Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #64

Day 64 takes us to Now! #64, which came out on 24th July 2006.

July 2006
This is how the world looked in July 2006, or at least it did if you were at T in the Park, with me and my mate Gemma looking suitably terrified in front of the ‘Maze of Terror’. I already told you she loved the Thrills.

Let’s see what bands might have been playing the festival circuit that year.

Now! That's What I Call Music #64
Track 1: Gnarls Barkley – Crazy

Great vocals from Cee Lo Green, but there’s something about the tune I’ve always found a bit depressing.

Track 2: Nelly Furtado – Maneater

This one has always been said to be inspired by the Hall & Oates track of the same name.  I’ve never been able to hear any similarities, but this is still a great song – it’s just not as good as Hall & Oates.  But then, few things are.

Track 3: Infernal – From Paris To Berlin

Nice bassline, nice ’80s-sounding dance track.  Really like this one.

Track 4: Rogue Traders – Voodoo Child

I’ve always loved this one, mainly ’cause it was used brilliantly in the Doctor Who episode ‘The Sound Of Drums’ when the Master wreaks havoc on the Earth.  Great dance track.

Track 5: McFly – Don’t Stop Me Now

Terrible pointless cover of the Queen song.  Actually, I shouldn’t say pointless, because the vocals are so poor compared to Freddie Mercury that it’s really obviously different.  Another good ‘point’ of this song is that it illustrates that there is a very good reason why nobody ever covers Queen songs, and that is because nobody has a hope of getting close to the brilliance of the originals.  I have no idea why McFly thought they could get away with this one.

Track 6: Pink – Who Knew

Dull tune that has none of the edge you usually get with Pink.  It sounds more like the kind of cheesy soft-rock you’d get from Kelly Clarkson or somebody like that.

Track 7: Sandi Thom – I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)

ARGH.  I almost don’t have the words to describe how awful I’ve always found this song.  It was the first notable example of a teenage singer discovered on YouTube.  The song, completely unironically, manages to conflate the late ’70s punk movement with the late ’60s hippy movement – hey, those alternative types are all the same, right?  If she really meant what she was singing about, the whole ‘born too late into a world that doesn’t care‘, she would at least have done enough research to know the difference.  ARGH.  Also, when I was at T in the Park 2006, she was given a five-minute slot on the main stage, because SHE ONLY HAD ONE SONG.

Sandi Thom, you are a totally fake 20th century girl.  Everything about this song is utterly cringeworthy.

ARGH.

And breathe.

Track 8: The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way

Too twee, acoustic-y, and cheesy for me.

Track 9: The Feeling – Fill My Little World

I’ve always found this one revoltingly twee, and worse, horrendously catchy.  I’ve got a horrible feeling it’s going to be stuck in my head again now after years of blissfully forgetting about it.

Track 10: Keane – Is It Any Wonder?

Quite like the guitar riff – it’s a bit edgier than I’d usually expect from Keane.  The vocals are still pretty bland though.

Track 11: Snow Patrol – You’re All I Have

Boring tune, very forgettable.

Track 12: Razorlight – In The Morning

Some nice interesting lines going on here, quite like this one.

Track 13: Orson – Bright Idea

The beat’s interesting, but the tune is a bit depressing.

Track 14: The Zutons – Valerie

Great tune, love that chord progression.  I know the Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse cover became more well-known, but I’ve got a real soft spot for the original.

Track 15: Dirty Pretty Things – Bang Bang You’re Dead

Good rock track, but the lines are a bit messy, and the tune on the vocals is kind of generic.

Track 16: The Automatic – Monster

Great track – it’s featured on Lego Rock Band, so I had a lot of fun drumming along to it back in the day.

Track 17: Paul Oakenfold and Brittany Murphy – Faster Kill Pussycat

Nice bassline, nice interesting vocals – good stuff.

Track 18: Chicane and Tom Jones – Stoned In Love

Good dance beat, but the tune’s pretty bland.  Not even Tom Jones’ vocals can make this one interesting.

Track 19: Primal Scream – Country Girl

Unfortunately, due to the theme, this one’s a bit country-inspired, and country music is not my thing at all.

