Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #103

It’s the annual summer Now! release – Now! 103 has been released today, 19th July 2019.

July 2019
This is how the world looks in July 2019, with me and Geth out racing again.

Let’s see which recent tracks have been included.

Now! That's What I Call Music #103

Track 1: Lil’ Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus – Old Town Road [Remix]

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

I’ve still got a real soft spot for this comedy cowboy rap track, especially since Billy Ray Cyrus showed up on the chorus for this new version.

Track 2: Ed Sheeran, Chance The Rapper and PnB Rock – Cross Me

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

This one’s a bit of a grower and a fairly frequent earworm.

Track 3: Billie Eilish – Bad Guy

New Hits Friday review.

This one, conversely, has got more annoying. I quite liked it when I first heard it, but I find it overplayed now.

Track 4: Avicii and Aloe Blacc – SOS

New Hits Friday review.

I’ve always quite liked these EDM-bluegrass tracks that Avicii did, and it’s nice if bittersweet that we’re getting the posthumous releases now.

Track 5: Katy Perry – Never Really Over

New Hits Friday review.

This is another one that I’m starting to find irritating after hearing it so often!

Track 6: Ariana Grande – Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored

New Hits Friday review.

This was released back in February and was a fairly frequent earworm for me in the early spring, but I’ve not heard it in months so I’m a bit surprised the Now! compilers have held it over for this compilation. It’s another one that annoys me now.

Track 7: Meduza and Goodboys – Piece Of Your Heart

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

It’s a very catchy chorus, so I can understand why it was such a big hit, but again I just find it really irritating now after months of radio play!

Track 8: Stormzy – Vossi Bop

New Hits Friday review.

I wasn’t sure at first, but I’ve really grown to like this atmospheric track!

Track 9: Shawn Mendes – If I Can’t Have You

New Hits Friday review.

I still quite like this tune! (I’m also endlessly confused by the lyric ‘I’m in Toronto and I got this view/But I might as well be in a hotel room’ – if he’s visiting Toronto, and he’s not in a hotel room, then where is he? Staying with a friend who has a really good view? Why is this not explained in the song?)

Track 10: Mark Ronson and Camila Cabello – Find U Again

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

Still very fond of this pop track!

Track 11: Mabel – Mad Love

New Hits Friday review.

This is another song that has really grown on me.

Track 12: Sigala and Becky Hill – Wish You Well

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

Again, I’m starting to get a bit weary of this one due to radio overplay.

Track 13: Pink and Cash Cash – Can We Pretend

Not a hit – it only got to number 88. The album got to number one, though.

It’s a good pop tune, if a little cheesy for my liking.

Track 14: Jess Glynne and Jax Jones – One Touch

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

This one is really, really grating after a few listens! Not a fan at all.

Track 15: Zara Larsson – Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me

New Hits Friday review.

I quite like the upbeat backing track, but on the whole I find this one a bit forgettable.

Track 16: CamelPhat and Jake Bugg – Be Someone

Not a hit – it only got to number 59.

I’m a bit surprised to hear indie singer-songwriter Jake Bugg on one of CamelPhat’s dance tracks, but his voice actually works quite well here.

Track 17: Jax Jones, Martin Solveig and Madison Beer – All Day And Night

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Jax Jones on track 14.

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

The hook is a bit annoying, but I still find this one very danceable.

Track 18: Martin Garrix, Macklemore and Patrick Stump – Summer Days

New Hits Friday review.

Another track that has really grown on me – great beat and great funk bassline.

Track 19: Little Mix – Bounce Back

New Hits Friday review.

It’s okay pop, but I find it a bit uninspired, and the Back To Life (However Do You Want Me) interpolation is slightly insipid.

Track 20: Jonas Blue and Theresa Rex – What I Like About You

New Hits Friday review.

This one is too cheesy for me and very forgettable.

Track 21: The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds Of Summer – Who Do You Love?

New Hits Friday review.

I’m not keen on the tune, and that chorus is super annoying.

Track 22: Miley Cyrus – Mother’s Daughter

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

I said when I first heard this that I thought it would become a frequent earworm, and it certainly has. It’s also become one of my favourite tracks in the chart at the moment.

Track 23: Jonas Brothers – Cool

New Hits Friday review.

It’s not really my thing, but at least it’s got a tune.

Track 24: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Easier

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had 5 Seconds Of Summer on track 21.

New Hits Friday review.

I’ve not changed my opinion on this one – it’s still squeaky and annoying. It’s also a terrible earworm, which makes it even more irritating.

Track 25: Steel Banglez, AJ Tracey and Mostack – Fashion Week

New Hits Friday review.

I still find this one a bit repetitive.

Track 26: Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – Señorita

Double repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Shawn Mendes on track 9 and Camila Cabello on track 10.

New Hits Friday review.

I’ve not been to dance class for a few weeks but I fully expect to hear this slow Latin-tinged track as cooldown music when I go back.

Track 27: Lewis Capaldi – Hold Me While You Wait

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

Pretty tune as ever from Lewis Capaldi. Nice chillout music.

Track 28: Ariana Grande and Victoria Monét – Monopoly

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Ariana Grande on track 6.

New Hits Friday review.

I still find this one pretty dull.

Track 29: Avicii – Heaven

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

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

This one’s a nice feelgood summery tune.

