Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #75

Day 75 brings us to Now! #75, which came out on 29th March 2010.

March 2010
This is the way the world looked in March 2010…if you were attending a ceilidh in a slightly darkened room. I’m so glad I’ve lost the weight and don’t have to wear those shapeless black dresses anymore.

Can you believe we’re three quarters of the way through this Now! marathon?  That’s like being 19.65 miles of the way into an actual marathon.  Only 6.55 miles to go – that’s easy!  I will remember this moment when I’m 19.65 miles of the way through the London Marathon next April (spoiler: I almost certainly will not).

Also, we’re finally into the 2010s, the fourth and final decade of the Now! compilations so far (and also my life so far).  Having followed the charts very closely this decade, I can say with certainty that the remaining Now! compilations will definitely be better than the ’00s ones.  The ’00s was a real low for music.  (Except 2009, when it picked up.)  Thankfully I don’t have to listen to those again!

Now! That's What I Call Music #75
Track 1: Lady Gaga – Bad Romance

Stunning, classic electropop track – brilliant right from the a cappella intro.  Great stuff.

Track 2: 3OH!3 and Katy Perry – Starstrukk

I love this track, even with the silly whistling bit during the verse.  Awesome party song.

Track 3: The Black Eyed Peas – Meet Me Halfway

Beautiful tune!  The video‘s gorgeous too.

Track 4: JLS – Everybody In Love

Far too cheesy for me, I’m afraid!

Track 5: Iyaz – Replay

Another great tune – really like this one.

Track 6: Tinie Tempah and Labrinth – Pass Out

Love the daft lyrics, and it’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 7: Kesha – Tik Tok

Another good party song – and the vocal style was refreshingly different at this point.

Track 8: Timbaland and Katy Perry – If We Ever Meet Again

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Katy Perry on track 2.

Love the chorus though – good track.

Track 9: Jason Derulo – In My Head

The tune’s a bit generic, but it’s still a good danceable song.

Track 10: Rihanna – Rude Boy

Nice atmosphere, interesting vocals.  Another great track.

Track 11: Chipmunk and Talay Riley – Look For Me

This one’s a bit bland and forgettable, and the chorus is annoying.

Track 12: Glee Cast – Don’t Stop Believin’

Cover of the ’80s Journey classic by the cast of hit TV show Glee.  This cover resulted in the original version – which had never actually been a hit in the UK when it was released in the ’80s – becoming a huge song during 2010 and staying prominent for the rest of the decade so far (I hear it played at every half marathon I run).  I’m not complaining – both versions are awesome and epic.

Track 13: Gabriella Cilmi – On A Mission

Great ’70s disco throwback track!  Love it.

Track 14: Alexandra Burke – Broken Heels

Another great party tune – very danceable.

Track 15: Sugababes – About A Girl

Great dance beat, but the tune’s pretty generic.

Track 16: The Saturdays – Ego

There’s something about the tune that’s a little irritating, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 17: Jedward and Vanilla Ice – Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby)

So we had Vanilla Ice sampling Queen and David Bowie’s 1981 song Under Pressure in 1989 for Ice Ice Baby, which was already considered fairly sacreligious, and then in 2010 we had Jedward doing a medley of both tracks and getting Vanilla Ice to help out with vocals.  It’s as awful as you might expect, but it somehow got to number two in the charts.

Track 18: Justin Bieber – One Time

Bieber in his early ‘fifteen and squeaky’ era.  It’s sort of half laughable and half headache-inducing.

Track 19: Jay Sean, Sean Paul and Lil’ Jon – Do You Remember

Good tune, but I can’t listen to it without hearing Sean Paul’s opening vocals as ‘got dirty egg‘, thanks to presenter Reggie Yates pointing it out on the Radio 1 chart show at the time.

Track 20: Pixie Lott – Cry Me Out

Too ballad-y and slow for me.

Track 21: Joe McElderry – The Climb

The annual inclusion of the previous year’s X Factor winner.  This is the one from 2009 that didn’t get the Christmas number one thanks to the much-publicised campaign to get Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name to number one instead.  That campaign reinvigorated my interest in the music charts after a few years of being Too Busy Being Goth, and led to my decision to follow the charts for the entirety of the 2010s to see how the decade would pan out musically.  Halfway through 2018, that particular habit is still going, and I expect it will last into the 2020s and beyond.

