This was released back in February and was a fairly frequent earworm for me in the early spring, but I’ve not heard it in months so I’m a bit surprised the Now! compilers have held it over for this compilation. It’s another one that annoys me now.
Track 7: Meduza and Goodboys – Piece Of Your Heart
I still quite like this tune! (I’m also endlessly confused by the lyric ‘I’m in Toronto and I got this view/But I might as well be in a hotel room’ – if he’s visiting Toronto, and he’s not in a hotel room, then where is he? Staying with a friend who has a really good view? Why is this not explained in the song?)
Track 10: Mark Ronson and Camila Cabello – Find U Again
I’m still gutted that, other than this track and a brief appearance by Catfish & The Bottlemen, there has been absolutely no rock music in the charts in 2019. I’m really hoping this trend reverses itself at some point during the 2020s!
I can’t stand this one. It’s way too saccharine for me, and the lyrics contain James Arthur’s favourite ‘romantic trope’ about holding girls’ hair back while they vomit due to overconsumption of alcohol. I have very little patience for that kind of message.
It’s another straightforward cover – Taron Egerton’s voice is sort of similar but not identical to Elton’s, which gives it a slight uncanny valley feel.
Track 44: Himesh Patel – Yesterday
Here’s another soundtrack song – this one is from the soundtrack to Yesterday, which got to number 40 in the album chart.
Like the Elton covers, this is arranged pretty identically to the Beatles original, which, as I understand it from reading about the film’s plot, is to be expected.
Track 45: Grandmaster Flash and Grandmaster Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It)
We’ve already had this track on Now! #3…because the Now! compilers are doing exactly the same thing as they did on the last compilation, and so the last few tracks are all bonus tracks that originally appeared on the third release back in 1984! Now! #3 is also being re-released today, on CD for the first time. I really need to start picking up these re-releases again – I got Now! #1 on CD last summer but haven’t bought Now! #2 yet.
Because the Now! company was posting Duran Duran pictures in order to tease the re-release on social media, I was hopeful that they’d include The Reflex as a bonus track, but sadly there was no love for it this time round – I’ll just have to enjoy the original White Lines (famously a DD cover a decade later) instead!
It’s been a while since I actually did a New Hits Friday post. August, I think? Anyway, here’s a giant catchup of all the hits that have entered the UK Top 40 for the first time in the intervening period. I’ll try not to leave it so long in the future!
Hardy Caprio and One Acen – Best Life
I reviewed this one for Now! #101. Still a highly annoying earworm, made worse by the fact that I’ve really grown to hate the idiom ‘living one’s best life’ this year.
The video is the typical tasteless ‘look at how rich I am’ video beloved of R&B stars, all poolsides and girls in bikinis and helicopters and wasting champagne by pouring it everywhere. It matches the smug lyrics in that respect.
Travis Scott and Frank Ocean – Carousel
No melody whatsoever; incredibly, frustratingly dull. Can’t even be called music in my opinion.
There’s no video for this one yet.
Travis Scott – Stargazing
A bit slow, and the tune’s very dull. Lots of jarring noise in the background too. I guess the plus point is that the lyrics are quite nice.
Again, there’s no video yet. I don’t think Travis Scott is keen on making them!
The video is full of glitter and fabulousness – I highly approve.
Pinkfong – Baby Shark
Daft viral video that’s in the charts because of the new video rules. It’s ridiculous, and also the best thing in the Top 40 at the moment.
The video has small kids in, obviously, and so I find it to be of little interest – it’s the song that makes it.
Freya Ridings – Lost Without You
Pretty voice, but the tune’s very generic and it’s far too slow for me. Advert music, basically.
The video is very floaty and ethereal, with lots of shots of the singer’s hair blowing about all over the place. Quite relaxing to watch.
BTS and Nicki Minaj – Idol
Good upbeat bit of K-Pop – nice to hear something different in the charts! Almost beats Baby Shark. Almost, but NOT QUITE. And for once, the rap (courtesy of Nicki Minaj) actually works quite well with this song.
The video is super colourful and manic! Good stuff.
AJ Tracey – Lo(v/s)er
Lots of out-of-key clanging noises, and an uninspired rap over the top. Bad Spanish too – if you’re talking about a girl, it’s ‘I love a pretty Latina’, not ‘I love a pretty Latino’. (The lyrics online say ‘Latina’ but it definitely sounds like ‘Latino’!) Very repetitive, not keen.
The video is another smug, tasteless montage of bikini-clad girls, poolsides, and ostentatious jewellery, with some guns ‘n’ drugs for good measure.
Bazzi and Camila Cabello – Beautiful
I like the swirly instrumentals, but it’s very cheesy and too slow for my liking.
The video starts off very literally with Camila showing up to a party in an angel costume, and then turns into a full-blown Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet homage.
Dean Lewis – Be Alright
Again, see Now! #101, though I’ll point out additionally that this is a very annoying and incessant earworm!
The video is lots of badly lit shots of a very artfully decorated house that makes me feel bad about my own house.
LSD – Thunderclouds
Another one on Now! #101!
The video is daft and colourful with a flying campervan. Big fan of this one!
Eminem – Fall
Good beat, and I quite like the atmosphere.
The video is all about Eminem getting mardy about bad online reviews, so there’s a lot of arty shots of phones and tablets emitting black smoke monsters, which proceed to chase him around a deserted building like in a horror film. I like the beard, though, it suits him.
Eminem and Joyner Lucas – Lucky You
Another great, epic atmosphere – nice and eerie and looming.
The video is grim-looking and apocalyptic, but considerably enlivened by a comedic interlude halfway through.
Eminem – The Ringer
This one, on the other hand, is really dull. No tune in the background, super repetitive. It also charted the highest. I will never understand people in this century.
There’s no video yet.
Machine Gun Kelly – Rap Devil
Apparently a diss track about Eminem – Scott Mills could only play eight seconds of it on the Official Chart Show. Dull, repetitive, and I’m not into the drama. It goes on for so long that it just gets a bit awkward.
