Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #81

Day 81 means Now! #81, which came out on 2nd April 2012.

April 2012
This is the way the world looked in April 2012 (actually March). Dublin was unseasonably warm, but the statue of Oscar Wilde was still chillin’ on his crag. I should probably get rid of that coat, as it’s too big for me now.

On with the 2012 hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #81
Track 1: Gotye and Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know

Gorgeous song that was deservedly number one for weeks and weeks.  Love this track.

Track 2: Coldplay – Paradise

I normally find Coldplay songs pretty depressing, but this is a beautiful tune.

Track 3: Ed Sheeran – Lego House

I find this one fairly dull, but the video with Rupert Grint is funny.

Track 4: Emeli Sandé – Next To Me

There’s something that irritates me about the tune.

Track 5: Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)

Nice solid pop song, quite like this track.

Track 6: Jessie J – Domino

Another feelgood pop track, but the tune’s not particularly exciting.

Track 7: David Guetta and Sia – Titanium

Great vocals, good tune.

Track 8: Flo Rida – Good Feeling

Flo Rida sampling Avicii sampling Etta James.  It’s a great hook, so I can see why.

Track 9: Katy Perry – The One That Got Away

I find this one a bit depressing.

Track 10: Labrinth – Last Time

Nice atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit pedestrian.

Track 11: Rizzle Kicks – Mama Do The Hump

Great, danceable track!  The video with Jordan Stephens’ mum and James Corden is also hilarious.

Track 12: Olly Murs – Dance With Me Tonight

In my Zumba class in Southampton, we always did a really fun jive number to this one.  Great, upbeat track.

Track 13: Pixie Lott – Kiss The Stars

Good upbeat dance tune – happily nodding along here.

Track 14: One Direction – One Thing

It’s always really annoyed me that this song rips off the chord sequence of Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way.  As such, I can’t hear it without getting a weird mash-up of the two songs stuck in my head.

Track 15: Marcus Collins – Seven Nation Army

Interesting, eerie, soul-tinged cover of the White Stripes classic.  Good stuff.

Track 16: Florence & The Machine – Shake It Out

Nice tune – quite like the build on this one.

Track 17: Drake and Rihanna – Take Care

Pretty tune, but it’s too slow for me.  I like the It’s My Party callback though!

Track 18: Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

Gorgeous atmosphere – really like this track.

Track 19: Little Mix – Cannonball

Pointless cover of the Damien Rice song (see Now! #80 review from yesterday) by the 2011 X Factor winners.  Thankfully Little Mix would go on to release much more interesting songs.

Track 20: JLS – Proud

Boring ballad, not keen.

Track 21: Military Wives and Gareth Malone – Wherever You Are

The Christmas number one for 2011 – a pretty tune from one of Gareth Malone’s TV choir projects.

Track 22: LMFAO – Sexy And I Know It

Hilarious song – this one’s a shameless pleasure!

Track 23: Flo Rida and Sia – Wild Ones

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Flo Rida on track 8 and Sia on track 7.

The tune’s really irritating, bu the rap’s okay.

Track 24: Lady Gaga – Marry The Night

Good solid pop – great tune.

Track 25: Avicii – Levels

This is the Avicii song that Flo Rida was sampling on track 8; in turn, this track samples Etta James’ 1962 song Something’s Got A Hold On Me.  There’s some great hooks going on throughout.

Track 26: Pitbull and Chris Brown – International Love

Awful theme, awful song.

Track 27: Lloyd, André 3000 and Lil’ Wayne – Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)

Another bad theme, but I actually really like this song!  Just make sure to avoid the squicky explicit version.

Track 28: Sean Paul – She Doesn’t Mind

Good beat, good tune.  Really like this one.

Track 29: Taio Cruz – Troublemaker

The lyrics are sort of hilarious and terrible at the same time.  Could do with a bit more melody as well!

Track 30: Alexandra Burke and Erick Morillo – Elephant

Great theme, and it’s got a good beat.  The tune’s a little generic, though.

Track 31: Swedish House Mafia and Knife Party – Antidote

It’s very danceable, but there’s not enough of a memorable hook for me.

Track 32: Rizzle Kicks – When I Was A Youngster

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rizzle Kicks on track 11.

The theme annoys me on this one, but the tune’s nice and feelgood.

Track 33: Stooshe and Travie McCoy – Love Me

Mid-century retro jazz-tinged song with Spice Girls-esque cackling interspersed throughout.  It’s not a bad tune.

Track 34: Gym Class Heroes and Neon Hitch – Get Yourself Back Home

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

I quite like the tune on the chorus, but the rest of the track is pretty dull.

Also, though I don’t class band/individual repetitions as a repeated artist, that’s two songs in a row with Travie McCoy’s vocals on.

Track 35: Rihanna – You Da One

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on track 17.

This tune is a bit irritating to my ears – not a fan.