Anyway, the track.  It’s a pointless cover of the Miley Cyrus song, and there’s nothing else to say about it.

Track 22: Helping Haiti – Everybody Hurts

Charity cover of the REM classic by too many artists to mention.  There’s some interesting voice-spotting to be done, but the point of this cover, as ever with these things, was fundraising to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Track 23: Alicia Keys – Empire State Of Mind [Part II]

It’s Part II because this is the slow piano version.  Part I was a more upbeat song with Jay-Z rapping the main verses.  I prefer Part I, but that’s mainly ’cause I’m not into slow songs – this is still a great tune.

Track 24: Owl City – Fireflies

It’s a bit twee, but it’s a gorgeous tune – love that chorus.

Track 25: Jay-Z and Mr Hudson – Young Forever

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

The track is mainly a cover of the chorus and first verse from Alphaville’s Forever Young, which is fairly pointless but still great, ’cause it’s a great song.  The rest is filled in by rapping from Jay-Z, which is okay, but I’m definitely lining up the original to play later on.

Track 26: Cheryl and will.i.am – 3 Words

Lovely melancholy tune, quite like this one.

Track 27: Robbie Williams – You Know Me

Nice tune, but for some reason the music channels always put this on their Christmas playlists, so it’s got festive associations for me now.

Track 28: Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’

Well, we often have repeated artists on these Now! compilations, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a repeated song!  We already had the Glee Cast doing this song on track 12.

As I explained up-page, the Glee cover made this one a big hit too, and deservedly so, seeing as how it was overlooked by the UK music-buying public in the ’80s.  The piano intro is just beautiful, the lyrics are immense, and the tune is epic.

Track 29: Florence & The Machine – Dog Days Are Over

I find Florence & The Machine’s stuff a bit samey, and this is no exception.  There’s not really anything interesting about the tune, though the vocals are nice.

Track 30: Marina & The Diamonds – Hollywood

Gorgeous, unique track!  Great lyrics, awesomely different vocals.  Love this one.

Track 31: Ellie Goulding – Starry Eyed

Beautiful tune.  It was Ellie Goulding’s debut and, as far as I’m concerned, one of her best ever songs.

Track 32: Biffy Clyro – Many Of Horror

Wonderful rock track – I love the tune, and the way it builds is stunning!  I’m almost certain we’ll hear the X Factor cover version in three days’ time so I’ll skip ranting about that for now.

Track 33: Plan B – Stay Too Long

Nice retro-sounding rock track, quite like this one.  If I weren’t the queen of misheard lyrics, I’d make an effort to listen to the concept album of which it was part.  As it is, I’d probably be better off just reading the lyrics to all the songs in order to understand the story.

Track 34: Naughty Boy, Wiley and Emeli Sandé – Never Be Your Woman

Fairly pointless cover of the White Town classic with added rapping.  Always a great tune, but the original is obviously better.

Track 35: Example – Won’t Go Quietly

Great, atmospheric dance track.  Really like this one.

Track 36: Sidney Samson and Wizard Sleeve – Riverside (Let’s Go!)

Another highly danceable track – I really like the rap style.

Track 37: Gramophonedzie – Why Don’t You

Interesting track based around a sample of Peggy Lee’s Why Don’t You Do Right? from 1947.  Quite like this.

Track 38: Lemar – The Way Love Goes

I find this one a bit saccharine, but it’s got a good beat and the piano is nice.

Track 39: N-Dubz and Mr Hudson – Playing With Fire

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Mr Hudson on track 25.

Nice epic atmosphere on the chorus, but the rest of the tune’s fairly generic.

Track 40: Chiddy Bang – Opposite Of Adults

Love the electro hook, which is a sample from Kids by MDMT.  Nothing much else interesting here, though.

Track 41: Young Money and Lloyd – BedRock

Irritatingly daft track based around the infamously appalling Fred Flintstone pick-up line.  If you ignore the lyrics, it’s actually okay.

Track 42: McLean – My Name

I find the tune on this one pretty uninspired.

Track 43: Rihanna – Russian Roulette

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

I find both the lyrics and tune on this one a bit depressing.  Not the best way to end what has been an excellent Now! compilation!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #74

Day 74 takes us to Now! #74, which was released on 23rd November 2009.

