Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #71

Day 71 equals Now! #71, which came out on 17th November 2008.

November 2008
This is how the world looked in November 2008. The glasses glare in this picture is terrible but it was the best of a bad bunch! I still own all those clothes, though I’m not sure if I’ll wear the dress again ’cause it’s a bit floaty and ’00s and my taste is a bit more classic nowadays.

Let’s see what the Christmas party songs were that year.

Now! That's What I Call Music #71
Track 1: Girls Aloud – The Promise

Nice feelgood retro-tinged tune, quite like this one.

Track 2: Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl

Appalling theme, but it’s a great pop tune.

Track 3: Pink – So What

Another classic from Lego Rock Band that I used to drum along to.  Love this chant-along track.

Track 4: Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire

Daft lyrics that everyone took the piss out of at the time, but it’s a great rock tune and has turned into a bit of a classic.

Track 5: Kid Rock – All Summer Long

Feelgood nostalgic song based around the riff from Sweet Home Alabama.  I’ve actually always quite liked this one.

Track 6: Rihanna – Disturbia

Great atmosphere – quite like this tune.

Track 7: Ne-Yo – Miss Independent

Great electro hook, but the vocals are a bit too saccharine for me.

Track 8: The Pussycat Dolls – When I Grow Up

Another great chant-along chorus.  Really like this track.

Track 9: Madcon – Beggin’

Good beat, nice retro tune – happily nodding along.

Track 10: Chris Brown – Forever

Nice feelgood atmosphere, but I find the tune pretty dull.

Track 11: Jennifer Hudson – Spotlight

I find the vocals on this ballad pretty generic, but the backing track is lovely.

Track 12: James Morrison – You Make It Real

Boring and slow, with an irritating tune.  Not keen.

Track 13: Will Young – Changes

Another one that’s too slow for me, but the retro-tinged tune’s quite interesting.

Track 14: Jordin Sparks – Tattoo

Cheesy vocals, too slow, but there’s some interesting stuff going on in the background.

Track 15: Geraldine McQueen – The Winner’s Song

How many tracks have there been during this Now! project where I’ve mentioned that I’ve got a soft spot for the song because it was used to great effect in Peter Kay’s Britain’s Got The Pop Factor, his brilliant X Factor parody?  Well, I’ve lost count, but it’s been a lot, and now we’ve finally got to autumn 2008, when it was first shown on TV (I can’t believe it’s nearly a decade old – Geth and I still watch the DVD every Christmas).  This ballad was written specially for the show’s fictional winner, Geraldine McQueen (by Gary Barlow no less), neatly parodying the overblown ballads that were always released as X Factor winners’ singles at the time.

Incidentally, while Geraldine is supposed to be Northern Irish, you can hear Peter Kay’s Lancashire accent a mile off in his singing voice.

Track 16: Sugababes – Girls

Great pop track based around Here Come The Girls, a ’70s song that never really took off at the time but was eventually used in a series of Boots adverts in 2007.  Love this tune.

Track 17: The Saturdays – Up

Nice danceable track, good solid pop.

Track 18: Boyzone – Love You Anyway

Great instrumentals – quite like this one.

Track 19: Katy Perry – Hot N Cold

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Katy Perry on track 2.  It’s a particularly egregious repetition as both tracks are solo singles, though I suppose they have both become pop classics.

This one I always enjoyed dancing to on Just Dance for the Wii.  Between that and Lego Rock Band, this era of the Now! project is really making me want to plug the Wii back in!

Track 20: Sash! and Stunt – Raindrops (Encore Une Fois)

Mash-up of Sash!’s Encore Une Fois and Stunt’s Raindrops.  It’s not horrible – even if I still don’t think these tracks work together at all – but I’ll definitely be lining up the original Encore Une Fois to listen to after this playlist is done.

Track 21: Basshunter – Angel In The Night

Takes a while to get going.  Once it does, there’s some random rock guitar that doesn’t go with the dance track, but I like rock guitar so I’m going to let it slide just this once.

Track 22: Eric Prydz – Pjanoo

Great piano hook, as you might expect from the title.  Good stuff.

Track 23: Steve Mac – Paddy’s Revenge

Dance track with Irish music over the top.  It sounds bizarre but it actually works okay.