The video is just Machine Gun Kelly rapping the track and looking all tough with a shovel. Nothing interesting here.
Silk City, Diplo, Mark Ronson and Dua Lipa – Electricity
The video is all about Dua Lipa dancing around a New York apartment block with her neighbours during a heatwave, which doesn’t seem like the most efficient way to keep cool. I like the cameos from the other artists though.
Kanye West, Lil’ Pump and Adele Givens – I Love It
Scott could only play seven seconds of this one. People today listen to the most disgusting music. #getoffmylawn
Update after listening to the clean version: boring, repetitive, nothing interesting going on.
The video features a lot of bizarre costumes, but the song is so gross that it’s best listened to on mute.
Sigala, Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor and French Montana – Just Got Paid
Another one on Now! #101. Just want to add a seasonal note that I love those cash register noises – they’re very I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day!
The video is a nice colourful pop affair with lots of dancing in launderettes. Good stuff.
David Guetta, Jason Derulo, Nicki Minaj and Willy William – Goodbye
Utterly appalling interpolation of Andrea Bocelli’s Time To Say Goodbye. The rest of the track is just a jarring, crackly and awful mishmash of styles, like three different songs layered on top of each other.
The video tells a slightly confusing story in which Jason Derulo appears to be sneaking off after a one-night stand in a London hotel room, though not before pausing to sing a song to the camera. Charming!
Mumford & Sons – Guiding Light
I’m not the biggest fan of Mumford & Sons’ brand of soft-folk-rock, and I find this one pretty dull.
The video is equally boring – just black and white performance footage. Not a fan!
I like the colours and costumes in the video – it’s very pretty.
Lil’ Wayne and XXXTentacion – Don’t Cry
Not enough melody for me.
There’s no video yet, and again there probably won’t be due to XXXTentacion’s death earlier this year.
Lil’ Wayne and Kendrick Lamar – Mona Lisa
I quite like the atmosphere on the piano intro, but I’m not keen on the rap at all (Scott couldn’t play it on the chart show, which tells you everything you need to know). Except for the Milli Vanilli reference, which is just beautifully random!
Again, there’s no video yet.
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – Shallow
Acoustic song from the A Star Is Born remake. It’s not my kind of thing, but I’m so relieved to hear something different on the chart – it has melody! Actual melody!
The video is just lots of clips from the film, which is perfectly adequate.
Lady Gaga – Always Remember Us This Way
Another slow piano ballad from the A Star Is Born soundtrack. It’s pretty dull.
Again, the video is just clips from the film.
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – I’ll Never Love Again
Yet another ballad that’s too slow and dull for my liking…
…and yet more clips from the film in the video.
6ix9ine and Bobby Shmurda – Stoopid
Generic unmelodious rap with gross lyrics that Scott couldn’t play on the radio.
The video is a pretty low-tech affair (and given that 6ix9ine is wearing a ridiculously blinged-out expensive watch on each wrist, you’d think they could have afforded a better camera), but I do like the colourful car.
Lil’ Baby and Gunna – Drip Too Hard
Boring song, no melody, not my thing.
‘This video may be inappropriate for some users,’ says YouTube, so I’m not looking forward to this. Turns out it’s because it’s a ‘girls in bikinis plus wasted champagne’ theme on acid. Not recommended.
The video starts off with a nice botanical gardens sequence with lots of flowers, but quickly degenerates into ‘showing off my wealth’ cars ‘n’ mansions. Boring.
Cadet and Deno – Advice
Nice funky reggae backing track, but that rap is awful and dull. I do like the comedic theme though!
The video is about a boring night-time petrol station with lots of tacky watch and car product placement.
Jess Glynne – Thursday
Cheesy and boring song.
The video is black and white and equally dull. Also, despite the lyrics, she does wear makeup in every scene.
Bad Bunny and Drake – Mia
Nice upbeat Latin track – quite like this one.
The video is set at a beers ‘n’ bongs garden party and gets pretty dull in places, although I do like the random old people on the porch at the party.
Kodak Black, Travis Scott and Offset – Zeze
Boring, unmelodious, sounds like everything else.
The video is meant to be a comedy story about making a music video, but it’s pretty gross and tasteless due to all the bling and twerking girls. Not my cup of tea.
Little Mix and Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
One from Now! #101, and another that’s become an incessant earworm for me recently!
The video is a lot of fun with all the pretty costumes.
Rak-Su – I Want You To Freak
That interpolation of Adina Howard’s Freak Like Me! Which has spawned so many cover versions, including most notably the Sugababes version with THAT interpolation of Are Friends Electric! There’s some good guitar going on here, even though it’s fairly generic and the cover/interpolation chain means there’s nothing original about it at all. Great to have an opportunity to ramble on about pop history though, and I never take songs with melody for granted nowadays!
The video is Caribbean-set and a bit generic, but I do like the dancing.
Dua Lipa and Blackpink – Kiss And Make Up
One of the welcome trends of 2018 has been K-Pop acts getting popular enough to enter the UK charts. This isn’t quite as good as BTS’ Idol – it’s a bit generic, and I’m not a huge fan of Dua Lipa’s vocals, but it’s decent enough pop, and any kind of melodious pop is a good thing at the moment, even when it’s as uninspired as this.
There’s no video yet.
D Block Europe, Young Adz, Lil’ Pino and Dirtbike LB – Nassty
Aaaaand we’re back to the offensive lyrics, depressing generic rapping, and dreary unmelodious drone. Awful.
The video is all the usual gross cliches like drugs and expensive cars. Not recommended.
Zara Larsson – Ruin My Life
Too slow and dull for me, and the tune is really generic. Awful message too.
The video has lots of pretty costumes, though, so I quite like it.
Post Malone and Swae Lee – Sunflower
Dull and repetitive song.
The animated video, which ties in with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, is fab though.
The Budapest-set video is gorgeous – so much stunning architecture, so many pretty costumes!
Billie Eilish – When The Party’s Over
Too slow for me, but I like the harmonisation – it’s a bit different.