November 2009
This is the way the world looked in November 2009 – or at least it did if your boyfriend was undergoing his PhD graduation from the University of Edinburgh, which I realise is a bit specific. Old College is always beautiful, and has been for centuries. I gave that coat a reprieve during the cull, but I don’t see it surviving my new de-hoarding mentality for much longer – it’s kind of unflattering, no matter what weight I am.

So, we come to the end of another decade of music.  How did chart music sound as we waved goodbye to the ’00s?

Now! That's What I Call Music #74
Track 1: Cheryl – Fight For This Love

Gorgeous, atmospheric song – I love the instrumentals.  A longtime favourite.

Track 2: Michael Bublé – Haven’t Met You Yet

It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s a nice tune.

Track 3: The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling

That title should be ‘I Got A Feeling’ – ‘gotta’ is an informal contraction of ‘got to’, which makes no sense here!

Great tune though – classic party song.

Track 4: David Guetta and Akon – Sexy Chick

Good atmosphere and good tune on the chorus, but I find the vocals a bit generic.

Track 5: La Roux – Bulletproof

Great electro track, awesome beat.

Track 6: Taio Cruz – Break Your Heart

More awesome electro instrumentals on the backing track.  Good tune.

Track 7: N-Dubz – I Need You

There’s some good lines in here somewhere, but in general the track’s a bit messy.

Track 8: Jason Derulo – Whatcha Say

Another one that’s very typical of the electro-based atmospheric sound that was on everything at the time.

Track 9: Jay Sean and Lil’ Wayne – Down

Oh, it’s this one!  The tune should annoy me, but I actually quite like it.

Track 10: Alesha Dixon – To Love Again

Slow ballad that’s not interesting enough for my liking.

Track 11: Chipmunk and Dayo Olatunji – Oopsy Daisy

Super irritating vocals and theme, not a fan of this one.

Track 12: Tinchy Stryder and Amelle Berrabah – Never Leave You

Another good atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit uninspired.

Track 13: Little Boots – Remedy

Great bassline, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 14: Pixie Lott – Boys And Girls

Nice retro ’60s feel, and there’s a good singalong chorus.

Track 15: Mini Viva – Left My Heart In Tokyo

Another awesome electropop tune – love that bass!

Track 16: Sean Kingston – Fire Burning

Daft theme, but it’s a great dance track.

Track 17: Pitbull and Nicole Scherzinger – Hotel Room Service

I quite like the vocal hook on this one, even if it is a bit repetitive.  Good tune.

Track 18: Sugababes – Get Sexy

Daft theme, irritating lyrics – although I do like the callback to Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy, and the electro hook is great.

Track 19: The Saturdays – Forever Is Over

Too ballad-y for me, though I do appreciate the rock tinge.

Track 20: Young Soul Rebels – I Got Soul

Interesting cover of the Killers track All These Things That I’ve Done, released in aid of the War Child charity.  In this context, the repeated line ‘I got soul but I’m not a soldier‘ is a bit haunting (whereas usually I can’t hear the line without being reminded of the Bill Bailey parody that pointed out the line makes as much sense as ‘I got ham but I’m not a hamster’).

Track 21: Agnes – I Need You Now

Too saccharine for me, though there are some interesting instrumentals going on in the background.

Track 22: JLS – Beat Again

Super cheesy, but it’s quite a good tune.

Track 23: Lady Gaga – Paparazzi

Love this one!  Great tune, brilliant chorus.

Track 24: Beyoncé – Sweet Dreams

Wonderful atmosphere, great beat.  Very danceable.

Track 25: Shakira – She Wolf

More great electro instrumentals – awesome tune.

Track 26: Jay-Z, Kanye West and Rihanna – Run This Town

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

Another great brooding atmosphere.  Unfortunately the vocals are fairly uninspired.

Track 27: Mr Hudson and Kanye West – Supernova

Repeated artist alert!  We just had Kanye West on the last track.

Nice tune though – quite like this one.

Track 28: Robbie Williams – Bodies

Some interesting almost-monastic singing on the intro, which jars a bit once it gets into the bass-heavy main track.  The chorus is great, though.

