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 #78

Day 78 takes us to Now! #78, which was released on 11th April 2011.

April 2011
This is how the world looked in April 2011. Geth and I would have been midway through one of our walks along the Union Canal, which was our favourite thing to do on a sunny day in Edinburgh.

Let’s see what I would have been listening to during the last few months in our Tollcross flat.

Now! That's What I Call Music #78
Track 1: Bruno Mars – Grenade

Too saccharine for me, but the tune’s okay.

Track 2: Adele – Rolling In The Deep

Great atmosphere – love the chorus on this one.

Track 3: Jessie J – Do It Like A Dude

The theme’s a bit daft, but there are some nice instrumental lines here.

Track 4: Rihanna – S&M

Great piece of electropop – really like this tune.

Track 5: Kesha – We R Who We R

Irritating tune, very uninspired.

Track 6: The Wanted – Gold Forever

Released as the official Comic Relief single for 2011.  Sadly the song’s really bland.

Track 7: Matt Cardle – When We Collide

What was it I was saying three days ago?

Right on schedule, here’s X Factor winner Matt Cardle’s pointless cover of Biffy Clyro’s Many Of Horror.  Rather offensively, they changed the title of the song, because it clearly wasn’t bland enough for the kind of people who buy X Factor winners’ singles.  What’s hilarious is that the cover is SO pointless that on occasion, Cardle even apes Simon Neil’s Scottish accent.

Track 8: Take That – The Flood

Yay!  Take That are no longer Fake That!  Well, for one album at least.  Robbie Williams returned for the Progress album, and all was finally right with the world again.  This song is a gorgeous, epic, atmospheric tune – lovely stuff.

Track 9: Ellie Goulding – Your Song

Interesting folky cover of the Elton John classic (which was performed by Ellie Goulding for the first dance of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their wedding reception, fact fans).  The operatic Moulin Rouge! version from 2001 had cast a long shadow over the ’00s in terms of other people copying that take on the song when they did cover versions, so it was refreshing that this cover was so different again.

Track 10: JLS and Tinie Tempah – Eyes Wide Shut

Far too cheesy for my tastes, and the electro line sounds the same as every other dance track of this era.

Track 11: David Guetta and Rihanna – Who’s That Chick?

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

This is a great piece of bouncy pop, though – awesome tune.

Track 12: Taio Cruz and Travie McCoy – Higher

Taio Cruz did two versions of this song, one with Travie McCoy and one with Kylie Minogue.  I prefer the Kylie version, I have to say.  It’s still a good tune though.

Track 13: Chris Brown – Yeah 3x

Another dance track where the instrumentals sound the same as every other dance track released around this time.

Track 14: Britney Spears – Hold It Against Me

Daft theme, as the lyrics are based around that terrible pun of a pick-up line, but the tune’s okay.

Track 15: Alexis Jordan – Happiness

I’ve always quite liked the video for this one.  Do you remember how in the late ’00s/early ’10s, women’s fashion shoes were all ludicrously high six-inch-stiletto affairs with round covered platforms?  (As with most things, I only got rid of (most of) mine in my cull earlier this year.)  Like every other female pop artist of the era, Alexis Jordan wears them in the video here, but there’s a weird bit that makes it look like she can’t walk in them.

Anyway, the song’s kind of forgettable, but it’s got a nice feelgood atmosphere.

Track 16: Parade – Louder

Good beat, but the chorus is annoying.

Track 17: Olly Murs – Thinking Of Me

Nice jaunty track, quite like this tune.

Track 18: Avril Lavigne – What The Hell

Great bit of pop-rock – love that singalong chorus.

Track 19: McFly and Taio Cruz – Shine A Light

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Taio Cruz on track 12.

I’ve always found this tune pretty irritating.

Track 20: Noah & The Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.

Great folk-rock track – awesome lyrics, lovely tune.

Track 21: Susan Boyle and Geraldine McQueen – I Know Him So Well

Cover (complete with hilarious parody video) of the classic ’80s duet by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson.  It’s the kind of cover I would normally decry as pointless, but the point here is comedy, and they absolutely nailed it.  The charity fundraising for Comic Relief doesn’t hurt either.

Track 22: Jessie J and B.o.B – Price Tag

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Jessie J on track 3.

This is a very nice feelgood tune though – good stuff.

Track 23: Chipmunk and Chris Brown – Champion

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Chris Brown on track 13.

I like the intro – lovely piano, nice choral bit, great atmosphere.  The tune on the chorus is nice as well.

Track 24: Wiz Khalifa – Black And Yellow

Great tune, awesome atmosphere.

Track 25: Rihanna and Drake – What’s My Name?

Repeated artist mega alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on both track 4 and track 11!  I am not impressed, Now! compilers.

This one’s an okay tune, but it’s a little repetitive.

Track 26: The Black Eyed Peas – The Time (Dirty Bit)

Messy cover of ’80s classic (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, with lots of…well…dirty bits (i.e. squeaky, tuneless feedback).  I shouldn’t like it, but it’s actually very danceable.

Track 27: Nicole Scherzinger – Poison

Nice solid pop track, really like this tune.

Track 28: Enrique Iglesias, Ludacris and DJ Frank E – Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)

Daft theme (don’t get me started on the explicit version), but it’s got a good beat.

Track 29: Cee Lo Green and Wiz Khalifa – Bright Lights Bigger City

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Wiz Khalifa on track 24.

This one’s a bit slow for my liking, but it’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 30: Katy Perry and Kanye West – ET

Awesome epic atmosphere, lovely tune, and the video is beautiful.

Track 31: Pink – Perfect

I find the theme of this one a bit awkward and the tune a bit dull.  Not a fan.

Track 32: Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding – Wonderman

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Tinie Tempah on track 10 and Ellie Goulding on track 9.

This song is lovely, though – that chorus is just gorgeous.

Track 33: Willow Smith – Whip My Hair

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

The theme is a little cheesy, but then she was about nine at the time.  Good song otherwise.

Track 34: Katy B and Ms Dynamite – Lights On

I’m not hugely keen on the tune, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 35: Martin Solveig and Dragonette – Hello

Great dance track!  Really like this feelgood tune.

Track 36: Flo Rida and Akon – Who Dat Girl

Dull tune, boring rap.  Not keen.

Track 37: Far East Movement, The Cataracs and Dev – Like A G6

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

Track 38: Wretch 32 and L Marshall – Traktor

Great beat – happily chair-dancing here.  Awesome lyrics too.

Track 39: Aggro Santos and Kimberley Walsh – Like U Like

Love this tune, and the verses have an awesome rhythm.

Track 40: Devlin and Yasmin – Runaway

This one’s a bit generic – nothing special here.

Track 41: Tinchy Stryder and Melanie Fiona – Let It Rain

Boring and forgettable.

Track 42: Chase & Status and Liam Bailey – Blind Faith

I like the ’90s tinge, but on the whole the track’s far too messy for my liking.