Track 24: Coldplay – Viva La Vida

One of the few Coldplay tracks that I actually unashamedly like.  This is a great tune with a wonderful atmosphere.

Track 25: The Script – The Man Who Can’t Be Moved

A bit cheesy and soft-rock for my liking.

Track 26: Razorlight – Wire To Wire

Nice tune, nice atmosphere.  Good track.

Track 27: Noah & The Whale – 5 Years’ Time

This is from the early years when Laura Marling was still with the band, and her backing vocals are really great on this.  Lovely tune.

Track 28: Iglu & Hartly – In This City

There are some interesting instrumentals going on, but the tune’s very generic and forgettable.

Track 29: The Ting Tings – Shut Up And Let Me Go

My favourite of the Ting Tings’ hits.  Great beat, awesome chant-along track.

Track 30: Kaiser Chiefs – Never Miss A Beat

Nice tune – bit of a ’60s rock tinge, too.

Track 31: Snow Patrol – Take Back The City

Boring tune, not particularly keen on this one.

Track 32: The Verve – Love Is Noise

Lots of messy, irritating lines.  Pretty awful.

Track 33: Guru Josh Project – Infinity 2008 [Klaas Vocal Edit]

Remix of the 1989 track.  The instrumental hook’s okay, but I could do without the other stuff going on with this one.

Track 34: Christian Falk and Robyn – Dream On

Irritating vocals, but I quite like the backing track.

Track 35: Duffy – Stepping Stone

Nice atmosphere, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 36: Flobots – Handlebars

Daft theme, daft instrumentals.  Quite like this one.

Track 37: Keane – Spiralling

Messy, but I appreciate the retro tinge.

Track 38: McFly – Lies

Another good retro feel to this track.

Track 39: Alphabeat – Boyfriend

Good solid piece of electropop – really like this one.

Track 40: Biffy Clyro – Mountains

Once it gets going, this is a cracking rock song.

Track 41: Ida Maria – I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked

Boring tune, nowhere near as good as the title suggests.  The chorus is okay, though.

Track 42: Little Jackie – The World Should Revolve Around Me

Nice feelgood atmosphere, but again the tune’s just not interesting enough for me.

Track 43: Gym Class Heroes and The-Dream – Cookie Jar

Another nice atmosphere, but the song’s pretty forgettable.

Track 44: Taio Cruz – She’s Like A Star

Quite a nice tune, but it’s a little repetitive.

Track 45: Platnum – Love Shy (Thinking About You)

Fairly generic dance track.  This Now! compilation has generally tailed off in quite a rubbish way.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #66

Day 66 brings us to Now! #66, which came out on 2nd April 2007.

April 2007
This is how the world looked in April 2007, or at least it did if you were drinking with me, Sharpy and Kieran in the pub. I like to think that none of us look any older eleven years later, though I have thankfully stopped dyeing my hair and doing the lazy roots thing.

I seem to remember that 2007 was not a bad year for chart music.  Let’s see if my memory is correct.

Now! That's What I Call Music #66
Track 1: Mika – Grace Kelly

Great tune, very danceable, interesting vocals.  I’ve always really liked this one, especially the classic-sounding epic atmosphere.

Track 2: Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby

Great rock track – another one that I loved playing on Lego Rock Band.  The Wurzels’ live cover, which I saw at Beautiful Days 2010, is also something to behold.

Track 3: Sugababes and Girls Aloud – Walk This Way

Weak cover of the classic Aerosmith vs. Run DMC version.  It doesn’t really work when you have two artists from the same genre, i.e. girl groups who sing pop.  It was released as the official Comic Relief single for 2007, so hopefully it kept the charity money rolling in.

Track 4: Take That – Patience

This one marks the arrival of what I always considered ‘Fake That’ (the Robbie Williams-less lineup).  Gorgeous song though.

Track 5: Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around…Comes Around

Great instrumentals, good atmosphere, but the vocals are a bit dull in my book.

Track 6: Nelly Furtado – Say It Right

Another great atmosphere and a nice tune.  Quite like this one.

Track 7: Beyoncé – Irreplaceable

Nice, powerful song – you can really hear the disdain coming through the vocals.  Good tune too.