Lots of weird stuff going on with a glass of ink in the video.
XXXTentacion, Lil’ Pump, Maluma and Swae Lee – Arms Around You
There’s some actual melody in this one! I was not expecting that at all! I really quite like it.
The video is kind of arty and dreamlike, very suited to the song.
Pink – A Million Dreams
Cover of the Greatest Showman number. Apparently doing Greatest Showman covers is a hot new trend (there’s a whole compilation album full of them), which is highly alarming! There’s nothing different about this at all, which I guess makes it a pointless ’10s cover. And the ’10s were doing so well at avoiding that if you don’t count the X Factor!
There’s no video for this yet.
Benny Blanco and Calvin Harris – I Found You
Boring and repetitive tune! People have been really bigging up this track, but it’s very disappointing. Nothing interesting here at all.
The video is a good laugh though, with various people trying to show Benny how to dance.
Clean Bandit, Marina & The Diamonds and Luis Fonsi – Baby
The video is fairly literal, with a cute story about a love triangle and all the characters portrayed by the artists (plus so-far one-hit wonder Starley, whom I wasn’t expecting to see here!)
James Arthur – Empty Space
Extremely dull. Also, I’ve just remembered how much I am NOT a fan of James Arthur’s vocals.
The video is really interesting though (in a slightly depressing way) – it appears to be about a troubled alcoholic (played by Tom Felton) stalking his ex-girlfriend, but all is not as it seems. Also, judging by the gadgets, set dressing, and costumes, it’s set in the early ’00s, which is also interesting!
Jonas Blue, Liam Payne and Lennon Stella – Polaroid
The video’s a bit dull and involves a lot of wandering round New York. I do like that Polaroid technology is having one of those retro moments though.
Ariana Grande – Thank You Next
Straight in at number one, which is unusual these days. I like the ’70s-esque synth sound on the instrumentals – it’s very pretty. The tune could be a bit more exciting, but on the whole it’s a nice bit of proper pop, and is much appreciated.
The video is a daft comedy sequence with lots of celebrity cameos and homages to ’90s and ’00s teen movies. Lots to like here.
Ava Max – Sweet But Psycho
Really like this piece of classic-sounding pop. Good stuff!
The video features Ava as the eponymous psycho, and there’s a cute shout-out to the Hitchcock film at the start. Lovely colours, great costumes (and the dude in this video is actually attractive, which is extremely rare for ’10s media).
Fredo – BMT
Great atmospheric instrumentals but awful rap, which seems to be a theme.
The video is a depressing medley of mansions, cigars, champagne, and the obligatory bikini-clad girl in a swimming pool, with the slightly alarming implication at one point that Fredo and his mates have burnt a girl to death for keying his car. At least, that’s what it looks like. I really hope I’m wrong.
XXXTentacion – Bad
Well, at least there is melody…sort of? It’s a real dirge though.
There’s no video yet, and again there probably won’t be now.
I really like the dancing in the video, but she’s wearing the ugliest pair of boots!
Charli XCX and Troye Sivan – 1999
Song paying tribute to 1999, which was the worst year of the twentieth century in my opinion, because it meant that the century was nearly over. Still, I really do appreciate the sentiment of the song, which is generally that last century was great and this century sucks. I can heartily get behind that message. The song is…of the same quality that pop songs were in 1999, which is a lot better than average pop songs from today, but nowhere near as good as in the ’80s.
I do also want to point out quickly that the Saturdays did this theme better with Disco Love.
The video, as you might expect, is a glorious mishmash of homages to pop culture from around the turn of the millennium!
Panic! At The Disco – The Greatest Show
Another one from the Greatest Showman tribute album, and it’s the first one I actually like. Great epic rock cover!
There’s no video for this yet.
The Plug, Nafe Smallz, M Huncho and Gunna – Broken Homes
Generic hip-hop. Nothing memorable here.
Another one with no video so far.
Sheck Wes – Mo Bamba
Awful and off-key. How can a song that’s unmelodious in the first place be off-key? It’s so dire I don’t know what to say. The vocals are worse than some appalling unsigned local bands I’ve seen, and that’s saying something.
I quite like the comedic video though. Just make sure to watch it on mute.
The video is a slightly depressing story about George being trapped in a rapidly flooding house and drowning at the end!
Little Mix and Sharaya J – Strip
Interesting spoken word intro, leads into a fairly R&B influenced pop song. On the whole, could do with a bit more melody in this one, but it’s got a good beat, and I do like the harmonies on the vocals!
The video is a nice black and white piece with a body positivity theme, featuring an homage to the Dixie Chicks’ ‘critical words written on nude bodies’ photoshoot (and hence starting a Twitter feud with Piers Morgan, which I’m not linking to because it’s depressing).
James Arthur and Anne-Marie – Rewrite The Stars
URGH this is saccharine. It’s another Greatest Showman cover, and I’m not keen.
This one actually has a video, though! It predictably goes with the film’s circus theme, but it’s very pretty and I quite like it.
6ix9ine – Kika
Scott could only play three seconds, so I couldn’t hear anything yet. Listening to it online, the lyrics are as gross as expected, but I quite like the steel drums in the background.
There’s no video yet.
Digdat, K Trap and Krept & Konan – Air Force
No melody, very repetitive. Atmosphere’s okay but it’s generally very dull.
The London-set video is all gritty and urban with lots of balaclavas and gang signs. Not really my cup of tea.
Meek Mill and Drake – Going Bad
Awful! So dull and generic and unmelodious.
There’s no video for this yet.
Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart
Great atmosphere on the intro, though I’m not hugely keen on the main bit where it goes a bit country.
The video is a slightly daft story about Miley driving a car on the run from the police while wearing a pretty silver outfit, but it’s aesthetically pleasing so I’m all about it.
