Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #84

Day 84 equals Now! #84, which came out on 25th March 2013.

March 2013
This is how the world looked in March 2013 – to be precise, how it looked on Six Nations finale night. My unlucky Scotland jersey, as usual, did nothing to prevent Scotland getting the wooden spoon, but what made up for it was being with about six Welsh people on the night that Wales stole the championship from right under England’s nose, hence the giant Welsh flag that we pinned to the wall. You can imagine how well this went down in a Southampton pub.

Let’s see what the hits were that spring.

Now! That's What I Call Music #84
Track 1: One Direction – One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)

Pointless cover mash-up of Blondie’s One Way Or Another and the Undertones’ Teenage Kicks.  This was the Comic Relief single for 2013, so I guess charity fundraising is the excuse for ruining both of these classic songs.

Track 2: will.i.am and Britney Spears – Scream And Shout

I really like this danceable track, especially the well-done callback to Gimme More.

Track 3: Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble

I quite like this tune, and it’s got a good atmosphere.

Track 4: Pink and Nate Ruess – Just Give Me A Reason

Great song – love the way the duet works here.

Track 5: Rihanna – Diamonds

Another pretty tune.  Very nice.

Track 6: Bastille – Pompeii

Epic and anthemic – love this one.

Track 7: James Arthur – Impossible

The annual inclusion of the most recent X Factor winner, this year doing a pointless cover of Shontelle’s Impossible, which was not a great song to begin with.

Track 8: Olly Murs and Flo Rida – Troublemaker

I quite like this jaunty track – it’s got a great singalong chorus.

Track 9: Bruno Mars – Locked Out Of Heaven

This is from my favourite Bruno Mars era, when he started doing all these pastiches of artists that were big circa 1980.  This song sounds like it should have been released by the Police.

Track 10: Kesha – Die Young

Nice beat, but the tune’s pretty forgettable.

Track 11: Bridgit Mendler – Ready Or Not

Irritating vocals, boring tune, and the chorus has a poorly-done interpolation of the Delfonics ’60s song (which was already done much better by the Fugees).  Nothing impressive here.

Track 12: Little Mix – DNA

Great epic atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit weak.

Track 13: The Saturdays and Sean Paul – What About Us

Another bland, forgettable song.

Track 14: Girls Aloud – Something New

Love this one!  Girls Aloud sort of came to a natural finish at the end of the ’00s, and so this special tenth anniversary track is really the only thing they’ve done as a group this decade.  Better one cracker than lots of poor tracks, though, and this song is great.

Track 15: Nicole Scherzinger – Boomerang

Good rhythm, but this is another uninspired tune.

Track 16: Disclosure and Sam Smith – Latch

I appreciate that it’s a bit different from most stuff that was in the charts at the time, but it’s not my kind of thing – the tune is generic and I’m not into this kind of chillout/trance stuff.

Track 17: Rita Ora – Radioactive

I usually get this one confused with the identically-titled Imagine Dragons song that came out around the same time.  This one’s probably my less-preferred (though there’s not much in it – the Imagine Dragons song is pretty dull too), because the tune’s very bland, but it does have a good electro backing track.

Track 18: Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire

I quite like the instrumentals, but the tune on the vocals annoys me.

Track 19: Christina Perri – A Thousand Years

Boring ballad off the Twilight soundtrack, but at least she doesn’t sound quite as horribly off-key as she does in Jar Of Hearts.

Track 20: Emeli Sandé – Clown

I find the theme a bit awkward, and it’s too slow for me.

Track 21: Gabrielle Aplin – The Power Of Love

This was one of the first of the big ‘Christmas advert’ hits that have been a feature of Christmas music this decade.  Take a classic song, record a slow, melancholy, piano-based cover with female vocals, slap it over the top of an expensive John Lewis Christmas advert, debut the advert during an X Factor ad break in early November, job done.  Christmas classic guaranteed.

Of course, this was already a Christmas classic, and has been ever since Frankie Goes To Hollywood released the original in 1984.  Gabrielle Aplin’s version is very pretty, but it doesn’t have the pure emotional power of the Frankie version – Holly Johnson’s performance of the second verse is capable of moving me to tears when I’m in the right place, and Aplin just can’t compare.  Still, it is enjoyable, even if July is really not when I want to be hearing Christmas songs.