Track 8: Kelis and Cee Lo Green – Lil’ Star

Repetitive intro, takes ages to get going.  Once it does, the tune is okay but the vocals are a bit twee for my liking.

Track 9: Akon and Eminem – Smack That

Great brooding atmosphere – quite like this one.

Track 10: Just Jack – Starz In Their Eyes

Nice retro-tinged guitar and bassline, interesting vocals.  Good stuff.

Track 11: Calvin Harris – Acceptable In The ’80s

One of my favourites, obviously, and something I will always dance to no matter my mood.  The whole ‘I got love for you if you were born in the ’80s, the ’80s‘ section is just a classic dance hook and a great lyric.  Love it to bits.

Track 12: Mason and Princess Superstar – Perfect (Exceeder)

Great beat, great rhythmic vocals, very danceable track.

Track 13: Booty Luv – Boogie 2Nite

Another good beat, and the ’70s disco tinge is also much appreciated.  It’s actually a cover of a song by Tweet, but I’m not familiar with the original.

Track 14: Eric Prydz and Pink Floyd – Proper Education

Dance remix of Another Brick In The Wall.  The samples from the original provide a great atmosphere, but it’s one of those examples where I just want to go and listen to the original song afterwards.

Track 15: Sharam – Party All The Time

Dance cover of Eddie Murphy’s 1985 hit.  Other than the dance beat, not much is added here.  They’ve just sampled the chorus over and over and made it really repetitive.

Track 16: Cascada – Truly Madly Deeply

Eurodance cover of the Savage Garden song.  The original is gorgeous and didn’t deserve to be ruined like this.  Awful.

Track 17: Girls Aloud – I Think We’re Alone Now

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Girls Aloud on track 3.

Interesting cover of the Tiffany classic – there’s some edgy instrumentals added and a really good beat.  It’s quite refreshing to have a cover that’s not entirely pointless, but the vocals are still pretty much identical to the original version.

Track 18: Seamus Haji and KayJay – Last Night A DJ Saved My Life

Dance cover of the Indeep song from 1982.  Is it karaoke night or something?  That’s six covers in a row.  Let’s have some original songs, please.

Track 19: Camille Jones and Fedde Le Grand – The Creeps

Great beat, nice eerie instrumentals.  Really like this one.

Track 20: Jamelia – Beware Of The Dog

I love the Personal Jesus sample, and there’s a nice rhythm to the vocals.  Good track.

Track 21: Gwen Stefani – Wind It Up

That yodeling at the start is just awful!  Once the song gets going, though, it’s quite interesting.

Track 22: JoJo – Too Little, Too Late

Slow, bland ballad, with a depressing tune.  Not my thing.

Track 23: Leona Lewis – A Moment Like This

Pointless cover of the Kelly Clarkson song.  This was the X Factor winner’s single for 2006 and also the Christmas number one, so it still shows up on all the music channels every Christmas time.

Track 24: The Fray – How To Save A Life

The tune’s very depressing-sounding, but at least it builds nicely.

Track 25: The View – Same Jeans

Twee theme, but the tune’s okay, and I quite like the chorus.

Track 26: Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control

Great bassline, great beat, great vocals.  Really like this track.

Track 27: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Catch You

Nice edgy instrumentals, more great bass, interesting vocals.  Another great song.

Track 28: Klaxons – Golden Skans

Interesting track, nice vocals.  Quite like this one.

Track 29: Fall Out Boy – This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race

Great beat, good epic atmosphere, interesting vocals, brilliant rock chorus.  Another awesome song.

Track 30: The Killers – Read My Mind

Like the atmosphere, and the tune is nice.  Disc two of this Now! compilation is really delivering so far!

Track 31: U2 – Window In The Skies

I like the way this one builds, and the chorus is really interesting.

Track 32: Robbie Williams and Pet Shop Boys – She’s Madonna

Great synth line, great tune – really like this collaboration.

Track 33: The Fratellis – Whistle For The Choir

Too acoustic-y for me, and I find the tune pretty generic.

Track 34: The Ordinary Boys – I Luv U

This one’s a little too cheesy and slow for my liking.

Track 35: Snow Patrol – Open Your Eyes

Slow, bland vocals, and those repetitive one-note guitar chords really irritate me.