Track 30: David Guetta and Raye – Stay (Don’t Go Away)

Not a hit – it only got to number 41.

Nice atmospheric dance track with a slightly retro feel.

Track 31: Bastille – Joy

Not a hit – it only got to number 46. The album got to number four, though.

I find this tune a bit depressing, which I don’t think is the intention!

Track 32: Elton John and Taron Egerton – (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again

Not actually released as a single – this is from the Rocketman soundtrack album, which got to number five.

I’ve not seen the film, but this is a fairly straightforward semi-cover (I would call it pointless if it weren’t meant to be a close replica!).

Track 33: Kylie Minogue – New York City

Not actually released as a single – this is a bonus track from her recent compilation album Step Back In Time: The Definitive Collection, which got to number one.

The track has a great disco feel, and I love the spoken word intro.

Track 34: Ellie Goulding – Sixteen

New Hits Friday review.

I still find this one saccharine and irritating.

Track 35: OneRepublic – Rescue Me

Not a hit – it only got to number 52.

I really like the guitar on this one.

Track 36: Dominic Fike – 3 Nights

New Hits Friday review.

I do still like this, but I’m finding it to be a bit overplayed at the moment.

Track 37: Lighthouse Family – My Salvation

Not actually released as a single – this is from their recent album Blue Sky In My Head, which got to number three.

Great atmosphere on this track – I’m tempted to check out the album now!

Track 38: Emeli Sandé – Sparrow

Not a hit, and not released properly as a single, though it did get to number 53 on the official download charts.

It’s a pretty tune with nice tinkly instrumentals, but it’s a little slow for me.

Track 39: Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles

Not a hit – it only got to number 65.

I find the song a bit dull, but it’s good to see indie-ish stuff on here alongside the pop and rap tracks.

Track 40: Liam Gallagher – Shockwave

New Hits Friday review.

I’m still gutted that, other than this track and a brief appearance by Catfish & The Bottlemen, there has been absolutely no rock music in the charts in 2019. I’m really hoping this trend reverses itself at some point during the 2020s!

Track 41: James Arthur – Falling Like The Stars

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

I can’t stand this one. It’s way too saccharine for me, and the lyrics contain James Arthur’s favourite ‘romantic trope’ about holding girls’ hair back while they vomit due to overconsumption of alcohol. I have very little patience for that kind of message.

Track 42: Westlife – Better Man

New Hits Friday review.

This one’s still too cheesy for me.

Track 43: Taron Egerton – Rocketman

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Taron Egerton on track 32.

Again, this one is from the Rocketman soundtrack and hasn’t been released as an actual single.

It’s another straightforward cover – Taron Egerton’s voice is sort of similar but not identical to Elton’s, which gives it a slight uncanny valley feel.

Track 44: Himesh Patel – Yesterday

Here’s another soundtrack song – this one is from the soundtrack to Yesterday, which got to number 40 in the album chart.

Like the Elton covers, this is arranged pretty identically to the Beatles original, which, as I understand it from reading about the film’s plot, is to be expected.

Track 45: Grandmaster Flash and Grandmaster Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It)

We’ve already had this track on Now! #3…because the Now! compilers are doing exactly the same thing as they did on the last compilation, and so the last few tracks are all bonus tracks that originally appeared on the third release back in 1984! Now! #3 is also being re-released today, on CD for the first time. I really need to start picking up these re-releases again – I got Now! #1 on CD last summer but haven’t bought Now! #2 yet.

Because the Now! company was posting Duran Duran pictures in order to tease the re-release on social media, I was hopeful that they’d include The Reflex as a bonus track, but sadly there was no love for it this time round – I’ll just have to enjoy the original White Lines (famously a DD cover a decade later) instead!

See my review on Now! #3 – track 10.

Track 46: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Locomotion

Love OMD and I’m gutted I missed out on tickets for their upcoming tour!

See my review on Now! #3 – track 4.

Track 47: The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men

Still a party classic!

See my review on Now! #3 – track 26.

Track 48: Nik Kershaw – I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Not my favourite Nik Kershaw track, but still a good tune.

See my review on Now! #3 – track 2.

We’ll return to the world of Now! in the autumn for Now! #104 (and presumably a re-release of Now! #4!).

Music Video Monday: Top Ten ’80s Dance Routines

I went back to dance class for the first time in about a year and a half tonight, and I’m (not) looking forward to an awkward few weeks where I struggle to keep up ’cause I’m still learning the routines. I thought I’d motivate myself by looking at some videos where everyone knows what they’re doing!

10. Kelly Marie – Feels Like I’m In Love

I can never help but smile at this silly, kitschy video in which Kelly Marie and her two sailor friends go dancing around Central London for a bit of shore leave sightseeing.

Kelly Marie - Feels Like I'm In Love

9. Lionel Richie – Dancing On The Ceiling

Lionel and his fabulously-dressed ’80s friends decide the floor is not good enough and go stamping all over the walls and ceiling, causing a disturbance on the next floor up! The ceiling dancing effect is a bit hokey nowadays (you can tell the exact angle to which the set has just been spun when the dancers awkwardly clamber from wall to ceiling), but it’s still a highly entertaining watch.

