Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #73

Day 73 means Now! #73, which was released on 20th July 2009.

July 2009
This is how the world looked in July 2009. I seem to have fallen into a theme for these summer releases where the picture is ‘photo of me and Geth out for Kieran’s birthday’ (Kieran’s birthday always being an epic pub crawl around Edinburgh back in those days). I still wear that jacket ALL THE TIME in the summer – it’s sort of both lightweight and rock-chick-looking. I got it in a vintage shop (The Rusty Zip on Teviot Place, now taken over by W Armstrong & Son, the biggest vintage brand in the city) in the early ’00s, and from the fabric I would guess it’s from the ’90s originally.

Time for some summer hits!  With bonus electropop, because 2009.

Now! That's What I Call Music #73
Track 1: Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Great electropop tune, very danceable.  It’s become a bit of a classic.

Track 2: Cascada – Evacuate The Dancefloor

Good atmosphere on this one, with some great electro hooks.

Track 3: David Guetta and Kelly Rowland – When Love Takes Over

Great beat, but I find the tune on the chorus pretty irritating.

Track 4: Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone

Dull tune, and the acoustic-y intro is jarring with the main electro dance bit.

Track 5: La Roux – In For The Kill

Wonderful, atmospheric electro track.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 6: Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz – Number 1

Fittingly, this did get to number one in the charts at the time.  Good beat, good tune.

Track 7: AR Rahman and The Pussycat Dolls – Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)

Love that Eastern tinge – great chant-along track.

Track 8: Chipmunk and Emeli Sandé – Diamond Rings

Good rhythm on this one – I like the jazz-tinged backing track.

Track 9: Lily Allen – Not Fair

Awesome tune, love the lyrics.

Track 10: Pixie Lott – Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)

Great, classic big band sound – really like this tune.

Track 11: Pink – Please Don’t Leave Me

Love the guitar riff, but the vocals are a bit cheesy for my liking.

Track 12: The Veronicas – Untouched

Lovely instrumentals, great ’80s tinge.  Good track, only spoilt by the irritating vocals.

Track 13: Katy Perry – Waking Up In Vegas

Good rock edge, great lyrics.  Quite like this one.

Track 14: Girls Aloud – Untouchable

Lovely atmospheric ’80s-tinged guitar intro, pretty tune on the vocals.  Very nice.

Track 15: Agnes – Release Me

I find the tune on this pretty irritating, and the instrumentals very generic.  Not keen.

Track 16: Freemasons and Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)

Great atmospheric track – yet more ’80s-tinged electropop!  I’d forgotten how much I liked 2009 for music.

Track 17: Alesha Dixon – Let’s Get Excited

Good beat, good solid bit of pop.  Happily nodding along.

Track 18: The Saturdays – Work

Love the electro instrumentals – another awesome pop track.

Track 19: Take That – Up All Night

It’s a little too acoustic-y for my liking, but I do appreciate the ’60s tinge.

Track 20: Britney Spears – If U Seek Amy

Let’s gloss over the juvenile title.  The instrumentals are great and the atmosphere is nice and epic.

Track 21: Jordin Sparks – Battlefield

Irritating vocals, but I suppose the tune is quite nice.

Track 22: Shontelle and Akon – Stuck With Each Other

Uninspired tune, boring vocals.  Not a fan of this track.

Track 23: Beyoncé – Halo

Gorgeous tune, great atmosphere.  This is the kind of ballad I can get behind.

Track 24: Daniel Merriweather – Red

This one, meanwhile, is a boring, slow ballad.  Not for me.

Track 25: Keri Hilson, Kanye West and Ne-Yo – Knock You Down

There’s some nice electro lines here, but I find the vocals pretty dull.

Track 26: Ciara and Justin Timberlake – Love Sex Magic

Love that ’70s-style funk.  Great beat, very danceable.

Track 27: The Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow

Another great chant-along track – happily chair-dancing here again!

Track 28: Soulja Boy and Sammie – Kiss Me Thru The Phone

Some very irritating and jarring electro hooks and vocals going on here, but the atmosphere’s quite good.

Track 29: Akon, Kardinal Offishall and Colby O’Donis – Beautiful

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Akon on track 22.

Very generic dance tune, boring vocals that sound like everything else released at the time.