Track 36: Tinchy Stryder and Pixie Lott – Bright Lights

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Pixie Lott on track 13.

Bland, forgettable tune, and the rap’s nothing special.

Track 37: Cover Drive – Twilight

The tune’s pretty dull.  I’m sure I did like at least one of Cover Drive’s songs, but this wasn’t it.

Track 38: Alyssa Reid and Jump Smokers – Alone Again

Utterly appalling cover of Heart’s Alone, with a rap partway through it and new, terrible verses.  The original is special to me (partly because it was on the sacred tome that is Now! #10) and so I find this mess pretty offensive.

Track 39: Jessie J – Who You Are

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

Boring ballad with overblown vocals.  Not my thing.

Track 40: Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles

Good retro-sounding track – very noddable.

Track 41: will.i.am, Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger – THE (The Hardest Ever)

Fantastic track!  I love the atmosphere, the build, the melding of the three very different vocal styles.  Wonderful stuff.

Track 42: Dappy and Brian May – Rockstar

I’m a bit irritated that a legend like Brian May got roped into contributing to this very uninspired song.  The rap’s okay, but the tune’s really generic, and the theme is my least favourite: the whole ‘look, I’m rich and famous now, let me brag about it in a song!’ thing.  The brief guitar solo is, of course, epic.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #75

Day 75 brings us to Now! #75, which came out on 29th March 2010.

March 2010
This is the way the world looked in March 2010…if you were attending a ceilidh in a slightly darkened room. I’m so glad I’ve lost the weight and don’t have to wear those shapeless black dresses anymore.

Can you believe we’re three quarters of the way through this Now! marathon?  That’s like being 19.65 miles of the way into an actual marathon.  Only 6.55 miles to go – that’s easy!  I will remember this moment when I’m 19.65 miles of the way through the London Marathon next April (spoiler: I almost certainly will not).

Also, we’re finally into the 2010s, the fourth and final decade of the Now! compilations so far (and also my life so far).  Having followed the charts very closely this decade, I can say with certainty that the remaining Now! compilations will definitely be better than the ’00s ones.  The ’00s was a real low for music.  (Except 2009, when it picked up.)  Thankfully I don’t have to listen to those again!

Now! That's What I Call Music #75
Track 1: Lady Gaga – Bad Romance

Stunning, classic electropop track – brilliant right from the a cappella intro.  Great stuff.

Track 2: 3OH!3 and Katy Perry – Starstrukk

I love this track, even with the silly whistling bit during the verse.  Awesome party song.

Track 3: The Black Eyed Peas – Meet Me Halfway

Beautiful tune!  The video‘s gorgeous too.

Track 4: JLS – Everybody In Love

Far too cheesy for me, I’m afraid!

Track 5: Iyaz – Replay

Another great tune – really like this one.

Track 6: Tinie Tempah and Labrinth – Pass Out

Love the daft lyrics, and it’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 7: Kesha – Tik Tok

Another good party song – and the vocal style was refreshingly different at this point.

Track 8: Timbaland and Katy Perry – If We Ever Meet Again

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

Love the chorus though – good track.

Track 9: Jason Derulo – In My Head

The tune’s a bit generic, but it’s still a good danceable song.

Track 10: Rihanna – Rude Boy

Nice atmosphere, interesting vocals.  Another great track.

Track 11: Chipmunk and Talay Riley – Look For Me

This one’s a bit bland and forgettable, and the chorus is annoying.

Track 12: Glee Cast – Don’t Stop Believin’

Cover of the ’80s Journey classic by the cast of hit TV show Glee.  This cover resulted in the original version – which had never actually been a hit in the UK when it was released in the ’80s – becoming a huge song during 2010 and staying prominent for the rest of the decade so far (I hear it played at every half marathon I run).  I’m not complaining – both versions are awesome and epic.

Track 13: Gabriella Cilmi – On A Mission

Great ’70s disco throwback track!  Love it.

Track 14: Alexandra Burke – Broken Heels

Another great party tune – very danceable.

Track 15: Sugababes – About A Girl

Great dance beat, but the tune’s pretty generic.

Track 16: The Saturdays – Ego

There’s something about the tune that’s a little irritating, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 17: Jedward and Vanilla Ice – Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby)

So we had Vanilla Ice sampling Queen and David Bowie’s 1981 song Under Pressure in 1989 for Ice Ice Baby, which was already considered fairly sacreligious, and then in 2010 we had Jedward doing a medley of both tracks and getting Vanilla Ice to help out with vocals.  It’s as awful as you might expect, but it somehow got to number two in the charts.

Track 18: Justin Bieber – One Time

Bieber in his early ‘fifteen and squeaky’ era.  It’s sort of half laughable and half headache-inducing.

Track 19: Jay Sean, Sean Paul and Lil’ Jon – Do You Remember

Good tune, but I can’t listen to it without hearing Sean Paul’s opening vocals as ‘got dirty egg‘, thanks to presenter Reggie Yates pointing it out on the Radio 1 chart show at the time.