Track 36: Razorlight – Before I Fall To Pieces

Nice upbeat tempo and feelgood guitar lines.  Quite like this one.

Track 37: Scissor Sisters – She’s My Man

Great guitar riff, great bassline.  Highly danceable track.

Track 38: The Feeling – Love It When You Call

I like the beepy instrumental at the start, and the guitar riff’s quite nice, but the vocals are not edgy enough for my liking.

Track 39: McFly – Sorry’s Not Good Enough

The theme is a bit cheesy, but the instrumentals are interesting.

Track 40: Lily Allen – Alfie

Love the old-timey carnival/big band sound of this one.  Great song, really different to everything else that was going on at the time.

Track 41: Jamie T – Calm Down Dearest

Irritating theme and faux ‘drunk’ vocals.  Not a big fan of this.

Track 42: Sugababes – Easy

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Sugababes on track 3.  This and the Girls Aloud repetition would have been best avoided by leaving off Walk This Way so that we could all have happily forgotten about that one.

This track’s got some very repetitive vocals, but the retro-tinged atmosphere and bassline are great.

Track 43: Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good

Lovely, melancholy track.  Really nice tune.

Track 44: The Proclaimers, Brian Potter and Andy Pipkin – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

Daft semi-cover featuring the comedy characters Brian Potter (Peter Kay) from Phoenix Nights and Andy Pipkin (Matt Lucas) from Little Britain.  We’ve already had the original on Now! #13, so see the link for my review of that utter classic.

This recording, which was another song released for Comic Relief 2007, got to number one and outsold the original.  Go figure.

We’ve avoided any ‘Not on Spotify’ moments for a fourth time!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #59

Day 59 equals Now! #59, which came out on 15th November 2004.

November 2004
This is how the world looked in November 2004, because we had just adopted our beautiful cat, José, and all of our photos were of him. José was the universe’s most wonderful creature, the feline love of my life, and the only thing that saved me from myself that year. He was only with us for seven short years, but I will miss him forever.

Let’s see what the hits were as we approached the midpoint of the decade.

Now! That's What I Call Music #59
Track 1: Blue – Curtain Falls

Love the Gangsta’s Paradise sample and its accompanying epic atmosphere, but the tune on the vocals is not really anything special.

Track 2: Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved

I’ve always quite liked this nice tune, though the chorus is a bit cheesy.

Track 3: Natasha Bedingfield – These Words

I like the instrumentals on the backing track, but the vocals are not really my thing.

Track 4: Robbie Williams – Radio

Great synth line, great tune – really like this one.

Track 5: Busted – Thunderbirds Are Go

Awful track that just reminds me how bad the live-action Thunderbirds film was (I am a huge fan of the original Gerry Anderson series).  It bastardises the classic theme song in an even worse way than the film ruins the show.

Track 6: Eric Prydz – Call On Me

Brilliant sampling of Steve Winwood’s Valerie, though obviously I’ll always prefer the original song.  Steve Winwood apparently liked this so much that he re-recorded the vocals specially.  Also, I can’t not mention the infamous aerobics video.

Track 7: Girls Aloud – Love Machine

Nice upbeat song, quite like this one.

Track 8: McFly – Obviously

I’ve always found this one really irritating – annoying tune, annoying theme, annoying vocals.

Track 9: Rachel Stevens – More, More, More

Fairly pointless cover of the ’70s classic.  There’s some irritating ’00s instrumentals going on, but nothing else is really changed from the original.

Track 10: Darius – Kinda Love

Boring tune, never really gets going.

Track 11: V – Hip To Hip

Quite like the tune on the instrumental hook, but the vocals are irritating and dull.

Track 12: JoJo – Leave (Get Out)

Sounds like pretty much every other song from around the same time.  Very forgettable.

Track 13: Jay Sean – Stolen

Good atmosphere, though the vocals are pretty generic.

Track 14: Scissor Sisters – Mary

Nice piano line, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 15: Keane – Bedshaped

Takes forever to get started.  When it does, it’s quite a nice tune, but again it’s far too slow for my liking.

Track 16: The Libertines – Can’t Stand Me Now

Good beat, good guitar instrumentals.  Quite like this track.

Track 17: Hoobastank – The Reason

Annoying tune, and it’s not upbeat enough for me.