Track 30: Flo Rida and Wynter Gordon – Sugar

Obviously I love the daft sampling of Eiffel 65’s Blue (Da Ba Dee).  The rest of the track is pretty messy and uninspired though!

Track 31: Ironik, Chipmunk and Elton John – Tiny Dancer (Hold Me Closer)

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Chipmunk on track 8.

The track’s based around a sample of the 1972 original, hence the Elton John credit.  It sounds fairly terrible with all that rapping over the top.

Track 32: Pitbull – I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)

Bonus points for the sample from The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind), and I do like the Latin tinge, even if the rap is a bit generic.

Track 33: Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden – Bonkers

Great dance tune, brilliant vocal hook – big fan of this one.

Track 34: The Prodigy – Warrior’s Dance

Gorgeous, atmospheric tune on the intro – then it launches into a highly danceable bass-driven track.  Great stuff.

Track 35: 3OH!3 – Don’t Trust Me

Another very danceable track, and a good tune.

Track 36: Kasabian – Fire

Iconic guitar riff, builds wonderfully.  Love this tune.

Track 37: Florence & The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Lovely atmosphere, gorgeous vocals.  Very nice track.

Track 38: Noisettes – Never Forget You

Great mid-century retro feel, with a nice reggae beat mixed in there as well.

Track 39: Little Boots – New In Town

Not keen on the stop-start intro, and the tune’s not very interesting.

Track 40: James Morrison – Please Don’t Stop The Rain

I quite like the piano and the atmosphere, but the vocals are too saccharine for me.

Track 41: Paolo Nutini – Candy

It’s the kind of instrumentals that would normally be too acoustic-y for me, but I quite like them.  The vocals, on the other hand, are just annoying.

Track 42: Empire Of The Sun – We Are The People

More acoustic guitar, but again I quite like it – it’s very atmospheric.  Lovely tune.

Track 43: Deadmau5 and Kaskade – I Remember

Fairly uninspired dance tune, but it’s another track that’s got quite a nice atmosphere.

Track 44: Chicane – Poppiholla

Instrumental cover of the Sigur Rós classic Hoppípolla.  It’s a lovely tune, and this reworking is very nice.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #72

Day 72 brings us to Now! #72, which came out on 6th April 2009.

April 2009
This is how the world looked in April 2009. That is the kind of happy face you only get from me on the first day it’s warm enough to sit out in a beer garden after a long winter.

2009 really brought the electropop, from what I remember, so let’s get cracking!

Now! That's What I Call Music #72
Track 1: Lily Allen – The Fear

Great tune, great lyrics.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 2: Lady Gaga and Colby O’Donis – Just Dance

Awesome danceable piece of electropop.

Track 3: Flo Rida and Kesha – Right Round

It’s based around the hook from Dead Or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), so I was always going to like this one.  Flo Rida’s rap style actually goes really nicely with it.

Track 4: Alesha Dixon – The Boy Does Nothing

Alesha Dixon’s post-Strictly solo comeback song.  Love this tune, and the retro big band feel is much appreciated.

Track 5: The Saturdays – Just Can’t Get Enough

Pointless cover of the Depeche Mode classic, and one of the official Comic Relief singles for 2009 (so charity fundraising, as ever, is the ‘point’).

Track 6: Kelly Clarkson – My Life Would Suck Without You

This one’s pretty acclaimed, but I’ve always found the tune and theme really annoying.

Track 7: Tinchy Stryder and Taio Cruz – Take Me Back

Nice atmosphere – I like the electro lines.

Track 8: Kid Cudi and Crookers – Day ‘N’ Nite

Boring, repetitive tune, with some irritating vocal tics going on.

Track 9: Britney Spears – Womaniser

Great pop track – love the hooks on this one.

Track 10: TI and Rihanna – Live Your Life

It’s based around the hook from O-Zone’s Dragostea Din Tei, which gives the track quite an interesting sound.

Track 11: Akon – Right Now (Na Na Na)

Nice tune, quite like this one.

Track 12: Shontelle – T-Shirt

Interesting vocals, but I find the tune very generic.

Track 13: Ne-Yo – Mad

Boring tune, annoyingly saccharine vocals.

