Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #57

Day 57 brings us to Now! #57, which came out on 5th April 2004.

April 2004
This is the way the world looked in April 2004, or at least the bit that was me and the wee bro (clearly not quite as wee as he once was) silhouetted against central Manhattan. I am very behind on furnishing trends and that lampshade looks pretty futuristic to me even now, fourteen years later.

We’re really getting into the mid-’00s now.  Bring on the pop-punk and anthemic festival rock!

Now! That's What I Call Music #57
Track 1: Britney Spears – Toxic

Great danceable song – really good piece of pop.

Track 2: Kelis – Milkshake

Good atmosphere, good beat.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 3: Jamelia – Thank You

The tune’s a bit generic and forgettable for me.

Track 4: Kylie Minogue – Red Blooded Woman

Good atmosphere, love the instrumentals on this.  Great tune too.

Track 5: Justin Timberlake – I’m Lovin’ It

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

Irritating hooks, messy lines, jarring beat.  Not keen on this one.

Track 6: Enrique Iglesias and Kelis – Not In Love

Repeated artist alert!  We already had Kelis, only four tracks ago.

The track’s got a good beat, and I like the Spanish-tinged guitar and the way the vocals blend together.  Nice tune, although the chorus does slightly rip off Night Games by Graham Bonnet.

Track 7: The Black Eyed Peas – Shut Up

I love this one – probably my all-time favourite Black Eyed Peas track (and there’s some stiff competition from their 2009-2010 era).  In my second year at uni, there was someone in the flat next door who played this on a loop for several weeks, and I still never got sick of it.  Just a gorgeous piece of music.

Track 8: 2 Play and Raghav – So Confused

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

Quite like this tune, and the Latin-tinged instrumentals are nice.

Track 9: Beenie Man and Ms Thing – Dude

I shouldn’t like it, ’cause it’s really repetitive, but there’s something I find quite feelgood and endearing about it.

Track 10: Peter Andre and Bubbler Ranx – Mysterious Girl

We’ve already had this one, on Now! #34!  This must have been around the time Peter Andre got famous again by going on I’m A Celebrity.  It’s still no excuse!

As ever, see the link for my review.

Track 11: DJ Casper – Cha Cha Slide

Slow to get going, not enough melody.  It’s basically spoken dance instructions with some repetitive instrumentals in the background.

Track 12: Girls Aloud – Jump

Utterly pointless cover of the Pointer Sisters classic.  There’s nothing new here at all.

Track 13: Boogie Pimps – Somebody To Love

Electro cover of the Jefferson Airplane song.  It’s quite nice and atmospheric.

Track 14: Atomic Kitten and Kool & The Gang – Ladies’ Night

Semi-cover of the 1979 classic.  Apparently Kool & The Gang asked Atomic Kitten to ‘update’ the song, but this is a pretty pointless cover, as it doesn’t do anything different.

Track 15: Emma Bunton – I’ll Be There

Pretty ballad – quite like this tune.

Track 16: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – I Won’t Change You

Irritating theme, bland tune.  Not a fan of this.

Track 17: Scissor Sisters – Comfortably Numb

Danceable cover of the Pink Floyd track.  Quite like this one.

Track 18: Deepest Blue – Give It Away

Dull tune, dull beat.  It’s so boring I can’t even concentrate on it.

Track 19: LMC and U2 – Take Me To The Clouds Above

Dance cover of Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know? that also samples With Or Without You, hence the U2 involvement.  Proof that no matter how many classic songs you bastardise in your terrible ’00s dance track, it will still be terrible.

Track 20: Special D – Come With Me

Dance track with a pleasant bleepy tune and interesting vocals.  Very danceable.

Track 21: Ultrabeat – Feelin’ Fine

It’s a bit saccharine, but there’s something slightly retro about the vocals that I quite like.

Track 22: Motorcycle – As The Rush Comes

Great beat, great atmosphere.  The vocals are a bit lacking, but it’s otherwise a good track.

Track 23: Ferry Corsten – Rock Your Body Rock

Not sure about the vocoder on the vocals, but I quite like the backing track – it sounds a bit like video game music.

Track 24: Will Young – Leave Right Now

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

Track 25: Katie Melua – The Closest Thing To Crazy

Actively disliked it at the time, still actively dislike it now.  Annoying and depressing.

Track 26: Norah Jones – Sunrise

Nice tune, but it’s a bit slow and acoustic-y for me.

Track 27: Blue – Breathe Easy

It’s got a nice epic feeling about it, though the tune’s a bit boring.

Track 28: Ozzy Osbourne and Kelly Osbourne – Changes

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

Appallingly cheesy semi-cover of the ’70s Black Sabbath song, with the lyrics altered to reflect the Osbournes’ father-daughter relationship.  I still laugh every time I remember this song coming on in big Bennets*, Edinburgh, and the consequent furious pub ranting of a mate of a mate who was a Black Sabbath fan.