Track 22: Avicii and Nicky Romero – I Could Be The One

I love this dance track – obviously it’s got a great beat, but there’s also something very wistful about the vocals.  I actually can’t think of anyone who was better than Avicii (RIP) at emotion-inducing EDM.

Track 23: Bingo Players and Far East Movement – Get Up (Rattle)

Daft tune, but it’s a good head-nodder.

Track 24: Pitbull and TJR – Don’t Stop The Party

Messy and irritating.

Track 25: Calvin Harris and Tinie Tempah – Drinking From The Bottle

Good beat, and I really like Tinie Tempah’s rap on this one.

Track 26: Dizzee Rascal – Bassline Junkie

Daft theme, but I find it very funny.  Good stuff.

Track 27: Wiley, Chipmunk and Dayo Olatunji – Reload

Boring tune, and there’s too much going on with the track.

Track 28: Rudimental, John Newman and Alex Clare – Not Giving In

Slow and dull intro, and the tune’s very irritating.

Track 29: Conor Maynard and Wiley – Animal

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Wiley on track 27.

The rap’s very bland, as is the tune, and the whole thing’s just a bit repetitive.

Track 30: Disclosure and AlunaGeorge – White Noise

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Disclosure on track 16.

This one takes ages to get going.  The electro hook’s okay, but the vocals are super bland.

Track 31: Devlin and Diane Birch – Rewind

Another very forgettable song.  Also, part of the melody on the chorus rips off Heart’s Alone, which has been an irritating theme in recent Now! compilations.

Track 32: Lawson – Standing In The Dark

A little more upbeat than previous Lawson tracks, but it’s still a very bland, saccharine song.

Track 33: Biffy Clyro – Black Chandelier

I saw Biffy Clyro once.  It was the worst gig I’ve ever been to.  Not because of Biffy Clyro, I hasten to add – they were fine to listen to, although the heavier stuff they were playing as the second support band in 2003 wasn’t really my thing.  The main act was Linkin Park, who were okay (and I am glad I got to see them given sad future events), but the SECC in Glasgow had done this thing (I don’t know if it was by band request or what) where they barriered off a huge semicircle around the stage and only let about fifteen people into it, leaving the remaining hundreds of gig-goers to squash uncomfortably round the outside of the barrier and completely ruining the atmosphere.  The only person onstage who seemed to be on the audience’s side was Ian Watkins of Lostprophets, the main support band, and I don’t really want to give him credit seeing as how he turned out to be a sex offender.

Anyway, I never went back to the SECC again.  Barrowlands all the way if it was a Glasgow gig, even if I did lose a lot of brain cells and earrings over the years through being booted in the head by crowdsurfers.

I think what I’m trying to say is that this song’s a lot more interesting than the stuff Biffy were doing back in 2003.  I quite like the vocal hook at the start, and the chorus is great.

Track 34: Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)

There’s a nice atmospheric chant-along bit on this one – quite like the track.

Track 35: McFly – Love Is Easy

Twee and irritating.  I should note that Geth appreciated the It’s A Wonderful Life sample though.

Track 36: Ben Howard – Only Love

I find this tune pretty annoying.

Track 37: The Lumineers – Ho Hey

It’s a bit twee, but it’s quite a nice, jaunty song.

Track 38: One Direction – Little Things

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had One Direction on track 1.

This one is an irritating saccharine ballad with an irritating black and white video where One Direction sit around and play acoustic guitars in an attempt to look like serious musicians.  The song was apparently written by Ed Sheeran, which will surprise no one.

It was also number one on Geth’s and my wedding day, which is far from ideal.

Track 39: Pink – Try

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

This one is a gorgeous tune though – really like it.

Track 40: Gabrielle Aplin – Please Don’t Say You Love Me

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Gabrielle Aplin on track 21.

The only thing this song achieves is proving that she should have been a one-hit wonder.  Dull and uninspired.

Track 41: Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere

1987 classic, back in the charts due to a mobile phone advert.  Not complaining here at all – I’m very partial to Fleetwood Mac, and this is one of my favourites.

Track 42: Ellie Goulding – Explosions

Not keen on that choral bit at the start, and on the whole it’s too slow for me and I don’t find the tune interesting enough.