Track 14: The Saturdays – Issues

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had the Saturdays on track 5.

I quite like the rhyming of the lyrics on this one, but the tune’s a bit dull.  The Saturdays did much better songs later on.

Track 15: Leona Lewis – Forgive Me

Great vocals, great atmosphere, but the tune’s pretty forgettable.

Track 16: Girls Aloud – The Loving Kind

Another boring tune, and the vocals make it a bit too ballad-y for me.

Track 17: September – Can’t Get Over

Good beat, good electro lines.  The vocals are a little generic though.

Track 18: Steve Angello, Laidback Luke and Robin S – Show Me Love

Semi-cover of Robin S’s 1993 hit, mashed up with various other things.  It’s not very inspired.  See my Now! #24 review for the original song.

Track 19: N-Dubz – Strong Again

Boring tune, but I quite like some of the vocal hooks.

Track 20: Katy Perry – Thinking Of You

Dull ballad, not keen on this one.

Track 21: Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah

The annual bit of karaoke from the X Factor winner.  To give credit to Alexandra Burke, this is not a pointless cover: there have been so many different and beautiful versions of the Leonard Cohen classic, and she did put her own stamp on it, but it just doesn’t have as much feeling in it as classic versions like those of Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright.

Speaking of the X Factor

Track 22: X Factor Finalists 2008 – Hero

There was an annoying trend in the late ’00s/early ’10s where the final twelve contestants in the X Factor would release a group single with everyone getting a line, which, just like the winner’s single, was inevitably a pointless cover of a classic song.  This meant that everyone who was interested in pop music but didn’t care about the X Factor had to put up with not one but two irritating karaoke numbers in the charts around Christmas time.  2008’s offering was a pointless cover of the Mariah Carey song.  (As often happens, the ‘point’ was charity fundraising, this time for Help For Heroes and the Royal British Legion.  Charity fundraising = awesome!  Releasing a soulless, uninspired remake of an existing song = not awesome.)

Track 23: Take That – Greatest Day

It should feel epic and sweeping – but I just find the tune irritating.  I’m not sure why.

Track 24: Alesha Dixon – Breathe Slow

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Alesha Dixon on track 4.

This one’s got a nice backing track, but the tune is fairly generic.

Track 25: James Morrison and Nelly Furtado – Broken Strings

Irritatingly cheesy and slow ballad.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 26: Taylor Swift – Love Story

Super saccharine soft pop-rock!  Again, not my thing.  I prefer Taylor Swift’s more pure pop stuff from the early-to-mid-’10s.

Track 27: Pink – Sober

Nice guitar, interesting theme, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 28: The Killers – Human

I still remember people getting irritated about the grammar of the line ‘are we human or are we dancer‘.  Would it sound better and less jarring if the lyric was ‘dancers‘?  Yes.  Is it grammatically incorrect?  Technically, no.  Brandon Flowers is using ‘dancer‘ to mean a sort of faux-species here, and the use of the singular as an adjective in the same way that ‘human‘ can be used as an adjective is, I believe, meant to emphasise this.

Anyway, it’s quite a good tune.

Track 29: The Script – Breakeven

I’m generally not keen on this kind of soft rock, and this is no exception.  Bland tune, very forgettable.

Track 30: Jason Mraz – I’m Yours

I find this kind of cheery, bouncy, acoustic-y track really irritating.  Sorry!

Track 31: Noisettes – Don’t Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go)

Great bassline, lovely bit of electropop.  Really like this one.

Track 32: Metro Station – Shake It

Really like the instrumentals on this track – great guitar, great synth.  It all adds up to a nice retro ’80s tinge, which I’m all about!

Track 33: U2 – Get On Your Boots

Interesting vocals, good guitar line, quite like this one.

Track 34: MGMT – Kids

Oh, it’s this one!  Lovely electro hook, great bassline.

Track 35: The Prodigy – Omen

I saw the Prodigy at M’era Luna 2009, and this song was the anthem of the weekend, with everyone singing it all over the place.  Great dance track, builds beautifully, wonderful atmosphere.

Track 36: Kevin Rudolf and Lil’ Wayne – Let It Rock

Another great bassline and another awesome atmosphere – good track.