Track 20: Bon Jovi – Who Says You Can’t Go Home

Bon Jovi starting to sound a bit dad-rock.  Not hugely keen on this one.

Track 21: Matt Willis – Up All Night

Matt Willis going solo from Busted and thankfully sounding a little more grown-up.  It’s not a bad rock song.

Track 22: Fall Out Boy – Dance, Dance

Great beat, interesting vocals.  Really like this one.

Track 23: Lily Allen – Smile

It’s a nice tune, but Lily Allen’s best stuff would appear later on.

Track 24: Rihanna – SOS

Good atmosphere, good solid pop track.

Track 25: The Black Eyed Peas – Pump It

The Latin tinge from the Misirlou sample (better known as the Pulp Fiction music) is great.  Happily nodding along here.

Track 26: The Pussycat Dolls and Snoop Dogg – Buttons

Great atmosphere, nice Eastern-tinged instrumentals.

Track 27: Ne-Yo – So Sick

Pretty tune on the instrumentals at the beginning, but the vocal line’s pretty boring.

Track 28: Busta Rhymes – Touch It

Messy rap, no melody, not my thing.

Track 29: Christina Milian and Young Jeezy – Say I

I like the retro ’70s-sounding backing track, and the vocals are quite interesting.

Track 30: Sérgio Mendes and The Black Eyed Peas – Mas Que Nada

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had the Black Eyed Peas, just five tracks ago.

Great Latin track – still a favourite for warm-ups and cool-downs in Zumba classes everywhere.

Track 31: The Ordinary Boys and Lady Sovereign – Nine2Five

Great uptempo song with that Ordinary Boys ska tinge – and somehow Lady Sovereign’s rap style melds really well with it.

Track 32: Sugababes – Red Dress

Great bassline, good beat, good pop track.

Track 33: Beatfreakz – Somebody’s Watching Me

Pointless ‘cover’ (actually a remix that doesn’t give proper credit to the original artist) of the Rockwell classic that leaves out the verses and just samples the chorus.  Definitely need to go listen to the original after this.

Track 34: Sunblock and Robin Beck – First Time

Another remix masquerading as a cover, this time of Robin Beck’s 1988 hit.  Yet another ’80s classic where I will be listening to the original after this Now! compilation is done!

Track 35: Bob Sinclar and Steve Edwards – World, Hold On (Children Of The Sky)

Great atmosphere, great beat – quite like this track.

Track 36: Supermode – Tell Me Why

Cover of a nonexistent mash-up of the Bronski Beat songs Smalltown Boy and Why?  When we used to run our Electrolicious Sundays night at Mr Modos, Geth would always mix the original Smalltown Boy into this, which really emphasised the shortcomings of this cover.  More originals to listen to when I’m done here!

Track 37: Mousse T and The Dandy Warhols – Horny As A Dandy

Mash-up of Horny and Bohemian Like You.  I’ve mentioned before how much I hate mash-ups.  This just makes me want to go and listen to the two originals to scrub this mess from my brain.  I think it’s going to be a long night on Spotify.

Track 38: The Shapeshifters and Chic – Sensitivity

Love that classic funk – great retro sound.  Also, apparently it was only Nile Rodgers representing Chic on this track, but I suppose he basically is Chic now.

Track 39: Beverley Knight – Piece Of My Heart

Fairly pointless cover of the ’60s classic, but it’s a great song whoever does it.

Track 40: James Morrison – You Give Me Something

Oh, it’s this one.  Boring tune, and it’s too slow for me.

Track 41: Will Young – Who Am I

Interesting backing track, but the vocal’s very repetitive.

Track 42: Ronan Keating and Kate Rusby – All Over Again

Bit of an odd pairing that I would never have guessed did a song together.  It’s slow and sappy and not my kind of thing, but I suppose the vocals are quite nice.

Track 43: Girls Aloud – Whole Lotta History

Nice tune, nice atmosphere, but I find the vocal lines a bit messy and jarring.

We’ve avoided any ‘Not on Spotify’ moments again!  Hopefully this will become more and more regular.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #59

Day 59 equals Now! #59, which came out on 15th November 2004.