Dalton Harris and James Arthur – The Power Of Love
A real step back for the X Factor winner’s single, as they’ve gone back to covers. It’s horribly soulless and the singer just admitted on the chart show that he only first heard the original Frankie Goes To Hollywood song about a week ago (WTF? HOW do you go through twentyish Christmases without ever hearing The Power Of Love?). Far worse than the Gabrielle Aplin cover (HOW has he managed to make the ‘hooded claw’ line sound so EMPTY?). I am actually offended by this, even more so than I was by Alexandra Burke’s Hallelujah (covered in similar circumstances in that Alexandra Burke had no personal love for the song). Just terrible.
There’s no video yet – time will tell if they do what they did with Rak-Su last year and just release the X Factor performance clip as the video.
Whew! All caught up. I’ll do this week’s New Hits on Saturday, as I won’t have time to listen to the chart tomorrow evening!
Today, 23rd November 2018, is the release of Now! #101! It’s also mine and Geth’s sixth wedding anniversary 🙂
We’re now entering a new exciting era of Now! compilations where I only have to review them every four months! The first hundred compilations were characterised by a gradually worsening quality of music. I pray this trend will not continue. Pop music can’t get any worse than it currently is. Right?
Track 1: Little Mix and Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
Great reggae-style rhythm, but the tune’s pretty dull.
Track 2: Calvin Harris and Sam Smith – Promises
Sam Smith’s voice is great as ever, but the tune is pretty forgettable. Somehow got to number one for weeks on end.
Track 3: Ariana Grande – God Is A Woman
I really like the tune on this one – nice and epic.
Track 4: George Ezra – Hold My Girl
A little slow for me, but it’s a nice tune. Only entered the charts today, so it was definitely not a hit when chosen for this Now! compilation!
Track 5: Rita Ora – Let You Love Me
Great atmosphere on the chorus – tune’s a bit generic, but it’s an okay pop track.
Track 6: Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid – Eastside
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. It’s grown on me a bit since then!
Track 7: Jess Glynne – All I Am
I’ve never been much of a Jess Glynne fan – I find her stuff very boring and the lyrical content very saccharine, and this track is no exception.
Track 8: Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin – I Like It
Not super keen on the rap (except the enjoyable nonsense in the first verse about Balenciaga et al.!), but I do love the Latin tinge, and it’s very danceable.
Track 9: The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar – Pray For Me
Black Panther soundtrack song – really like this epic track.
Track 10: Silk City, Dua Lipa, Diplo and Mark Ronson – Electricity
Bored of these ’90s dance-inspired beats now. The tune is very generic too.
Track 11: Dynoro and Gigi D’Agostino – In My Mind
I really like the eerie atmosphere – there’s some great instrumentals here. Not keen on the dance beat though.
Track 12: Loud Luxury and Brando – Body
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. I’m still not hugely keen, but it’s a really irritatingly catchy track that’s constantly ending up on my daily earworm playlists.
Track 13: Maroon 5 and Cardi B – Girls Like You
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Cardi B on track 8.
It’s a bit saccharine, but it’s a nice tune.
Track 14: Marshmello and Bastille – Happier
Too slow for me, and the tune’s very dull and generic.
Track 15: Clean Bandit, Marina & The Diamonds and Luis Fonsi – Baby
The vocalist on this is calling herself Marina now, but she was formerly known as Marina & The Diamonds (not a band, just a solo artist with a band name, kind of like Florence & The Machine – this was a bizarre 2009/2010 micro trend). I’ve missed her vocal style and way with a tune. This is very Latin-inspired, especially due to the involvement of Luis Fonsi. Great party pop tune.
Track 16: Ellie Goulding, Diplo and Swae Lee – Close To Me
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Diplo on track 10.
Not exciting or original enough for me, but at least it’s got some semblance of a melody, and it’s starting to grow on me with time.
Track 17: Cheryl – Love Made Me Do It
The lyrics are okay if kind of cheesy, but the tune is terrible.
Track 18: Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. It’s become one of my songs of the year – really like this track.
Track 19: The 1975 – Too Time Too Time Too Time
Yes, I know the title’s supposed to be written in all caps with no spaces, but I won’t be having any of that nonsense here. This is a dignified blog.
Lovely upbeat tune, though – really like this one. One of my favourites of 2018.
There’s a nice old-fashioned big-band feel about this one – it’s very jaunty.
Track 22: Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies and Celia Imrie – When I Kissed The Teacher
Taken from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Songs from musicals have been a bit of a chart trend this year. It’s a fairly bog-standard cover of the Abba song, as is normally the case with jukebox musicals.
Track 23: Andrea Bocelli and Dua Lipa – If Only
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Dua Lipa on track 10.
The second number one this year to get to number one after exhortation from the previous number one artist (in this case Sam Smith with Promises – the previous example was George Ezra (Shotgun) telling people to stream Baddiel & Skinner and the Lightning Seeds’ Three Lions).
The second number one this year to feature the word ‘Friday’ in the title (after Lil’ Dicky and Chris Brown with Freaky Friday).
Nothing much else interesting about this song. It’s very dull and unmelodious and repetitive – no idea why enough people were listening to it to get it to number one. Oh, wait, there’s a good instrumental electro bit for three seconds – then it goes back to the boring rap.
Track 26: DJ Snake, Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B – Taki Taki
Repeated artist mega alert! We’ve already had Cardi B on both track 8 and track 13. That is far too much of one artist for one Now! compilation!
I do like the background instrumentals, especially the atmospheric whistling, and the Latin vocals are nice, but the rap is very dull.
Track 27: French Montana and Drake – No Stylist
I quite like the atmosphere, but it’s very repetitive. Are they trying to win a competition to see who can say ‘Gucci’ the most times in a song?
Track 28: Dennis Lloyd – Nevermind
Great rhythm, very noddable.
Track 29: Khalid – Better
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Khalid on track 6.
The track is so boring that I couldn’t even concentrate on writing this sentence.
Track 30: Martin Garrix feat. Khalid – Ocean
Repeated artist mega alert! We’ve already had Khalid on track 6 and track 29. That’s two mega alerts on one compilation, which is not an auspicious start for the second century of Now! entries!
It’s a pretty tune with a gorgeous atmosphere – I really quite like this one.