Track 37: Wiley and Daniel Merriweather – Cash In My Pocket

I like the ’60s retro tinge on this one.

Track 38: Kanye West – Heartless

Nice tune, quite like this track.

Track 39: TI and Justin Timberlake – Dead And Gone

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

Nice piano intro, nice epic atmosphere.  Great stuff, though it would be better without the rap.

Track 40: Daniel Merriweather and Wale – Change

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Daniel Merriweather on track 37.  Give someone else a chance, Now! compilers!

This is a great track, though – lovely tinkly piano, good beat.

Track 41: Pet Shop Boys – Love Etc.

Nice to see Pet Shop Boys back in the charts.  I have missed that perfect synth!  Wonderful tune.

Track 42: Duffy – Rain On Your Parade

More great instrumentals!  Lovely atmosphere on this one.

Track 43: Vanessa Jenkins, Bryn West, Tom Jones and Robin Gibb – Islands In The Stream

Daft semi-cover (semi due to Robin Gibb’s involvement) of the Bee Gees-written song made famous by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, featuring comedy characters Vanessa Jenkins (Ruth Jones) and Bryn West (Rob Brydon) from the sitcom Gavin & Stacey.  This was another song released for Comic Relief 2009.  The video‘s funny, but the song’s a bit pedestrian until Tom Jones shows up at the end.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #67

Day 67 means Now! #67, which was released on 23rd July 2007.

July 2007
This is the way the world looked in July 2007. We were in a hotel bar in Lerwick, Shetland, celebrating Mum and Dad’s silver wedding anniversary. Hotel bars don’t seem to have changed that much to my eye, but then I’ve never been very observant when it comes to trends in decor.  Fashion is another matter – because it rained pretty much the entire week we were there, that was the exact point that I uneasily noticed Crocs were suddenly a huge thing.

Let’s get on with those summer hits.  Not that it felt very summery in Shetland!

Now! That's What I Call Music #67
Track 1: Rihanna and Jay-Z – Umbrella

Classic pop song that was everywhere in 2007.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 2: Gwen Stefani and Akon – The Sweet Escape

Great atmosphere, great vocal hook.  Quite like this track.

Track 3: Gym Class Heroes and Patrick Stump – Cupid’s Chokehold

I really like the hints of ’70s rock inspiration – there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on here.

Track 4: Kate Nash – Foundations

Interesting instrumentals, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 5: Avril Lavigne – Girlfriend

Highly irritating high-pitched pop-pop-punk.  Avril Lavigne’s stuff did get easier on the ear later on.

Track 6: Take That – Shine

Another great tune from ‘Fake That’ – generally when Mark Owen’s singing lead, you’re onto a winner.

Track 7: Enrique Iglesias – Do You Know? (The Ping Pong Song)

Great chorus and synth line, but the song’s not nearly as interesting as the title suggests.

Track 8: Mika – Love Today

Brilliant, danceable track, one of my favourites from this era.  Great tune.

Track 9: Mutya Buena – Real Girl

I like the sample of Lenny Kravitz’s It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over – it gives the track a nice retro tinge – but the vocals are pretty bland.

Track 10: Beyoncé and Shakira – Beautiful Liar

Love the Eastern-tinged instrumentals – this one’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 11: Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado – Give It To Me

Nice eerie instrumentals, making for another awesomely atmospheric song.

Track 12: Amerie – Take Control

This one’s pretty uninspired – nothing interesting here.

Track 13: Christina Aguilera – Candyman

Great classic big band feel – really like this one.

Track 14: Kelly Clarkson – Never Again

I find the lines on this very jarring and the vocals too high-pitched and headache-inducing, which is a shame ’cause there’s a good atmospheric tune in there somewhere.

Track 15: McFly – Baby’s Coming Back

Boring tune, cheesy vocals.  Not keen on this.

Track 16: Natasha Bedingfield – I Wanna Have Your Babies

Terrible title, irritating vocals.  The tune’s okay though.

Track 17: Fergie and Ludacris – Glamorous

Love the tune on the backing track, and the sung vocals are quite interesting, but I could do without the rap bits.

Track 18: Justin Timberlake – LoveStoned/I Think She Knows

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Justin Timberlake on track 11.