November 2004
This is how the world looked in November 2004, because we had just adopted our beautiful cat, José, and all of our photos were of him. José was the universe’s most wonderful creature, the feline love of my life, and the only thing that saved me from myself that year. He was only with us for seven short years, but I will miss him forever.

Let’s see what the hits were as we approached the midpoint of the decade.

Now! That's What I Call Music #59
Track 1: Blue – Curtain Falls

Love the Gangsta’s Paradise sample and its accompanying epic atmosphere, but the tune on the vocals is not really anything special.

Track 2: Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved

I’ve always quite liked this nice tune, though the chorus is a bit cheesy.

Track 3: Natasha Bedingfield – These Words

I like the instrumentals on the backing track, but the vocals are not really my thing.

Track 4: Robbie Williams – Radio

Great synth line, great tune – really like this one.

Track 5: Busted – Thunderbirds Are Go

Awful track that just reminds me how bad the live-action Thunderbirds film was (I am a huge fan of the original Gerry Anderson series).  It bastardises the classic theme song in an even worse way than the film ruins the show.

Track 6: Eric Prydz – Call On Me

Brilliant sampling of Steve Winwood’s Valerie, though obviously I’ll always prefer the original song.  Steve Winwood apparently liked this so much that he re-recorded the vocals specially.  Also, I can’t not mention the infamous aerobics video.

Track 7: Girls Aloud – Love Machine

Nice upbeat song, quite like this one.

Track 8: McFly – Obviously

I’ve always found this one really irritating – annoying tune, annoying theme, annoying vocals.

Track 9: Rachel Stevens – More, More, More

Fairly pointless cover of the ’70s classic.  There’s some irritating ’00s instrumentals going on, but nothing else is really changed from the original.

Track 10: Darius – Kinda Love

Boring tune, never really gets going.

Track 11: V – Hip To Hip

Quite like the tune on the instrumental hook, but the vocals are irritating and dull.

Track 12: JoJo – Leave (Get Out)

Sounds like pretty much every other song from around the same time.  Very forgettable.

Track 13: Jay Sean – Stolen

Good atmosphere, though the vocals are pretty generic.

Track 14: Scissor Sisters – Mary

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

Track 15: Keane – Bedshaped

Takes forever to get started.  When it does, it’s quite a nice tune, but again it’s far too slow for my liking.

Track 16: The Libertines – Can’t Stand Me Now

Good beat, good guitar instrumentals.  Quite like this track.

Track 17: Hoobastank – The Reason

Annoying tune, and it’s not upbeat enough for me.

Track 18: Embrace – Gravity

Nice instrumentals on the intro, but it’s another one that’s too slow for me.

Track 19: Lucie Silvas – What You’re Made Of

Nice tune, but it’s a bit repetitive (and again, too slow!).

Track 20: Ronan Keating – I Hope You Dance

Another boring, slow ballad.  Despite the title, this is a highly undanceable song.

Track 21: Duncan James and Keedie Babb – I Believe My Heart

Semi-repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Duncan James as part of Blue on track 1.

All of these slow, dull ballads are so samey that I can’t tell where one ends and another begins.  It does get more interesting when Keedie Babb’s soprano vocals come in though.

Track 22: Daniel Bedingfield – Nothing Hurts Like Love

Cheesy lyrics/vocals, but the atmosphere’s nice and dramatic.

Track 23: Jamelia – Stop

One of those tracks that has Christmas associations for me nowadays – the music channels always play it at Christmas due to the video featuring clips from Love Actually.  I was annoyed to realise recently that it’s an utterly pointless ’00s cover of the ’80s Sam Brown song.

Track 24: R Kelly – Happy People

It’s nice and upbeat (makes a change from all those dull ballads) but the tune’s pretty forgettable.

Track 25: Nelly and Jaheim – My Place

Bit repetitive, but the tune’s okay.

Track 26: The Black Eyed Peas – Let’s Get It Started

Good upbeat party song, very danceable.

Track 27: Kelis and André 3000 – Millionaire

Interesting song, but there’s not enough melody for me.

Track 28: 3 Of A Kind – Baby Cakes

I shouldn’t like this one, but I actually find it quite pleasant to nod along to.