Track 43: The Justice Collective – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

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

Charity cover of the ’60s classic to raise funds for Hillsborough victims’ charities, and the Christmas number one for 2012.  Some good voice-spotting to be done here.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #83

Day 83 equals Now! #83, which brings us to 19th November 2012 – just four days before mine and Geth’s wedding.

November 2012
This is the way the world looked in November 2012. Not every day looks like your wedding day – to put it mildly – but on that day the world looked very good indeed, and so did we.

I am proud to report that we played absolutely none of the following songs at our wedding disco.  Not even Gangnam Style.

Now! That's What I Call Music #83
Track 1: Psy – Gangnam Style

It’s still hilarious nearly six years later, and very danceable, even if you’re not inclined to do the comedy dance that goes with the song.

Track 2: Robbie Williams – Candy

Nice feelgood tune that gave Robbie Williams an unexpected number one later in his career.  Good song.

Track 3: Swedish House Mafia and John Martin – Don’t You Worry Child

The theme is pretty cheesy, and the tune is a bit bland.

Track 4: Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Great folk-pop track with an awesome singalong chorus – really like this one.

Track 5: The Wanted – I Found You

Good danceable track, but the tune’s a bit bland.

Track 6: Calvin Harris and Florence Welch – Sweet Nothing

Another boring tune – not keen on this one.

Track 7: Maroon 5 – One More Night

Great reggae-tinged beat – this one’s a great head-nodder.

Track 8: Wiley, Skepta, JME and Dayo Olatunji – Can You Hear Me? (Ayayaya)

Love those steel drums at the start – good tune, great rhythm.

Track 9: Flo Rida – I Cry

I quite like the tune on this one – despite the title, it’s quite feelgood.

Track 10: Ne-Yo – Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)

Irritating tune, even more irritating theme.

Track 11: Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen – Good Time

Another annoying tune, and the theme is really cheesy.

Track 12: Katy Perry – Wide Awake

Again, a very bland tune.

Track 13: Pink – Blow Me (One Last Kiss)

Great beat, and I love the instrumentals.

Track 14: Little Mix – Wings

Good solid pop track – very danceable.

Track 15: Stooshe – Waterfalls

Uninspired cover of the TLC classic.  What’s kind of irritating is that the surviving members of TLC show up in the video.

Track 16: JLS – Hottest Girl In The World

Good beat, but in general I find this track a bit messy and jarring.

Track 17: Nicki Minaj – Pound The Alarm

Another very danceable track, another fairly forgettable tune.

Track 18: Redlight – Lost In Your Love

Dull, repetitive tune, and the messy beat gives me a headache.

Track 19: Rita Ora – How We Do (Party)

Boring, bland track – not enough melody for me.

Track 20: Cheryl – Under The Sun

It’s got quite a nice retro tinge, but the tune’s fairly forgettable.

Track 21: Wiley and Dayo Olatunji – Heatwave

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had both Wiley and Dayo Olatunji on track 8.

Great rhythm, but the vocals are repetitive and irritating (and it’s never clear whether the lyric is ‘body‘ or ‘party‘).

Track 22: Sam & The Womp – Bom Bom

Daft track that’s a lot of fun.  Happily chair-dancing right now.

Track 23: Labrinth and Emeli Sandé – Beneath Your Beautiful

I know the grammar of that title looks horrible – it’s actually because they’re using ‘beautiful’ as a noun rather than misspelling ‘you’re’.  Still wrong, but not a your/you’re fail.  ‘Beneath Your Beauty’ is what they actually mean.

Anyway, the song’s a slow, saccharine ballad, and I’m not keen on those.

Track 24: The Script and will.i.am – Hall Of Fame

Collaboration cooked up between will.i.am and Script singer Danny O’Donoghue, who were both coaches on The Voice at the time.  It’s a bit awkward and poor.

Track 25: Florence & The Machine – Spectrum (Say My Name) [Calvin Harris Remix]

Not technically a repeated artist alert, but this is the second collaboration between Florence Welch and Calvin Harris on this Now! compilation.

This tune is epic and gorgeous.  Lovely stuff.

Track 26: David Guetta and Sia – She Wolf (Falling To Pieces)

Boring, forgettable tune, and I don’t find any of the hooks very interesting.

Track 27: Calvin Harris and Example – We’ll Be Coming Back

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Calvin Harris on track 6, and sort of on track 25.