*Not to be confused with wee Bennets, Edinburgh.  Big Bennets is in Tollcross, wee Bennets is in Morningside.

Track 29: Blink-182 – I Miss You

It’s the lead track off the infamous album where Blink-182 grew up and went serious.  This one’s okay, but my favourite track from that album is All Of This, a duet with the Cure’s Robert Smith.  Worth checking out.

Track 30: Busted – Who’s David

Generic tune, offputting jealousy theme in the lyrics.  Not keen.

Track 31: Fountains Of Wayne – Stacy’s Mom

I adore this hilarious track.  It’s not even a guilty pleasure, I just love it.  Brilliant stuff.

Track 32: Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out

Great, classic piece of ’00s rock.  Love the intro, love the way the main song kicks in.

Track 33: Alistair Griffin – Bring It On

Bland, uninspired tune, boring acoustic-y instrumentals.  Not my thing at all.

Track 34: Sugababes – Too Lost In You

Gorgeous track.  It’s one of those ones that’s been turned into a Christmas song in recent years – it was on the Love Actually soundtrack and the film features heavily in the video, hence the music channels always adding it to their Christmas playlists – but the song’s lovely to listen to any time of year.

Track 35: VS – Love You Like Mad

Twee instrumentals, annoying vocals.  Not for me.

Track 36: Joss Stone – Fell In Love With A Boy

Quite like this soul track – it’s a bit different to what was generally going on in the charts at the time.

Track 37: FYA and Smujji – Must Be Love

Quite like the atmosphere on the intro, but I’m not keen on the rap, and the sung sections are very generic-sounding.

Track 38: NERD – She Wants To Move

Good head-nodder – I’ve always quite liked this one.

Track 39: Jamie Cullum – Frontin’ [Live]

I’m not hugely keen on most of Jamie Cullum’s laid-back lounge-y jazz stuff – it’s not exciting enough for me.  I don’t like live versions either.

Track 40: Keane – Somewhere Only We Know

Overplayed, irritatingly twee tune.  I actually prefer the Lily Allen cover that was done for the John Lewis Christmas advert a few years back.

Track 41: Snow Patrol – Run

Classic lighters-in-the-air anthem – gorgeous tune.

Track 42: Alex Parks – Maybe That’s What It Takes

Boring, slow ballad.  Not my kind of thing.

Track 43: Ronan Keating – She Believes (In Me)

An even slower ballad, with ‘bonus’ saccharine lyrics.  The tune’s awful too.

Track 44: Michelle McManus – All This Time

Nice tune, but it’s another one that’s too slow for my liking.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #34

Day 34 brings us to Now! #34, which came out on 12th August 1996.

August 1996
This is the way the world looked in August 1996 (actually July – we seem to be short of photos again for 1996). Sunlounger, Walkman and speakers, dodgy cycling shorts ‘n’ swimsuit combo – a perfect late 20th century summer’s day.

Let’s hear those summer hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #34
Track 1: Spice Girls – Wannabe

At eleven, I was exactly the right age for the Spice Girls, and from the moment this first song of theirs came out, I adored them.  I bought every single and every album in HMV on the day they came out, I had every single Spice magazine (still do), I had the limited edition Spice Girls Impulse body spray.  I was a huge fan, to put it mildly, and I remember carefully writing down the lyrics of this song and editing it over the course of several months, trying to work out what they were saying (I’ve mentioned before that I’m no good with being able to hear lyrics, and a lot of it was so nonsensical that there were endless arguments in the playground about what the words were – it was only when the album came out in December, complete with lyric insert, that I was able to confirm them properly).

Nowadays, I find this first track pretty cringeworthy – they did much better songs later on.  I still remember how much I loved it at the time, though, the summer I moved from primary school to high school.  Interesting times.

Track 2: Robbie Williams – Freedom

Pointless cover of the George Michael track.  Although Robbie was my favourite member of Take That and I was gutted when he left, I find his solo stuff can be a bit hit and miss, and this cover doesn’t add anything to the original.

Track 3: Peter Andre and Bubbler Ranx – Mysterious Girl

Quite liked it at the time –  nowadays I see it as a ‘so-bad-it’s-hilarious’ classic.

Track 4: Dodgy – Good Enough

I was never hugely keen on this one, though I quite enjoyed it when we saw them live at Beautiful Days in 2013.

Track 5: Ocean Colour Scene – The Day We Caught The Train

I adore Ocean Colour Scene (they were my favourite band for quite a while in my teens) and this is an absolute classic – great tune, great instrumentals, great lyrics.

Track 6: Larry Mullen Jr and Adam Clayton – Theme From Mission: Impossible

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

The two less famous members of U2 taking on the Mission: Impossible theme for the film version.  It’s perhaps slightly rockier than the original, but not hugely different.  I’ll give it a pass, though, ’cause you wouldn’t want a classic theme like this to be changed too much.

