Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #63

Day 63 means Now! #63, which takes us to 10th April 2006.

April 2006
This is how the world looked in April 2006. To save you all from yet another MySpace selfie, I’ve selected a picture of a road that Mum and Dad took on their travels. Enjoy!

I’m as interested as anyone to know what the hits were in 2006, as I was listening pretty much exclusively to goth and industrial by this point and so I don’t remember the chart stuff.

Now! That's What I Call Music #63
Track 1: Corrine Bailey Rae – Put Your Records On

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

It’s a nice tune, but it’s not really my style – I find this kind of thing pretty dull.

Track 2: The Pussycat Dolls and will.i.am – Beep

Great atmosphere, great beat, but it could do with some more melody.

Track 3: The Black Eyed Peas – My Humps

Semi-repeated artist alert!  We only just had the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am on the last track.

Awful then, still awful now.  The lyrics are just terrible.

Track 4: Orson – No Tomorrow

Interesting guitar lines, but I find the tune pretty boring.

Track 5: The Ordinary Boys – Boys Will Be Boys

Great ska-tinged track – I’ve always really liked this tune.

Track 6: Meck and Leo Sayer – Thunder In My Heart Again

Remix of Leo Sayer’s 1977 track Thunder In My Heart. It’s highly danceable and uses the original song very nicely.

Track 7: Hi Tack – Say Say Say (Waiting 4 U)

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

I appreciate the sample from Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson’s Say Say Say, and the rest of the track’s actually okay – it’s another one where the sample is used very well.

Track 8: Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)

The 1985 classic, back in the charts due to Pete Burns’ appearance on Celebrity Big Brother.  It’s one of my favourite songs – I’ve loved it ever since hearing it as the theme to the Sounds Of The ’80s TV show in the early ’90s.  Stunning track.

Track 9: Chico – It’s Chico Time

Awful novelty song that still troubles the music channels as part of their ‘Christmas party’ playlists.

Track 10: Shayne Ward – That’s My Goal

The second X Factor winner’s single and the first to get the Christmas number one.  I’ve got a bad feeling that we’re going to be seeing X Factor winners on every spring Now! compilation for a good few years.  The only good thing about this saccharine ballad is that it’s Shayne Ward’s original song, in contrast to the pointless karaoke you normally get with X Factor contestants.

Track 11: Sugababes – Ugly

Generic tune, and I find the theme on this one very hamfisted.

Track 12: Simon Webbe – No Worries

The beat’s a bit jarring, and in general the track is pretty messy – too much going on.

Track 13: Will Young – All Time Love

The tune’s nice, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 14: Kelly Clarkson – Because Of You

Another slow ballad, and those have to be super atmospheric or interesting for me not to find them bland.  This one is not super atmospheric or interesting.

Track 15: Westlife – Amazing

Nice tune, nice atmosphere, but the chorus is a bit cheesy for me.

Track 16: Andy Abraham – Hang Up

The X Factor runner-up to Shayne Ward, fact fans.  This track has a nice retro feel and could have come from the ’70s or ’80s, which is a great thing in my book.

Track 17: McFly – I Wanna Hold You

Good beat, interesting lines, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 18: Son Of Dork – Ticket Outta Loserville

Nice bit of daft pop-punk – quite like this tune.

Track 19: Friday Hill – One More Night Alone

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

Good head-nodder, nice tune.

Track 20: Liberty X – A Night To Remember

Utterly pointless cover of the Shalamar classic, released as the official Children In Need single for 2005 (so insert usual disclaimer about the ‘point’ being charity fundraising).  It’s pretty much identical to the original.

Track 21: Rihanna – If It’s Lovin’ That You Want

Interesting lines that come together to create quite a good atmosphere for this song.  Quite like this one.

Track 22: Liz McClarnon – Woman In Love

Pointless cover of the Barbra Streisand classic.  It’s a great song whoever does it, but there’s nothing new added here.

Track 23: Girls Aloud – See The Day

Pointless cover of the Dee C Lee classic.  Also now a Christmas song, due to its ubiquity on the music channels’ Christmas playlists because of its wintry video.  Again, I love the song whoever does it, but I just don’t see the point of releasing such a near-identical version.

Track 24: Nizlopi – JCB Song

Great song – gorgeous tune, brilliant lyrics, awesome theme, great chant-along section.  A classic.

Track 25: Embrace – Nature’s Law

Nice piano instrumentals, lovely atmosphere.  I normally find Embrace’s stuff really dull, but this is a nice tune, even with the slightly drone-y vocals.

