in July 2001. Those unflattering midriff-baring shirts with the American football style numbers on the front were all the rage, and I was taking full advantage of the Spanish weather to slob about in sarongs. Not the greatest look in my repertoire.

Time for some summer hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #49
Track 1: Robbie Williams – Eternity

This was a double A-side with The Road To Mandalay, which is a much better song, so I wish they’d included that one instead.  This track is a slow ballad, so it’s a bit dull for my liking.

Track 2: Gabrielle – Out Of Reach

I’ve always found the tune on this really annoying.  Not keen.

Track 3: Atomic Kitten – Eternal Flame

Fairly pointless cover of the Bangles classic, with upbeat instrumentals in the background, which are just generic and don’t improve anything.

Track 4: Blue – All Rise

One of those ubiquitous teenage party tracks.  Loved it at the time, still quite like it now – the lyrics are quite cute.

Track 5: S Club 7 – Don’t Stop Movin’

More irritating cheese from S Club 7.  There’s just no edge to it at all – not my thing.

Track 6: Geri Halliwell – It’s Raining Men

Utterly pointless cover of the Weather Girls song, released as part of the Bridget Jones’ Diary soundtrack.  There’s nothing different from the original at all.

Track 7: Ronan Keating – Lovin’ Each Day

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

Track 8: Stereophonics – Have A Nice Day

Another dull, drone-y one from Stereophonics.  Not a fan.

Track 9: Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag

Absolutely loved it as an awkward teenager, obviously.  Still have a soft spot for this one.

Track 10: Blink-182 – The Rock Show

Another bit of pop-punk that I loved as a teenager – happily singing along right now!

Track 11: U2 – Elevation

Loved it at the time, loved the Tomb Raider tie-in video, loved the performance on Top of the Pops.  Still quite like the track.

Track 12: Outkast – Ms Jackson

Always really liked this odd song!  Great tune.

Track 13: Destiny’s Child – Survivor

Classic pop track with a great singalong chorus – good stuff.

Track 14: Hear’Say – The Way To Your Love

Nauseatingly saccharine, uninspired pop tune.  Nothing special here.

Track 15: Backstreet Boys – More Than That

More cheesy, generic pop.  Utterly dull and forgettable.

Track 16: Britney Spears – Don’t Let Me Be The Last To Know

Boring ballad with irritating jarring melodies between vocals and instrumentals – not my thing at all.

Track 17: Marti Pellow – Close To You

Another dull ballad.  Can we get an upbeat track soon?

Track 18: Dido – Thank You

The beautiful, melancholy verses (sampled so brilliantly on Eminem’s Stan) are a stunning piece of music.  When the chorus shows up and switches to major key and an irritating tune, it ruins the song completely.  This has always really annoyed me.

Track 19: Zero 7 – Destiny

Chillout track with a boring tune.  Not a fan.

Track 20: Radiohead – Pyramid Song

Pretty tune, great melancholy atmosphere, but it’s a little slow for me.

Track 21: Eddy Grant – Electric Avenue [Ringbang Remix]

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

‘Remix’ of the 1982 classic with some drum ‘n’ bass beats at the start and some motorbike noises over the top.  Other than that, it’s pretty much identical to the original version, which is a classic ’80s record, so I won’t moan.

Track 22: Gorillaz – 19-2000

Oh, it’s this one!  Quite like the beepy instrumentals and the tune – good stuff.

Track 23: DJ Pied Piper and The Masters Of Ceremonies – Do You Really Like It?

Unbearably irritating chorus, probably one of the worst so far on this Now! marathon.

Track 24: Mis-Teeq – All I Want

Good atmosphere, great chorus, but the track is a little frantic and messy.

Track 25: Roger Sanchez – Another Chance

I’ve always found this tune a bit annoying, but the beat is quite danceable.

Track 26: Basement Jaxx – Romeo

Good head-nodder – quite like this one.

Track 27: Da Hool – Meet Her At The Love Parade

Irritating squeaky hook on the intro, then it launches into some generic drum lines before bringing back the squeaky hook and getting very repetitive.  Not my thing.

Track 28: Ian Van Dahl – Castles In The Sky

Highly annoying trance track – never been keen on this one.

Track 29: Fragma – You Are Alive

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

Good atmosphere, but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 30: Steps – Here And Now

Cheesy, annoying tune – not one of Steps’ best.

Track 31: A*Teens – Upside Down

Formerly just an Abba tribute band, this lot started doing original tracks with an Abba-sounding tinge on their second album.  This song is pretty awful – very generic pop with no edge.

Track 32: Bellefire – Perfect Bliss

Nice tune, but the vocals are too saccharine for me.

Track 33: Texas – I Don’t Want A Lover [2001 Mix]

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

‘Remix’ of the 1989 track, which is basically the original track with some annoying ‘wub’ bits over the top.  As with Electric Avenue, I’m not going to complain (but give me the original version any day).

Track 34: Boris Dlugosch and Róisín Murphy – Never Enough

Once it actually gets out of the drum intro, it’s quite a good tune with some interesting instrumentals.

Track 35: Janet Jackson – All For You

Good beat, good tune – quite like this one.

Track 36: Eve – Who’s That Girl

Good singalong chorus, happily nodding along.

Track 37: Nelly and City Spud – Ride Wit Me

Classic tune, always liked this one – great chorus.

Track 38: Sisqó – Dance For Me

Spanish guitar on the intro, which is always a plus in my book.  The rest of the track’s got a good atmosphere, but the vocals are pretty irritating.

Track 39: Aaron Soul – Ring, Ring, Ring

Good vocals, okay tune, but there’s not really anything interesting going on here.

Track 40: Damage – So What If I…?

Fairly uninspired tune, very forgettable.

Track 41: Melanie B – Lullaby

Cheesy track about Melanie B’s then-baby daughter.  It’s far too saccharine for me.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #48

Day 48 means Now! #48, which was released on 9th April 2001.

April 2001
This is how the world looked in April 2001 (actually May). No family photos from spring 2001, so here’s a pretty vista photo that Mum took on a work trip to the Czech Republic.

Wikipedia has an interesting factoid about Now! #48: it is the favourite album of the character Kayleigh from Peter Kay’s Car Share (NO SPOILERS FOR THAT PLEASE, I know the final special episode aired last night but Geth and I have not seen any of the series yet and we want to catch up with it at some point!).  As a result, it charted on Amazon in spring 2017 despite being out of print.  Impressive!

Now! That's What I Call Music #48
Track 1: Atomic Kitten – Whole Again

Found it too cheesy at the time, still do nowadays.  This was the one where Kerry Katona left and they released a new version of the video with Jenny Frost replacing her, so there’s still two versions of it kicking about on the music channels.

Track 2: Hear’Say – Pure And Simple

The first of the noughties talent show winners, which was where pop music really started to go downhill.  Awful, irritating song.

Track 3: S Club 7 – Never Had A Dream Come True

It’s one of those ones that is a Christmas song nowadays.  Nice tune, but it’s a bit overplayed.

Track 4: Nelly Furtado – I’m Like A Bird

I’d not thought about this one for a while.  The tune’s okay, but I’ve always found the chorus a bit annoying.

Track 5: Shaggy and RikRok – It Wasn’t Me

Absolutely awful theme, but it’s a great tune!

Track 6: Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood

I remember everyone going on at the time about how ‘revolutionary’ the idea of a virtual band was, but really all it involved was the musicians using pseudonyms and getting some cartoons made for the videos.  It’s a good song, other than the fact it’s a bit drone-y.

Track 7: Modjo – Chillin’

Slight ’70s tinge, which is no bad thing.  The tune’s pretty dull though.

Track 8: Chocolate Puma – I Wanna Be U

Boring, tuneless, not my thing.