Nice atmosphere though, and the tune’s quite pretty.

Track 28: Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen

I find this one pretty dull.

Track 29: Naughty Boy and Emeli Sandé – Wonder

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Emeli Sandé on track 23.

Not keen on this tune – I find it a bit twee.

Track 30: Conor Maynard and Ne-Yo – Turn Around

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Ne-Yo on track 10.

This one’s another boring, uninspired tune.

Track 31: One Direction – Live While We’re Young

Extremely bland tune – very forgettable.

Track 32: Chris Brown – Don’t Wake Me Up

Irritating spoken word bit at the start, dull saccharine vocals.  Not a fan.

Track 33: Amelia Lily – You Bring Me Joy

Another dull, forgettable song.

Track 34: Fun – Some Nights

Good tune – there’s something a bit folk-rock about this one.

Track 35: Example – Say Nothing

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Example on track 27.

This is another bland, uninspired tune.

Track 36: Lawson – Taking Over Me

Too cheesy for me.

Track 37: Karmin – Brokenhearted

Yet another forgettable song.

Track 38: Trey Songz – Simply Amazing

Again, this one’s far too saccharine for my liking.

Track 39: Simple Plan and Sean Paul – Summer Paradise

Nice jaunty track, though it’s a bit cheesy.

Track 40: Angel – Wonderful

This tune’s okay, and there are some interesting instrumentals going on too.

Track 41: Devlin and Ed Sheeran – Watchtower

The chorus samples/covers Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower, and there’s also a bit of the guitar riff from the Jimi Hendrix version.  Other than that, it’s mainly a rap, which I’m not keen on.

Track 42: Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait

I find this tune really dull, and a bit depressing.

Track 43: Elbow – One Day Like This

2008 hit that was back in the charts for 2012 – I can’t remember why.  Classic tune though, and that repeated anthemic hook at the end is epic.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #74

Day 74 takes us to Now! #74, which was released on 23rd November 2009.

November 2009
This is the way the world looked in November 2009 – or at least it did if your boyfriend was undergoing his PhD graduation from the University of Edinburgh, which I realise is a bit specific. Old College is always beautiful, and has been for centuries. I gave that coat a reprieve during the cull, but I don’t see it surviving my new de-hoarding mentality for much longer – it’s kind of unflattering, no matter what weight I am.

So, we come to the end of another decade of music.  How did chart music sound as we waved goodbye to the ’00s?

Now! That's What I Call Music #74
Track 1: Cheryl – Fight For This Love

Gorgeous, atmospheric song – I love the instrumentals.  A longtime favourite.

Track 2: Michael Bublé – Haven’t Met You Yet

It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s a nice tune.

Track 3: The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling

That title should be ‘I Got A Feeling’ – ‘gotta’ is an informal contraction of ‘got to’, which makes no sense here!

Great tune though – classic party song.

Track 4: David Guetta and Akon – Sexy Chick

Good atmosphere and good tune on the chorus, but I find the vocals a bit generic.

Track 5: La Roux – Bulletproof

Great electro track, awesome beat.

Track 6: Taio Cruz – Break Your Heart

More awesome electro instrumentals on the backing track.  Good tune.

Track 7: N-Dubz – I Need You

There’s some good lines in here somewhere, but in general the track’s a bit messy.

Track 8: Jason Derulo – Whatcha Say

Another one that’s very typical of the electro-based atmospheric sound that was on everything at the time.

Track 9: Jay Sean and Lil’ Wayne – Down

Oh, it’s this one!  The tune should annoy me, but I actually quite like it.

Track 10: Alesha Dixon – To Love Again

Slow ballad that’s not interesting enough for my liking.

Track 11: Chipmunk and Dayo Olatunji – Oopsy Daisy

Super irritating vocals and theme, not a fan of this one.

Track 12: Tinchy Stryder and Amelle Berrabah – Never Leave You

Another good atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit uninspired.

Track 13: Little Boots – Remedy

Great bassline, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 14: Pixie Lott – Boys And Girls

Nice retro ’60s feel, and there’s a good singalong chorus.

Track 15: Mini Viva – Left My Heart In Tokyo

Another awesome electropop tune – love that bass!

Track 16: Sean Kingston – Fire Burning

Daft theme, but it’s a great dance track.