Some interesting instrumentals, but on the whole the tune’s not really doing it for me here.

Track 19: Ne-Yo – Because Of You

Saccharine and boring.  Not my thing.

Track 20: Akon and Snoop Dogg – I Wanna Love You

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

Unfortunately I seem to have accidentally added the explicit version to my Spotify list, and everything about it is just offensive.  Sometimes hilariously so, but mostly just offensive.

Track 21: Robin Thicke – Lost Without U

There’s a slight lounge-y retro tinge that is quite nice, but in general I’m not really feeling this tune.

Track 22: Snow Patrol – Signal Fire

All the versions on Spotify are very proud of the fact this song was used in Spiderman 3 and so have ‘FROM THE MOTION PICTURE SPIDERMAN 3’ and things like that stamped all over them.  I don’t remember it for that – I remember it because it was used in a random Doctor Who fanvid, which gives you a good indication of where my head was at the time.  The track itself is pretty dull and depressing.

Track 23: Maroon 5 – Makes Me Wonder

Interesting ’80s-tinged instrumentals, which is always a good thing.  The tune’s pretty forgettable though.

Track 24: Mark Ronson and Daniel Merriweather – Stop Me

Cover of the Smiths track Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before, with added bits from the Supremes’ You Keep Me Hangin’ On.  A double cover!  As it’s Mark Ronson, though, there’s nothing pointless about it – the track is quite innovative.

Track 25: Hellogoodbye – Here (In Your Arms)

Irritating vocals, twee lyrics.  The backing track’s nice and ’80s-tinged once it gets going, but unfortunately it’s mostly drowned out by the boring tune.

Track 26: Alex Gaudino and Crystal Waters – Destination Calabria

Mash-up of the saxophone hook from Rune’s Calabria and Alex Gaudino’s earlier track Destination Unknown.  Of the two tracks, I think it’s Calabria I want to go listen to after this, ’cause I love a good bit of saxophone.

Track 27: Booty Luv – Shine

Fairly generic dance track, but it does have a good retro ’70s disco tinge to it.

Track 28: Calvin Harris – The Girls

Awkward theme to the lyrics, but the synth line’s good.  I think I’m going to have to hunt for an instrumental version.

Track 29: Reverend & The Makers – Heavyweight Champion Of The World

Good upbeat tune, quite like this one.

Track 30: Paolo Nutini – New Shoes

Daft but highly appreciated theme, good atmosphere, nice tune.  Good stuff.

Track 31: Paul McCartney – Dance Tonight

Good tune, interesting guitar.

Track 32: Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

Gorgeous tune with a beautiful melancholy atmosphere, probably the best track Amy Winehouse ever did.

Track 33: The Fray – Over My Head (Cable Car)

Cheesy and boring, not to my liking at all.

Track 34: The Twang – Either Way

Pleasant if repetitive tune, but the spoken word verses are very irritating.

Track 35: Editors – Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors

Great title!  Very topical at the time given the recently-introduced smoking ban.  The track itself is a bit slow, but it’s got a good anthemic feel.

Track 36: Manic Street Preachers and Nina Persson – Your Love Alone Is Not Enough

Oh, it’s this one!  Great tune, really like this track.

Track 37: Fall Out Boy – Thnks Fr Th Mmrs

That should be ‘Thanks For The Memories‘, if you’re struggling with the silly ‘wacky’ vowel-less title.

Great eerie atmosphere, excellent upbeat rock track.  Really like this one.

Track 38: Klaxons – It’s Not Over Yet

Great backing track, and the chorus is nice and epic.

Track 39: Super Mal and Luciana – Bigger Than Big

Upbeat but slightly messy dance track – there are some good lines but they get lost in the mishmash of stuff that’s going on.

Track 40: Groove Armada, Stush and Red Rat – Get Down

Tuneless and messy with bad rapping over the top – not a fan of this at all.

Track 41: Unklejam – What Am I Fighting For?

Great atmosphere, great synth, and a wonderful ’80s feel – loving this one!

Track 42: The Chemical Brothers – Do It Again

Great beat, really interesting vocals.  Very danceable.

Track 43: Jamie T – Sheila

Awful vocals, messy instrumentals, not enough melody.  Poor track to end the compilation on.