Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #82

Day 82 brings us to Now! #82, which came out on 23rd July 2012.

July 2012
This is the way the world looked in July 2012. Our Southampton flat was a bombsite because we were about to move at the end of that August, our wedding was set for the November, I was finishing the first draft of a novel, I had a million and one things to do…and yet my nose was buried in The Best Of Smash Hits: The ’80s. Some days I think there’s no hope for my procrastination habit. Other days, when I feel I never get a break, I think I could learn a few lessons from my twenty-seven-year-old self.

Let’s have a listen to some summer hits I would have been far too busy to go partying to.  Except when I felt like it.

Now! That's What I Call Music #82
Track 1: Fun and Janelle Monáe – We Are Young

Gorgeous atmosphere, awesome tune.  A favourite.

Track 2: Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe

I’ve always had a soft spot for this feelgood track.  Love the instrumental hook.

Track 3: Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa – Payphone

Very pretty tune, quite like this one.

Track 4: Flo Rida – Whistle

I find the theme and chorus of this track a bit irritating.

Track 5: Coldplay and Rihanna – Princess Of China

Another beautiful tune.  Really like the way this works as a duet.

Track 6: Rudimental and John Newman – Feel The Love

I like the vocals, but I find the rest of the track a bit dull.

Track 7: Nicki Minaj – Starships

It’s an okay tune, but it’s a bit generic.

Track 8: Rihanna – Where Have You Been

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on track 5.

This one’s pretty uninspired and forgettable.

Track 9: Rita Ora and Tinie Tempah – RIP

Another annoying theme, and I’m not keen on the tune.

Track 10: Conor Maynard – Can’t Say No

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

Track 11: Justin Bieber – Boyfriend

Justin Bieber sounding like Justin Timberlake.  It’s not a bad tune though.

Track 12: Ed Sheeran – Small Bump

I find this one really depressing!

Track 13: D’Banj – Oliver Twist

Good danceable track, great atmosphere.

Track 14: Stooshe – Black Heart

Another nice retro-tinged track from Stooshe – good stuff.

Track 15: Katy Perry – Part Of Me

The verse sounds too similar to David Guetta and Rihanna’s Who’s That Chick?, and the chorus is pretty generic.

Track 16: Marina & The Diamonds – Primadonna

Pretty tune – quite like this one.

Track 17: Paloma Faith – Picking Up The Pieces

Depressing, annoying tune.

Track 18: Train – Drive By

Good beat, but the theme and tune are irritating.

Track 19: Cover Drive – Sparks

Pretty tune, quite like this one.

Track 20: Jason Mraz – I Won’t Give Up

So slow and depressing that I actively dislike it.

Track 21: Alex Clare – Too Close

Great atmosphere, builds beautifully.

Track 22: Emeli Sandé – My Kind Of Love

Lovely tune, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 23: will.i.am and Eva Simons – This Is Love

I really like this one – beautiful atmosphere, epic chorus.

Track 24: Cheryl – Call My Name

It’s got a good beat, but the tune’s a bit generic.

Track 25: DJ Fresh and Rita Ora – Hot Right Now

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rita Ora on track 9.

This is a great track though – really upbeat and danceable.

Track 26: Tulisa – Young

Annoying tune, but it’s got an okay beat.

Track 27: David Guetta and Nicki Minaj – Turn Me On

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Nicki Minaj on track 7.

Interesting hook, but the vocals are pretty bland.

Track 28: Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo – Let’s Go

Quite like this tune, and it’s very danceable.

Track 29: Usher – Scream

Good beat – happily nodding along to this one.

Track 30: Jessie J and David Guetta – LaserLight

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had David Guetta on track 27.

Annoying tune, uninspired bland electro lines.  Just boring.

Track 31: Chris Brown – Turn Up The Music

Another forgettable dance track.

Track 32: The Wanted – Chasing The Sun

Quite like this one – it’s very danceable, and the atmosphere’s great.

Track 33: The Saturdays – 30 Days

Another one with a good rhythm, but the tune’s a little repetitive.

Track 34: Loreen – Euphoria

The Eurovision winner for 2012.  Great tune, awesome atmosphere.

Track 35: Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound

Great beat, and it’s got a nice epic feel, but again it’s very repetitive.