Track 29: Dizzee Rascal – Holiday

Great electro hook, good dance beat.  Really like this track.

Track 30: Calvin Harris – Ready For The Weekend

Great dance track.  I especially appreciate the line ‘I put on my shoes and I’m ready for the weekend‘.  Nothing wrong with a new pair of shoes every Friday!  (There are lots of things wrong with that.  I know.)

Track 31: Whitney Houston – Million Dollar Bill [Frankie Knuckles Radio Mix]

Love that retro disco feel.  Good stuff.

Track 32: Ian Carey Project – Get Shaky

Good instrumentals, but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 33: Chase & Status and Plan B – End Credits

Lovely tune, gorgeous guitar, stunning atmosphere – and then the dull vocals spoil it!  Oh well.

Track 34: The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition

I find the vocals a little irritating, and the tune’s not interesting enough for my liking.

Track 35: Muse – Uprising

I’m just going to register my annoyance that Muse had been releasing great hits since 2000 and it took the Now! compilers until 2009 to feature one of their songs.

This track has a wonderful eerie electro line, great bass, and awesome brooding vocals.  Love it.

Track 36: Snow Patrol – Just Say Yes

Even Snow Patrol were doing the electro instrumentals in 2009!  Shame the rest of the tune is dull.

Track 37: Florence & The Machine – You’ve Got The Love

Pointless cover of the Source and Candi Staton song, as I may have discussed on the THREE OCCASIONS that the original has been featured on Now! compilations (still can’t get over that).  As such, we now have a fourth track in the Now! canon that sounds exactly the same!  Urgh.

Track 38: Lily Allen – 22

Nice retro tune.  Great lyrics too, but they’re a little depressing!

Track 39: Paolo Nutini – Pencil Full Of Lead

Great classic ragtime sound!  Love that trumpet riff.

Track 40: Mika – We Are Golden

Lovely tune, awesome singalong chorus.  Really like this one.

Track 41: Cobra Starship and Leighton Meester – Good Girls Go Bad

It’s a bit messy, but as with pretty much every other track on this compilation, there’s lots of awesome electro lines and bass going on.

Track 42: Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man

I normally find Mumford & Sons a bit dull, but this is a great bit of folk-rock – really like this song.

Track 43: Just Jack – The Day I Died

Too twee for me – those lyrics are just irritating.

Track 44: Esmée Denters – Outta Here

I like the backing track, but the tune is bland and repetitive.

Track 45: Deadmau5 and Rob Swire – Ghosts ‘N’ Stuff

Too much going on with this track, and none of it is very interesting.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #67

Day 67 means Now! #67, which was released on 23rd July 2007.

July 2007
This is the way the world looked in July 2007. We were in a hotel bar in Lerwick, Shetland, celebrating Mum and Dad’s silver wedding anniversary. Hotel bars don’t seem to have changed that much to my eye, but then I’ve never been very observant when it comes to trends in decor.  Fashion is another matter – because it rained pretty much the entire week we were there, that was the exact point that I uneasily noticed Crocs were suddenly a huge thing.

Let’s get on with those summer hits.  Not that it felt very summery in Shetland!

Now! That's What I Call Music #67
Track 1: Rihanna and Jay-Z – Umbrella

Classic pop song that was everywhere in 2007.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 2: Gwen Stefani and Akon – The Sweet Escape

Great atmosphere, great vocal hook.  Quite like this track.

Track 3: Gym Class Heroes and Patrick Stump – Cupid’s Chokehold

I really like the hints of ’70s rock inspiration – there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on here.

Track 4: Kate Nash – Foundations

Interesting instrumentals, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 5: Avril Lavigne – Girlfriend

Highly irritating high-pitched pop-pop-punk.  Avril Lavigne’s stuff did get easier on the ear later on.

Track 6: Take That – Shine

Another great tune from ‘Fake That’ – generally when Mark Owen’s singing lead, you’re onto a winner.

Track 7: Enrique Iglesias – Do You Know? (The Ping Pong Song)

Great chorus and synth line, but the song’s not nearly as interesting as the title suggests.

Track 8: Mika – Love Today

Brilliant, danceable track, one of my favourites from this era.  Great tune.

Track 9: Mutya Buena – Real Girl

I like the sample of Lenny Kravitz’s It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over – it gives the track a nice retro tinge – but the vocals are pretty bland.