Track 31: Halsey – Without Me
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Halsey on track 6.
Urgh, this track is so slow! I do like the synthy background instrumentals though.
Track 32: B Young – 079ME
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. I still think it’s too similar to Jumanji.
Track 33: Stay Flee Get Lizzy, Fredo, Young T and Bugsey – Ay Caramba
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Fredo on track 25.
Day 99 brings us to Now! #99, which was released on 23rd March 2018.
I’m starting to get a little suspicious that some of the tracks on these latest Now! compilations weren’t actually hits at all. I know that a) the charts change so rapidly that there too many songs to remember and b) most chart music these days is so generic that it all blurs into one, but my memory is pretty good, and given that all of these songs are supposed to have been in the charts just a few months ago, I’m surprised that there are so many song titles I don’t recognise. I will have to do some research as we go through them.
We’ve finally reached the current year, 2018! Let’s see what pop music has come to these days.
Track 1: Rudimental, Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen – These Days
Now I know I’m nearly at the end of this long Now! marathon – this track is still currently (as of today, 19th July 2018) in the Top 40. We’re so close to the end!
I find the tune pretty irritating and the theme a bit awkward, but there’s some good stuff going on with the lyrics.
Track 2: Dua Lipa – IDGAF
Another tune that really annoys me.
Track 3: Portugal The Man – Feel It Still
Great tune, great danceable beat, and a lyric like ‘let me kick it like it’s 1986 now‘ is always going to go down well with me. Love this one.
Track 4: Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton – Say Something
I really like this tune – it builds very nicely.
Track 5: Taylor Swift – Ready For It?
Good atmosphere, but the tune is very forgettable.
Track 6: Marshmello and Anne-Marie – Friends
This one is insidiously catchy and was stuck in my head for weeks earlier this year. I’m not a fan of the tune or the theme, so it wasn’t pleasant.
Track 7: Bruno Mars and Cardi B – Finesse
I do like that early ’90s feel (which, judging by the style of the video, is deliberate). Like the callback to Walk This Way too.
Track 8: Sigala and Paloma Faith – Lullaby
Another annoying tune, but it’s got a good beat.
Track 9: Craig David and Bastille – I Know You
I really like the rhythm, but I find the song a bit cheesy.
Track 10: Jason Derulo and French Montana – Tiptoe
Good solid danceable pop song – really like this one.
Track 11: Jax Jones and Ina Wroldsen – Breathe
Good beat, good tune – quite like this track.
Track 12: George Ezra – Paradise
I really like George Ezra’s stuff – it’s so different to the generic EDM-hip-hop-pop lyrically-vapid tuneless mush that makes up the bulk of the charts these days. This is an upbeat feelgood song with great lyrics and an awesome chant-along bit near the end.
It’s got a good rhythm, but I could do with some more melody.
Track 31: Dave and Mostack – No Words
Nice tune, but the rap’s too messy for me.
Track 32: B Young – Jumanji
It’s got an okay beat, but the tune’s very uninspired.
Track 33: Raye and Mr Eazi – Decline
It’s based heavily around an interpolation of 2002 hit Always On Time by Ja Rule and Ashanti. I just find it very unoriginal.
Track 34: Notes and Mabel – My Lover
Double repeated artist alert! We’ve already had both Notes and Mabel on track 15.
This tune really irritates me.
Track 35: Rak-Su, Wyclef Jean and Naughty Boy – Dimelo
This is an interesting one. It was the X Factor winner’s single for 2017, and for the last couple of years the X Factor winner’s single has not been featured on the spring Now! compilation like it used to be – both Louisa Johnson’s Forever Young and Matt Terry’s When Christmas Comes Around were left out, the latter presumably partly because nobody wants to hear an explicitly Christmas-themed song in the spring. Part of this, I believe, is because of the X Factor‘s decline in popularity recently, but it’s meant we’ve not been following an interesting change. Louisa Johnson’s winner’s single was a cover as usual – Forever Young was originally a Bob Dylan song – but Matt Terry’s When Christmas Comes Around was an original song (written by Ed Sheeran), which was a first for the X Factor since Shayne Ward’s That’s My Goal, and signalled an interesting move away from its irritating karaoke format. This move towards original songs continued in the 2017 competition, with many of the contestants (notably Rak-Su and Grace Davies) performing tracks they had written themselves.
As such, this winner’s single from Rak-Su is self-written – an upbeat Latin-tinged hip-hop track with great lyrics and a clever interpolation of Wyclef Jean’s lines from Hips Don’t Lie – and as a result it’s the only X Factor winner’s single I’ve ever liked. It’s a great track. It’s just a shame we had to put up with years of awful pointless cover versions to get to this stage.
(I should note that, despite the above essay, I’ve never actually watched the X Factor. My interest in this stuff is purely from a chart geek perspective.)
It’s nice to hear some rock music, but the tune’s a bit dull. It’s got a good retro-sounding instrumental in the middle though.
Track 45: Oasis – Live Forever
This wasn’t actually back in the charts this year (so it’s yet another non-hit, although of course it was a hit on its original release in 1994), but there was an increased awareness of it due to Liam Gallagher performing it at the Brits in tribute to the Manchester Arena bombing victims.
One more thing: I just want to add a quick note about all the non-hits that have littered this playlist. While I’ve only just noticed it with this one, I suspect non-hits have been a thing for quite a few Now! compilations leading up to this, as there have been quite a few instances where I’m surprised I recognise so few of the tracks (as I mentioned in the intro, while it is tough to remember hundreds of generic songs, I have followed the charts religiously this decade and have a good memory).
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I can sort of understand it in a way, as 95% of chart music in the late ’10s is woefully, utterly dire. It’s awful – the worst quality it has ever been in my lifetime. Most of it is completely generic, uninspired and half-arsed, and so I have a bit of sympathy for the Now! compilers deciding to include songs that they think are good but didn’t trouble the charts for whatever reason, rather than yet another terrible identical-sounding EDM track that somehow managed to get to number 24 for a few weeks.