Track 36: Azealia Banks and Lazy Jay – 212

Love this one – the rhythm is awesome.

Track 37: Plan B – Ill Manors

Great atmosphere, but it’s another one that’s too repetitive for me.

Track 38: B.o.B – So Good

Love that piano at the start.  Good stuff.

Track 39: Sway – Level Up

There’s some interesting lines here – I like the hint of harmonica – but on the whole it’s too messy for me.

Track 40: Taio Cruz and Pitbull – There She Goes

Daft lyrics, generic tune.  Not hugely keen on this one.

Track 41: Labrinth – Express Yourself

Interesting rhythm, but I find the tune pretty irritating.

Track 42: Scissor Sisters – Only The Horses

The tune’s okay, but it’s a bit forgettable.

Track 43: Lawson – When She Was Mine

Boring tune, cheesy lyrics.  Not my thing.

Track 44: Gary Barlow, The Commonwealth Band and Military Wives – Sing

Song released to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  It’s cheesy and fairly awful.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #72

Day 72 brings us to Now! #72, which came out on 6th April 2009.

April 2009
This is how the world looked in April 2009. That is the kind of happy face you only get from me on the first day it’s warm enough to sit out in a beer garden after a long winter.

2009 really brought the electropop, from what I remember, so let’s get cracking!

Now! That's What I Call Music #72
Track 1: Lily Allen – The Fear

Great tune, great lyrics.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 2: Lady Gaga and Colby O’Donis – Just Dance

Awesome danceable piece of electropop.

Track 3: Flo Rida and Kesha – Right Round

It’s based around the hook from Dead Or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), so I was always going to like this one.  Flo Rida’s rap style actually goes really nicely with it.

Track 4: Alesha Dixon – The Boy Does Nothing

Alesha Dixon’s post-Strictly solo comeback song.  Love this tune, and the retro big band feel is much appreciated.

Track 5: The Saturdays – Just Can’t Get Enough

Pointless cover of the Depeche Mode classic, and one of the official Comic Relief singles for 2009 (so charity fundraising, as ever, is the ‘point’).

Track 6: Kelly Clarkson – My Life Would Suck Without You

This one’s pretty acclaimed, but I’ve always found the tune and theme really annoying.

Track 7: Tinchy Stryder and Taio Cruz – Take Me Back

Nice atmosphere – I like the electro lines.

Track 8: Kid Cudi and Crookers – Day ‘N’ Nite

Boring, repetitive tune, with some irritating vocal tics going on.

Track 9: Britney Spears – Womaniser

Great pop track – love the hooks on this one.

Track 10: TI and Rihanna – Live Your Life

It’s based around the hook from O-Zone’s Dragostea Din Tei, which gives the track quite an interesting sound.

Track 11: Akon – Right Now (Na Na Na)

Nice tune, quite like this one.

Track 12: Shontelle – T-Shirt

Interesting vocals, but I find the tune very generic.

Track 13: Ne-Yo – Mad

Boring tune, annoyingly saccharine vocals.

Track 14: The Saturdays – Issues

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had the Saturdays on track 5.

I quite like the rhyming of the lyrics on this one, but the tune’s a bit dull.  The Saturdays did much better songs later on.

Track 15: Leona Lewis – Forgive Me

Great vocals, great atmosphere, but the tune’s pretty forgettable.

Track 16: Girls Aloud – The Loving Kind

Another boring tune, and the vocals make it a bit too ballad-y for me.

Track 17: September – Can’t Get Over

Good beat, good electro lines.  The vocals are a little generic though.

Track 18: Steve Angello, Laidback Luke and Robin S – Show Me Love

Semi-cover of Robin S’s 1993 hit, mashed up with various other things.  It’s not very inspired.  See my Now! #24 review for the original song.

Track 19: N-Dubz – Strong Again

Boring tune, but I quite like some of the vocal hooks.

Track 20: Katy Perry – Thinking Of You

Dull ballad, not keen on this one.

Track 21: Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah

The annual bit of karaoke from the X Factor winner.  To give credit to Alexandra Burke, this is not a pointless cover: there have been so many different and beautiful versions of the Leonard Cohen classic, and she did put her own stamp on it, but it just doesn’t have as much feeling in it as classic versions like those of Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright.