Track 9: Fragma and Maria Rubia – Everytime You Need Me

‘Every time’ should be two words ARGH.

Leaving aside their awful grammar, though, I quite like this tune.

Track 10: Samantha Mumba – Always Come Back To Your Love

I find the vocals on this one a bit annoying – not hugely keen.

Track 11: Britney Spears – Stronger

Great atmosphere, good tune, though I’ve always been really annoyed by that callback to …Baby One More Time in the chorus!

Track 12: Steps – It’s The Way You Make Me Feel

Nice tune.  It’s pretty saccharine, but I still quite like this one.

Track 13: Emma Bunton – What Took You So Long

Good tune, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 14: Ronan Keating and Bryan Adams – The Way You Make Me Feel

It’s almost a repeated title from the Steps offering above, but it’s a very different song – this one is a dodgy nausea-inducing guitar ballad.

Track 15: Backstreet Boys – Shape Of My Heart

Super saccharine, but the tune’s okay.

Track 16: LeAnn Rimes – I Need You

Extremely boring ballad with overblown vocals.  Not my thing at all.

Track 17: Damage – Still Be Lovin’ You

Another irritatingly cheesy track with a dull tune.

Track 18: Kaci Battaglia – Paradise

Nice atmosphere, like the Latin tinge and Spanish guitar.  Good track.

Track 19: Martine McCutcheon – On The Radio

Pointless cover of the Donna Summer classic.  Nothing new here at all, except the irritating ’00s hi-hat on the backing track.

Track 20: Kylie Minogue – Please Stay

Lovely atmosphere, with more Spanish guitar – loving that trend!  Gorgeous tune.

Track 21: Bob The Builder – Can We Fix It?

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

I read ages ago (I can’t find a link so hopefully this daft concept has disappeared from the public imagination) that your ‘life song’ is supposed to be the song that was number one on your sixteenth birthday.  Being a tail-end-of-Christmas baby, my birthday number one is usually still whatever was number one for Christmas.  For my sixteenth birthday, it was this novelty charity single from the kids’ TV show Bob The Builder.  I’m not sure what that’s supposed to say about my life.

Track 22: Eva Cassidy – Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Slow, acoustic cover of the Judy Garland number from The Wizard Of Oz.  Beautiful vocals, but the style’s not my kind of thing.

Track 23: U2 – Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of

I’ve always quite liked this one – good tune, interesting lyrics.

Track 24: Stereophonics – Mr Writer

Good guitar riff, but the vocals are depressing and drone-y.

Track 25: Coldplay – Don’t Panic

Oh, it’s this one.  The tune’s okay, but it’s pretty dull.

Track 26: Texas – Inner Smile

Great tune, great singalong chorus – really like this one.

Track 27: Robbie Williams – Let Love Be Your Energy

Nice tune, interesting vocals, though Robbie Williams is still trying to do the Britpop thing a few years after it ended.

Track 28: Feeder – Buck Rogers

Great, classic singalong rock track.  Loved it at the time, still really like it now, with bonus amusement at the notion that a car having a CD player made it top of the range in 2001.  Also, I could never work out whether the lyric was ‘drink cider from a lemon‘ or ‘drink cider from eleven‘.

Track 29: Papa Roach – Last Resort

This pop-punk classic was a bit of a soundtrack song in my teens – we always had it blasting at parties and in cars and so on.  I still quite like the track.

Track 30: Planet Funk – Chase The Sun

Nice tune, but it’s too repetitive for me.

Track 31: Safri Duo – Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song)

Good beat (obviously), good danceable track, though the trance bit is fairly generic.

Track 32: Dario G – Dream To Me

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

Cover of the Cranberries’ Dreams.  High-pitched classical/opera-style bit irritates throughout, and is joined by an uninspired trance beat.  The whole thing is a bit messy.

Track 33: Jakatta – American Dream

Oh, it’s this one.  Quite like the clangy instrumental, but it’s a bit dull otherwise.

Track 34: Sonique – I Put A Spell On You

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

Spiky, upbeat, atmospheric cover of the ’50s rock ‘n’ roll classic.  Really like this one.

Track 35: Melanie B – Feels So Good

Irritating, repetitive tune – not keen on this track.

Track 36: Mýa – Case Of The Ex

Great atmosphere, good tune, great singalong bit on the bridge and chorus.  Good stuff.

Track 37: Chanté Moore – Straight Up

Highly irritating tinkly xylophone-sounding instrumental at the start, then it launches into an uninspired tune.  The vocals are okay, but it’s generally not my thing.

Track 38: Joe – Stutter

Boring tune, irritating lines, annoying theme.  Not keen on this one.

Track 39: Architechs – Show Me The Money

Too repetitive for me, and the tune’s very generic.

Track 40: DJ Luck & MC Neat – Piano Loco

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

Nice Latin flavour – good danceable track.  Could do without the added ‘wub’ bits and rap though, it makes it very messy.

Track 41: Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Loco

A slower type of loco here, maybe because there’s no piano this time.  Still a good helping of Spanish vocals though, so I quite like it.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #46

Day 46 means Now! #46, which takes us to 24th July 2000.

July 2000
This is how the world looked in July 2000, though I think that bit of Ireland has looked that way for some time! I wore that orange Miss Selfridge shirt to death – I had a lime green one as well.

Let’s see what the hits were that summer.

Now! That's What I Call Music #46
Track 1: Britney Spears – Oops! I Did It Again

I thought it was okay at the time, but find it insanely annoying now after hearing it intermittently for eighteen years.

Track 2: S Club 7 – Reach

Thought it was insufferably awful then, still think that now.  Cheesy and twee.

Track 3: Sonique – It Feels So Good

Nice tune – quite like this one.

Track 4: Mary Mary – Shackles (Praise You)

Great atmosphere, good tune.  Happily nodding along.

Track 5: Samantha Mumba – Gotta Tell You

Loved this at the time and bought the single.  I still quite like the tune.

Track 6: Gabrielle – When A Woman

Upbeat, head-noddable track, but the feelgood vocals are a bit irritating for me.

Track 7: Kylie Minogue – Spinning Around

Classic tune, classic video.  Always really liked this track – it’s very danceable.

Track 8: Tom Jones and Mousse T – Sex Bomb

Another great danceable track that was everywhere at the time.  Good stuff.

Track 9: Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch

Generally known as ‘the Discovery Channel song’, this one is an absolute classic – I’ve always loved that instrumental, and the theme is hilarious.

Track 10: Shania Twain – Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)

Quite like the folky instrumentals, but the vocals on this one annoy me.

Track 11: Billie Piper – Day And Night

Billie Piper going for a more grown-up sound on her second album meant that her stuff was no longer squeaky and irritating but was instead nice solid pop.  This one is a great tune with a good atmosphere.

Track 12: Louise – 2 Faced

Generic, dull tune – not keen on this one.

Track 13: Aaliyah – Try Again

Great atmosphere, interesting lines.  Really like this one.

Track 14: NSYNC – Bye Bye Bye

I don’t remember NSYNC being that huge generally in the UK, but this track was a fairly big hit.  It’s got a good atmosphere – solid piece of pop.

Track 15: Damage – Ghetto Romance

You know it’s the noughties when lyrics like ‘body like a racecar‘ start to show up in the charts.  Generic, irritating track.

Track 16: Steps – When I Said Goodbye

This was released as a double A-side with Summer Of Love, which is a much, much better song, so I can’t help wishing the Now! compilers had chosen that one instead for this summer release.  If previous patterns are anything to go by, though, it’ll probably show up on the November one.

This track is a slow, boring ballad, and I’m not keen on those.

Track 17: Stephen Gately – New Beginning

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

Nice atmosphere on this one, nice epic chorus.  Quite like this track.

Track 18: Backstreet Boys – The One

Good beat, interesting instrumentals, but the vocals are pretty generic and dull.