Track 10: Beyoncé and Shakira – Beautiful Liar

Love the Eastern-tinged instrumentals – this one’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 11: Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado – Give It To Me

Nice eerie instrumentals, making for another awesomely atmospheric song.

Track 12: Amerie – Take Control

This one’s pretty uninspired – nothing interesting here.

Track 13: Christina Aguilera – Candyman

Great classic big band feel – really like this one.

Track 14: Kelly Clarkson – Never Again

I find the lines on this very jarring and the vocals too high-pitched and headache-inducing, which is a shame ’cause there’s a good atmospheric tune in there somewhere.

Track 15: McFly – Baby’s Coming Back

Boring tune, cheesy vocals.  Not keen on this.

Track 16: Natasha Bedingfield – I Wanna Have Your Babies

Terrible title, irritating vocals.  The tune’s okay though.

Track 17: Fergie and Ludacris – Glamorous

Love the tune on the backing track, and the sung vocals are quite interesting, but I could do without the rap bits.

Track 18: Justin Timberlake – LoveStoned/I Think She Knows

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Justin Timberlake on track 11.

Some interesting instrumentals, but on the whole the tune’s not really doing it for me here.

Track 19: Ne-Yo – Because Of You

Saccharine and boring.  Not my thing.

Track 20: Akon and Snoop Dogg – I Wanna Love You

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Akon on track 2.

Unfortunately I seem to have accidentally added the explicit version to my Spotify list, and everything about it is just offensive.  Sometimes hilariously so, but mostly just offensive.

Track 21: Robin Thicke – Lost Without U

There’s a slight lounge-y retro tinge that is quite nice, but in general I’m not really feeling this tune.

Track 22: Snow Patrol – Signal Fire

All the versions on Spotify are very proud of the fact this song was used in Spiderman 3 and so have ‘FROM THE MOTION PICTURE SPIDERMAN 3’ and things like that stamped all over them.  I don’t remember it for that – I remember it because it was used in a random Doctor Who fanvid, which gives you a good indication of where my head was at the time.  The track itself is pretty dull and depressing.

Track 23: Maroon 5 – Makes Me Wonder

Interesting ’80s-tinged instrumentals, which is always a good thing.  The tune’s pretty forgettable though.

Track 24: Mark Ronson and Daniel Merriweather – Stop Me

Cover of the Smiths track Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before, with added bits from the Supremes’ You Keep Me Hangin’ On.  A double cover!  As it’s Mark Ronson, though, there’s nothing pointless about it – the track is quite innovative.

Track 25: Hellogoodbye – Here (In Your Arms)

Irritating vocals, twee lyrics.  The backing track’s nice and ’80s-tinged once it gets going, but unfortunately it’s mostly drowned out by the boring tune.

Track 26: Alex Gaudino and Crystal Waters – Destination Calabria

Mash-up of the saxophone hook from Rune’s Calabria and Alex Gaudino’s earlier track Destination Unknown.  Of the two tracks, I think it’s Calabria I want to go listen to after this, ’cause I love a good bit of saxophone.

Track 27: Booty Luv – Shine

Fairly generic dance track, but it does have a good retro ’70s disco tinge to it.

Track 28: Calvin Harris – The Girls

Awkward theme to the lyrics, but the synth line’s good.  I think I’m going to have to hunt for an instrumental version.

Track 29: Reverend & The Makers – Heavyweight Champion Of The World

Good upbeat tune, quite like this one.

Track 30: Paolo Nutini – New Shoes

Daft but highly appreciated theme, good atmosphere, nice tune.  Good stuff.

Track 31: Paul McCartney – Dance Tonight

Good tune, interesting guitar.

Track 32: Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

Gorgeous tune with a beautiful melancholy atmosphere, probably the best track Amy Winehouse ever did.

Track 33: The Fray – Over My Head (Cable Car)

Cheesy and boring, not to my liking at all.

Track 34: The Twang – Either Way

Pleasant if repetitive tune, but the spoken word verses are very irritating.

Track 35: Editors – Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors

Great title!  Very topical at the time given the recently-introduced smoking ban.  The track itself is a bit slow, but it’s got a good anthemic feel.