Track 17: Pitbull and Nicole Scherzinger – Hotel Room Service

I quite like the vocal hook on this one, even if it is a bit repetitive.  Good tune.

Track 18: Sugababes – Get Sexy

Daft theme, irritating lyrics – although I do like the callback to Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy, and the electro hook is great.

Track 19: The Saturdays – Forever Is Over

Too ballad-y for me, though I do appreciate the rock tinge.

Track 20: Young Soul Rebels – I Got Soul

Interesting cover of the Killers track All These Things That I’ve Done, released in aid of the War Child charity.  In this context, the repeated line ‘I got soul but I’m not a soldier‘ is a bit haunting (whereas usually I can’t hear the line without being reminded of the Bill Bailey parody that pointed out the line makes as much sense as ‘I got ham but I’m not a hamster’).

Track 21: Agnes – I Need You Now

Too saccharine for me, though there are some interesting instrumentals going on in the background.

Track 22: JLS – Beat Again

Super cheesy, but it’s quite a good tune.

Track 23: Lady Gaga – Paparazzi

Love this one!  Great tune, brilliant chorus.

Track 24: Beyoncé – Sweet Dreams

Wonderful atmosphere, great beat.  Very danceable.

Track 25: Shakira – She Wolf

More great electro instrumentals – awesome tune.

Track 26: Jay-Z, Kanye West and Rihanna – Run This Town

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

Another great brooding atmosphere.  Unfortunately the vocals are fairly uninspired.

Track 27: Mr Hudson and Kanye West – Supernova

Repeated artist alert!  We just had Kanye West on the last track.

Nice tune though – quite like this one.

Track 28: Robbie Williams – Bodies

Some interesting almost-monastic singing on the intro, which jars a bit once it gets into the bass-heavy main track.  The chorus is great, though.

Track 29: Dizzee Rascal – Holiday

Great electro hook, good dance beat.  Really like this track.

Track 30: Calvin Harris – Ready For The Weekend

Great dance track.  I especially appreciate the line ‘I put on my shoes and I’m ready for the weekend‘.  Nothing wrong with a new pair of shoes every Friday!  (There are lots of things wrong with that.  I know.)

Track 31: Whitney Houston – Million Dollar Bill [Frankie Knuckles Radio Mix]

Love that retro disco feel.  Good stuff.

Track 32: Ian Carey Project – Get Shaky

Good instrumentals, but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 33: Chase & Status and Plan B – End Credits

Lovely tune, gorgeous guitar, stunning atmosphere – and then the dull vocals spoil it!  Oh well.

Track 34: The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition

I find the vocals a little irritating, and the tune’s not interesting enough for my liking.

Track 35: Muse – Uprising

I’m just going to register my annoyance that Muse had been releasing great hits since 2000 and it took the Now! compilers until 2009 to feature one of their songs.

This track has a wonderful eerie electro line, great bass, and awesome brooding vocals.  Love it.

Track 36: Snow Patrol – Just Say Yes

Even Snow Patrol were doing the electro instrumentals in 2009!  Shame the rest of the tune is dull.

Track 37: Florence & The Machine – You’ve Got The Love

Pointless cover of the Source and Candi Staton song, as I may have discussed on the THREE OCCASIONS that the original has been featured on Now! compilations (still can’t get over that).  As such, we now have a fourth track in the Now! canon that sounds exactly the same!  Urgh.

Track 38: Lily Allen – 22

Nice retro tune.  Great lyrics too, but they’re a little depressing!

Track 39: Paolo Nutini – Pencil Full Of Lead

Great classic ragtime sound!  Love that trumpet riff.

Track 40: Mika – We Are Golden

Lovely tune, awesome singalong chorus.  Really like this one.

Track 41: Cobra Starship and Leighton Meester – Good Girls Go Bad

It’s a bit messy, but as with pretty much every other track on this compilation, there’s lots of awesome electro lines and bass going on.

Track 42: Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man

I normally find Mumford & Sons a bit dull, but this is a great bit of folk-rock – really like this song.

Track 43: Just Jack – The Day I Died

Too twee for me – those lyrics are just irritating.

Track 44: Esmée Denters – Outta Here

I like the backing track, but the tune is bland and repetitive.

Track 45: Deadmau5 and Rob Swire – Ghosts ‘N’ Stuff

Too much going on with this track, and none of it is very interesting.