Track 19: Moby – Porcelain

Oh, it’s this one!  Nice chillout track, like the tinkly piano.

Track 20: Coldplay – Yellow

Another indicator it’s now the noughties: Coldplay show up for the first time.  Yellow has quite a good intro, but it all goes downhill when Chris Martin opens his mouth, which may become a bit of a theme, as I’ve got a feeling this is not the last time they’ll feature on these Now! compilations.

Track 21: Richard Ashcroft – A Song For The Lovers

The Verve frontman goes solo.  Unfortunately this track’s just as depressing as the stuff he was doing with the Verve, although I do quite like the sax on the intro.

Track 22: Black Legend – You See The Trouble With Me

Irritating house cover of the Barry White classic that gets rid of most of the melody.  Not keen at all.

Track 23: Spiller and Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)

Great tune, great atmosphere, great danceable beat – love this track.

Track 24: Darude – Sandstorm

Oh, it’s this one!  Classic dance track, great hook.

Track 25: York – On The Beach

Another dance track with a memorable hook that I’m guessing most people would recognise but couldn’t name.  Quite like this one.

Track 26: Marc et Claude – I Need Your Lovin’ (Like The Sunshine)

Good atmosphere on the intro, segueing into a great dance track.  Really like this.

Track 27: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – The Power Of Love [Rob Searle Club Mix]

Remix of the 1984 classic, which is very definitely considered a Christmas song nowadays and hence feels out of place both in May 2018 as I write this and in July 2000 when this compilation was released.  It is nice to see some love for old ’80s tracks, although this remix only really uses one instrumental line from the track to begin with, and as such the first four minutes are fairly unrecognisable before it launches into the well-known first verse.  After that, it gets a bit messy and super trance-y.

Track 28: Different Gear and The Police – When The World Is Running Down (You Can’t Go Wrong)

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

Irritating sample on the intro, before it launches into the remix of the 1980 Police track.  It’s pretty dull and repetitive.

Track 29: Southside Spinners – Luvstruck

Boring, generic dance track with irritating orgasm noises over the top.

Track 30: Alice Deejay – Will I Ever

Annoying tune, not keen.  I’m starting to fear that the imaginary ’00s nightclub (the setting for these Now! disc 2s full of dance tracks that started to become the pattern in the mid-’90s) will be even worse than the ’90s one.

Track 31: Angelic – It’s My Turn

Quite like the instrumentals and the atmosphere, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 32: Rank 1 – Airwave

Generic dance tune, very dull.  Not a fan.

Track 33: B-15 Project, Crissy D and Lady G – Girls Like Us

Quite like the chorus, but otherwise it’s a bit messy for my liking.

Track 34: Lonyo – Summer Of Love

Quite like the Latin-tinged backing vocals, but the main tune is a bit cheesy.

Track 35: MJ Cole – Crazy Love

Really like the tune on the intro…then it launches into the world’s most annoying vocals.  Urgh.

Track 36: DJ Luck & MC Neat and JJ – Masterblaster 2000

Cover of the 1980 Stevie Wonder track, with ‘bonus’ No Diggity sample.  It’s upbeat and danceable, but I’m not sure about the tune.

Track 37: Tru Faith and Dub Conspiracy – Freak Like Me

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

Great atmosphere on this cover of the Adina Howard track, later made more famous by the Sugababes.  Love those instrumentals.

Track 38: Jamelia – Call Me

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

Track 39: Vengaboys – Uncle John From Jamaica

More lively Eurodance from the Vengaboys.  The tune on this one’s a little irritating.

Track 40: Fe-M@il – Flee Fly Flo

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

I’d forgotten about this daft call-and-response track.  It’s at least different, but it’s pretty cheesy and annoying.

Track 41: Scooch – For Sure

Twee and irritating tune – not keen on this one.

Track 42: Atomic Kitten – I Want Your Love

I quite liked this retro-tinged atmospheric track at the time, but I find it a bit headache-inducing nowadays.

Track 43: Steps – Deeper Shade Of Blue

Repeated artist alert!  Now I’m even more annoyed that they didn’t include Summer Of Love.

This dance-infused track’s got a good beat and atmosphere, but the tune on the vocals irritates me a bit nowadays.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #45

Day 45 brings us to Now! #45, released on 17th April 2000.

April 2000
This is the way the world looked in April 2000. You can tell it’s the year 2000, because I was right at the start of my two-year ‘dress shirt over combat trousers’ phase. I’m guessing Gran Canaria still looks similar, but I’d have to revisit it to confirm. Anyone want to buy me a plane ticket?

Let’s see how chart music sounded now that we’d entered a new millennium.

Now! That's What I Call Music #45
Track 1: Gabrielle – Rise

The tune’s too boring for me – not keen on this one.

Track 2: Melanie C and Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes – Never Be The Same Again

Another gorgeous track from Melanie C – lovely tune, great atmosphere.  This was a real favourite of mine at the time.

Track 3: Craig David – Fill Me In

Great upbeat danceable track, but I do find the chorus a bit annoying.

Track 4: Britney Spears – Born To Make You Happy

Urgh, super saccharine!  Not a fan of this at all.

Track 5: Backstreet Boys – Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely

I shouldn’t like it, ’cause it’s a slow, saccharine ballad, but the instrumentals and atmosphere are great.

Track 6: Lene Marlin – Sitting Down Here

Too high-pitched and cheesy for me – no edge to it.

Track 7: Tom Jones and Stereophonics – Mama Told Me Not To Come

Great, energetic cover of the ’60s classic.  Really like this one.

Track 8: Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

Anthemic song – it did get a bit overplayed at the time, but I’ve always had a soft spot for it.  Awesome singalong chorus.

Track 9: Geri Halliwell – Bag It Up

It’s a bit of a daft track, but I really like it.  Another fabulous singalong song.

Track 10: S Club 7 – You’re My Number One

Nice retro-tinged tune, but the vocals are pretty annoying.

Track 11: Aqua – Cartoon Heroes

Good atmosphere to the track – this one’s sort of interesting, and I find I quite like it.

Track 12: Vengaboys – Shalala Lala

Originally a Danish glam rock track from the early ’70s, fact fans!  Love that slightly chilled-out electro hook.

Track 13: Daphne & Celeste – Ooh Stick You

Hilariously awful then, hilariously awful now!  Classic Pop magazine tells me these two are making a comeback as well, if you can believe that!

Track 14: Atomic Kitten – See Ya

Generic, squeaky pop – pretty boring track.

Track 15: Madison Avenue – Don’t Call Me Baby

I’ve always quite liked this one – it’s got a nice edge and is very danceable.

Track 16: Martine McCutcheon – Love Me

Quite a nice tune, but it’s pretty forgettable.

Track 17: Steps – Say You’ll Be Mine

Solid pop track from Steps – there’s a nice atmosphere to this one.

Track 18: Honeyz – Won’t Take It Lying Down

Bit more interesting and edgy than previous Honeyz songs on these compilations – quite like this track.

Track 19: Precious – Rewind

Another atmospheric track with great instrumentals.  Good stuff.

Track 20: Montell Jordan – Get It On Tonite

Dull tune, but it’s got an okay beat.

Track 21: Fierce – Sweet Love 2K

Fairly pointless cover of the Anita Baker track.  Too slow for me, though the tune’s quite pretty.

Track 22: Boyzone – Every Day I Love You

Slow, saccharine, generic ballad.  Not keen on this one.

Track 23: Chicane and Bryan Adams – Don’t Give Up

Dance track, which sounds a bit odd with Bryan Adams’ vocals.  It’s not very interesting otherwise.

Track 24: Fragma – Toca’s Miracle

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

Quite liked it at the time, find the chorus annoying now.