Track 29: Khia – My Neck, My Back (Lick It)

I’m not a prude but I’ve always found this very sexually explicit song a bit squicky, to be honest.  If you ignore the lyrics, it’s got a good danceable beat.

Track 30: Ice Cube, Mack 10 and Ms Toi – You Can Do It

Great beat on this one, and the vocal hook makes it a classic.

Track 31: Joss Stone – You Had Me

Great upbeat song with a good atmosphere – love that chorus.

Track 32: Christina Milian and Joe Budden – Whatever U Want

Highly generic track – nothing interesting or special going on here.

Track 33: Sugababes – Caught In A Moment

Nice atmosphere, but the tune on the vocals is pretty dull.

Track 34: The Pirates, Enya, Shola Ama, Naila Boss and Ishani – You Should Really Know

Answer song to the beautiful I Don’t Wanna Know by Mario Winans, which already sampled the Fugees sampling Enya.  It’s pretty much the same song, so it’s still a gorgeous tune.

Track 35: Houston, Chingy, Nate Dogg and I-20 – I Like That

Good head-nodder, good atmosphere.  Quite like this one.

Track 36: Mousse T and Emma Lanford – Is It ‘Cos I’m Cool?

Oh, it’s this one.  The tune’s a little annoying, but at least it’s something different and rockier than what we’ve had so far.

Track 37: Deep Dish – Flashdance

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

Despite the title, this is not actually a cover of Flashdance…What A Feeling by Irene Cara.  It is instead a cover of He’s A Dream by Shandi Sinnamon, which was also on the original Flashdance soundtrack.  It’s a very repetitive female-fronted rock track – there’s little of interest here.

Track 38: Angel City and Lara McAllen – Do You Know (I Go Crazy)

Painfully dull dance track that samples Robert Miles’ Children and adds some terrible vocals over the top of it.  Nothing new going on at all.

Track 39: Michael Gray – The Weekend

Oh, it’s this one.  It’s an okay dance track, but I find the electro hook a bit irritating.

Track 40: Intenso Project and Lisa Scott-Lee – Get It On

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

Good beat, okay atmosphere, but the vocals are pretty terrible and uninspired.

Track 41: Dannii Minogue and Flower Power – You Won’t Forget About Me

Like the guitar, and the vocals are nice too.

Track 42: Danzel – Pump It Up

The chant-along bit is kind of repetitive, but the beat’s good.

Track 43: Eyeopener – Hungry Eyes

Dodgy trance cover of the Eric Carmen song.  It’s pretty awful.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #58

Day 58, and Now! #58, which was released on 26th July 2004.

July 2004
This is how the world looked in July 2004. I imagine that dusk in the South of France has probably always been that enticing and beautiful. I often miss my late teenage goth style, which is something I’ve not really been able to replicate properly in later years.

Let’s see what would have been blaring out on the promenade.

Now! That's What I Call Music #58
Track 1: Rachel Stevens – Some Girls

Good atmosphere, good head-nodder.  Quite like this one.

Track 2: The Shapeshifters – Lola’s Theme

Quite like the ’70s retro tinge and the way the instrumentals work together, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 3: Anastacia – Left Outside Alone

Good track – really like the power vocals and the lyrics in this one.

Track 4: Kelis – Trick Me

Oh, it’s this one!  Great beat, very danceable.

Track 5: Jamelia – See It In A Boy’s Eyes

Some interesting instrumentals, but the tune’s very generic.

Track 6: Eamon – F**k It (I Don’t Want You Back)

Repetitive, bitter breakup song that was everywhere in the early part of the year…

Track 7: Frankee – FURB (F U Right Back)

…and then this answer song was released with exactly the same tune.  It was later revealed that she wasn’t actually his ex-girlfriend and the whole thing had been made up to sell more records.  Anyway, both tracks are awful.

Track 8: Christina Milian – Dip It Low

Irritating vocals, boring tune.

Track 9: Outkast – Hey Ya!

Great, classic singalong track!  Still love this one.

Track 10: The Black Eyed Peas – Hey Mama

Great atmosphere, good beat.  Quite like this track.