Lionel Richie - Dancing On The Ceiling

8. Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

A lot of colourful dancing here, mainly from stalwart Wham! backing singers Pepsi and Shirlie plus a couple of extra friends, but it’s the day-glo UV lights sequence (long before it became trendy in videos of the early ’10s!) complete with dancing feet that I love about this video.

Wham! - Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

7. David Bowie and Mick Jagger – Dancing In The Street

I still see a lot online, strangely, about how this video is OMG SCANDALOUS for some reason and not becoming of such musical luminaries (mainly from American commentators, it has to be said; Brits tend to be more ‘meh, it’s just a couple of mates pissing about having a laugh, what’s the issue here?’). Either way, you can’t have an ’80s dance video list without it, and I want to give a shout out to Mick Jagger’s Reebok Freestyles here. Freestyle wearers represent.

David Bowie and Mick Jagger - Dancing In The Street

6. Duran Duran – Wild Boys

No dancing from the band members here (Duran Duran do not dance, apart from that bit at the end of the New Moon On Monday video that they’d like you to forget about). The dancing is instead provided by the eponymous Wild Boys, a tribe of body-painted hostiles who have kidnapped the band (or something – like most music videos, the plot’s not very clear), and was choreographed by one-time Strictly judge Arlene Phillips.

Duran Duran - Wild Boys

5. Adam & The Ants – Prince Charming

There’s a lot to like in this classic video – Adam as the male Cinderella, Diana Dors as the fairy godmother, that fancy sports car that substitutes for the pumpkin carriage – but it’s the daft dance routine that will be remembered till the end of time. Ridicule is nothing to be scared of!

Adam & The Ants - Prince Charming

4. Elton John – I’m Still Standing

Elton John’s I’m Still Standing video is the gift that keeps on giving. The entire video is basically one long dance routine, ably led by Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli and his extensive collection of skimpy beachwear. The dancers lift each other in the air! They spin effortlessly on stairwells! They fall over on the beach! I could watch it a thousand more times and I’d probably still be picking up extra details.

Elton John - I'm Still Standing

3. Bananarama – Love In The First Degree

Bananarama are the ’80s queens of not-entirely-serious dance routines (their brilliantly half-arsed shuffle in the café in Really Saying Something is another of my favourites), and this cartoony prison-set video, complete with striped prisoner garb, balls and chains, and obvious stunt double backflips, is a shining example. Bonus points for the song being on the legendary Now! That’s What I Call Music #10 compilation.

Bananarama - Love In The First Degree

2. Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes

Another wonderfully odd early ’80s dance routine where the dancers spend a lot of time artistically slapping each other and then rhythmically slamming their palms against the floor in some kind of apparent protest. Great video.

Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes

1. Michael Jackson – Thriller

Come on. What else could it have been?

When I became a horror film buff in the late ’90s/early ’00s I was utterly fascinated with this video and the way it homaged so many horror tropes. Vincent Price’s narration in the middle of the song over the zombies crawling out of their graves is a highlight, but there’s a reason why the dance routine is still taught in Zumba classes all over the world every time Hallowe’en rolls around. It’s an absolute classic, and I love the story of how director John Landis insisted on the dancers having two weeks of rehearsals (not the norm at the time) so that they would be absolutely in sync with each other and therefore creepier. No video will ever better this one.

Michael Jackson - Thriller

More music videos next week.

Music Video Monday: Top Ten ’80s Videos At The Beach

To my great surprise I found myself sunbathing at the beach this weekend (in the north-east of England! in April!), hence this week’s music videos are all beach-themed as I dream of the summer ahead and the summers from thirty-odd years ago.

10. Belinda Carlisle – Circle In The Sand

A nice near-literal video for this pretty 1988 track – there’s a lot of sand but not a lot of circles.

Belinda Carlisle - Circle In The Sand

9. Don Henley – The Boys Of Summer

It was perhaps inevitable that the ultimate ’80s summer anthem would have a beach scene in the video. The black and white film makes it a bit gloomy, but that’s consistent with the pessimistic feel of the song.

Don Henley - The Boys Of Summer

8. Boy Meets Girl – Waiting For A Star To Fall

The video for this late ’80s cheesefest starts off with a suitably cheesy beach running scene. Love that epic sax solo!

Boy Meets Girl - Waiting For A Star To Fall

7. Fleetwood Mac – Big Love

This is a more familiar sight for a British beach! Fleetwood Mac huddle in coats and scarves on a night-time beach in one of the many sequences of this brilliant video.

Fleetwood Mac - Big Love

6. Blondie – Call Me

Bit of a seasonally-confused video here, as the beach shots of Debbie Harry are interspersed with her in a coat looking cold in New York City. Maybe she goes on holiday somewhere for the beach scenes.

Blondie - Call Me

5. Erasure – Ship Of Fools

The beach in this video is all made up of rocks and shells and therefore not at all suitable for sunbathing, although Andy Bell gives it a good go.

Erasure - Ship Of Fools

4. Wham! – Club Tropicana

Most of this ultimate summer holiday video is poolside, but George Michael does take a brief trip to the beach halfway through. It looks a bit overcast, though, so I don’t blame him for heading back to the pool.

Wham! - Club Tropicana

3. The Bangles – Eternal Flame

A nice sunset beach scene here among the floaty images of Susanna Hoffs and co singing along to the song.