Track 25: Moloko – The Time Is Now

I’ve always liked this one – great atmosphere.

Track 26: Artful Dodger and Craig David – Re-Rewind (The Crowd Say Bo Selecta)

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Craig David.  This track’s a bit of a legendary one though, inspiring the Bo Selecta! TV series, so they couldn’t really have left it out.  It’s a bit repetitive for me, but it is a classic.

Track 27: DJ Luck & MC Neat – A Little Bit Of Luck

Interesting vocals, but it’s pretty repetitive.

Track 28: Sisqó – Thong Song

Awkward then, awkward and dated now.  Let’s gloss over this one.

Track 29: Jamelia and Beenie Man – Money

Nice epic operatic-style intro, good atmosphere.  Great track.

Track 30: Kelis – Caught Out There

Oh, it’s this one!  I always assumed it was called I Hate You So Much Right Now.  The verses are pretty dull, but it is nice and danceable.

Track 31: Artful Dodger and Romina Johnson – Movin’ Too Fast

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Artful Dodger.  Really, the Now! compilers should just have gone with Re-Rewind for Artful Dodger and Craig David and saved themselves a couple of slots (especially as the number of tracks on these compilations is starting to get a bit bloated now).

I like the nice tinkly instrumentals, but the vocals are fairly boring.

Track 32: Nu Generation – In Your Arms (Rescue Me)

I like the Rescue Me sample, but the rest of the stuff in this track is pretty poor – it’s largely a lot of strange special effects.

Track 33: Basement Jaxx – Bingo Bango

Oh, it’s this one!  Great Latin-tinged instrumental hook, quite like this track – very danceable.

Track 34: ATB – Killer 2000

Cover of the Adamski and Seal classic that samples bits of the original.  Utterly pointless – there’s nothing new here.

Track 35: Sash! – Adelante

Pretty tune on this dance track, but it’s fairly repetitive, and some of the instrumentals are a bit headache-inducing.

Track 36: Watergate – Heart Of Asia

Quite like the Eastern-inspired synthy bits – nice tune.

Track 37: Progress and The Boy Wunda – Everybody

Love that Papa Don’t Preach sample – the rest of the track is pretty uninspired though.

Track 38: Lock ‘N’ Load – Blow Ya Mind

No melody, irritating screechy noise-based lines.  Not keen.

Track 39: Precocious Brats and Kevin & Perry – Big Girl

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

Bit of a messy mishmash of ’60s-inspired instrumentals and irritating vocal samples from Harry Enfield and Kathy Burke’s comedy characters.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 40: The Tamperer and Maya – Hammer To The Heart

Quite like the electro line on this one – shame the vocals are irritating and generic.

Track 41: Cuban Boys – C vs I

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

Oh, it’s this one.  I hadn’t thought about this track for a long time, but the yodeling bit is still just as annoying as it was back in the day, even if it did spawn the singing hamster toy craze and provide great hilarity via novelty Christmas gifts for a couple of years.

Track 42: Robbie Williams – It’s Only Us

Nice tune, still sort of hanging off the back of Britpop.  Great singalong chorus too.

Track 43: Blink-182 – All The Small Things

Absolute classic piece of pop-punk.  I remember dancing to this on Millennium Eve – great times.

Track 44: Moby – Natural Blues

Great tune, but it’s a little repetitive for me.

Track 45: John Lennon – Imagine

This track periodically re-enters the charts, and has probably done so a good dozen times since Lennon’s death in 1980.  Surprisingly, this is the first time the Now! compilers have picked it up though.  It’s a classic tune – there’s not much else to say about it.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #44

Day 44, and Now! #44, which was released on 22nd November 1999.

November 1999
This is how the world looked in November 1999 (actually December, you know the drill). Apologies for the poor quality photo, but these are dodgy old TIF scans from the early ’00s! I need to dig out the originals and re-scan them. Technology marches on, and so does my sense of style (I got rid of that shapeless gold velvet thing a LONG time ago).  My parents had the cushions of those screamingly ’70s chairs re-covered in the ’00s, and they’re still in use.

Let’s see what was in the charts as we approached the end of the millennium.

Now! That's What I Call Music #44
Track 1: Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time

Loved it at the time, bought the single.  It’s pretty overplayed these days, but I still have a bit of a soft spot for it.

Track 2: Shania Twain – That Don’t Impress Me Much

I’ve always quite liked this one, and I love her daft leopard-print outfit in the video.

Track 3: Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…)

The turn-of-the-millennium Latin pop craze was in full swing by this point, and so songs like this were huge.  I’ve always loved this one – the lyrics are great, and it’s really danceable.  I know it’s early on, but I’m going to make this my top wedding disco track of today.

Track 4: Eiffel 65 – Blue (Da Ba Dee)

I absolutely adored this one at the time, mainly because people were constantly singing it at me (I had, and still have in storage, a bright blue chenille cardigan that I wore constantly between 1998 and 2004 – you can see it in the picture for the Now! #40 review).  I still love the tune and the lyrics – great song.

Track 5: Steps – Tragedy

Daft, epic cover of the Bee Gees classic.  I can’t not mention the ludicrous video, which I must have seen a hundred times back in the day.

Track 6: Geri Halliwell – Mi Chico Latino

Geri Halliwell hopping on board with the Latin craze.  I quite like this tune, and I always appreciate a bit of Spanish guitar.

Track 7: Robbie Williams – She’s The One

I shouldn’t like this ballad (and apparently Robbie Williams didn’t like it himself for quite a number of years), but I do actually really like the tune.  Not sure why, as it’s the kind of thing I’d normally find depressing.

Track 8: Ronan Keating – When You Say Nothing At All

Cover of the country song.  I actually prefer this version, mainly ’cause it’s not country, but it’s still pretty cheesy and pedestrian.

Track 9: Melanie C – Northern Star

I had the Northern Star album and pretty much every track on it was a cracker – Melanie C’s solo stuff was far and away the best out of all the Spice Girls, and not just because she had the best voice.  This track is beautiful and melancholy, with an absolutely gorgeous atmosphere.

Track 10: Sixpence None The Richer – Kiss Me

The tune’s pleasant enough, but I find the theme a bit twee and irritating.

Track 11: Texas – Summer Son

Really like this one – it’s one of my favourite Texas tracks.  Love the instrumentals, love the edgy atmosphere to the song.

Track 12: Moloko – Sing It Back

Great upbeat tune – I’ve always quite liked this track.  Happily nodding along.

Track 13: Bob Marley & The Wailers and Funkstar De Luxe – Sun Is Shining

Remix of the 1971 track that adds a slightly messy dance beat over the top.  Still a great tune though.

Track 14: Diana Ross – Not Over You Yet

Dance track with a good atmosphere and interesting instrumentals.  Quite like this one.

Track 15: Tina Turner – When The Heartache Is Over

I’ve always quite liked this tune, though it mainly reminds me of an episode of Ally McBeal in which Tina Turner featured at the time.

Track 16: Jamiroquai – Canned Heat

Really like this tune – one of my favourite Jamiroquai tracks – though before I became aware of the title, I always misheard the lyric as ‘candy in my heels‘ rather than ‘canned heat in my heels‘.

Track 17: Tom Jones and The Cardigans – Burning Down The House

I owned and loved the Reload duet album that Tom Jones did, and this was probably one of the best tracks on it.  Great tune, wonderful singalong chorus, excellent stuff.

Track 18: Bran Van 3000 – Drinking In LA

Always really liked this one, to the extent that on the one single occasion in my life I have gone drinking in LA (at LAX airport in 2012 while waiting for a connection) I made sure to photograph the moment just so I could caption it appropriately on Facebook.

Track 19: Supergrass – Moving

I find this one a bit depressing – it’s just kind of slow and drone-y.