Track 20: Pixie Lott – Cry Me Out

Too ballad-y and slow for me.

Track 21: Joe McElderry – The Climb

The annual inclusion of the previous year’s X Factor winner.  This is the one from 2009 that didn’t get the Christmas number one thanks to the much-publicised campaign to get Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name to number one instead.  That campaign reinvigorated my interest in the music charts after a few years of being Too Busy Being Goth, and led to my decision to follow the charts for the entirety of the 2010s to see how the decade would pan out musically.  Halfway through 2018, that particular habit is still going, and I expect it will last into the 2020s and beyond.

Anyway, the track.  It’s a pointless cover of the Miley Cyrus song, and there’s nothing else to say about it.

Track 22: Helping Haiti – Everybody Hurts

Charity cover of the REM classic by too many artists to mention.  There’s some interesting voice-spotting to be done, but the point of this cover, as ever with these things, was fundraising to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Track 23: Alicia Keys – Empire State Of Mind [Part II]

It’s Part II because this is the slow piano version.  Part I was a more upbeat song with Jay-Z rapping the main verses.  I prefer Part I, but that’s mainly ’cause I’m not into slow songs – this is still a great tune.

Track 24: Owl City – Fireflies

It’s a bit twee, but it’s a gorgeous tune – love that chorus.

Track 25: Jay-Z and Mr Hudson – Young Forever

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

The track is mainly a cover of the chorus and first verse from Alphaville’s Forever Young, which is fairly pointless but still great, ’cause it’s a great song.  The rest is filled in by rapping from Jay-Z, which is okay, but I’m definitely lining up the original to play later on.

Track 26: Cheryl and will.i.am – 3 Words

Lovely melancholy tune, quite like this one.

Track 27: Robbie Williams – You Know Me

Nice tune, but for some reason the music channels always put this on their Christmas playlists, so it’s got festive associations for me now.

Track 28: Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’

Well, we often have repeated artists on these Now! compilations, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a repeated song!  We already had the Glee Cast doing this song on track 12.

As I explained up-page, the Glee cover made this one a big hit too, and deservedly so, seeing as how it was overlooked by the UK music-buying public in the ’80s.  The piano intro is just beautiful, the lyrics are immense, and the tune is epic.

Track 29: Florence & The Machine – Dog Days Are Over

I find Florence & The Machine’s stuff a bit samey, and this is no exception.  There’s not really anything interesting about the tune, though the vocals are nice.

Track 30: Marina & The Diamonds – Hollywood

Gorgeous, unique track!  Great lyrics, awesomely different vocals.  Love this one.

Track 31: Ellie Goulding – Starry Eyed

Beautiful tune.  It was Ellie Goulding’s debut and, as far as I’m concerned, one of her best ever songs.

Track 32: Biffy Clyro – Many Of Horror

Wonderful rock track – I love the tune, and the way it builds is stunning!  I’m almost certain we’ll hear the X Factor cover version in three days’ time so I’ll skip ranting about that for now.

Track 33: Plan B – Stay Too Long

Nice retro-sounding rock track, quite like this one.  If I weren’t the queen of misheard lyrics, I’d make an effort to listen to the concept album of which it was part.  As it is, I’d probably be better off just reading the lyrics to all the songs in order to understand the story.

Track 34: Naughty Boy, Wiley and Emeli Sandé – Never Be Your Woman

Fairly pointless cover of the White Town classic with added rapping.  Always a great tune, but the original is obviously better.

Track 35: Example – Won’t Go Quietly

Great, atmospheric dance track.  Really like this one.

Track 36: Sidney Samson and Wizard Sleeve – Riverside (Let’s Go!)

Another highly danceable track – I really like the rap style.

Track 37: Gramophonedzie – Why Don’t You

Interesting track based around a sample of Peggy Lee’s Why Don’t You Do Right? from 1947.  Quite like this.

Track 38: Lemar – The Way Love Goes

I find this one a bit saccharine, but it’s got a good beat and the piano is nice.

Track 39: N-Dubz and Mr Hudson – Playing With Fire

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Mr Hudson on track 25.

Nice epic atmosphere on the chorus, but the rest of the tune’s fairly generic.

Track 40: Chiddy Bang – Opposite Of Adults

Love the electro hook, which is a sample from Kids by MDMT.  Nothing much else interesting here, though.

Track 41: Young Money and Lloyd – BedRock

Irritatingly daft track based around the infamously appalling Fred Flintstone pick-up line.  If you ignore the lyrics, it’s actually okay.

Track 42: McLean – My Name

I find the tune on this one pretty uninspired.

Track 43: Rihanna – Russian Roulette

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

I find both the lyrics and tune on this one a bit depressing.  Not the best way to end what has been an excellent Now! compilation!