Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #60

Day 60 brings us to Now! #60, which was released on 21st March 2005.

March 2005
This was how the world looked in March 2005. MySpace was a huge thing, which meant that surprised-looking bathroom selfies with headphones draped around one’s neck were also a huge thing.

Let’s see what music sounded like now that I was in my twenties.

Now! That's What I Call Music #60
Track 1: Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For?

Great tune, great atmosphere, interesting vocals – I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 2: Sunset Strippers – Falling Stars

Remix of Waiting For A Star To Fall by Boy Meets Girl.  Love the song, obviously prefer the original version, but this is still nice to hear.

Track 3: Kylie Minogue – I Believe In You

Great synth instrumentals at the start, and I quite like the vocals.  Good track.

Track 4: McFly – All About You

The tune’s irritating, and the song’s far too cheesy for me.

Track 5: Nelly and Tim McGraw – Over And Over

This one’s not interesting enough for me – it’s pretty forgettable.

Track 6: Lemar – If There’s Any Justice

Good atmosphere, good tune – quite like this one.

Track 7: Girls Aloud – I’ll Stand By You

Utterly pointless cover of the Pretenders classic.  As ever, I feel obliged to point out that this was the official Children In Need single for 2004, and therefore the ‘point’ was to raise money for charity, but it would still have been better if they’d actually done something new and interesting with the song.

Track 8: Uniting Nations – Out Of Touch

Dance cover of the Hall & Oates classic.  It doesn’t quite have the wonderful atmosphere of the original, but I do quite like it.

Track 9: Scissor Sisters – Filthy/Gorgeous

Great song – awesome tune, highly danceable.

Track 10: The Chemical Brothers – Galvanise

I’ve always really liked the tune on this one, and it’s good to nod along to.

Track 11: LL Cool J and 7 Aurelius – Hush

Quite like the backing vocals, but the track’s pretty generic otherwise.

Track 12: Ashanti – Only U

Don’t like the muddiness of the backing track, and the tune is very bland.  The atmosphere’s okay though.

Track 13: Ciara and Petey Pablo – Goodies

Painful whistling on the backing track, terrible rap, awful theme, no melody.  Actively dislike this one.

Track 14: Akon – Locked Up

Boring tune, very repetitive.  Nothing special here.

Track 15: Joss Stone – Spoiled

The tune’s okay, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 16: Verbalicious – Don’t Play Nice

Good beat, great head-nodder.  It’s a bit repetitive and tuneless though.

Track 17: The Shapeshifters – Back To Basics

Another great beat, but the lines are a bit messy and there’s not much to the tune.

Track 18: Geri Halliwell – Ride It

Great atmosphere, really interesting intro, good tune.  Really like this one.

Track 19: Lovefreekz – Shine

Like the retro disco tinge on this dance track.

Track 20: Reflekt and Delline Bass – Need To Feel Loved

Some nice, atmospheric lines going on here – good piece of chillout.

Track 21: Soul Central and Kathy Brown – Strings Of Life (Stronger On My Own)

The instrumentals give this track a decidedly early ’90s dance vibe, which is no bad thing.

Track 22: Styles & Breeze – Heartbeatz

Generic, repetitive dance track with saccharine vocals.  Not my thing at all.

Track 23: U2 – Vertigo

Great guitar riff, great singalong chorus.  Really like this track.

Track 24: The Killers – Somebody Told Me

A classic!  Great track – I remember seeing this live at T in the Park 2005.  Brilliant lyrics, brilliant tune.

Track 25: Stereophonics – Dakota

Nice interesting spiky instrumentals, and the vocals are a lot more upbeat than most Stereophonics tracks.  Quite like this.

Track 26: Keane – This Is The Last Time

Dull and saccharine, not keen on this one.

Track 27: Bloc Party – So Here We Are

Very repetitive instrumentals, boring vocals.  Not for me.

Track 28: Athlete – Wires

I like the piano, and the atmosphere’s nice, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 29: Robbie Williams – Misunderstood

Dull tune, and again it’s too slow.

Track 30: Ronan Keating and Yusuf Islam – Father And Son

We’ve sort of already had this on Now! #33, in that we’ve already had the Boyzone version (with Ronan Keating on lead vocals) and this is the Ronan Keating solo version.  The instrumentals are a bit different on this version.  It’s also got guest vocals from Yusuf Islam, who used to be known as Cat Stevens and did the original song, thus making this a semi-cover.