Track 20: Phil Collins – You’ll Be In My Heart

Boring tune, and I don’t like the country-tinged guitar.

Track 21: R Kelly – If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time

Slow, irritating ballad.  Not my thing.

Track 22: Geri Halliwell – Lift Me Up

Repeated artist alert!  This track’s a bit twee and cheesy, so really I think the Now! compilers should have just gone with Mi Chico Latino for this compilation.

Track 23: Tin Tin Out and Emma Bunton – What I Am

We’re certainly getting a lot of Spice Girls solo stuff at the moment.  This one is a fairly uninspired cover of the Edie Brickell & New Bohemians track from 1988.  It’s okay to nod along to.

Track 24: Martine McCutcheon – I’ve Got You

Boring ballad, depressing tune.  Not keen.

Track 25: Backstreet Boys – Larger Than Life

The track’s a great danceable song (especially that epic guitar solo!), and I always liked the Y2K-themed video.

Track 26: Jordan Knight – Give It To You

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

Interesting fairground-y instrumental during the intro, and there’s a good atmosphere to this one.  There’s a lot going on, but I quite like it.

Track 27: Gabrielle – Sunshine

Nice tune, but it’s a little slow for me.

Track 28: Honeyz – Never Let You Down

Slow, dull ballad, and I don’t like those.

Track 29: S Club 7 – S Club Party

Another irritating track from S Club 7, though there are some good singalong hooks if you’re in the right mood (approximately six or seven pints should do it).

Track 30: Lolly – Mickey

Pointless cover of the Toni Basil classic, with the only change being the more muddy and electro instrumentals.  Unlike with most pointless ’90s covers, I was actually aware of the original when this one came out, and I remember being totally confused about why someone would release a cover that was so similar, and why anyone would buy it (I did have a friend who actually bought it, though I won’t name and shame!).

Track 31: Ann Lee – 2 Times

Pretty, feelgood, interesting track – I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 32: Vengaboys – We’re Going To Ibiza!

It’s a fairly typical daft Vengaboys track, with the added major irritation that they don’t know how to pronounce ‘Ibiza’, so the lyric sounds like ‘whoa – we’re going to eat pizza‘.  Which is definitely something to get excited about, but maybe not to the point of releasing a song.

Track 33: Enrique Iglesias – Bailamos

Loved it at the time, requested an Enrique Iglesias album for Christmas off the back of loving this track (and then it turned out to be an earlier album that didn’t have this track on it.  Oh well).  Still a great tune.

Track 34: Shaft – (Mucho Mambo) Sway

Oh, it’s this one!  Great atmosphere, great Latin beat.  Good stuff.

Track 35: ATB – Don’t Stop!

ATB using a similar irritating instrumental hook to the one on their last track, 9PM (Till I Come).  Bored already.

Track 36: DJ Jean – The Launch

Annoying, repetitive hook.  Not keen.

Track 37: Groove Armada and Gram’ma Funk – I See You Baby [Fatboy Slim Radio Edit]

Classic dance track, great vocal hook.

Track 38: Wamdue Project – King Of My Castle

I’ve always found this one pretty interesting, mainly due to the utterly incomprehensible lyrics (she’s doing what with her trestle?).  Good tune too.

Track 39: Alice Deejay – Back In My Life

Irritating, repetitive vocals, generic dance backing track.  Never really liked this one.

Track 40: Alena – Turn It Around

Boring dance track, nothing good about it.

Track 41: Tina Cousins – Angel

Pretty vocals, but the track is otherwise very uninspired.

Track 42: Liquid Child – Diving Faces

The vocal sample is awful, but I quite like the electro hooks.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #43

Day 43 takes us to 19th July 1999 with the Now! compilations.

July 1999
This is the way the world looked in July 1999 (we’re still in the South of France, but this time it actually matches the release month). The weather was hot, the sea was beautiful, and I wish I had more opportunity to go back these days.

On with the summer hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #43
Track 1: Martine McCutcheon – Perfect Moment

Found it slow, dull and irritating at the time, and guess what?  I still do now.  I quite like Martine McCutcheon as an actor and presenter, but I’m not keen on her music.

Track 2: Boyzone – You Needed Me

So slow and saccharine it’s depressing.  Really dislike this one.

Track 3: Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way

Loved it at the time and bought the single.  It’s a bit cheesy for me nowadays, but I still quite like the tune.

Track 4: Shanks & Bigfoot – Sweet Like Chocolate

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

Annoyed by the tune then, annoyed by the tune now.  Quite like the video though.

Track 5: S Club 7 – Bring It All Back

Highly irritating tune.  I was never much of an S Club fan.

Track 6: Vengaboys – Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom

Another daft theme from the Vengaboys.  Great tune though.

Track 7: ATB – 9PM (Till I Come)

I remember having a discussion on the way home from school with my mate Laura about this track.  She found it irritating because the vocal sample was ‘till I come‘ but the word ‘9PM’ was never spoken.  I suggested that maybe the instrumental hook was meant to represent ‘9PM’, and so for a brief while we had an in-joke of singing the tune to this track in lieu of saying ‘9PM’.  I guess it must have amused us at the time.

Despite all that, the tune’s not much to write home about, and I find the whole thing pretty dull nowadays.

Track 8: Phats & Small – Turn Around

Oh, it’s this one!  I’ve always quite liked this feelgood track – it’s very danceable.

Track 9: Basement Jaxx – Red Alert

Really like that hook, but could do without the messy stop-start intro.

Track 10: Dina Carroll – Without Love

Generic dance beat, boring tune, headache-inducing overblown vocals on the chorus.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 11: Geri Halliwell – Look At Me

Geri Halliwell’s post-Spice Girls solo debut.  It’s alright (the video‘s better than the song) but she did much more interesting tracks later on.

Track 12: Adam Rickitt – I Breathe Again

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

It’s another one that reminds me of my mate Laura, as she had a lot of posters of Adam Rickitt.  I actually quite like the song – there’s a nice classic pop aspect to it.

Track 13: Lolly – Viva La Radio

Appalling, painfully high-pitched song with irritating lyrics, irritating verses, messy squeaky instrumentals, and infuriating spoken interjections.  Surprisingly, the tune on the chorus is actually okay.  If someone sampled that it might be quite good.

Track 14: Cartoons – Doodah

Daft dance version of the traditional children’s song.  There’s actually something I find quite endearing about it.

Track 15: Precious – Say It Again

This is one of those late ’90s tracks that sounds more like it came from the early ’90s.  It’s got a nice beat, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 16: Honeyz – Love Of A Lifetime

Pretty instrumentals, but the vocal line is very generic.

Track 17: 911 – Private Number

Cheesy, slow cover of the ’60s hit.  Not hugely keen on this.

Track 18: Culture Club – Your Kisses Are Charity

Another reggae-tinged song from Culture Club’s late ’90s era.  Nice tune, quite like it.

Track 19: Beverley Knight – Greatest Day

Not feeling this one – the tune is too messy for me.

Track 20: Melanie B – Word Up

Upbeat cover of the Cameo classic.  It doesn’t live up to the original, but I like the added harmonisation on the vocals.

Track 21: Fierce – Dayz Like That

The atmosphere’s okay, but on the whole it’s pretty bland and tuneless.

Track 22: Tina Cousins – Forever

Lovely tune on the vocals (when they’re not so high in the mix that they make my hearing aids squawk with feedback), but the backing track’s very generic.

Track 23: Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

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

And it’s yet another one that reminds me of my mate Laura, due to many hours in art class with her telling me how this song sounded like God speaking.  I’ve never thought it sounded like God, but I do like the spoken word monologue throughout the track.

Track 24: Texas – In Our Lifetime

Pleasant tune, but nothing special.

Track 25: New Radicals – You Get What You Give

Great singalong chorus, but I find the tune a bit repetitive.

