Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #39

Day 39, and Now! #39 was released on 6th April 1998.

April 1998
This is the way the world looked in April 1998 – warm enough for a barbecue, even in Scotland (not dissimilar to the late April of twenty years later). Holiday caravans haven’t changed much, but I can’t remember the last time I had toasted marshmallows (it’s difficult to find ones that are gelatine-free).

Let’s see what was on the radio twenty years ago this spring.

Now! That's What I Call Music #39
Track 1: All Saints – Never Ever

Classic track, great theme, great lyrics, great video.  All Saints never bettered this.

Track 2: Lighthouse Family – High

My favourite Lighthouse Family track – lovely tune.

Track 3: Janet Jackson – Together Again

Oh, it’s this one.  The tune’s okay, but I’ve always found this track a bit so-so.

Track 4: Spice Girls – Stop

This was never my favourite Spice Girls song – I find the tune pretty irritating.

Fun fact: this was the first of their songs not to go straight in at number one – it only reached number two.

Track 5: Natalie Imbruglia – Torn

I still consider this a classic – it’s a gorgeous tune, but it is a bit overplayed nowadays.

Fun fact: this was actually the fourth version of the song, but it’s the one most people know.

Track 6: Billie Myers – Kiss The Rain

Gorgeous tune, really interesting vocals.  Great stuff.

Track 7: Robbie Williams – Angels

Probably Robbie Williams’ most classic track.  It’s a gorgeous ballad, but again it suffers a bit from being overplayed.

Track 8: Various Artists – Perfect Day

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause.

This was everywhere at the time – first as the BBC Music advert and then as the official Children In Need track for 1997.  Gorgeous, epic semi-cover (because Lou Reed was involved, alongside pretty much everybody else!) of the 1972 classic.

Track 9: Boyzone – Baby Can I Hold You

Pointless ’90s cover of the Tracy Chapman song.

Obligatory ‘I hate pointless ’90s covers’ rant: I’m still really annoyed that it took me nearly two decades to realise that it WAS originally a Tracy Chapman song.

Track 10: Tin Tin Out and Shelley Nelson – Here’s Where The Story Ends

Electronic cover of the Sundays song.  It’s fairly uninspired.

Track 11: Space and Cerys Matthews – The Ballad Of Tom Jones

Loved it then, love it now!  Hilarious theme, great track.

Track 12: Texas – Insane

Great atmosphere – really like this one.

Track 13: Hanson – Weird

Loved it at the time, but only because I was a huge Hanson fan.  Because I was the only one of my mates with cable TV at this point, I remember having to sit in front of The Box channel (‘music television YOU control!’ – I’ve discussed this before) for hours, waiting for the video to come on so I could tape it off the TV and give the VHS to my friend who was an even bigger Hanson fan.  Ah, 20th century technology.

But yeah, anyway, I find the song pretty irritating now.

Track 14: LeAnn Rimes – How Do I Live

Hated it then, still hate it now.  Can’t stand the tune, don’t like the style, just not my cup of tea in the slightest.

Track 15: Shania Twain – You’re Still The One

Again, not my thing.  I don’t like country music, especially not country music ballads.

Track 16: Sheryl Crow – Tomorrow Never Dies

I do love a James Bond theme, and this is no exception.  Great, epic track.

Track 17: Radiohead – No Surprises

Another lovely, melancholy tune from Radiohead.  Great stuff.

Track 18: The Verve – Lucky Man

I’ve never been hugely keen on the droning style of Britpop vocals, and it takes a good song to mitigate them.  This is not quite a good enough song in that respect, although the tune’s okay.

Track 19: Pulp – This Is Hardcore

Great epic atmosphere, lovely instrumentals.  Good stuff.

Track 20: Robbie Williams – Let Me Entertain You

Repeated artist alert!  I’m shaking my head in disapproval, Now! compilers.

However, given that this is the best, most epic, most anthemic track that Robbie Williams ever did, I suppose I can forgive them just this once.

Track 21: Catatonia – Mulder And Scully

Great track – love the theme, love the tune.

Track 22: Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha [Norman Cook Remix]

A classic!  Endlessly danceable, great singalong track.  I’m going to make this one today’s top ‘wedding disco’ song.

Track 23: Run DMC and Jason Nevins – It’s Like That

House style re-working of the 1983 track.  This was everywhere at the time, and the video was great.

Track 24: Wildchild – Renegade Master ’98

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

We already had the original on Now! #32, and this version’s really not that different (other than some additional messy sampling), so I am side-eyeing a bit at its inclusion.