Track 31: Darius – Live Twice

Boring and saccharine.  Not my thing.

Track 32: Daniel Bedingfield – Wrap My Words Around You

Good beat, like the guitar, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 33: Lucie Silvas – Breathe In

Good instrumentals, but the vocals are dull and uninspired.

Track 34: Doves – Black And White Town

Repetitive, droning tune.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 35: The Bravery – An Honest Mistake

I remember seeing this lot at T in the Park 2005 – they had a lot of bottles thrown at them and were really pissed off about it!  This was their only real hit from what I remember.  I quite like the song, to be honest.

Track 36: Freefaller – Do This! Do That!

Quite like this pop-punk track – it’s got a good tune.

Track 37: Thirteen Senses – Thru The Glass

Great eerie atmosphere on the intro, then it launches into a solid rock track.  Good stuff.

Track 38: Feeder – Tumble And Fall

I normally like Feeder, but this one’s too slow and drone-y for me.

Track 39: Raghav, Frankey Maxx and Jucxi D – Angel Eyes

I’m not keen on the rap, but otherwise it’s an okay song.

Track 40: JoJo – Baby It’s You

Highly irritating vocals, bad rap, generic tune.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 41: Atomic Kitten – Cradle

Super saccharine and too slow, and the tune is bland.  Utterly forgettable.

Track 42: Brian McFadden and Delta Goodrem – Almost Here

Great atmosphere on this one.  It’s slow and cheesy so I shouldn’t like it, but I do.

Track 43: Tony Christie and Peter Kay – (Is This The Way To) Amarillo

The Comic Relief song for 2005, which was just a re-release of the original (Tony Christie didn’t re-record it or anything).  Peter Kay is credited despite not contributing to the song – his contribution was of course the legendary video.  (I have linked to the original complete video, so I should probably include a warning that it contains Jimmy Savile.  The fascinating media practice of performing damnatio memoriae on anything involving Savile since his crimes became public knowledge is briefly covered here.)

For only the second time in sixty Now! compilations, we have avoided any ‘Not on Spotify’ incidents!  This makes me very happy.

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 #56

Day 56 equals Now! #56, which was released on 17th November 2003.

November 2003
This is how the world looked in November 2003 (actually October). The champagne was to celebrate finally passing my driving test on the sixth attempt. I had about five pairs of those ridiculously baggy jeans in various colours – I am so glad they disappeared with the ’00s. Probably should have bleached my roots before putting on that red dye, too.

Let’s see what would have been played at the club I went out to later that night (spoiler: none of the following, ’cause I’m pretty sure I went to Opium rock club, which didn’t play a lot of chart music).

Now! That's What I Call Music #56
Track 1: The Black Eyed Peas – Where Is The Love?

I quite like the Black Eyed Peas, but I’ve always found the chorus on this one a bit irritating.

Track 2: Rachel Stevens – Sweet Dreams My LA Ex

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

Track 3: Kylie Minogue – Slow

Great synth instrumentals, good atmosphere, though the tune’s a little repetitive.

Track 4: Blue – Guilty

Slow, cheesy, boring ballad.  Not my thing.

Track 5: Fatman Scoop and The Crooklyn Clan – Be Faithful

Good bit of chant-along hip-hop.  Could do without the generic sung vocals though.

Track 6: Beyoncé and Jay-Z – Crazy In Love

This one was everywhere in 2003, especially on holiday in Zante that summer.  I still quite like the tune, but that’s probably more nostalgia than anything else.

Track 7: Sugababes – Hole In The Head

Great pop tune – really like this one.

Track 8: Liberty X – Jumpin’

Good beat, but the vocals are annoying.

Track 9: Jamelia – Superstar

It did get a bit overplayed at the time, but it’s a good tune.

Track 10: Lumidee – Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)

Irritating vocals, irritating tune, irritating drum beat in the background.  Not a fan of this.

Track 11: Stacie Orrico – Stuck

Nice guitar in the background, but the vocals give me a headache.

Track 12: Lemar – Dance (With U)

Like the retro tinge, and it’s got a nice beat.