The Bangles - Eternal Flame

2. Duran Duran – Rio

Duran Duran made pretty much all of their videos on beaches during the jetsetting Rio era, but this one for the album’s title track is the most colourful and fun. The yacht scenes are the most iconic, but the beach scenes are blue-skied and beautiful and make me want to book a holiday.

Duran Duran - Rio

1. Elton John – I’m Still Standing

I love everything about this ridiculous Cannes romp, from the ostentatious outdoor piano to Elton’s comedy glasses to the pre-Strictly Bruno Tonioli dancing his way through Cannes in a succession of ’80s leotards. The best bit, though, is when Elton lines up the dancers on the beach and pushes them over in a chain of human dominoes.

Elton John - I'm Still Standing

It’s starting to grey over here in Newcastle, so I suspect I won’t be taking any more trips to the beach for a couple of months now. I’ll have to make do with ’80s videos in the meantime!

More video action next Monday.

The Bata Shoe Museum

Canada part two…

 

I was excited about going to the Bata Shoe Museum with Mum on Tuesday, because I’d been with Geth when we were last in Toronto two years ago.  The main part of the museum, which is a history of footwear, doesn’t change much, but they always have really interesting exhibitions on.  Two years ago, the exhibitions included a history of men in heels, so I got to see a pair of Elton John’s ’70s platforms and things like that.  This year, they included the use of gold in shoes, footwear of the Arctic peoples, and a special exhibition on Manolo Blahnik, who is my favourite shoe designer.

Manolo Blahnik exhibition poster at Bata Shoe Museum
I like the floral mural on the wall too.

It was the above poster that was the first sign we saw of the museum – it hangs on the east side, just before you turn the corner to the entrance if coming from the south.

Gold spiky Giuseppe Zanotti platform shoes
Spikes were a big thing when these Giuseppe Zanottis were released (I approved), as were peep toe boots (I did not approve).

I remember drooling over the above Zanottis circa 2011/2012, when platforms were still a huge thing.  I wouldn’t wear them nowadays, but they’re still very beautiful to look at.

Mid-century shoes at the Bata Shoe Museum
The gold shoes are Bally – I can’t remember the brand of the red boots, but they’re very beautiful.

The above shoes are mid-century.  I’d be more likely to wear ones like these than the Zanottis!

Manolo Blahniks at the Bata Shoe Museum
The pointed toe on these Manolo Blahniks is just perfect.

These Manolos are among the many that have been lent to the museum for the exhibition.  I had to restrain myself from taking pictures of every pair there – we’d have been there for a while!

Instead, I bought the exhibition book, and a postcard.  The gift shop guy was trying to get me to buy another Manolo book as well, which had things like the transcript of an interview between Manolo Blahnik and Mary Beard about his historical influences, but it was far too heavy to take back in my suitcase!  I’ll get it online instead.

Overall, it was a really good museum trip, and I’ll definitely be back again next time I’m in Toronto.  I wonder what exhibitions they’ll have for me then!

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 #62

Day 62 takes us to Now! #62, which came out on 21st November 2005.

November 2005
This is how the world looked in November 2005. One of the many things I learnt from José, who was not the most passive of cats, was the art of cat-wrangling. I applied that particular skill just this afternoon, when Guinness, the cat from next door, successfully breached our house’s defences due to Geth leaving the patio door open and I had to put him out again.

Let’s have another go with these mid-’00s hits.

Now! That's What I Call Music #62
Track 1: Sugababes – Push The Button

The tune’s a little repetitive, but it’s a good solid pop song.

Track 2: Robbie Williams – Tripping

Really like the beat on this – lots of interesting stuff going on.  Good track.

Track 3: The Pussycat Dolls and Busta Rhymes – Don’t Cha

I shouldn’t like this, but it’s got a good rhythm and I’ve always been quite fond of it.

Track 4: Daniel Powter – Bad Day

Awful and whiny.  The complete opposite of my kind of thing.

Track 5: David Gray – The One I Love

I find this one really dull and kind of annoying.

Track 6: Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone

I like the rock-tinged guitar, but the vocals are too generic for me.

Track 7: Will Young – Switch It On

Good beat, but the tune’s not interesting enough.

Track 8: Girls Aloud – Biology

It’s an okay pop song, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 9: McFly – I’ll Be OK

The tune’s annoying, and the vocals are really not my thing.

Track 10: Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict A Riot

Absolute classic.  This one was great to see live at T in the Park 2005 – the energy in the crowd was immense.

Track 11: Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To

Interesting as ever from Franz Ferdinand – great tune.

Track 12: KT Tunstall – Suddenly I See

I’ve always found this tune incredibly irritating.

Track 13: t.A.T.u – All About Us

I wasn’t aware that t.A.T.u made a brief comeback in 2005.  Good atmosphere, quite like this one.

Track 14: Hilary Duff – Wake Up

Irritating high-pitched vocals, boring tune.

Track 15: Rachel Stevens – I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)

The attempt at a rock edge is a bit cringeworthy, but the tune is quite good.

Track 16: Liberty X – Song 4 Lovers

Starts off as a slow piano ballad with a nice atmosphere, then somebody starts rapping all over everything.  Dreadful.