Track 11: Scissor Sisters – Laura

Great tune, probably the best song Scissor Sisters ever did.  That recurring instrumental is stunning.

Track 12: George Michael and The Ones – Flawless (Go To The City)

Semi-cover of the 2001 track Flawless (see Now! #50 for review of the original) with George Michael singing over the top.  This version is better, to be honest.

Track 13: Narcotic Thrust – I Like It

Quite like the tune on this dance track.

Track 14: Beverley Knight – Come As You Are

Nice classic retro tinge on the bassline, but the vocal line’s not really doing anything for me.

Track 15: Joss Stone – Super Duper Love

Cover of a ’70s song by Sugar Billy, though this version is a lot more well-known.  It’s a nice feelgood song and a nice tune.

Track 16: Keane – Everybody’s Changing

Cheesy soft rock, a bit cringeworthy.  The tune’s okay, I suppose.

Track 17: Franz Ferdinand – The Dark Of The Matinée

I always quite liked this one – good stompy ’00s festival rock.  Super bonus points for the bit in the lyrics about Terry Wogan (RIP).

Track 18: Razorlight – Golden Touch

Another great festival track – love the tune and the atmosphere on this.

Track 19: The Rasmus – In The Shadows

A song long detested by alternative music fans because it’s kind of fake and cheesy, but I have to admit I have a bit of a nostalgic fondness for it.

Track 20: Gladiator and Izzy – Now We Are Free

Like the operatic vocals, but the trance is very uninspired.

Track 21: Britney Spears – Everytime

‘Every time’, Britney.  ‘Every time’.  There’s no such word as ‘everytime’!

The track is a boring slow ballad, and it’s probably pretty clear by now that I’m not keen on those.

Track 22: Kylie Minogue – Chocolate

This one’s a bit slow for me, and there’s not really anything interesting going on.

Track 23: Girls Aloud – The Show

Great electro backing track, very danceable – really solid piece of pop.

Track 24: McFly – 5 Colours In Her Hair

A really cringeworthy bit of trying-to-be-alternative pop-pop-punk.  You just know that the ‘five colours in her hair’ were from hair mascara (anyone else remember that awful late ’90s/early ’00s trend?  I only just chucked out all of mine earlier this year!).

Track 25: Sugababes – In The Middle

The vocals are a little irritating on this one, and the tune’s a bit repetitive.

Track 26: Busted – Air Hostess

Bad clangy guitars, cheesy vocals, uninspired tune.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 27: O-Zone – Dragostea Din Tea

This daft Eurodance track was everywhere in summer 2004 and later became the subject of a meme.  I’ve always really liked the tune!

Track 28: Blue – Bubblin’

Good beat, but the tune is really dull.

Track 29: V – Blood Sweat And Tears

Highly generic, bland song.  Utterly forgettable.

Track 30: 2 Play, Raghav and Naila Boss – It Can’t Be Right

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

Quite like the tune, and it’s nice and upbeat.

Track 31: Nina Sky and Jabba – Move Ya Body

Good head-nodder, happily chair-dancing here.

Track 32: Fatman Scoop and The Crooklyn Clan – It Takes Scoop

Cover of the 1988 song It Takes Two, which is possibly one of the most covered/sampled tracks of all time (and was already a mishmash of samples itself).  I’m not familiar enough with the 1988 song to ascertain the differences, but this version’s a bit messy for me, though it’s got a good beat.

Track 33: Kanye West – Through The Wire

I like the retro tinge on the sung vocals in the background, but the main rap is not really my thing.

Track 34: NERD – Maybe

There are some interesting lines going on here, but the beat’s a bit jarring and the tune’s not doing it for me.

Track 35: Estelle – 1980

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

This song would be a lot better if it actually sounded like it was made in 1980.  Still, it’s an okay track.

Track 36: Jay Sean and Rishi Rich Project – Eyes On You

Really like the piano instrumentals, and the tune’s quite nice too.

Track 37: VS – Call U Sexy

Love the sample of Imagination’s Body Talk, but the rest of the track is pretty boring.

Track 38: Joe – Ride Wit U

Not enough melody for my liking, and the backing track’s really one-note and dull.