Track 13: Javine – Surrender (Your Love)

Great instrumentals – love that trumpet – but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 14: Emma Bunton – Maybe

Good uptempo song, interesting vocals – good track.

Track 15: S Club 8 – Sundown

If you ignore the kiddie vocals, it’s quite a good danceable tune.

Track 16: Ultrabeat – Pretty Green Eyes

Love the backing track on this dance hit, but the vocals are a bit cheesy (even if they do have good taste in eye colour!).

Track 17: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Mixed Up World

Great danceable beat, but it’s a bit messy in general, and the tune’s pretty generic.

Track 18: Phixx – Hold On Me

Quite like the electro lines, but the vocals are pretty cheesy.

Track 19: D-Side – Invisible

Bland tune, saccharine vocals and really creepy lyrics.  Not keen.

Track 20: Louise – Pandora’s Kiss

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

Repetitive tune, irritating backing track.  When the guitar kicks in on the chorus, though, it gets a bit better.

Track 21: Girls Aloud – Life Got Cold

Some more nice guitar – lovely tune.

Track 22: Atomic Kitten – If You Come To Me

Not keen on the vocals, and the tune’s pretty bland.

Track 23: Elton John – Are You Ready For Love

’70s classic back in the charts due to a re-release and TV advert.  Not complaining – it’s a welcome break from all the poor quality early ’00s pop!

Track 24: Justin Timberlake – Rock Your Body

It’s fairly standard Justin Timberlake, with a danceable beat and irritating falsetto all over the place.  It’s okay, sort of.

Track 25: Robbie Williams – Something Beautiful

Like the backing instrumentals, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 26: Nickelback – Someday

There are only two Nickelback tracks that are in any way listenable, and both of those are due to reasons outwith the song.  This is not one of these two.

Track 27: Busted – Sleeping With The Light On

Irritating and cheesy – not keen on this one.

Track 28: Mark Owen – Four Minute Warning

Mark Owen coming back out of nowhere about eight years after Take That split up.  This is a great track and I wish he’d done more solo stuff.

Track 29: Amy Studt – Under The Thumb

Irritating vocals, bland tune.  At least it’s got some good guitar in the background though.

Track 30: Texas and Kardinal Offishall – Carnival Girl

Quite like the carnival-music-themed intro, but then it just launches into boring soft rock with misplaced rapping over the top.

Track 31: 50 Cent and Nate Dogg – 21 Questions

Don’t really like the way the lines mix together on this one, and it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 32: Ashanti – Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)

Boring, generic song, very forgettable.

Track 33: Joe Budden – Pump It Up

Quite like the backing track, and it’s got a good beat.  This one’s okay.

Track 34: Jaimeson – Complete

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

Very bland tune, nothing interesting going on here at all.

Track 35: Lisa Scott-Lee – Too Far Gone

Annoying messy lines, dull vocals.  Highly generic.

Track 36: Angel City and Lara McAllen – Love Me Right (Oh Sheila)

Extremely ’90s dance sounding cover of the ’80s song.  It’s not bad, actually.

Track 37: Richard X and Kelis – Finest Dreams

Good atmosphere, good beat – happily nodding along.

Track 38: Rishi Rich Project, Jay Sean and Juggy D – Dance With You

Some interesting lines, but the main vocal is very dull.

Track 39: UB40 and The United Colours Of Sound – Swing Low

You know it’s a Rugby World Cup year when somebody does a dodgy cover of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.  At least UB40’s reggae stylings sort of suit the song.

Track 40: Starsailor – Silence Is Easy

Boring, forgettable soft rock.  Not a fan.

Track 41: Stereophonics – Maybe Tomorrow

Interesting instrumentals, but the vocals are as drone-y and boring as ever.

Track 42: Daniel Bedingfield – Never Gonna Leave Your Side

Super saccharine, slow and bland.  Not my kind of thing.

Track 43: Michael Andrews and Gary Jules – Mad World

Slow, melancholy cover of the Tears For Fears classic, and the Christmas number one for 2003 (BUT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE DARKNESS AND I’M STILL ANGRY ABOUT THAT ahem).  It’s beautiful, because the Tears For Fears original is also beautiful.  I’ll always prefer the original version, but this one is lovely too.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #55

Day 55 brings us to Now! #55, which came out on 21st July 2003.