Track 17: Friday Hill – Baby Goodbye

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

The instrumentals are nice, but the vocals are a bit too cheesy for me.

Track 18: Simon Webbe – Lay Your Hands

Everything about this is extremely dull.  Not my thing at all.

Track 19: Mariah Carey – We Belong Together

Another slow ballad with a bland tune.

Track 20: Elton John – Electricity

Lovely piano line, but it’s a little slow for me.

Track 21: Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles

Nice Celtic-inspired instrumentals, but I don’t like the vocal line.

Track 22: Westlife – You Raise Me Up

One of the most saccharine ballads from the most saccharine of bands.  It’s almost unbearable.

Track 23: Gorillaz – DARE

Great tune, brilliant hooks.  Love this one.

Track 24: Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl

Good chant-along chorus, good beat.  Really like this.

Track 25: Kanye West – Diamonds From Sierra Leone

The Shirley Bassey Diamonds Are Forever sample is cracking, and I do like the ‘forever ever‘ nod to Ms Jackson by Outkast.  Great atmosphere on this one.

Track 26: Coldplay – Fix You

This was everywhere during summer 2005 as Coldplay headlined Glastonbury.  The tune is nice and anthemic, if extremely overplayed, but the theme and lyrics are really problematic.

Track 27: Oasis – The Importance Of Being Idle

Nice interesting tune from Oasis, much better than the generic stuff they’d been putting out for a few years at this point.  Love the instrumentals.

Track 28: The Black Eyed Peas – Don’t Lie

Interesting intro, but once it gets into the main part of the track it’s a bit dull.

Track 29: Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani – Can I Have It Like That

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Gwen Stefani on this compilation.

Good beat, but there’s not enough melody for my liking.

Track 30: Goldfrapp – Ooh La La

Nice piece of chilled-out pop – I’ve always quite liked this one.

Track 31: Mylo and Miami Sound Machine – Doctor Pressure

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

Mash-up of Mylo’s Drop The Pressure and Miami Sound Machine’s Doctor Beat.  I hate mash-ups, as they usually ruin both songs.  This one’s not horrible, but I’d still far rather listen to the original version of Doctor Beat.

Track 32: Bob Sinclar and Gary Pine – Love Generation

The spoken word intro is pretty uninspired, but the guitar line is nice, if a bit repetitive.

Track 33: Daddy Yankee – Gasolina

Who knew Daddy Yankee (of Despacito fame in 2017) actually had a hit back in 2005?  Every day’s a learning experience.

This track’s got a great atmosphere and some interesting lines, but it could do with some more melody.

Track 34: Rihanna – Pon De Replay

Good beat, very danceable.

Track 35: Amerie – 1 Thing

The instrumentals are okay, but the vocals are too high-pitched for me and give me a bit of a headache.

Track 36: Akon – Bananza (Belly Dancer)

It’s got a good beat, but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 37: Mattafix – Big City Life

Some interesting lines going on here, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 38: Damian Marley – Welcome To Jamrock

Nice reggae beat, but there’s not enough going on with the tune.

Track 39: Depeche Mode – Precious

The lead single off the beautiful Playing The Angel album.  This track is absolutely stunning, with a haunting atmosphere and gorgeous instrumentals.

Track 40: U2 – City Of Blinding Lights

Not hugely keen on this one – the tune is a bit uninspired.

Track 41: The Magic Numbers – Love Me Like You

I still find this tune a bit twee, but there’s a kind of mid-’00s summery nostalgia about it now.  Maybe because the Magic Numbers seemed to be constantly on Jools Holland and BBC festival footage and the like in 2005.

Track 42: Texas – Getaway

Really like this track – lovely tune, great instrumentals.

Track 43: Bon Jovi – Have A Nice Day

Nice classic rock sound – I love that Bon Jovi never really change.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #61

Day 61 equals Now! #61, which came out on 25th July 2005.

July 2005
This is the way the world looked in July 2005. I had apparently got to that stage in my life and in world history where all photos were either selfies (or ‘MySpace photos’ as they were called in the ’00s), pictures of my cat sleeping in unlikely places, or drunken pub pictures. I’m sure my friends will thank me if I stick to the selfies and cat pictures.

Hoping for some festival rock anthems here and not too much saccharine pop!  Fingers crossed.

Now! That's What I Call Music #61
Track 1: James Blunt – You’re Beautiful

Overplayed and ludicrously saccharine, but it’s been parodied so much and become so infamous that I actually find it quite funny now.

Track 2: 2Pac and Elton John – Ghetto Gospel

Track from 2Pac’s posthumous 2004 album.  It samples Indian Sunset, hence the Elton John credit.  The sample is beautifully used, and works really well with the rap here.

Track 3: Coldplay – Speed Of Sound

Nice tune, nice piano, nice atmosphere.  Quite like this one.

Track 4: Gorillaz and De La Soul – Feel Good Inc

Great beat, great danceable track.  Good stuff.

Track 5: The Black Eyed Peas – Don’t Phunk With My Heart

There’s a bit too much going on here for me, but the sung vocal is quite nice.

Track 6: Audio Bullys and Nancy Sinatra – Shot You Down

Yes, their grammatically correct name should be ‘Audio Bullies’.  Urgh.