Track 39: Gabrielle – Stay The Same

Too slow and too bland for me.

Track 40: Ronan Keating and LeAnn Rimes – Last Thing On My Mind

Boring ballad, which, to be honest, I kind of expected from these two.

Track 41: Kristian Leontiou – Story Of My Life

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

Track 42: Atomic Kitten – Someone Like Me

Really like the piano on this.  The tune’s quite nice too.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #53

Day 53 brings us to Now! #53, released on 18th November 2002.

November 2002
This is how the world looked in November 2002 (actually December). It was party season and I was starting to look vaguely grown-up, now I was at uni and everything. That dress is another one that I only just got rid of in the giant clothes cull.

Let’s see what was played at all the Christmas parties that year.

Now! That's What I Call Music #53
Track 1: DJ Sammy, Yanou and Do – Heaven

Trance cover of the Bryan Adams classic that was everywhere at the time.  Give me the original any day.

Track 2: Las Ketchup – Aserejé

Daft novelty song with accompanying dance.  It was fun to dance to in the Cav after a few VK Apples, but the less said about that the better.

Track 3: Enrique Iglesias – Love To See You Cry

Enrique Iglesias’ song themes are just getting creepier and creepier *shudder*

The Spanish guitar is nice, but I can’t get past the creep factor.

Track 4: Sugababes – Round Round

Great solid pop song, really like this one.

Track 5: Atomic Kitten – The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling)

Pointless cover of the Blondie classic with a sort of extra bad song tacked onto the end of it.  Should have left well alone.

Track 6: Blue – One Love

Irritating chorus, pretty bland otherwise.

Track 7: Darius – Colourblind

Another irritating, saccharine song.  Not my thing at all.

Track 8: Busted – What I Go To School For

Busted are a good example of what I call ‘pop-pop-punk’ – very obviously fake ‘alternative’ aesthetic, present themselves as playing their own instruments, but they’re far too manufactured to be in any way actually alternative.  This track is a bit of a guilty pleasure though.

Track 9: Liberty X – Got To Have Your Love

The instrumentals on the intro are okay, but then the generic vocals kick in and make everything very dull.

Track 10: Romeo and Christina Milian – It’s All Gravy

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

Uninspired rap track with boring sung vocal interjections.  Nothing exciting about this.

Track 11: Samantha Mumba – I’m Right Here

It’s better than a lot of the Samantha Mumba tracks featured recently, but it’s still pretty bland.

Track 12: Abs Breen – What You Got

Instrumentals a bit more interesting than most of these tracks, but the vocals are very generic.

Track 13: Britney Spears – I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll

Really awkward pointless cover of the Joan Jett classic.  There’s just no edge to this at all.

Track 14: S Club Juniors – Automatic High

More irritating kiddie warbling.  Let’s move on.

Track 15: Kylie Minogue – Come Into My World

Nice tune, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 16: Jakatta and Seal – My Vision

Fairly dull dance chillout track, though the vocals are good.

Track 17: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Music Gets The Best Of Me

Highly annoying chorus – not keen on this one.

Track 18: Kelly Llorenna – Heart Of Gold

More irritating vocals and a highly generic dance hook.

Track 19: Milk Inc – Walk On Water

Yet more annoying, generic vocals.  The tune’s pretty awful too.

Track 20: Jan Wayne – Because The Night

Starts off as a fairly pointless cover of the Patti Smith classic, then it turns into an uninspired dance track.  The tune’s good, ’cause it’s a good song originally, but I get very irritated by covers like this.

Track 21: Lasgo – Pray

Utterly grating vocals, generic tune.

Track 22: Scooter – Posse

The shouty vocals are a bit daft, but the tune is good.

Track 23: Coldplay – In My Place

It’s Coldplay-by-numbers – dull and depressing.

Track 24: Oasis – Little By Little

Good atmosphere, but it’s too slow for me, and the chorus annoys me.

Track 25: U2 – Electrical Storm

Nice instrumentals, but I find the rest of the track too repetitive.

Track 26: Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott – Hero

I’ve always found the tune to this Spiderman tie-in track really annoying.  Not a fan.