July 2003
This is the way the world looked in July 2003. That balcony’s not changed much, but I don’t remember the last time we used those wine glasses (and those clothes are now definitely living in my keepsakes boxes rather than my wardrobe!). It’s also been a while since I was that blonde – it has been attempted a couple more times since then, but I’ve got fairly lazy with hair dyeing lately. I’m saving that particular energy up for when I eventually go grey and have to start doing something about it.

Time for another round of summer hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #55
Track 1: R Kelly – Ignition [Remix]

I’ve not thought about this one for a while.  It was a big summer hit and was played in all the clubs in Zante when I was there with my mates.  I still quite like the tune.

Track 2: 50 Cent – In Da Club

A classic.  Love this one – it still gets stuck in my head every time it’s my birthday.

Track 3: Justin Timberlake – Cry Me A River

Nice tune, great epic atmosphere.  Awesome track.

Track 4: Wayne Wonder – No Letting Go

Oh, it’s this one.  The tune’s pretty dull, but it’s got some good instrumentals going on.

Track 5: Javine – Real Things

Nice epic blaring intro, quite like it.

Track 6: Kym Marsh – Come On Over

Very bland tune – not my kind of thing.

Track 7: Girls Aloud – No Good Advice

The tune and lyrics on this are really poor quality and awkward.  It sounds like it was written by a twelve-year-old.  Just awful.

Track 8: t.A.T.u – Not Gonna Get Us

Dull, repetitive follow-up to All The Things She Said.  Should have been a one-hit wonder.

Track 9: S Club 8 – Fool No More

So after S Club 7 changed their name to S Club (see yesterday’s review), S Club Juniors then went and changed their name to S Club 8, presumably ’cause they weren’t so junior anymore.  Confused?  I certainly am.

This track is a dance track, but the vocals still sound pretty kiddie to me.

Track 10: Fast Food Rockers – Fast Food Song

We used to sing this daft kids’ song in the church hall at Girl Guides meetings back in the mid-’90s.  I have no idea why anyone thought it would make a good pop song.  Really makes me hungry though.

Track 11: XTM, DJ Chucky and Annia – Fly On The Wings Of Love

Highly irritating vocals, cheesy tune, dodgy misplaced pan pipe instrumentals over a trance beat.  Appalling track.

Track 12: Lisa Scott-Lee – Lately

Uninspired vocals, bland tune.  Not keen on this.

Track 13: One True Voice – Shakespeare’s (Way With) Words

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

Too saccharine for me, but I suppose the tune’s alright.

Track 14: Bhangra Knights and Husan – Husan

Good tune, good beat – quite like this one.

Track 15: Tomcraft – Loneliness

Good head-nodder, very danceable.  I remember this being number one for quite a few weeks.

Track 16: Tiga and Jake Shears – Hot In Herre

Fairly pointless cover of the Nelly track, which was only a year old itself at this point (see Now! #52).  Jake Shears’ voice doesn’t suit the track at all, and all the fun is missing from the original.

Track 17: Lisa Maffia – All Over

There’s some interesting lines, but the track’s a bit messy in general.  I could do without the two rappers shouting over each other.

Track 18: Benny Benassi and The Biz – Satisfaction

The track’s tuneless and repetitive, but the video‘s a dubious classic (I was NOT a fan of the awful hiking-boots-with-stiletto-heels trend it encouraged, which has unfortunately made a few reappearances in the intervening time).

Track 19: Deepest Blue – Deepest Blue

Boring tune, uninspired dance beat.

Track 20: DJ Sammy – Sunlight

Good beat, but the tune’s very irritating.

Track 21: Plummet – Damaged

Interesting lines, but there’s not enough of a solid tune for me.

Track 22: Paul van Dyk and Hemstock & Jennings – Nothing But You

Generic dance track.  The vocals are quite nice, but it’s nothing special.

Track 23: Scooter – The Night

The high-pitched vocals on the chorus give me a headache, but the rest of the track’s quite danceable if it’s post-2am.

Track 24: Robbie Williams – Come Undone

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

Track 25: Busted – You Said No

Urgh, whiny can’t-handle-rejection lyrics *shudder*

Track 26: Daniel Bedingfield – I Can’t Read You

Bland acoustic-y track with an annoying chorus, not to my liking.