Track 26: Robbie Williams – Advertising Space

Nice atmosphere, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 27: Coldplay – Talk

Great riff, but the vocals are depressing as ever from Coldplay.

Track 28: A-ha – Analogue (All I Want)

A welcome return to the charts for A-ha!  This track has a suitably epic atmosphere, a great bassline, really nice piano and a lovely tune on the vocals.

Track 29: The Feeling – Sewn

Boring tune, too slow.

Track 30: Richard Ashcroft – Break The Night With Colour

Another tune that I just can’t get interested in.

Track 31: Texas – Sleep

Nice tune, but again it’s not uptempo enough for me.

Track 32: Kaiser Chiefs – Modern Way

Not the most interesting track off the Employment album, but I still really like the tune.

Track 33: U2 – All Because Of You

Great riff, but the tune’s a bit dull and repetitive.

Track 34: Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down

Love the guitar, but the vocals are pretty irritating.

Track 35: Goldfrapp – Ride A White Horse

I’m always disappointed that this isn’t a cover of T.Rex’s Ride A White Swan with alternative lyrics.  Still, it’s a great electropop tune.

Track 36: Gorillaz – Dirty Harry

Some interesting lines and hooks, but it’s very repetitive.

Track 37: MVP – Bounce, Shake, Move, Stop!

Daft theme, and I’d prefer a bit more melody, but it is a good head-nodder.

Track 38: Sunblock – I’ll Be Ready

Bit of a repetitive sample mishmash, but it’s got a good beat.  The sample is Jimi Jamison’s Baywatch theme from 1994, but I had to look that up – I never watched enough of the show (I always found the premise really daft) to remember the theme!

Track 39: The Shapeshifters – Incredible

Quite like the instrumentals, but the main tune is very bland.

Track 40: The Source and Candi Staton – You Got The Love [New Voyager Radio Edit]

We’ve already had this song TWICE, if you can believe that, on Now! #19 and Now! #36!  The New Voyager mix is definitely not different enough to justify including it a third time!

See the first link for my review (including the Florence & The Machine annoyance that I keep being reminded of whenever another Now! compilation features this song) and the second link for the first time I got angry about this repetition!

Track 41: Kubb – Grow

Boring, slow and depressing.

Track 42: José González – Heartbeats

Oh, it’s this one.  Again, it’s too slow for my taste, though the guitar lines are quite interesting.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #5

Day 5’s Now! compilation was released on 5th August 1985.

August 1985
In August 1985, furnishings were still brown, newspapers were printed in a font that looks very dated now, and I looked like pretty much every other baby does. I would have preferred to avoid baby photos for this feature, but that month I was literally the only thing my parents took pictures of.

Um, let’s listen to some tracks that I may have heard but probably couldn’t have cared less about at seven months old.

Now! That's What I Call Music #5
Track 1: Duran Duran – A View To A Kill

I love Duran Duran!  Did I say that already?

I also love the James Bond films, so this 007 theme tune should be a match made in heaven.  Unfortunately, for me it’s not quite up to the usual standard for either Duran Duran or James Bond soundtracks.  Still a good tune though.

Track 2: Scritti Politti – The Word Girl

Lyrics are a bit saccharine for me, but it’s got a nice beat.

Track 3: Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F

Really great, interesting track, slightly ruined by the memories of the horrific Crazy Frog cover that everyone had as their ringtone circa 2005.

I’ve never seen Beverly Hills Cop, incidentally, though I’m sure with a soundtrack like this it can’t be bad.  One to add to the watch list.

Track 4: Fine Young Cannibals – Johnny Come Home

Great head-nodder, though the lyrics annoy me a little.  Except for ‘what is wrong with my life/that I must get drunk every night‘.  That bit’s awesome.

Track 5: Dead Or Alive – In Too Deep

Pretty boring and generic song considering it’s Dead Or Alive!  The synth solo in the middle is all right though.

Track 6: Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy – Icing On The Cake

Stephen Duffy was a founding member of Duran Duran, fact fans, though I’m not really feeling the love-by-association here.  Nice upbeat pop, but nothing special.

Track 7: Kool & The Gang – Cherish

Nice intro, but then it turns into a ballad that’s far too cheesy for my tastes.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 8: Paul Young – Every Time You Go Away

Paul Young did some great stuff, but I find this one pretty dreary.

Track 9: Marillion – Kayleigh

A longtime favourite since childhood <tries to avoid making ‘misplaced childhood’ reference, fails miserably>.  Absolutely beautiful track.  That guitar solo, the stunning lyrics – I adore everything about it.