Track 27: Richard Ashcroft – Check The Meaning

The tune’s okay, but it’s pretty forgettable.

Track 28: Eva Cassidy – Imagine

Slow acoustic cover of the John Lennon classic.  As ever with Eva Cassidy, the vocals are gorgeous, but the style is too slow for me.

Track 29: Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles

Really like this tune!  Great track.

Track 30: Badly Drawn Boy – You Were Right

Good, interesting tune – quite like this one.

Track 31: Ronan Keating – I Love It When We Do

Irritating chorus, boring tune.  Not keen.

Track 32: Appleton – Fantasy

Follow-up band comprising half the members of All Saints.  It’s got a slightly rockier edge than the All Saints stuff, but the tune’s not much to write home about.

Track 33: Ms Dynamite – Dy-Na-Mi-Tee

The tune’s a bit repetitive, but the chorus is quite fun.

Track 34: Beenie Man and Janet Jackson – Feel It Boy

Messy track, boring tune.  Nothing interesting here.

Track 35: Daniel Bedingfield – James Dean (I Wanna Know)

Another dull, repetitive tune, though the hook on the chorus is okay.

Track 36: Eminem – Without Me

Classic and hilarious.  Love this one, especially the fact that MTV still to this day mute out the ‘they wanna shut me down on MTV‘ line.

Track 37: Puddle Of Mudd – She Hates Me

Found the theme stupid at the time, still do now.  The tune’s okay though.

Track 38: Bowling For Soup – Girl All The Bad Guys Want

Great track!  Loved it then, love it now.  Classic piece of pop-punk.

Track 39: Supergrass – Grace

Nice feelgood tune, quite like this one.

Track 40: Status Quo – Jam Side Down

Amazed that enough people were still buying new Status Quo singles in 2002 that this actually charted!

This track’s quite refreshing for a 2002 playlist – it’s the same kind of classic rock that Quo have always done.

Track 41: Raven Maize – Fascinated

Repetitive, boring dance track.

Track 42: Who Da Funk and Jessica Eve – Shiny Disco Balls

Dull dance track with daft, irritating vocals.

Track 43: Paul Oakenfold – Starry Eyed Surprise

Another uninspired dance track with ‘bonus’ generic rap over the top.  A poor end to a poor Now! compilation.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #52

Day 52 equals Now! #52, which came out on 22nd July 2002.

July 2002
This is the way the world looked in July 2002. It’s a reference image for one of the many horror screenplays I was writing at the time. While on holiday in Kos, Greece, my mates and I had to walk along this creepy road every night to get to the best club on the island, and this was the result.

Let’s see what dodgy trance and other chart hits we would have been dancing to in the clubs of Kardamena.

Now! That's What I Call Music #52
Track 1: Ronan Keating – If Tomorrow Never Comes

Super saccharine, irritating ballad.  Not my kind of thing.

Track 2: Liberty X – Just A Little

I always quite liked this one.  I’m not sure why, ’cause it’s not the kind of style I’d normally be into at all.

Track 3: George Michael – Freeek!

The song’s great, but the video‘s even better!

Track 4: Sugababes – Freak Like Me

Wonderful use of the Are Friends Electric? sample.  Great track.

Track 5: Kylie Minogue – Love At First Sight

Good danceable tune, nodding along quite happily here.

Track 6: Enrique Iglesias – Escape

It’s a great tune, but the theme is super creepy!

Track 7: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Get Over You

Great pop tune, quite like this one.

Track 8: S Club Juniors – One Step Closer

Urgh, it’s S Club Juniors.  Even more irritating than their adult counterparts.  Two of them would grow up to be Rochelle Humes and Frankie Bridge from the Saturdays, fact fans.

The track is as cheesy and irritating as you might expect from eight singing twelve-year-olds.

Track 9: Nigel & Marvin – Follow Da Leader

Daft chant-along song.  I actually quite like it.

Track 10: Scooter – The Logical Song

Hilariously random dance cover of the Supertramp classic.  Always had a soft spot for this.

Track 11: Dee Dee – Forever

Uninspired, irritating dance track with super annoying vocals.