At the same time, what I’ve always liked about the Now! compilations is that they do reflect the most popular music of the time – good and bad. I feel that including songs that weren’t hits, that weren’t soundtracking people’s lives by being played on the radio and on TV shows and at sports events – well, it kind of takes away from the status of these albums as cultural artefacts of the time. I’m a little sad about that. We’ll see what tomorrow brings with the release of the 100th entry in this long music marathon.
At my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding, my sister-in-law’s bridesmaids all sang a version of this with altered lyrics about the wedding couple, so it tends to be that version I think of when I hear this song.
Track 24: Galantis – No Money
I find this one insanely irritating – awful tune, appalling kiddie-sounding vocals.
Track 25: DJ Snake and Bipolar Sunshine – Middle
Slow and depressing.
Track 26: Desiigner – Panda
Great brooding atmosphere, but I could do with a bit more melody.
Track 27: Kent Jones – Don’t Mind
Irritating theme, irritating tune, irritating lyrics. Not keen on this one at all.
Track 28: Cheat Codes and Kris Kross Amsterdam – Sex
Dodgy dance cover of Salt-N-Pepa’s ’90s hit Let’s Talk About Sex, with new verses in order to bastardise the original safe sex theme into one about general horniness. Have I mentioned before that I hate this century?
Track 29: Sigala, Imani Williams and DJ Fresh – Say You Do
Boring tune on the vocals, but I quite like the instrumentals (steel drums again!).
Track 30: Blonde and Craig David – Nothing Like This
Nice beat, and the vocals are quite interesting, but the tune’s a bit repetitive.
Track 31: Charlie Puth and Selena Gomez – We Don’t Talk Anymore
Beautiful tune – really like this one.
Track 32: Ariana Grande – Into You
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Ariana Grande on track 13.
I’m a big fan of this song though – it’s probably my favourite Ariana Grande track. Great solid piece of pop.
Track 33: David Guetta and Zara Larsson – This One’s For You
Not keen on this tune, but the track builds quite well.
Track 34: Jonas Blue and JP Cooper – Perfect Strangers
I’ve always found this tune really grating.
Track 35: Dua Lipa – Hotter Than Hell
Good beat, very danceable.
Track 36: Kygo and Kodaline – Raging
I quite like the guitar on this one, but it’s not upbeat enough for me.
Track 37: Selena Gomez – Kill ‘Em With Kindness
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Selena Gomez on track 31.
I quite like this tune though, even if the chorus is a bit repetitive.
Track 38: will.i.am and Pia Mia – Boys And Girls
Great beat on this one – happily nodding along right now.
Track 39: Reggie ‘N’ Bollie – New Girl
Daft theme and lyrics that I’m not wholly keen on. The tune’s nice and feelgood, though, and I like the beat.
Track 40: Tinie Tempah and Wizkid – Mamacita
Love the Latin tinge on this one! Great stuff.
Track 41: Craig David – One More Time
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Craig David on track 30.
I really like the rhythm and the vocal style, but the tune’s fairly bland.
Track 42: Sigala, John Newman, Nile Rodgers, Cedric Gervais and Laurent Simeca – Give Me Your Love
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Sigala on track 29.
That is a long list of artists for a not-especially-inspiring song. The tune’s okay, but it’s nothing special.
Day 87 equals Now! #87, which came out on 7th April 2014.
Into the mid-’10s already! 2014 was my last full year living in Southampton. Let’s see what the chart sounded like.
Track 1: Pharrell Williams – Happy
It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s very joyful and danceable, so I quite like it.
Track 2: Route 94 and Jess Glynne – My Love
Annoying tune, generic track. Not keen on this one.
Track 3: Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull – I’m A Freak
Good beat, but the tune’s pretty uninspired, and the chorus is really irritating.
Track 4: Avicii – Hey Brother
Another of Avicii’s EDM-bluegrass crossovers. Quite like this track.
Track 5: Katy Perry and Juicy J – Dark Horse
Great atmosphere, and it’s got an okay tune.
Track 6: Sam Smith – Money On My Mind
I find this tune pretty irritating, and I’ve never been a fan of Sam Smith’s falsetto vocals.
Track 7: Little Mix – Word Up!
Pointless cover of the Cameo classic, released as the official Sport Relief single for 2014. While the cover is pointless, the video is great – highlights include Chris Barrie reprising his role from The Brittas Empire and Melanie C showing she can still do those Spice Girl cartwheels.
Track 8: 5 Seconds Of Summer – She Looks So Perfect
Great bit of pop-rock – really like this tune!
Track 9: Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
Irritating overblown ballad, not a fan.
Track 10: Pixie Lott – Nasty
Great beat, good big band feel – very danceable.
Track 11: One Direction – Story Of My Life
Boring, slow, cheesy, and too acoustic-y for me. Everything I dislike.
Track 12: Gary Barlow – Let Me Go
Okay beat, but the tune is dull.
Track 13: Alesso and OneRepublic – If I Lose Myself
Generic tune – nothing exciting going on here.
Track 14: Gorgon City and MNEK – Ready For Your Love
Another very uninspired track, with a dance beat that’s the same as every other dance beat from this decade.
Track 15: The Vamps – Wild Heart
Too cheesy for me, but it’s got quite a good rhythm.
Track 16: Lady Gaga and R Kelly – Do What U Want
The atmosphere’s okay, but again the tune’s not very interesting.
Track 17: Elyar Fox – Do It All Over Again
‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).
It’s an okay pop song with a good beat, but it’s pretty forgettable.
Track 18: Katy B – Crying For No Reason
This one’s a bit depressing, but the tune is quite pretty.
Track 19: John Legend – All Of Me
It’s very saccharine, but parts of the tune are absolutely beautiful, so I quite like it.
Track 20: A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera – Say Something
Another boring, mood-killing ballad.
Track 21: Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You
And yet another one.
Track 22: Sam Bailey – Skyscraper
The 2013 X Factor winner, this year doing a pointless cover of a Demi Lovato song. Nothing interesting here.