Track 36: Manic Street Preachers and Nina Persson – Your Love Alone Is Not Enough

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

Track 37: Fall Out Boy – Thnks Fr Th Mmrs

That should be ‘Thanks For The Memories‘, if you’re struggling with the silly ‘wacky’ vowel-less title.

Great eerie atmosphere, excellent upbeat rock track.  Really like this one.

Track 38: Klaxons – It’s Not Over Yet

Great backing track, and the chorus is nice and epic.

Track 39: Super Mal and Luciana – Bigger Than Big

Upbeat but slightly messy dance track – there are some good lines but they get lost in the mishmash of stuff that’s going on.

Track 40: Groove Armada, Stush and Red Rat – Get Down

Tuneless and messy with bad rapping over the top – not a fan of this at all.

Track 41: Unklejam – What Am I Fighting For?

Great atmosphere, great synth, and a wonderful ’80s feel – loving this one!

Track 42: The Chemical Brothers – Do It Again

Great beat, really interesting vocals.  Very danceable.

Track 43: Jamie T – Sheila

Awful vocals, messy instrumentals, not enough melody.  Poor track to end the compilation on.

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 #55

Day 55 brings us to Now! #55, which came out on 21st July 2003.

July 2003
This is the way the world looked in July 2003. That balcony’s not changed much, but I don’t remember the last time we used those wine glasses (and those clothes are now definitely living in my keepsakes boxes rather than my wardrobe!). It’s also been a while since I was that blonde – it has been attempted a couple more times since then, but I’ve got fairly lazy with hair dyeing lately. I’m saving that particular energy up for when I eventually go grey and have to start doing something about it.

Time for another round of summer hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #55
Track 1: R Kelly – Ignition [Remix]

I’ve not thought about this one for a while.  It was a big summer hit and was played in all the clubs in Zante when I was there with my mates.  I still quite like the tune.

Track 2: 50 Cent – In Da Club

A classic.  Love this one – it still gets stuck in my head every time it’s my birthday.

Track 3: Justin Timberlake – Cry Me A River

Nice tune, great epic atmosphere.  Awesome track.

Track 4: Wayne Wonder – No Letting Go

Oh, it’s this one.  The tune’s pretty dull, but it’s got some good instrumentals going on.

Track 5: Javine – Real Things

Nice epic blaring intro, quite like it.

Track 6: Kym Marsh – Come On Over

Very bland tune – not my kind of thing.

Track 7: Girls Aloud – No Good Advice

The tune and lyrics on this are really poor quality and awkward.  It sounds like it was written by a twelve-year-old.  Just awful.

Track 8: t.A.T.u – Not Gonna Get Us

Dull, repetitive follow-up to All The Things She Said.  Should have been a one-hit wonder.

Track 9: S Club 8 – Fool No More

So after S Club 7 changed their name to S Club (see yesterday’s review), S Club Juniors then went and changed their name to S Club 8, presumably ’cause they weren’t so junior anymore.  Confused?  I certainly am.

This track is a dance track, but the vocals still sound pretty kiddie to me.

Track 10: Fast Food Rockers – Fast Food Song

We used to sing this daft kids’ song in the church hall at Girl Guides meetings back in the mid-’90s.  I have no idea why anyone thought it would make a good pop song.  Really makes me hungry though.

Track 11: XTM, DJ Chucky and Annia – Fly On The Wings Of Love

Highly irritating vocals, cheesy tune, dodgy misplaced pan pipe instrumentals over a trance beat.  Appalling track.

Track 12: Lisa Scott-Lee – Lately

Uninspired vocals, bland tune.  Not keen on this.

Track 13: One True Voice – Shakespeare’s (Way With) Words

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

Too saccharine for me, but I suppose the tune’s alright.

Track 14: Bhangra Knights and Husan – Husan

Good tune, good beat – quite like this one.

Track 15: Tomcraft – Loneliness

Good head-nodder, very danceable.  I remember this being number one for quite a few weeks.

Track 16: Tiga and Jake Shears – Hot In Herre

Fairly pointless cover of the Nelly track, which was only a year old itself at this point (see Now! #52).  Jake Shears’ voice doesn’t suit the track at all, and all the fun is missing from the original.