The track is basically a remix of Nancy Sinatra’s version of Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).  The sample is great, but the rest of the track is pretty dull.

Track 7: Jem – They

Oh, it’s this one!  Really like the vocal harmony hook that runs throughout the track.

Track 8: Natalie Imbruglia – Shiver

It’s quite a nice atmosphere, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 9: KT Tunstall – Other Side Of The World

Boring tune, and it’s too acoustic-y for me.

Track 10: Oasis – Lyla

Bland Oasis-by-numbers track.  Nothing interesting here at all.

Track 11: Razorlight – Somewhere Else

Nice anthemic festival rock, really like this one.

Track 12: Bodyrockers – I Like The Way

Love the guitar riff, but it takes until the chorus for the track to get going properly.

Track 13: Kaiser Chiefs – Everyday I Love You Less And Less

It should be ‘every day’, not ‘everyday’.

It’s a great song though – that first Kaiser Chiefs album was really good.  I remember seeing them play an awesome set at T in the Park 2005.

Track 14: Caesars – Jerk It Out

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

Track 15: The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It

Not the most exciting track off the Hot Fuss album, but it’s still a really nice song.

Track 16: Hard-Fi – Hard To Beat

Really like this track – interesting tune, good beat.

Track 17: Weezer – Beverly Hills

Good rock beat, but the tune’s a bit lacking for me.

Track 18: Rob Thomas – Lonely No More

I quite like the tune until it gets to the uninspired chorus.

Track 19: The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost

At the time, I was really not keen on the Magic Numbers as I found their stuff very twee.  I’m still not the biggest fan, but I don’t hate this track as much as I used to.  The tune’s okay.

Track 20: Jack Johnson – Good People

Not my kind of thing – it’s too acoustic-y and I’m not keen on the tune.

Track 21: U2 – Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own

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

Track 22: Akon – Lonely

The sample of the sped-up chipmunk version of Bobby Vinton’s Mr Lonely is inspired, and the rest of the track’s okay to listen to.

Track 23: Mario – Let Me Love You

Boring, generic tune.  Not my kind of thing.

Track 24: Gwen Stefani and Eve – Rich Girl

Interesting vocals, great take on If I Were A Rich Man.  It’s actually a cover of the Louchie Lou and Michie One song from 1993, but I’m not familiar with that version.

Track 25: Will Smith – Switch

Great beat, but the song’s a bit dull.

Track 26: MVP – Roc Ya Body (Mic Check 1 2)

Really like the sung vocals on the chorus, and it’s got a good beat.

Track 27: Mariah Carey – It’s Like That

Generic tune, not keen on this one.

Track 28: Nelly – N Dey Say

Love the sample of Spandau Ballet’s True, but the rap over the top just annoys me.

Track 29: Bobby Valentino – Slow Down

Boring tune, nothing redeeming here.

Track 30: Faith Evans – Again

Not keen on the tune – just find it very bland.

Track 31: Joss Stone – Don’t Cha Wanna Ride

Good beat, but again the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 32: Roll Deep – The Avenue

I like the sample of ’80s hit Heartache Avenue, though I’m not too keen on the rap over the top.  This seems to be a theme today.

Track 33: Charlotte Church – Crazy Chick

This was the album where Charlotte Church basically rebelled against her wholesome opera-voiced kid image and went pop instead.  The song’s a bit twee, and the tune’s nothing special.

Track 34: Rachel Stevens – So Good

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

Track 35: Inaya Day – Nasty Girl

Cover of the ’80s Vanity 6 song.  Good beat, but it’s another dull, generic tune.

Track 36: Deep Dish – Say Hello

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

Quite like the tune on the instrumentals, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 37: Freeloaders and The Real Thing – So Much Love To Give

The Real Thing’s contribution here is the sample.  Great tune as a result, but it’s a little repetitive.

Track 38: Kylie Minogue – Giving You Up

Good tune, interesting vocals – quite like this one.

Track 39: Girls Aloud – Wake Me Up

Good atmosphere, but I just don’t find the tune interesting enough.

Track 40: Crazy Frog – Axel F

I mentioned my disdain for this awful ringtone-advert cover of the Harold Faltermeyer track way back in my review of the original on Now! #5.  Why anybody spent money on this stuff is beyond me.

Track 41: Tony Christie – Avenues And Alleyways

Tony Christie still riding his wave of resurgence post-Amarillo.  This is a nice tune and the classic style is a refreshing change from regular chart music.

Track 42: McFly – You’ve Got A Friend

Cover of the Carole King classic.  It’s very uninspired and far too acoustic-y for me.

Track 43: Heather Small – Proud

Re-release of the 2000 hit in honour of 2005’s successful London 2012 Olympics bid.  I literally last heard this two days ago, over the PA while waiting in the start pen for the Blaydon Race – it’s still used a lot for sporting events and things like that.  It’s quite a nice, uplifting song.

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 #22

Day 22, and we’ve arrived at 27th July 1992.

July 1992
This was the way the world (Germany, to be precise) looked in July 1992. We went touring all around Europe that month so we’ve got oodles of pictures showing how the world looked, but I’ve chosen our car in front of a building, ’cause I like pictures of cars.

Let’s see what might have been on the car stereo while we were exploring!