Track 10: Bryan Ferry – Slave To Love

I quite like this one, though the backing vocals on the chorus irritate me a bit.

Track 11: David Bowie and the Pat Metheny Group – This Is Not America

Nice atmospheric song, and Bowie’s vocals are great here.

Track 12: Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Simple Minds don’t have that weird Scottish-’80s-band-sound-I-can’t-put-my-finger-on (come to think of it, neither do Marillion).  Maybe it was the Scottish bands who were able to lose it who were the ones that really made it big.  Or maybe it’s all in my head and there is no ‘Scottish ’80s band sound’.  It’s driving me nuts though.

Bands who I DO think have that sound: Deacon Blue, Big Country, Aztec Camera, Hipsway, Del Amitri, Hue & Cry.

Anyway, Don’t You (Forget About Me).  Because it was such a big hit due to The Breakfast Club, it’s your standard ‘the band don’t actually like this one’, but I do.  Great pop tune.

Track 13: The Power Station – Get It On (Bang A Gong)

Awesome things about this song:

    1. It’s a T-Rex cover, and T-Rex are my favourite early ’70s glam rock band and one of my favourite bands of all time.  I adore the original version, and this one is pretty great too – it’s quite different, no ‘pointless ’80s cover’ here.
    2. More love-by-association due to the fact that half the band were also in Duran Duran.
    3. Robert Palmer’s vocals.

Track 14: China Crisis – Black Man Ray

Typically nice tune from China Crisis, though I find the synth line a bit twee.

Track 15: Phil Collins – One More Night

The Now! compilers do love a Phil Collins ballad.  Thankfully, I quite like this one.

Track 16: Sister Sledge – Frankie

One of those ‘dance to it at a wedding’ tracks – pleasant bouncy song, but I don’t like it enough for it to make my playlist.

Track 17: Mai Tai – History

Good pop tune, nice singalong chorus, but a bit forgettable.

Track 18: Simply Red – Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)

The ’80s are probably my favourite era for Simply Red (and for most things, let’s face it).  I love the instrumentals on this one.

Track 19: Steve Arrington – Feel So Real

A bit repetitive for me, not really my thing.

Track 20: Jaki Graham – Round And Around

Nice synths, but the vocals are a bit cheesy for my liking.

Track 21: The Conway Brothers – Turn It Up

More repetitive beats, though the track does improve as it goes.  I can’t say I’m loving disc two so far.

Track 22: Loose Ends – Magic Touch

Dull tune, bizarre irritating xylophone-sounding hook, vocals not at all to my taste.  Actively dislike this one.  It’s the kind of song that would have exacerbated my travel sickness on long car journeys as a kid.  There’s a generic sax solo about two-thirds in that provides a bit of welcome relief from the vocals, but it can’t save the song.

Track 23: The Commentators – N-N-Nineteen Not Out

Not on Spotify, so I had to do the YouTube Pause (TM).

While I do love Paul Hardcastle’s Nineteen, this parody always amuses me, despite the fact that being a Scot I don’t even understand cricket.

Track 24: U2: The Unforgettable Fire

It’s the kind of song I’d normally find pretty dreary, but there’s something about the atmosphere of it that I quite like, especially when it builds towards the end.

Track 25: The Style Council – Walls Come Tumbling Down

Another Style Council song that I actually quite like!  They’re on a roll.  It’s Dee C Lee’s backing vocals that really make this one for me.

Track 26: Katrina & The Waves – Walking On Sunshine

I’ve always found this one pretty irritating, I’m afraid.  If you play it at a wedding I will be at the bar ordering another cider.

Track 27: Gary Moore and Phil Lynott – Out In The Fields

Gotta love that guitar riff.  I can’t tell you how refreshing a good singalong rock song is after what has been a fairly mediocre second disc for this compilation.

Track 28: The Damned – The Shadow Of Love

Nice bit of goth rock to follow, too!  Things are looking up.

Track 29: Howard Jones – Life In One Day

The song’s fine, but it’s the video that’s the awesome thing here.  When I was searching for it the other day, it took me ages to realise that it actually was the proper video, due to the bit at the start with the announcer (and given that the auto-complete when searching on YouTube throws up ‘howard jones life in one day official video‘, I’m clearly not the only one).  I doubt they were actually being prescient enough to troll people searching for the video on a then-unimaginable technology more than thirty years later, but if they were, it worked.

Track 30: Jimmy Nail – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore

Bit of an over-the-top ballad, but there’s something about the atmosphere of it that I quite like.