Incidentally, my friend Sarah calls me Dee Dee, but I’d rather not be associated with this lot (who are a Belgian group of dance producers, apparently).

Track 12: Flip & Fill – Shooting Star

More irritating vocals, and the tune’s very grating too.  Not keen on this one.

Track 13: Paffendorf – Be Cool

The hook’s okay, but it’s pretty repetitive.

Track 14: Kelly Llorenna – Tell It To My Heart

Super irritating chorus – not a fan of this one.

Track 15: Shy FX, T-Power and Di – Shake Ur Body

Good upbeat track with interesting instrumentals – quite like it.

Track 16: Tim Deluxe and Sam Obernik – It Just Won’t Do

Highly irritating vocals, repetitive tune.  Not my thing.

Track 17: Shakedown – At Night

Oh, it’s this one.  Annoying tune, dull beat.

Track 18: Moony – Dove (I’ll Be Loving You)

Another boring tune.

Track 19: Intenso Project – Luv Da Sunshine

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

Repetitive and dull.  This is becoming a bit of a theme.

Track 20: 4 Strings – (Take Me Away) Into The Night

Can I have an interesting tune soon, please?  And preferably not a dance track as well.  The bassline’s okay, though.

Track 21: Mad’house – Like A Prayer

Pointless Madonna tribute act doing a pointless cover of Like A Prayer.  I have no idea why bands like this were actually in the charts in the early ’00s.  Why not just listen to the original?

Track 22: S Club 7 – You

Another awful cheesy track from S Club 7.  Nothing redeeming about this at all.

Track 23: Atomic Kitten – It’s OK!

The vocal is at least interesting, but it’s still very cheesy and annoying.

Track 24: Britney Spears – I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman

Awful cheesy song released to tie in with Spears’ awful movie, Crossroads.

Track 25: Ashanti – Foolish

Some interesting lines on the backing track, but it’s otherwise pretty dull.

Track 26: Mary J Blige – No More Drama

The tune’s quite nice, but the atmosphere’s a little depressing.

Track 27: NSYNC – Girlfriend

I’ve always quite liked this tune – it’s got a good atmosphere too.

Track 28: Christina Milian – When You Look At Me

Another good tune – things are picking up!

Track 29: Nelly – Hot In Herre

Stupid theme, but the tune’s a classic!  It was played at pretty much every nightclub in 2002.

Track 30: Ms Dynamite – It Takes More

Great tune, great atmosphere.  Really good track.

Track 31: Omero Mumba – Lil’ Big Man

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 3: Can’t Find It Anywhere!

It looks like the Now! compilers have finally exhausted the stock of poorer-quality Samantha Mumba tunes, ’cause they’ve resorted to including this appalling offering from her little brother.  This song is so awful that neither Spotify, YouTube or DailyMotion have it available for listening, so we’ll have to move on!

Track 32: Aaliyah – Rock The Boat

Boring tune, not keen on this one.

Track 33: The Reelists – Freak Mode

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

Nice tune, but I don’t like the vocals.

Track 34: Robbie Williams and Maxi Jazz – My Culture

Great track, really like this one – there’s some awesome chant-along bits.

Track 35: Amy Studt – Just A Little Girl

Highly irritating vocals from the off.  Everything about this track is horrifically grating.

Track 36: Sheryl Crow – Soak Up The Sun

Nice guitar line, but it’s a bit boring otherwise.

Track 37: Doves – Pounding

Good head-nodder if you ignore the drone-y vocals.

Track 38: Space Cowboy – I Would Die For You

It’s quite an interesting track, if a bit messy.

Track 39: Idlewild – American English

Nice tune from my fellow Edinburghers here.  Good singalong chorus.

Track 40: Puddle Of Mudd – Blurry

The tune’s pretty uninspired, but it’s nice to hear some rock among a world of bad dance tracks.

Track 41: Moby – We Are All Made Of Stars

Good beat, interesting guitar line – it’s just the vocals that are a bit dull.

Track 42: Oasis – Stop Crying Your Heart Out

I know there was at least one track off Oasis’ Heathen Chemistry album that I actually liked, but this was not it.  Dull and drone-y track, not keen.

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.