Track 25: Bamboo – Bamboogie

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

Oh, it’s this one.  Not the biggest fan of this one, as the lines are pretty messy, but I do like that KC & The Sunshine Band sample.

Track 26: Ultra Naté – Found A Cure

Quite like the guitar riff on the intro of this one, and the vocals are great too.  Good track.

Track 27: Sash! – La Primavera

Great feelgood dance tune, always liked this one.

Track 28: Aqua – Barbie Girl

Great track!  Brilliant theme, brilliant pop tune.  I bought the single of this while on a school trip to France, just because we heard it absolutely everywhere we went.

Track 29: Steps – 5, 6, 7, 8

See, this is the kind of corny faux-line-dance track I can get behind.  Steps were just at the right level of ‘not taking themselves too seriously’ that was perfect for late ’90s pop.

Track 30: Louise – Let’s Go Round Again

Cover of the Average White Band track.  I should find the tune annoying, but I actually quite like it.

Track 31: Chumbawamba – Amnesia

I’ve always loved this follow-up to Tubthumping – it’s another great, danceable track.

Track 32: Camisra – Let Me Show You

Highly irritating vocals, headache-inducing intro, but the main hook is quite pleasant.

Track 33: DJ Quicksilver – Planet Love

The tune’s okay, but the vocal samples are pretty generic.

Track 34: Rest Assured – Treat Infamy

There’s a bit too much going on in this track, but there is quite a soothing atmosphere – right up until the Bitter Sweet Symphony sample kicks in.  Just why?

Track 35: Warren G and Sissel – Prince Igor

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

Really like the instrumentals and the atmosphere, and the rap’s okay as well, but nothing compared to that lovely operatic chorus!  Quite like this one, but it is a bit of an odd mix.

Track 36: Lutricia McNeal – Ain’t That Just The Way

The tune is a little annoying, but otherwise there’s something quite pleasant and feelgood about this track.

Track 37: Prince Buster – Whine And Grine

Reggae track with a bit of a dull tune and an annoying theme.  Not hugely keen on this one.

Track 38: The All Seeing I – The Beat Goes On

Liked it at the time, find it a bit repetitive now.

Track 39: Goldie – Believe

Irritating, messy track – there’s just far too much going on.

Track 40: Backstreet Boys – All I Have To Give

It’s another painfully saccharine track from the Backstreet Boys.  I know they did do ones that were actually quite good, but we’ve not had any on these Now! compilations so far.

Track 41: Vanilla – No Way No Way

Loved it at the time (especially the Muppets-esque ‘mahna mahna’ bit), find the vocals pretty annoying nowadays.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #32

Day 32, and Now! #32, which was released on 13th November 1995.

November 1995
This is how the world looked in November 1995 (actually October, yadda yadda), or at least the small bit of the world that was me looking sulky next to a piano. I made those earrings myself out of a kit, and only got round to chucking them out a couple of months ago.

Let’s listen to some songs by people who probably didn’t have to make their own earrings.

Now! That's What I Call Music #32
Track 1: Queen – Heaven For Everyone

Lovely track, gorgeous tune.

Track 2: Meat Loaf – I’d Lie For You (And That’s The Truth)

Another great rock ballad from Meat Loaf.  Really like this one!  I remember him promoting it on Blue Peter.

Track 3: Simply Red – Fairground

Didn’t like this one at the time, but I do now.  Great tune.

Track 4: U2 – Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

Really like this offering from the Batman Forever soundtrack – it’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 5: Tina Turner – Goldeneye

I do love a James Bond theme song, and this one is really solid.  Awesome tune.

Track 6: Cher – Walking In Memphis

I mentioned in my review of the Marc Cohn original on Now! #20 that the Cher version was entirely pointless (unless you think the sole change of having vocals by Cher makes it worthwhile), and I stand by that, but it’s still a great track.

Track 7: The Beautiful South – Pretenders To The Throne

Lovely tune, like the piano.

Track 8: Louise – Light Of My Life

Louise Redknapp (or Nurding, as she was then) starting her post-Eternal solo career.  Unfortunately this is a super dull ballad, although the tune on the chorus is alright.

Track 9: Jimmy Nail – Big River

Found it boring at the time, find it boring now.

Track 10: Sacred Spirit – Yeha-Noha (Wishes Of Happiness And Prosperity)

I’m not a huge chillout fan, but this one is quite nice.

Track 11: Radiohead – Lucky

Loathed it at the time, mixed on it now.  Pretty, melancholy tune on the verses, but the chorus ruins it a bit.