Now! That's What I Call Music #22
Track 1: Erasure – Take A Chance On Me

Erasure get to their ‘Abba covers’ phase.  I’m generally a fan of synth covers of classic songs, and I do like this one, apart from the random rap towards the end.

Track 2: CeCe Peniston – Finally

I’ve always found the chorus on this one annoying.  Sorry!

Track 3: KWS – Please Don’t Go

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

Track 4: Take That – It Only Takes A Minute

Take That make their first Now! appearance!  I adored them so much as a little girl.  Robbie was my favourite, and I was so gutted when he left the group.  To this day, I don’t consider them proper Take That (‘Fake That’, I used to say derisively when they first reappeared in the ’00s) unless Robbie’s involved.

Ahem.  Anyway.

This is a nice solid pop cover of the Tavares classic – good, danceable stuff.

Track 5: Nick Berry – Heartbeat

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

Urgh, Nick Berry‘s back.  I thought after Every Loser Wins, we had all suffered enough.  This one is a pointless ’90s cover of the Buddy Holly classic, presumably to tie in with the TV show Heartbeat.

Track 6: Snap – Rhythm Is A Dancer

Absolute classic, epic dance track – I love this one!  One of my favourites.

Track 7: Utah Saints – Something Good

Brilliant track with epic-level sampling of Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting.  Now, THIS is how you sample appropriately.  Wonderful stuff.

Track 8: The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

One of my favourite tracks from my favourite band – lovely feelgood song with beautiful instrumentals.

Track 9: Marc Almond – The Days Of Pearly Spencer

I’m going to see Marc Almond later this year!  I’m very excited.

Sadly, it won’t be at the one-off Soft Cell reunion gig, which is one of my big gig disappointments this year – I really wanted to go, but due to a miscommunication I missed the ten-minute ticket window.  However, I will be seeing him solo at the Electric Dreams festival, so that sort-of makes up for it.

This track has a lovely epic atmosphere and beautiful instrumentals – really like this one.

Track 10: The Beautiful South – Bell Bottomed Tear

Pretty tune and nice vocals, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 11: Prince – Thunder

I like the epic intro and chorus, and the instrumentals are interesting.  Good track.

Track 12: U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing

Repetitive instrumentals, dull tune.  Not keen on this one.

Track 13: The Shamen – LSI (Love Sex Intelligence)

Good upbeat dance track – happily nodding along here.

Track 14: Electronic – Disappointed

Nice bit of synth electro from Electronic.  Solid stuff.

Track 15: Shakespear’s Sister – I Don’t Care

Nice upbeat track with a rockier edge.  Vocals not as impressive as usual for Shakespear’s Sister, but still solid.

Track 16: Carter USM – Do Re Me, So Far So Good

So, after me going on for weeks about various great Carter USM covers of various tracks, they finally show up on a Now! compilation with one of their original songs!

Great upbeat rock song, typically brilliant Carter lyrics and singalong chorus.

Track 17: Ugly Kid Joe – Everything About You

Could do without the spoken word on the intro, but it’s a classic track and a good head-nodder.

Track 18: SL2 – On A Ragga Tip

The reggae bit’s good, but the track in general is a bit haphazard.

Track 19: The Orb – Blue Room

Nice bit of chillout, though I could do without the siren noises.

Track 20: Richard Marx – Hazard

Epic atmosphere, great solid track.

Track 21: Elton John – The One

Nice tune, but it’s fairly generic for Elton John.  Not a favourite.

Track 22: Roy Orbison – I Drove All Night

This one was apparently written for Orbison, but I prefer the Cyndi Lauper version, which came out first (I’m not sure which one counts as the ‘cover’ in this case).  Still a great song, though, whoever’s singing it.

Track 23: Jimmy Nail – Ain’t No Doubt

More upbeat than usual for Jimmy Nail – I quite like this one.

Track 24: Joe Cocker – Unchain My Heart

A bit overblown in the vocals at the start, but once the beat gets going it’s quite good – great funk bassline.

Track 25: Curtis Stigers – You’re All That Matters To Me

Another too-slow too-saccharine one from Curtis Stigers, and this time there’s no sax to save it.  Not keen.

Track 26: Wilson Phillips – You Won’t See Me Cry

Nice feelgood tune, nice atmosphere, great sax solo.  Still a little slow for me though.

Track 27: Crowded House – Four Seasons In One Day

Lovely tune, great lyrics – really like this one.

Track 28: Annie Lennox – Why

Nice introspective track from Annie Lennox – I really like her stuff from this period.

Track 29: George Michael and Elton John – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Classic duet, epic track – lovely song.

Track 30: Diana Ross – One Shining Moment

Lovely tune, but again it’s a bit of a slow ballad for me.

Track 31: Vanessa Williams – Save The Best For Last

This is another one of those feelgood ballads that I always heard on the radio on ferries during family holidays around this time.  It was also used in an advert for Bisto or Oxo (I think?  I’m sure it was stock cubes or soup or something ‘comforting’), so I kind of associate it with that vibe.

Track 32: En Vogue – My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)

Great upbeat head-nodder from En Vogue – really like this one, especially the a cappella bit towards the end.

Track 33: Soul II Soul – Joy

This one’s a bit dull in my view – nothing special going on here.