Track 23: The Chainsmokers – #Selfie
That title is going to look so dated in decades to come. Mind you, I don’t think anyone makes pop music with the thought that it’s going to be listened to in the future anymore – it’s all a bit disposable these days. Anyway, this is interspersed throughout with the most annoying spoken word sample ever, which I think is meant to be the point, but it doesn’t make it in any way pleasant to listen to.
Track 24: Pitbull and Kesha – Timber
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Pitbull on track 3.
At my Zumba class in Southampton, we used to do a really fun, high energy, line dance-inspired routine to this, which I absolutely loved. As such, I’ve got a soft spot for this song.
Track 25: DVBBS, Borgeous and Tinie Tempah – Tsunami (Jump)
Great rhythm – happily nodding along right now.
Track 26: Calvin Harris, Alesso and Hurts – Under Control
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Alesso on track 13.
This is another one with a very unmemorable tune.
Track 27: Martin Garrix and Jay Hardway – Wizard
The hook’s okay, but everything that surrounds it is off – it could have created quite a good atmosphere if the track weren’t so messy.
Track 28: Tiësto – Red Lights
Depressingly generic tune.
Track 29: Duke Dumont and Jax Jones – I Got U
I like the steel drums, but otherwise it’s fairly boring.
Track 30: Bastille – Of The Night
Track completely made up of interpolations of Snap’s Rhythm Is A Dancer and Corona’s The Rhythm Of The Night, so I guess it’s sort of a cover. I love both tracks so I don’t mind – this compilation has had so many boring forgettable tunes on that it’s a relief to hear a tune I like, even if it’s not original.
Track 31: Example – Kids Again
I like the backing track, but again I’m just not enthused by the tune.
Track 32: Little Mix – Move
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Little Mix on track 7.
This one’s a nice solid bit of pop – good stuff.
Track 33: Neon Jungle – Braveheart
Good solid pop tune – this one’s quite danceable.
Track 34: DJ Fresh, Jay Fay and Ms Dynamite – Dibby Dibby Sound
Bit of a Zumba theme to this playlist, because this is one that we danced to in a Zumba class I was attending in Newcastle last year. I really need to go back to dance class – I fell out of the habit during the move and am a bit too busy at the moment. Maybe in the autumn.
Anyway, this one’s a bit repetitive to listen to, but it’s got a good beat.
Track 35: Tujamo, Plastik Funk and Sneakbo – Dr Who!
I’m a bit surprised I ignored this one when it was in the charts, because I’m always looking for daft vaguely Doctor Who-related songs to add to that Doctor Who playlist I’m going to create at some point in the future.
It’s a bit tuneless, but it’s got a good beat. It’d be nice if the lyrics were slightly more relevant to the title.
Track 36: Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne – Thank You
I find the rap a bit awkward. Good rhythm, though, and the sample of Alicia Myers’ 1981 hit I Wanna Thank You is awesome.
Track 37: Fuse ODG – Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad)
Great atmosphere, good tune. Really like this one.
Track 38: John Newman – Out Of My Head
Too slow for me, and the tune’s pretty depressing.
Track 39: Sub Focus – Turn Back Time
Bit of ’90s-tinged dance – great atmosphere.
Track 40: Matrix & Futurebound and Max Marshall – Control
Good beat, but this is another forgettable tune.
Track 41: Foxes – Let Go For Tonight
I like that piano at the start, and the chorus is epic.
Track 42: Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely On You
Interesting tune, good beat. Not a bad track.
Track 43: Le Youth and Dominique Young Unique – Dance With Me
Great beat, and it’s got a welcome ’80s tinge. Love the No Scrubs interpolation too. Good stuff.
Track 44: London Grammar – Hey Now
I quite like the backing track, but the tune’s boring and it’s too slow.
Track 45: Vance Joy – Riptide
Endearingly daft lyrics, feelgood tune. Big fan of this.
Day 84 equals Now! #84, which came out on 25th March 2013.
Let’s see what the hits were that spring.
Track 1: One Direction – One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)
Pointless cover mash-up of Blondie’s One Way Or Another and the Undertones’ Teenage Kicks. This was the Comic Relief single for 2013, so I guess charity fundraising is the excuse for ruining both of these classic songs.
Track 2: will.i.am and Britney Spears – Scream And Shout
I really like this danceable track, especially the well-done callback to Gimme More.
Track 3: Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble
I quite like this tune, and it’s got a good atmosphere.
Track 4: Pink and Nate Ruess – Just Give Me A Reason
Great song – love the way the duet works here.
Track 5: Rihanna – Diamonds
Another pretty tune. Very nice.
Track 6: Bastille – Pompeii
Epic and anthemic – love this one.
Track 7: James Arthur – Impossible
The annual inclusion of the most recent X Factor winner, this year doing a pointless cover of Shontelle’s Impossible, which was not a great song to begin with.
Track 8: Olly Murs and Flo Rida – Troublemaker
I quite like this jaunty track – it’s got a great singalong chorus.
Track 9: Bruno Mars – Locked Out Of Heaven
This is from my favourite Bruno Mars era, when he started doing all these pastiches of artists that were big circa 1980. This song sounds like it should have been released by the Police.
Track 10: Kesha – Die Young
Nice beat, but the tune’s pretty forgettable.
Track 11: Bridgit Mendler – Ready Or Not
Irritating vocals, boring tune, and the chorus has a poorly-done interpolation of the Delfonics ’60s song (which was already done much better by the Fugees). Nothing impressive here.
Track 12: Little Mix – DNA
Great epic atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit weak.
Track 13: The Saturdays and Sean Paul – What About Us
Another bland, forgettable song.
Track 14: Girls Aloud – Something New
Love this one! Girls Aloud sort of came to a natural finish at the end of the ’00s, and so this special tenth anniversary track is really the only thing they’ve done as a group this decade. Better one cracker than lots of poor tracks, though, and this song is great.
Track 15: Nicole Scherzinger – Boomerang
Good rhythm, but this is another uninspired tune.