Track 26: Supergrass – Pumping On Your Stereo

I’m normally not keen on Supergrass, but I do like this one – great vocal hook, and a bit of a ’60s throwback sound, which is no bad thing.

Track 27: Madness – Lovestruck

A welcome return to the charts for the recently-reformed Madness, with a song that’s just as jaunty as their stuff the early ’80s, with a bit of added edgy atmosphere.  Great track, really like this one.

Track 28: The Wiseguys – Ooh La La

Oh, it’s this one.  It’s okay, but there’s a good reason I hadn’t thought about it for many years – there’s just no melody, and the interesting spoken word hook isn’t enough to make up for that.

Track 29: The Chemical Brothers – Hey Boy Hey Girl

It’s too repetitive for me, but I do like the ‘superstar DJ‘ vocal sample.

Track 30: Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now

Loved it at the time, bought the single.  Still really like it now – great tune, anthemic hook.

Track 31: Chicane and Maire Brennan – Saltwater

Lovely vocals from Maire Brennan (including a bit of a reprise from Theme From Harry’s Game), contributing to a great dance track.

Track 32: Bryan Adams – Cloud Number Nine

I remember this being reviewed on the Live & Kicking episode where Zoë Ball and Jamie Theakston were leaving the show, and them being disappointed that it hadn’t come out a few years earlier so they could have used it as the theme tune for their ‘Cloud Nine’ feature.  Strange what you remember.

Anyway, I quite like the track – more than I did at the time, anyway.

Track 33: Blur – Coffee And TV

Great tune, awesome singalong chorus.  Everybody raves about the video, but I refuse to watch it ’cause it makes me sad.

Track 34: Cast – Beat Mama

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

Better than most Cast tracks – at least it’s got a good upbeat tempo and chant-along chorus, even if the tune’s a bit uninspired.

Track 35: Stereophonics – Pick A Part That’s New

It’s another Stereophonics track where I find the vocals too droning and depressing.  I’m sure they did do better ones.

Track 36: Gomez – Bring It On

Interesting harmonisation on the intro, but after that it gets a bit messy for my liking.

Track 37: Semisonic – Secret Smile

Nice tune, nice atmosphere, great lyrics.  Really quite like this one.

Track 38: James – I Know What I’m Here For

Pleasant tune, great instrumentals.  Nice track.

Track 39: Yomanda – Synth And Strings

I guess it does what it says on the tin, but it’s not the nice melodious track you might expect from a name like that – it sounds quite nasty, to be honest.

Track 40: DJ Jurgen and Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone

Utterly depressing repetitive vocal hook – never been keen on this.

Track 41: Masters At Work and India – To Be In Love

There’s quite a nice ’70s vibe to this one, but I’m not loving the tune.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #39

Day 39, and Now! #39 was released on 6th April 1998.

April 1998
This is the way the world looked in April 1998 – warm enough for a barbecue, even in Scotland (not dissimilar to the late April of twenty years later). Holiday caravans haven’t changed much, but I can’t remember the last time I had toasted marshmallows (it’s difficult to find ones that are gelatine-free).

Let’s see what was on the radio twenty years ago this spring.

Now! That's What I Call Music #39
Track 1: All Saints – Never Ever

Classic track, great theme, great lyrics, great video.  All Saints never bettered this.

Track 2: Lighthouse Family – High

My favourite Lighthouse Family track – lovely tune.

Track 3: Janet Jackson – Together Again

Oh, it’s this one.  The tune’s okay, but I’ve always found this track a bit so-so.

Track 4: Spice Girls – Stop

This was never my favourite Spice Girls song – I find the tune pretty irritating.

Fun fact: this was the first of their songs not to go straight in at number one – it only reached number two.

Track 5: Natalie Imbruglia – Torn

I still consider this a classic – it’s a gorgeous tune, but it is a bit overplayed nowadays.

Fun fact: this was actually the fourth version of the song, but it’s the one most people know.

Track 6: Billie Myers – Kiss The Rain

Gorgeous tune, really interesting vocals.  Great stuff.

Track 7: Robbie Williams – Angels

Probably Robbie Williams’ most classic track.  It’s a gorgeous ballad, but again it suffers a bit from being overplayed.

Track 8: Various Artists – Perfect Day

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause.

This was everywhere at the time – first as the BBC Music advert and then as the official Children In Need track for 1997.  Gorgeous, epic semi-cover (because Lou Reed was involved, alongside pretty much everybody else!) of the 1972 classic.

Track 9: Boyzone – Baby Can I Hold You

Pointless ’90s cover of the Tracy Chapman song.

Obligatory ‘I hate pointless ’90s covers’ rant: I’m still really annoyed that it took me nearly two decades to realise that it WAS originally a Tracy Chapman song.

Track 10: Tin Tin Out and Shelley Nelson – Here’s Where The Story Ends

Electronic cover of the Sundays song.  It’s fairly uninspired.

Track 11: Space and Cerys Matthews – The Ballad Of Tom Jones

Loved it then, love it now!  Hilarious theme, great track.

Track 12: Texas – Insane

Great atmosphere – really like this one.

Track 13: Hanson – Weird

Loved it at the time, but only because I was a huge Hanson fan.  Because I was the only one of my mates with cable TV at this point, I remember having to sit in front of The Box channel (‘music television YOU control!’ – I’ve discussed this before) for hours, waiting for the video to come on so I could tape it off the TV and give the VHS to my friend who was an even bigger Hanson fan.  Ah, 20th century technology.

But yeah, anyway, I find the song pretty irritating now.

Track 14: LeAnn Rimes – How Do I Live

Hated it then, still hate it now.  Can’t stand the tune, don’t like the style, just not my cup of tea in the slightest.

Track 15: Shania Twain – You’re Still The One

Again, not my thing.  I don’t like country music, especially not country music ballads.

Track 16: Sheryl Crow – Tomorrow Never Dies

I do love a James Bond theme, and this is no exception.  Great, epic track.

Track 17: Radiohead – No Surprises

Another lovely, melancholy tune from Radiohead.  Great stuff.

Track 18: The Verve – Lucky Man

I’ve never been hugely keen on the droning style of Britpop vocals, and it takes a good song to mitigate them.  This is not quite a good enough song in that respect, although the tune’s okay.

Track 19: Pulp – This Is Hardcore

Great epic atmosphere, lovely instrumentals.  Good stuff.

Track 20: Robbie Williams – Let Me Entertain You

Repeated artist alert!  I’m shaking my head in disapproval, Now! compilers.

However, given that this is the best, most epic, most anthemic track that Robbie Williams ever did, I suppose I can forgive them just this once.

Track 21: Catatonia – Mulder And Scully

Great track – love the theme, love the tune.

Track 22: Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha [Norman Cook Remix]

A classic!  Endlessly danceable, great singalong track.  I’m going to make this one today’s top ‘wedding disco’ song.

Track 23: Run DMC and Jason Nevins – It’s Like That

House style re-working of the 1983 track.  This was everywhere at the time, and the video was great.

Track 24: Wildchild – Renegade Master ’98

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

We already had the original on Now! #32, and this version’s really not that different (other than some additional messy sampling), so I am side-eyeing a bit at its inclusion.

Track 25: Bamboo – Bamboogie

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

Oh, it’s this one.  Not the biggest fan of this one, as the lines are pretty messy, but I do like that KC & The Sunshine Band sample.

Track 26: Ultra Naté – Found A Cure

Quite like the guitar riff on the intro of this one, and the vocals are great too.  Good track.

Track 27: Sash! – La Primavera

Great feelgood dance tune, always liked this one.

Track 28: Aqua – Barbie Girl

Great track!  Brilliant theme, brilliant pop tune.  I bought the single of this while on a school trip to France, just because we heard it absolutely everywhere we went.