Track 12: Pulp – Sorted For Es And Wizz

Love this one!  Great tune, great lyrics.  This was a favourite among friends when we lived in Southampton, due to the ‘in a field in Hampshire’ bit.

Track 13: Blur – Country House

Loved it at the time, love it now.  Absolute classic, great singalong track.

Track 14: Cast – Alright

Found the tune annoying at the time, kind of so-so about it now.  It’s just sort of…okay.

Track 15: Oasis – Roll With It

I can’t actually remember whether I wanted this one or Blur’s Country House to be number one during that particular chart battle, ’cause I liked them both.  With hindsight, though, the best song definitely won – this offering from Oasis is a bit uninspired.

Track 16: McAlmont & Butler – Yes

I’ve always adored this one – we had it on a Top Gear compilation.  Beautiful tune.

Track 17: Paul Weller – Broken Stones

Mum and Dad had the Stanley Road album, so this was a regular feature of car journeys, and I absolutely loathed it at the time – it was far too serious and boring.  I’m still not a huge fan, but I can appreciate the tune a bit more nowadays.

Track 18: Suggs – I’m Only Sleeping

I always liked this cover of the Beatles song – lovely tune, great atmosphere.

Speaking of Beatles covers…

Track 19: The Smokin’ Mojo Filters – Come Together

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

This one’s actually a semi-cover, ’cause Paul McCartney was involved in this supergroup.  Fairly uninspired cover, turning the song into dull ’90s soft rock.

Track 20: Coolio and LV – Gangsta’s Paradise

Loved it then, love it now!  Absolutely brilliant atmosphere, great tune.

Track 21: Shaggy – Boombastic

Annoying chorus alert!  Never been that keen on this one.

Track 22: N-Trance and Ricardo Da Force – Stayin’ Alive

‘Cover’ of the Bee Gees classic that basically takes the original backing track and adds rapping over the top.  I shouldn’t like it, but I do.

Track 23: Donna Summer – I Feel Love [Rollo and Sister Bliss Monster Mix]

Remix of the classic 1978 hit, turning it into a ’90s-standard dance track.  It’s a bit messy, and I’m not hugely keen, especially since I like the original so much.

Track 24: Berri – Sunshine After The Rain

Really liked this one at the time, but I find it pretty irritating now.

Track 25: Corona – Try Me Out

I’d forgotten about this one.  Super irritating chorus!

Track 26: The Original – I Luv U Baby

Oh, it’s this one!  Really quite like this tune.

Track 27: Everything But The Girl – Missing

I’ve never been keen on this one – there’s something nauseatingly depressing about it.

Track 28: Eternal – Power Of A Woman

The vocals on the chorus give me a headache, and the tune is super generic.  Not a fan at all.

Track 29: Soul II Soul – I Care

Most of the tune is quite dull, but the chorus is nice.

Track 30: Outhere Brothers – La La La Hey Hey

Dull, forgettable, unmelodic track – nothing good here at all.

Track 31: Whigfield – Big Time

Daft yodeling hook throughout, but at least this one is interesting.

Track 32: Alex Party – Wrap Me Up

Dull, repetitive dance track, not keen.  I think 1995 is probably around the point at which I should leave the imaginary ’90s nightclub.

Track 33: Josh Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness

Messy track, not enough melody.  Getting my coat, going home for an early night.

Track 34: Wildchild – Renegade Master

Oh, wait, I’ll hang about for one more!  I really like this one – classic track.  A few years ago, Geth had a student who wrote a hilariously bad essay with an intro about a ‘renegade cyclist’, so ever since then I’ve switched the lyrics in my head, which makes it even better.

Track 35: Goldie – Inner City Life

And we’re back to dull chillout dance.  Not keen at all.

Track 36: The Human League – Don’t You Want Me [Red Jerry 7 Inch Remix]

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

Remix of the classic 1981 song.  I love the original and this is really taking a sledgehammer to everything that’s good about it.  Just awful.

Track 37: Candy Girls – Fee Fi Fo Fum

This starts off as an okay dance track, but the vocals are terrible.

Track 38: Happy Clappers – I Believe

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

Super annoying vocal ticks at the start.  I’ve downed my pint of Strongbow and am definitely leaving the club this time.

Track 39: Wild Colour – Dreams

Interesting clangy bit and a good electro line, but jarred together the track just becomes a mess.  I’m doing up the buttons on my vintage ’80s trenchcoat.

Track 40: E’Voke – Runaway

The irritating vocals start up on this track just as I sweep through the door of the imaginary ’90s nightclub.  I’m in the taxi.  I’m done.

Let’s hope 1996 is an improvement.