Track 17: Lisa Maffia – All Over

There’s some interesting lines, but the track’s a bit messy in general.  I could do without the two rappers shouting over each other.

Track 18: Benny Benassi and The Biz – Satisfaction

The track’s tuneless and repetitive, but the video‘s a dubious classic (I was NOT a fan of the awful hiking-boots-with-stiletto-heels trend it encouraged, which has unfortunately made a few reappearances in the intervening time).

Track 19: Deepest Blue – Deepest Blue

Boring tune, uninspired dance beat.

Track 20: DJ Sammy – Sunlight

Good beat, but the tune’s very irritating.

Track 21: Plummet – Damaged

Interesting lines, but there’s not enough of a solid tune for me.

Track 22: Paul van Dyk and Hemstock & Jennings – Nothing But You

Generic dance track.  The vocals are quite nice, but it’s nothing special.

Track 23: Scooter – The Night

The high-pitched vocals on the chorus give me a headache, but the rest of the track’s quite danceable if it’s post-2am.

Track 24: Robbie Williams – Come Undone

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

Track 25: Busted – You Said No

Urgh, whiny can’t-handle-rejection lyrics *shudder*

Track 26: Daniel Bedingfield – I Can’t Read You

Bland acoustic-y track with an annoying chorus, not to my liking.

Track 27: Amy Studt – Misfit

Nice vocals, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 28: The Thrills – Big Sur

It’s nice that the mid-’00s festival stalwart bands are starting to make appearances.  My mate Gemma absolutely loved this lot.

The track’s a nice retro-sounding soft rock tune.  Love that Monkees reference.

Track 29: Coldplay – God Put A Smile Upon Your Face

Nice atmosphere – this one’s got an okay tune.

Track 30: Appleton – Everything Eventually

Slow to start (as befits the title).  The vocal intro is nice, but after that it gets a bit generic.

Track 31: David Sneddon – Don’t Let Go

Boring slow tune – not keen.

Track 32: Ronan Keating – The Long Goodbye

Like the piano intro, but the rest of the track’s too saccharine for me.

Track 33: Darius – Incredible (What I Meant To Say)

Irritating tune that sounds like pretty much everything else.  Utterly forgettable.

Track 34: Feeder – Just The Way I’m Feeling

LOVED this track at the time and bought the single – it’s still a great tune.  I must have gone to see Feeder about three times that year, as they played the Glasgow Barrowlands a lot at the time.

Track 35: Sinéad Quinn – What You Need Is

Love the rock-edged instrumentals – this is quite a good track.

Track 36: Melanie C – On The Horizon

Boring, irritating tune.  I don’t find Melanie C’s second solo album anywhere near as good as her first.

Track 37: Emma Bunton – Free Me

I find the tune really irritating, and it’s too slow.

Track 38: S Club – Say Goodbye

Slow and saccharine.  You might have guessed I’m not a fan.

Track 39: Sugababes – Shape

Love the Sting sample – great atmosphere on this one.

Track 40: Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams – Excuse Me Miss

Some interesting lines going on here – quite like it, but it could do with a bit more melody.

Track 41: Mariah Carey and Cam’Ron – Boy (I Need You)

Boring, messy, irritating.  Next, please.

Track 42: Ja Rule and Ashanti – Mesmerise

Urgh.  Uninspired, repetitive tune, and the rap is awful.  Not my cup of tea at all.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #54

Day 54, and Now! #54, which was released on 14th April 2003.

April 2003
This is how the world looked in April 2003. No pictures of people this month, so you can have some nice scenery courtesy of one of Mum and Dad’s weekend trips away.

I don’t want to jinx things, but I’ve got a vague memory that this was the year when chart music started to improve a bit and became more rock-oriented.

Now! That's What I Call Music #54
Track 1: t.A.T.u – All The Things She Said

Loved it at the time and bought the single.  It’s still a great tune, but there are obvious issues with the creepy male-gaze manufacturing of a couple of faux-lesbian Russian schoolgirls.  I remember the Top of the Pops performance – the BBC refused to show a same-sex kiss on stage at 7pm and cut to an opposite-sex couple kissing in the crowd instead.  We’ve come a long way since the early ’00s.

Track 2: Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You

I like the stop-start guitar at the beginning, but the tune to the vocals annoys me.