Speaking of the X Factor

Track 22: X Factor Finalists 2008 – Hero

There was an annoying trend in the late ’00s/early ’10s where the final twelve contestants in the X Factor would release a group single with everyone getting a line, which, just like the winner’s single, was inevitably a pointless cover of a classic song.  This meant that everyone who was interested in pop music but didn’t care about the X Factor had to put up with not one but two irritating karaoke numbers in the charts around Christmas time.  2008’s offering was a pointless cover of the Mariah Carey song.  (As often happens, the ‘point’ was charity fundraising, this time for Help For Heroes and the Royal British Legion.  Charity fundraising = awesome!  Releasing a soulless, uninspired remake of an existing song = not awesome.)

Track 23: Take That – Greatest Day

It should feel epic and sweeping – but I just find the tune irritating.  I’m not sure why.

Track 24: Alesha Dixon – Breathe Slow

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

This one’s got a nice backing track, but the tune is fairly generic.

Track 25: James Morrison and Nelly Furtado – Broken Strings

Irritatingly cheesy and slow ballad.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 26: Taylor Swift – Love Story

Super saccharine soft pop-rock!  Again, not my thing.  I prefer Taylor Swift’s more pure pop stuff from the early-to-mid-’10s.

Track 27: Pink – Sober

Nice guitar, interesting theme, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 28: The Killers – Human

I still remember people getting irritated about the grammar of the line ‘are we human or are we dancer‘.  Would it sound better and less jarring if the lyric was ‘dancers‘?  Yes.  Is it grammatically incorrect?  Technically, no.  Brandon Flowers is using ‘dancer‘ to mean a sort of faux-species here, and the use of the singular as an adjective in the same way that ‘human‘ can be used as an adjective is, I believe, meant to emphasise this.

Anyway, it’s quite a good tune.

Track 29: The Script – Breakeven

I’m generally not keen on this kind of soft rock, and this is no exception.  Bland tune, very forgettable.

Track 30: Jason Mraz – I’m Yours

I find this kind of cheery, bouncy, acoustic-y track really irritating.  Sorry!

Track 31: Noisettes – Don’t Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go)

Great bassline, lovely bit of electropop.  Really like this one.

Track 32: Metro Station – Shake It

Really like the instrumentals on this track – great guitar, great synth.  It all adds up to a nice retro ’80s tinge, which I’m all about!

Track 33: U2 – Get On Your Boots

Interesting vocals, good guitar line, quite like this one.

Track 34: MGMT – Kids

Oh, it’s this one!  Lovely electro hook, great bassline.

Track 35: The Prodigy – Omen

I saw the Prodigy at M’era Luna 2009, and this song was the anthem of the weekend, with everyone singing it all over the place.  Great dance track, builds beautifully, wonderful atmosphere.

Track 36: Kevin Rudolf and Lil’ Wayne – Let It Rock

Another great bassline and another awesome atmosphere – good track.

Track 37: Wiley and Daniel Merriweather – Cash In My Pocket

I like the ’60s retro tinge on this one.

Track 38: Kanye West – Heartless

Nice tune, quite like this track.

Track 39: TI and Justin Timberlake – Dead And Gone

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had TI on track 10.

Nice piano intro, nice epic atmosphere.  Great stuff, though it would be better without the rap.

Track 40: Daniel Merriweather and Wale – Change

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Daniel Merriweather on track 37.  Give someone else a chance, Now! compilers!

This is a great track, though – lovely tinkly piano, good beat.

Track 41: Pet Shop Boys – Love Etc.

Nice to see Pet Shop Boys back in the charts.  I have missed that perfect synth!  Wonderful tune.

Track 42: Duffy – Rain On Your Parade

More great instrumentals!  Lovely atmosphere on this one.

Track 43: Vanessa Jenkins, Bryn West, Tom Jones and Robin Gibb – Islands In The Stream

Daft semi-cover (semi due to Robin Gibb’s involvement) of the Bee Gees-written song made famous by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, featuring comedy characters Vanessa Jenkins (Ruth Jones) and Bryn West (Rob Brydon) from the sitcom Gavin & Stacey.  This was another song released for Comic Relief 2009.  The video‘s funny, but the song’s a bit pedestrian until Tom Jones shows up at the end.