Track 27: Amy Studt – Misfit

Nice vocals, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 28: The Thrills – Big Sur

It’s nice that the mid-’00s festival stalwart bands are starting to make appearances.  My mate Gemma absolutely loved this lot.

The track’s a nice retro-sounding soft rock tune.  Love that Monkees reference.

Track 29: Coldplay – God Put A Smile Upon Your Face

Nice atmosphere – this one’s got an okay tune.

Track 30: Appleton – Everything Eventually

Slow to start (as befits the title).  The vocal intro is nice, but after that it gets a bit generic.

Track 31: David Sneddon – Don’t Let Go

Boring slow tune – not keen.

Track 32: Ronan Keating – The Long Goodbye

Like the piano intro, but the rest of the track’s too saccharine for me.

Track 33: Darius – Incredible (What I Meant To Say)

Irritating tune that sounds like pretty much everything else.  Utterly forgettable.

Track 34: Feeder – Just The Way I’m Feeling

LOVED this track at the time and bought the single – it’s still a great tune.  I must have gone to see Feeder about three times that year, as they played the Glasgow Barrowlands a lot at the time.

Track 35: Sinéad Quinn – What You Need Is

Love the rock-edged instrumentals – this is quite a good track.

Track 36: Melanie C – On The Horizon

Boring, irritating tune.  I don’t find Melanie C’s second solo album anywhere near as good as her first.

Track 37: Emma Bunton – Free Me

I find the tune really irritating, and it’s too slow.

Track 38: S Club – Say Goodbye

Slow and saccharine.  You might have guessed I’m not a fan.

Track 39: Sugababes – Shape

Love the Sting sample – great atmosphere on this one.

Track 40: Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams – Excuse Me Miss

Some interesting lines going on here – quite like it, but it could do with a bit more melody.

Track 41: Mariah Carey and Cam’Ron – Boy (I Need You)

Boring, messy, irritating.  Next, please.

Track 42: Ja Rule and Ashanti – Mesmerise

Urgh.  Uninspired, repetitive tune, and the rap is awful.  Not my cup of tea at all.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #54

Day 54, and Now! #54, which was released on 14th April 2003.

April 2003
This is how the world looked in April 2003. No pictures of people this month, so you can have some nice scenery courtesy of one of Mum and Dad’s weekend trips away.

I don’t want to jinx things, but I’ve got a vague memory that this was the year when chart music started to improve a bit and became more rock-oriented.

Now! That's What I Call Music #54
Track 1: t.A.T.u – All The Things She Said

Loved it at the time and bought the single.  It’s still a great tune, but there are obvious issues with the creepy male-gaze manufacturing of a couple of faux-lesbian Russian schoolgirls.  I remember the Top of the Pops performance – the BBC refused to show a same-sex kiss on stage at 7pm and cut to an opposite-sex couple kissing in the crowd instead.  We’ve come a long way since the early ’00s.

Track 2: Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You

I like the stop-start guitar at the beginning, but the tune to the vocals annoys me.

Track 3: Nelly and Kelly Rowland – Dilemma

One of my first-year uni flatmates was obsessed with this song and played it over and over.  As such, I’m amazed I still quite like it.

Track 4: Richard X and Liberty X – Being Nobody

Dodgy pointless cover of Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody with an irritating ’00s backing track.  I strongly advise listening to the original instead.

Track 5: Room 5 and Oliver Cheatham – Make Luv

Classic dance track, good head-nodder, though it’s a little repetitive.

Track 6: Junior Senior – Move Your Feet

I’ve always found the chorus on this one highly irritating, but the song reminds me of my friend Sarah (who loved it at the time) so it’s not all bad.

Track 7: Girls Aloud – Sound Of The Underground

Still really like this one – great atmosphere, classic pop track.

Track 8: Busted – Year 3000

Yup, it’s awful (although the sanitised Jonas Brothers cover was even more awful).  I remember the looks of horror on everyone’s faces when the DJ decided it would be a good idea to play this in Studio 24 (Edinburgh’s biggest rock club at the time).  It only happened once, probably due to complaints.

Track 9: Melanie C – Here It Comes Again

The tune’s a bit bland, but I like the instrumentals.

Track 10: Sinéad Quinn – I Can’t Break Down

Great Spanish guitar, great atmosphere.  Quite like this one.