Track 29: Steps – 5, 6, 7, 8

See, this is the kind of corny faux-line-dance track I can get behind.  Steps were just at the right level of ‘not taking themselves too seriously’ that was perfect for late ’90s pop.

Track 30: Louise – Let’s Go Round Again

Cover of the Average White Band track.  I should find the tune annoying, but I actually quite like it.

Track 31: Chumbawamba – Amnesia

I’ve always loved this follow-up to Tubthumping – it’s another great, danceable track.

Track 32: Camisra – Let Me Show You

Highly irritating vocals, headache-inducing intro, but the main hook is quite pleasant.

Track 33: DJ Quicksilver – Planet Love

The tune’s okay, but the vocal samples are pretty generic.

Track 34: Rest Assured – Treat Infamy

There’s a bit too much going on in this track, but there is quite a soothing atmosphere – right up until the Bitter Sweet Symphony sample kicks in.  Just why?

Track 35: Warren G and Sissel – Prince Igor

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

Really like the instrumentals and the atmosphere, and the rap’s okay as well, but nothing compared to that lovely operatic chorus!  Quite like this one, but it is a bit of an odd mix.

Track 36: Lutricia McNeal – Ain’t That Just The Way

The tune is a little annoying, but otherwise there’s something quite pleasant and feelgood about this track.

Track 37: Prince Buster – Whine And Grine

Reggae track with a bit of a dull tune and an annoying theme.  Not hugely keen on this one.

Track 38: The All Seeing I – The Beat Goes On

Liked it at the time, find it a bit repetitive now.

Track 39: Goldie – Believe

Irritating, messy track – there’s just far too much going on.

Track 40: Backstreet Boys – All I Have To Give

It’s another painfully saccharine track from the Backstreet Boys.  I know they did do ones that were actually quite good, but we’ve not had any on these Now! compilations so far.

Track 41: Vanilla – No Way No Way

Loved it at the time (especially the Muppets-esque ‘mahna mahna’ bit), find the vocals pretty annoying nowadays.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #38

Day 38 takes us to 17th November 1997 with our Now! compilation marathon.

November 1997
This was how the world looked in November 1997 (actually September – it was another autumn where we didn’t really take any photos). I still have that jumper – it’s had a few recent reprieves from wardrobe culls!

Let’s see what was tearing up the charts at the time.

Now! That's What I Call Music #38
Track 1: Chumbawamba – Tubthumping

The ultimate in singalong classics, and a feature of every school disco and a lot of post-school discos in subsequent years.  Brilliant track.  Also, this album version that I’ve found on Spotify has a Brassed Off sample at the start, which makes it even better.

Track 2: Spice Girls – Spice Up Your Life

One of my favourites from the Spice Girls – really like this upbeat, danceable song.

Track 3: Hanson – Where’s The Love

Considering that I played Hanson’s Middle Of Nowhere album non-stop for about a year, the fact that I couldn’t remember this song shows you how forgettable it is.  I sort of remember it now I’m listening to it again, but I doubt it’ll stick in my brain long.

Track 4: Boyzone – Picture Of You

I’ve never really liked this one – the tune has always annoyed me.

Track 5: Backstreet Boys – As Long As You Love Me

It should be too saccharine for me, but I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for it, largely because I always liked the video.

Track 6: Eternal – Angel Of Mine

Absolutely beautiful tune – love this one.

Fun fact: American singer Monica did a completely pointless cover of this that sounds pretty much identical, which was a huge hit in the US, so that’s the version that most people across the pond know.

Track 7: Lighthouse Family – Raincloud

Great, interesting instrumentals, but the tune on the vocals is a bit dull.

Track 8: Janet Jackson – Got ‘Til It’s Gone

Love that Big Yellow Taxi sample…but in all honesty, nowadays it just makes me want to listen to Big Yellow Taxi instead.  I remember my dad getting similarly frustrated whenever it came on the radio at the time, ’cause you can’t improve on the original Joni Mitchell track.

Track 9: The Brand New Heavies – You’ve Got A Friend

Dull cover of the Carole King song (which was pretty dull to begin with) with an irritating funk bit over the top.

Track 10: All Saints – I Know Where It’s At

I quite like most of All Saints’ stuff, but this one’s got an annoying tune.  Not keen.

Track 11: Louise – Arms Around The World

Interesting Eastern-tinged instrumentals in the intro, and a nice synth riff running through the verses.  Shame the vocals are so generic.

Track 12: Gala – Freed From Desire

It’s not the kind of thing I normally like, but I’ve always quite enjoyed this one – I like the atmosphere.

Track 13: Sash! and La Trec – Stay

Great electro lines, but the vocals are a bit overblown.

Track 14: Dario G – Sunchyme

Love this electro track – lovely feelgood tune.  Only just realised right now that the sample is Life In A Northern Town – but it’s done really well, so I won’t moan.

Track 15: Tina Moore – Never Gonna Let You Go

Horrendous nails-down-a-blackboard vocal opening!  Then the rest of the track is repetitive and irritating.  Not keen at all.

Track 16: Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing

We’ve had this one already, on Now! #9.  I’m keeping an eye on you, Now! compilers!  I’m guessing this was back in the charts due to The Full Monty.

As ever, see the link for my review.

Track 17: N-Trance and Rod Stewart – Da Ya Think I’m Sexy

Slightly messy semi-cover of the 1978 classic.  There are far too many vocal lines going on, but somehow it works.

Track 18: LL Cool J – Phenomenon

Good head-nodder, quite like this one.

Track 19: 911 – Party People…Friday Night

I’ve always quite liked this one, if only for the jaunty days-of-the-week bit in the chorus (I have a similar soft spot for 7 Days by Craig David, but I’m sure we’ll get to that later).

Track 20: Ricky Martin – María

I started studying Spanish the year after this, so I was a huge fan of Ricky Martin and had all his albums.  This one is a great, danceable, Latin-flavoured track, an early indicator of the Latin pop craze that would characterise the turn of the millennium.

Speaking of which…

Track 21: Bellini – Samba De Janeiro

…here’s another.  Absolutely classic trumpet line, great dance track.

Track 22: DJ Quicksilver – Free

Oh, it’s this one!  Really like the electro lines on this – great tune.

Track 23: Wet Wet Wet – Yesterday

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

Utterly pointless cover of the Beatles classic.  There is nothing different about this version at all except for an irritating country-tinged twangy guitar instrumental in the middle.

Track 24: George Michael – You Have Been Loved

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

Track 25: The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work

Depressing in a bad way.  I’ve never been keen on this one.

Track 26: Oasis – Stand By Me

This track has a really irritating chord change sequence in the chorus that messes up the time signature in an infuriating way.  It’s been driving me nuts for over twenty years, and as such, I’m not a fan of this song.

Example of a song that messes up the time signature in a nice, pleasant way: Golden Brown by the Stranglers.  I think I’ll go listen to that once this compilation is done.

Track 27: Embrace – All You Good Good People

Nice tune, but I’m not keen on the vocals, as they sound kind of droning.

Track 28: Faithless – Don’t Leave

I really liked this one at the time ’cause I had it on the A Life Less Ordinary soundtrack.  It’s still a good tune.

Track 29: Radiohead – Karma Police

Great tune, but I’m not hugely keen on the theme.

Track 30: Moby – James Bond Theme

I have often said throughout this Now! marathon that I love a James Bond theme.  This is slightly different, as instead of being a new song released for a James Bond film, it’s an electro cover of the main theme.  It’s okay, but you shouldn’t really mess with a classic.

Track 31: PF Project and Ewan McGregor – Choose Life

Dance track with Ewan McGregor’s ‘choose life‘ monologue from Trainspotting over the top of it.  The track itself is pretty awful, so the monologue is the only bit that’s of interest.