Track 34: Incognito – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing

Great upbeat track to finish on today – love those instrumentals!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #18

Day 18, and today’s Now! compilation takes us to 19th November 1990.

November 1990
This is the way the world looked in November 1990 (actually December, but November was another one of those months we didn’t take any photos). Pirate Lego, thankfully, hasn’t changed (or at least it hasn’t if you keep all your stuff from childhood! The new larger pirate minifigures are just wrong). Also, those twentieth century carpets are still a regular sight in British pubs, who obviously all got a job lot circa 1980.

Here’s some music from some people who may have grown out of Lego by 1990, ’cause apparently it’s only millennials who keep playing with that stuff into adulthood.

Now! That's What I Call Music #18
Track 1: The Beautiful South – A Little Time

Nice tune, vocals and atmosphere, but this track’s a bit slow for me.

Track 2: Steve Miller Band – The Joker

This one was later a Modos classic when I hung about there in 2008-2011 – it was always on DJ Mantash’s playlist.  Good times.

Good tune, great lyrics, solid head-nodder.

Track 3: Elton John –  Sacrifice

Quite a nice ballad – lovely tune, nice tinkly synth hooks.

Track 4: Roxette – It Must Have Been Love

Really like this Roxette ballad – lovely vocals, great atmosphere.  Awesome track.

Track 5: Phil Collins – Something Happened On The Way To Heaven

Epic intro, epic tune.  Like this one.

Track 6: Wilson Phillips – Hold On

Great rock ballad!  Love the tune and the vocals.

Track 7: Sinéad O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U

Classic, beautiful song.  Perfect lyrics, stunning melody.

Track 8: The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody

No idea why this was back in the charts, but it’s a ’60s favourite for me, so I’m not complaining!

Track 9: Belinda Carlisle – (We Want) The Same Thing

Probably my favourite Belinda Carlisle track – brilliant, epic rock ballad.

Track 10: Status Quo – The Anniversary Waltz [Part 1]

Irritating retro-tinged dad-rock medley of all of Status Quo’s worst tracks.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 11: INXS – Suicide Blonde

Great instrumentals, nice upbeat atmospheric pop-rock.  Really like this one.

Track 12: Public Image Ltd – Don’t Ask Me

Good tune, like the guitar intro, interesting vocals (well, it is John Lydon).  Great track.

Track 13: Talk Talk – It’s My Life

I’m a little surprised to find this featuring so late, ’cause I had it in my head as being late ’80s.  Great synth line, great tune.

Track 14: The LAs – There She Goes

The LAs crack the definitive ’90s sound early on.  Super acoustic and plaid-sounding.

Track 15: Tina Turner – Be Tender With Me Baby

Pretty dull ballad, but some of the instrumentals are quite interesting.

Track 16: Robert Palmer and UB40 – I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight

Standard reggae tune from UB40, with Robert Palmer’s vocals giving it plus points.

Track 17: Pet Shop Boys – So Hard

Pet Shop Boys enter the ’90s with some slightly harder electro.  The usual great synth lines are still intact though.

Track 18: Bass-O-Matic – Fascinating Rhythm

Nice bassline (as you might expect) but everything else is a bit generic.

Track 19: Soul II Soul and Kym Mazelle – Missing You

Boring soul track with standard early ’90s beat, nothing special.

Track 20: DNA and Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner

Love that jaunty singalong hook!  Fantastic track.

Track 21: Sting – Englishman In New York

An all-time favourite – lovely, melancholy song with beautiful lyrics and a gorgeous sax solo.  Love this one.

Track 22: The Cure – Close To Me ’90

Really like this 1990 reworking of the 1985 classic.  Great track from the Cure.

Track 23: Neneh Cherry – I’ve Got You Under My Skin

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

Not enough melody here for me, although there’s quite a nice bassline that starts up mid-track.

Track 24: Blue Pearl – Little Brother

Dull tune, annoying vocals.  Not keen on this one.

Track 25: Kylie Minogue – Step Back In Time

Annoying chorus alert!  It would be a solid pop song, but that chorus makes it the kind of unwanted earworm that I need to cleanse with OMG ANYTHING OTHER THAN THIS.

Track 26: Kim Appleby – Don’t Worry

Nice ’70s-retro-tinged pop tune.  Quite like this one.

Track 27: Technotronic – Megamix

Largely enjoyable medley of dance tracks, some better than others.

Track 29: Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

This silly novelty track was played at every birthday party I went to in the early ’90s.  It’s not high art, let’s face it, but I still find myself happily nodding along.

Track 30: Betty Boo – Where Are You Baby?

For some reason, I’ve got a vague, distant memory of Betty Boo being a figure of derision in Smash Hits in the early ’90s.  But then, lots of artists were, so I could be getting confused.

The track’s not much to write home about either way – bad rap verse, mid-century-retro-tinged chorus.  Not my thing.

Track 31: The Adventures Of Stevie V – Dirty Cash (Money Talks)

Like the atmosphere on this one – good solid pop, with a bit of sax in there for good measure.

Track 32: MC Hammer – Have You Seen Her?

Irritating slow track from MC Hammer with slightly creepy vocals.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 33: Jimmy Somerville – To Love Somebody

Odd, slow reggae cover of the Bee Gees classic.  Still, better than the saccharine ballads that usually end these compilations.