Track 11: Darius – Rushes

Irritating vocals, but the tune on the chorus is okay.

Track 12: Appleton – Don’t Worry

Slow, dull acoustic-y ballad with an annoying tune.  Not keen.

Track 13: Atomic Kitten – Love Doesn’t Have To Hurt

Cheesy, generic song.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 14: Blue – U Make Me Wanna

Great atmosphere, great instrumentals, but the vocals are pretty irritating.

Track 15: Jay-Z and Beyoncé – ’03 Bonnie And Clyde

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

Love the guitar on this track – awesome theme, great song.

Track 16: Jaimeson and Angel Blu – True

Quite interesting for a dance track – like the atmosphere.

Track 17: Zoe Birkett – Treat Me Like A Lady

Generic tune, pretty bland really.

Track 18: S Club – Alive

S Club 7, now calling themselves S Club due to one of them having left.  The music is as irritating as ever.

Track 19: One True Voice – Sacred Trust

Repetitive, uninspired song – this one’s very dull.

Track 20: Kym Marsh – Cry

Appallingly saccharine, twee song.  Don’t like this one at all!

Track 21: Ainslie Henderson – Keep Me A Secret

Boring and generic.  We’re really getting into the nadir of the talent show era now.

Track 22: Daniel Bedingfield – If You’re Not The One

Awful track – whiny tune, hugely problematic stalker-y theme.  It really creeps me out.

Track 23: David Sneddon – Stop Living The Lie

Nice tune, but the vocals leave a lot to be desired.

Track 24: Robbie Williams – Feel

Lovely tune, great atmosphere.

Track 25: Oasis – Songbird

It’s better than other Oasis tracks of this era, but it’s still a bit drone-y.

Track 26: Turin Brakes – Painkiller

Good bit of soft rock – quite like this one.

Track 27: Coldplay – Clocks

The piano instrumental is nice, but I find the rest of the track pretty dull.

Track 28: Lulu and Ronan Keating – We’ve Got Tonight

Painfully bland cheesy ballad.  Not my thing.

Track 29: Sugababes – Stronger

Nice atmosphere, good tune.  Quite like this track.

Track 30: Beenie Man – Street Life

Good head-nodder, but the tune’s a bit boring.

Track 31: Cam’Ron, Juelz Santana, Freekey Zeekey and Toya – Hey Ma

Oh, it’s this one.  Repetitive and tuneless, but I suppose it’s got a good beat.

Track 32: Nelly and Justin Timberlake – Work It

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had both Nelly and Justin Timberlake on this Now! compilation.

The track’s okay, but there’s a bit too much going on.

Track 33: Panjabi MC – Mundian To Bach Ke

Absolute classic – brilliant piece of bhangra.  Love this tune.

Track 34: Scooter – Weekend!

More daft rave from Scooter, with some insanely irritating chipmunk-tuned vocals in the middle.  The rest of the track’s quite danceable.

Track 35: DJ Sammy – The Boys Of Summer

Awful trance cover of the Don Henley classic.  Not a fan.

Track 36: Divine Inspiration – The Way (Put Your Hand In My Hand)

More trance.  This has got quite a good atmosphere, though.

Track 37: Queen and DJ Vanguard – Flash

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

Semi-cover of the 1980 classic with lots of repetitive hi-hat over the top.  It kind of loses the epic atmosphere of the original.

Track 38: Erasure – Solsbury Hill

Good to see Erasure back in the charts for the ’00s, especially as they sound exactly like they did in the ’80s.  This is a nice synthpop cover of the Peter Gabriel song.

Track 39: The Mock Turtles – Can You Dig It? [Fatboy Slim and Simon Thornton 2003 Remix]

Nice feelgood soft rock song, quite like this one.

Track 40: Counting Crows and Vanessa Carlton – Big Yellow Taxi

Pointless cover of the Joni Mitchell classic, but it’s a good song whoever does it (well, maybe I wouldn’t be saying that if it were one of DJ Sammy’s trance covers, but you know what I mean).

Track 41: Richard Ashcroft – Science Of Silence

Dull, drone-y track, but it’s at least more upbeat than most of Richard Ashcroft’s stuff.

Track 42: Massive Attack and Sinéad O’Connor – Special Cases

Love the slightly spooky atmosphere on this one – great track.

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 #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.