Track 32: Robbie Williams – Lazy Days

Annoying dregs-of-Britpop tune.  Not keen on this one.

Track 33: Ash – A Life Less Ordinary

Another one that’s (obviously) off the A Life Less Ordinary soundtrack.  Great chorus, but the verses are pretty boring.

Track 34: Texas – Black Eyed Boy

Great beat, great tune.  One of my favourite Texas tracks.

Track 35: Meredith Brooks – Bitch

Loved it at the time, makes me cringe a bit now, mainly because my friends and I all loved to adapt the lyrics when literally bitching about other girls at school.  Growing up is a good thing.

Track 36: Jon Bon Jovi – Janie, Don’t Take Your Love To Town

Irritating tune, not a fan of this one.

Track 37: Ocean Colour Scene – Better Day

Lovely tune, great atmosphere – a longtime favourite.

Track 38: Cast – I’m So Lonely

Dreary, depressing tune.  Not keen.

Track 39: Conner Reeves – Earthbound

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

The vocals are far too saccharine for me, but the tune’s quite nice.

Track 40: Peter Andre – Lonely

Another slow, cheesy tune.  Blurgh.

Also, while Cast (see above) are so lonely, Peter Andre is just lonely full stop.  I’m pretty sure this was deliberate on the part of the Now! compilers…

Track 41: Boyz II Men – Four Seasons Of Loneliness

…especially now that Boyz II Men have both of them beat by being lonely all year round.  It shouldn’t be a competition, guys!

The piano instrumental on this one’s quite nice, but in general it’s yet another ballad that’s too slow and too saccharine for my liking.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #37

Day 37, and Now! #37, released 14th July 1997.

July 1997
This is how the world looked in July 1997 – and given how long those Hebridean structures have been standing, it’s how the world has looked for quite some time. I loved those leggings at the time, though I’m not quite sure about them now.

Let’s have a listen to some artists who have almost certainly never played live in the Outer Hebrides.

Now! That's What I Call Music #37
Track 1: Hanson – MMMBop

Loved Hanson at the time, as did all my friends – my walls were covered in their posters!  Nowadays I find this one pretty cringeworthy though.

Track 2: Eternal and Bebe Winans – I Wanna Be The Only One

I’ve always quite liked this one – the chorus is great.

Track 3: The Cardigans – Lovefool

A huge favourite!  Loved it then, love it now.  Gorgeous tune.

Track 4: No Doubt – Just A Girl

Another great tune from No Doubt – great beat, great instrumentals.

Track 5: Sash! and Rodriguez – Ecuador

I adored this at the time and played it over and over.  It’s still my favourite Sash! track.

Track 6: No Mercy – Where Do You Go

I’d totally forgotten about this one.  It’s quite a good dance track, through I’m not hugely keen on the chorus reference to ’60s hit Where Do You Go To (My Lovely), which I find to be a super irritating song!

Track 7: Spice Girls – Who Do You Think You Are

This was a double A-side with Mama, and this is undoubtedly the better song in my opinion.  It was the Comic Relief single for 1997, and it had a dance to go with it, which was the absolute best thing a song could have at the time.  Great tune.

Track 8: Ultra Naté – Free

Annoyed by it at the time, still find the chorus a bit irritating now.

Track 9: Rosie Gaines – Closer Than Close

Oh, it’s this one!  The backing track is dull, but there’s something I find quite endearing about the vocals.

Track 10: George Michael – Star People

Quite like the instrumentals, but it’s a boring tune.

Track 11: En Vogue – Don’t Let Go (Love)

Absolutely beautiful song – love this one.

Track 12: Shola Ama – You Might Need Somebody

Originally an ’80s track, but this is the version everybody knows.  I’ve never been that keen on this tune – I don’t like the chorus.

Track 13: Coolio and 40 Thevz – C U When U Get There

I like the sample from Pachelbel’s Canon in D, even when it goes a bit electro and odd.  The rap’s a bit generic, though.

Track 14: Warren G and Ron Isley – Smokin’ Me Out

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

Nice atmosphere on the intro, but I find the rest of the track a bit messy.

Track 15: R Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly

Quite liked it at the time, find it massively overplayed and irritating now.

Track 16: Damage – Wonderful Tonight

Soul-tinged cover of the Eric Clapton classic, generally a bit uninspired.  Not different enough to be worthwhile in my opinion (even if they do change the blonde subject of the song into a brunette!).

Obligatory ‘I hate pointless ’90s covers’ rant: this was the first version of this song I ever heard.  I still can’t believe that.

Track 17: 911 – The Journey

Slow, dull ballad.  Not keen on this one.

Track 18: Boyzone – Isn’t It A Wonder

This one’s far too saccharine for me, I’m afraid.

Track 19: Backstreet Boys – Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)

I suggested this song the other day when Geth and I were in the pub trying to come up with songs that had ‘game‘ in the title for a boardgame-themed playlist.  I wouldn’t actually put it in a playlist, though, ’cause it’s cheesy and irritating.

Track 20: N-Tyce – Hey DJ! (Play That Song)

I quite like the backing track, but the vocals are super annoying.

Track 21: Foxy Brown and Jay-Z – I’ll Be

The rap is good, but there’s not enough of a tune for me.

Track 22: Wet Wet Wet – If I Never See You Again

Slow beat, slightly irritating tune, but at least it’s got a nice classic edge to it.

Track 23: U2 – Staring At The Sun

Nice atmosphere, but again, the tune is slow and dull.

Track 24: The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

Overplayed at the time, irritating now, and of course it’s not helped by that infuriating video.

Track 25: The Seahorses – Love Is The Law

Really like the guitar intro and the melody – great tune.

Track 26: Ocean Colour Scene – Hundred Mile High City

Another rock classic from OCS, with a slightly ’60s tinge about it.  Awesome track.

Track 27: Robbie Williams – Old Before I Die

I like the theme, but I’m not hugely keen on the tune.

Track 28: Cast – Guiding Star

Oh, it’s this one.  I’ve always found the vocal hook super annoying – not a fan.

Track 29: Paul McCartney – Young Boy

Nice upbeat track, like the tune.  Good stuff.

Track 30: Sheryl Crow – A Change Would Do You Good

The ‘change’ here for me is that I actually quite like this one, which is a first for the Sheryl Crow tracks that have been on Now! compilations so far.  Nice beat and atmosphere on the verses.

Track 31: Radiohead – Paranoid Android

Nice tune on the instrumentals, but the vocal line is depressing (and not in a good way).

Track 32: Texas – Halo

Lovely tune, apart from the chorus, which annoys me.

Track 33: Supergrass – Sun Hits The Sky

And this one’s vice versa – irritating, repetitive tune on the verses, but the chorus is all right.

Track 34: James – Waltzing Along

Great track – love the melody on this one, and the atmosphere’s really nice too.

Track 35: Blur – On Your Own

Great beat, interesting instrumentals, but once the vocal is added to the mix it becomes a bit messy.

Track 36: Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Scooby Snacks

I’ve always really liked this one!  Great singalong track.

Track 37: Orbital – The Saint

Electronica cover of the theme tune to The Saint.  It’s as random as it sounds.

Track 38: Brainbug – Nightmare

Great spiky electro dance, really like this one.

Track 39: The Course – Ain’t Nobody

Messy dance cover of the Chaka Khan classic.  It’s pretty atrocious.

Track 40: Todd Terry, Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown – Something Going On

Oh, it’s this one!  Generic beat to start off, but the vocals are quite nice.

Track 41: Diddy – Give Me Love

No, it’s not the hip-hop act – he was known as ‘Puff Daddy’ at the time.  ’90s Diddy was a dance producer, and I reckon he should probably have sued when Puff Daddy decided to change his name.

The track is a pretty generic dance offering, very forgettable.