Track 7: Underworld – Born Slippy

Really liked it at the time, find it dated and annoying now.

Track 8: JX – There’s Nothing I Won’t Do

Quite like the tune on this dance track, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 9: Gina G – Ooh Aah (Just A Little Bit)

The UK’s Eurovision entry for 1996.  Loved it at the time, find it irritating now.  I’m finding that’s a bit of a theme with 1996.  I must not have been hugely discerning at eleven.

Track 10: Pianoman – Blurred

Nice piano lines, as you might expect – the rest of the track is a bit messy, especially the misplaced sample from Blur’s Girls And Boys.

Track 11: Livin’ Joy – Don’t Stop Movin’

Oh, it’s this one.  The vocals are at least interesting, but I find the style irritating and a bit generic.

Track 12: Louise – Naked

Finally a decent one from Louise – great solid pop track.

Track 13: Mark Morrison – Return Of The Mack

Classic tune, quite like this one.  It’s been sample-covered horribly by at least two different ’10s artists, but I’m sure we’ll get to those later.

Track 14: 2Pac and Dr Dre – California Love

Really like this one!  Great song, love that chorus.

Track 15: Pato Banton – Groovin’

Dull tune, dull vocals, not keen.

Track 16: Reel 2 Real – Jazz It Up

Quite a funky danceable beat, but it’s a bit of a dull tune.

Track 17: Maxi Priest and Shaggy – That Girl

Nice jaunty vocals, but that sample of Booker T & The MGs’ Green Onions is super repetitive.

Track 18: Los Del Mar – Macarena

No, that’s not a typo.  Los Del Mar were basically a tribute band that only existed in order to cover Macarena by Los Del Rio (who were themselves little more than a one-hit wonder).  Maybe the Now! compilers couldn’t get the rights to the original.

The cover is pretty pointless – it’s pretty much note for note the River Fe-Mix version of the original.

Track 19: Umboza – Sunshine

Another misplaced sample, this time Bamboléo by the Gipsy Kings.  The rest of the track is fairly generic.

Track 20: Josh Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness

We’ve had this already, on Now! #32, which was only a couple of compilations ago!  That’s just lazy.

Urgh.  See the link for my review.

Track 21: Todd Terry, Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown – Keep On Jumpin’

Messy semi-cover of the ’70s hit, with samples and random lines all over the place.  It’s pretty awful.

Track 22: Robert Miles – Children

I’ve always loved this one!  Gorgeous electro tune.

Track 23: George Michael – Jesus To A Child

Lovely, melancholy song from George Michael.  Beautiful tune.

Track 24: Oasis – Wonderwall

A little late to the party for the Now! compilers, as this was more of a late 1995 hit, but it’s a classic, probably the best song Oasis did in my opinion, and so still very welcome.

Track 25: The Bluetones – Slight Return

Oh, it’s this one!  Pleasant tune, happily nodding along right now.

Track 26: Paul Weller – Peacock Suit

Dull tune, very dad-rock.  Not keen.

Track 27: Bon Jovi – Hey God

I normally like Bon Jovi, but I find this one a bit uninspired.

Track 28: Bryan Adams – The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You

Found it annoying at the time, just find it a bit so-so now.

Track 29: Belinda Carlisle – In Too Deep

Nice instrumentals, but the vocal is pretty dull.

Track 30: Suggs – Cecelia

Loved this reggae-tinged cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic at the time, still love it now!  Great track.

Track 31: Blur – Charmless Man

I’ve always found the tune to this one a bit annoying.  Not my favourite Blur track.

Track 32: Suede – Trash

Good head-nodder from Suede – really like this one.  Great singalong chorus too.

Track 33: Joan Osborne – One Of Us

That old-timey American traditional rhyme at the start is super annoying, but the song itself is an absolute classic – great tune.

Track 34: Crowded House – Instinct

Nice tune, really like this one.

Track 35: Lighthouse Family – Ocean Drive

Feelgood track with an awesome singalong chorus.  Lovely.

Track 36: Tina Turner – On Silent Wings

Dull tune, dull ballad.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 37: Everything But The Girl – Wrong

Good beat, but I’m not keen on the tune.

Track 38: OMC – How Bizarre

I’d forgotten about this one!  Pleasant, jaunty track, really like it.

Track 39: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Walking On The Milky Way

Lovely tune, really interesting track.

Track 40: Space – Female Of The Species

Loved it at the time, love it now.  I remember endless arguments in the back of the car about whether the lyric was ‘more deadlier‘, which was what it sounded like, or the grammatically correct ‘more deadly‘.  I think I argued for the latter position, just because I couldn’t believe a professional band would write such a horrendously wrong sentence (ah, childhood innocence).  A quick google just now tells me it was indeed the latter, but it really does sound like the former.

Track 41: Cast – Walkaway

Nice tune, but a bit slow for me.

Track 42: Boyzone – Coming Home Now

Liked it at the time, find the tune pretty irritating now.