Track 18: Embrace – Gravity

Nice instrumentals on the intro, but it’s another one that’s too slow for me.

Track 19: Lucie Silvas – What You’re Made Of

Nice tune, but it’s a bit repetitive (and again, too slow!).

Track 20: Ronan Keating – I Hope You Dance

Another boring, slow ballad.  Despite the title, this is a highly undanceable song.

Track 21: Duncan James and Keedie Babb – I Believe My Heart

Semi-repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Duncan James as part of Blue on track 1.

All of these slow, dull ballads are so samey that I can’t tell where one ends and another begins.  It does get more interesting when Keedie Babb’s soprano vocals come in though.

Track 22: Daniel Bedingfield – Nothing Hurts Like Love

Cheesy lyrics/vocals, but the atmosphere’s nice and dramatic.

Track 23: Jamelia – Stop

One of those tracks that has Christmas associations for me nowadays – the music channels always play it at Christmas due to the video featuring clips from Love Actually.  I was annoyed to realise recently that it’s an utterly pointless ’00s cover of the ’80s Sam Brown song.

Track 24: R Kelly – Happy People

It’s nice and upbeat (makes a change from all those dull ballads) but the tune’s pretty forgettable.

Track 25: Nelly and Jaheim – My Place

Bit repetitive, but the tune’s okay.

Track 26: The Black Eyed Peas – Let’s Get It Started

Good upbeat party song, very danceable.

Track 27: Kelis and André 3000 – Millionaire

Interesting song, but there’s not enough melody for me.

Track 28: 3 Of A Kind – Baby Cakes

I shouldn’t like this one, but I actually find it quite pleasant to nod along to.

Track 29: Khia – My Neck, My Back (Lick It)

I’m not a prude but I’ve always found this very sexually explicit song a bit squicky, to be honest.  If you ignore the lyrics, it’s got a good danceable beat.

Track 30: Ice Cube, Mack 10 and Ms Toi – You Can Do It

Great beat on this one, and the vocal hook makes it a classic.

Track 31: Joss Stone – You Had Me

Great upbeat song with a good atmosphere – love that chorus.

Track 32: Christina Milian and Joe Budden – Whatever U Want

Highly generic track – nothing interesting or special going on here.

Track 33: Sugababes – Caught In A Moment

Nice atmosphere, but the tune on the vocals is pretty dull.

Track 34: The Pirates, Enya, Shola Ama, Naila Boss and Ishani – You Should Really Know

Answer song to the beautiful I Don’t Wanna Know by Mario Winans, which already sampled the Fugees sampling Enya.  It’s pretty much the same song, so it’s still a gorgeous tune.

Track 35: Houston, Chingy, Nate Dogg and I-20 – I Like That

Good head-nodder, good atmosphere.  Quite like this one.

Track 36: Mousse T and Emma Lanford – Is It ‘Cos I’m Cool?

Oh, it’s this one.  The tune’s a little annoying, but at least it’s something different and rockier than what we’ve had so far.

Track 37: Deep Dish – Flashdance

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

Despite the title, this is not actually a cover of Flashdance…What A Feeling by Irene Cara.  It is instead a cover of He’s A Dream by Shandi Sinnamon, which was also on the original Flashdance soundtrack.  It’s a very repetitive female-fronted rock track – there’s little of interest here.

Track 38: Angel City and Lara McAllen – Do You Know (I Go Crazy)

Painfully dull dance track that samples Robert Miles’ Children and adds some terrible vocals over the top of it.  Nothing new going on at all.

Track 39: Michael Gray – The Weekend

Oh, it’s this one.  It’s an okay dance track, but I find the electro hook a bit irritating.

Track 40: Intenso Project and Lisa Scott-Lee – Get It On

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

Good beat, okay atmosphere, but the vocals are pretty terrible and uninspired.

Track 41: Dannii Minogue and Flower Power – You Won’t Forget About Me

Like the guitar, and the vocals are nice too.

Track 42: Danzel – Pump It Up

The chant-along bit is kind of repetitive, but the beat’s good.

Track 43: Eyeopener – Hungry Eyes

Dodgy trance cover of the Eric Carmen song.  It’s pretty awful.