Track 16: Disclosure and Sam Smith – Latch
I appreciate that it’s a bit different from most stuff that was in the charts at the time, but it’s not my kind of thing – the tune is generic and I’m not into this kind of chillout/trance stuff.
Track 17: Rita Ora – Radioactive
I usually get this one confused with the identically-titled Imagine Dragons song that came out around the same time. This one’s probably my less-preferred (though there’s not much in it – the Imagine Dragons song is pretty dull too), because the tune’s very bland, but it does have a good electro backing track.
Track 18: Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire
I quite like the instrumentals, but the tune on the vocals annoys me.
Track 19: Christina Perri – A Thousand Years
Boring ballad off the Twilight soundtrack, but at least she doesn’t sound quite as horribly off-key as she does in Jar Of Hearts.
Track 20: Emeli Sandé – Clown
I find the theme a bit awkward, and it’s too slow for me.
Track 21: Gabrielle Aplin – The Power Of Love
This was one of the first of the big ‘Christmas advert’ hits that have been a feature of Christmas music this decade. Take a classic song, record a slow, melancholy, piano-based cover with female vocals, slap it over the top of an expensive John Lewis Christmas advert, debut the advert during an X Factor ad break in early November, job done. Christmas classic guaranteed.
Of course, this was already a Christmas classic, and has been ever since Frankie Goes To Hollywood released the original in 1984. Gabrielle Aplin’s version is very pretty, but it doesn’t have the pure emotional power of the Frankie version – Holly Johnson’s performance of the second verse is capable of moving me to tears when I’m in the right place, and Aplin just can’t compare. Still, it is enjoyable, even if July is really not when I want to be hearing Christmas songs.
Track 22: Avicii and Nicky Romero – I Could Be The One
I love this dance track – obviously it’s got a great beat, but there’s also something very wistful about the vocals. I actually can’t think of anyone who was better than Avicii (RIP) at emotion-inducing EDM.
Track 23: Bingo Players and Far East Movement – Get Up (Rattle)
Daft tune, but it’s a good head-nodder.
Track 24: Pitbull and TJR – Don’t Stop The Party
Messy and irritating.
Track 25: Calvin Harris and Tinie Tempah – Drinking From The Bottle
Good beat, and I really like Tinie Tempah’s rap on this one.
Track 26: Dizzee Rascal – Bassline Junkie
Daft theme, but I find it very funny. Good stuff.
Track 27: Wiley, Chipmunk and Dayo Olatunji – Reload
Boring tune, and there’s too much going on with the track.
Track 28: Rudimental, John Newman and Alex Clare – Not Giving In
Slow and dull intro, and the tune’s very irritating.
Track 29: Conor Maynard and Wiley – Animal
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Wiley on track 27.
The rap’s very bland, as is the tune, and the whole thing’s just a bit repetitive.
Track 30: Disclosure and AlunaGeorge – White Noise
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Disclosure on track 16.
This one takes ages to get going. The electro hook’s okay, but the vocals are super bland.
Track 31: Devlin and Diane Birch – Rewind
Another very forgettable song. Also, part of the melody on the chorus rips off Heart’s Alone, which has been an irritating theme in recent Now! compilations.
Track 32: Lawson – Standing In The Dark
A little more upbeat than previous Lawson tracks, but it’s still a very bland, saccharine song.
Track 33: Biffy Clyro – Black Chandelier
I saw Biffy Clyro once. It was the worst gig I’ve ever been to. Not because of Biffy Clyro, I hasten to add – they were fine to listen to, although the heavier stuff they were playing as the second support band in 2003 wasn’t really my thing. The main act was Linkin Park, who were okay (and I am glad I got to see them given sad future events), but the SECC in Glasgow had done this thing (I don’t know if it was by band request or what) where they barriered off a huge semicircle around the stage and only let about fifteen people into it, leaving the remaining hundreds of gig-goers to squash uncomfortably round the outside of the barrier and completely ruining the atmosphere. The only person onstage who seemed to be on the audience’s side was Ian Watkins of Lostprophets, the main support band, and I don’t really want to give him credit seeing as how he turned out to be a sex offender.
Anyway, I never went back to the SECC again. Barrowlands all the way if it was a Glasgow gig, even if I did lose a lot of brain cells and earrings over the years through being booted in the head by crowdsurfers.
I think what I’m trying to say is that this song’s a lot more interesting than the stuff Biffy were doing back in 2003. I quite like the vocal hook at the start, and the chorus is great.
Track 34: Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)
There’s a nice atmospheric chant-along bit on this one – quite like the track.
Track 35: McFly – Love Is Easy
Twee and irritating. I should note that Geth appreciated the It’s A Wonderful Life sample though.
Track 36: Ben Howard – Only Love
I find this tune pretty annoying.
Track 37: The Lumineers – Ho Hey
It’s a bit twee, but it’s quite a nice, jaunty song.
Track 38: One Direction – Little Things
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had One Direction on track 1.
This one is an irritating saccharine ballad with an irritating black and white video where One Direction sit around and play acoustic guitars in an attempt to look like serious musicians. The song was apparently written by Ed Sheeran, which will surprise no one.
It was also number one on Geth’s and my wedding day, which is far from ideal.
Track 39: Pink – Try
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Pink on track 4.
This one is a gorgeous tune though – really like it.
Track 40: Gabrielle Aplin – Please Don’t Say You Love Me
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Gabrielle Aplin on track 21.
The only thing this song achieves is proving that she should have been a one-hit wonder. Dull and uninspired.
Track 41: Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere
1987 classic, back in the charts due to a mobile phone advert. Not complaining here at all – I’m very partial to Fleetwood Mac, and this is one of my favourites.
Track 42: Ellie Goulding – Explosions
Not keen on that choral bit at the start, and on the whole it’s too slow for me and I don’t find the tune interesting enough.
Track 43: The Justice Collective – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).
Charity cover of the ’60s classic to raise funds for Hillsborough victims’ charities, and the Christmas number one for 2012. Some good voice-spotting to be done here.