Track 3: Nelly and Kelly Rowland – Dilemma

One of my first-year uni flatmates was obsessed with this song and played it over and over.  As such, I’m amazed I still quite like it.

Track 4: Richard X and Liberty X – Being Nobody

Dodgy pointless cover of Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody with an irritating ’00s backing track.  I strongly advise listening to the original instead.

Track 5: Room 5 and Oliver Cheatham – Make Luv

Classic dance track, good head-nodder, though it’s a little repetitive.

Track 6: Junior Senior – Move Your Feet

I’ve always found the chorus on this one highly irritating, but the song reminds me of my friend Sarah (who loved it at the time) so it’s not all bad.

Track 7: Girls Aloud – Sound Of The Underground

Still really like this one – great atmosphere, classic pop track.

Track 8: Busted – Year 3000

Yup, it’s awful (although the sanitised Jonas Brothers cover was even more awful).  I remember the looks of horror on everyone’s faces when the DJ decided it would be a good idea to play this in Studio 24 (Edinburgh’s biggest rock club at the time).  It only happened once, probably due to complaints.

Track 9: Melanie C – Here It Comes Again

The tune’s a bit bland, but I like the instrumentals.

Track 10: Sinéad Quinn – I Can’t Break Down

Great Spanish guitar, great atmosphere.  Quite like this one.

Track 11: Darius – Rushes

Irritating vocals, but the tune on the chorus is okay.

Track 12: Appleton – Don’t Worry

Slow, dull acoustic-y ballad with an annoying tune.  Not keen.

Track 13: Atomic Kitten – Love Doesn’t Have To Hurt

Cheesy, generic song.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 14: Blue – U Make Me Wanna

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

Track 15: Jay-Z and Beyoncé – ’03 Bonnie And Clyde

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

Love the guitar on this track – awesome theme, great song.

Track 16: Jaimeson and Angel Blu – True

Quite interesting for a dance track – like the atmosphere.

Track 17: Zoe Birkett – Treat Me Like A Lady

Generic tune, pretty bland really.

Track 18: S Club – Alive

S Club 7, now calling themselves S Club due to one of them having left.  The music is as irritating as ever.

Track 19: One True Voice – Sacred Trust

Repetitive, uninspired song – this one’s very dull.

Track 20: Kym Marsh – Cry

Appallingly saccharine, twee song.  Don’t like this one at all!

Track 21: Ainslie Henderson – Keep Me A Secret

Boring and generic.  We’re really getting into the nadir of the talent show era now.

Track 22: Daniel Bedingfield – If You’re Not The One

Awful track – whiny tune, hugely problematic stalker-y theme.  It really creeps me out.

Track 23: David Sneddon – Stop Living The Lie

Nice tune, but the vocals leave a lot to be desired.

Track 24: Robbie Williams – Feel

Lovely tune, great atmosphere.

Track 25: Oasis – Songbird

It’s better than other Oasis tracks of this era, but it’s still a bit drone-y.

Track 26: Turin Brakes – Painkiller

Good bit of soft rock – quite like this one.

Track 27: Coldplay – Clocks

The piano instrumental is nice, but I find the rest of the track pretty dull.

Track 28: Lulu and Ronan Keating – We’ve Got Tonight

Painfully bland cheesy ballad.  Not my thing.

Track 29: Sugababes – Stronger

Nice atmosphere, good tune.  Quite like this track.

Track 30: Beenie Man – Street Life

Good head-nodder, but the tune’s a bit boring.

Track 31: Cam’Ron, Juelz Santana, Freekey Zeekey and Toya – Hey Ma

Oh, it’s this one.  Repetitive and tuneless, but I suppose it’s got a good beat.

Track 32: Nelly and Justin Timberlake – Work It

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had both Nelly and Justin Timberlake on this Now! compilation.

The track’s okay, but there’s a bit too much going on.

Track 33: Panjabi MC – Mundian To Bach Ke

Absolute classic – brilliant piece of bhangra.  Love this tune.

Track 34: Scooter – Weekend!

More daft rave from Scooter, with some insanely irritating chipmunk-tuned vocals in the middle.  The rest of the track’s quite danceable.

Track 35: DJ Sammy – The Boys Of Summer

Awful trance cover of the Don Henley classic.  Not a fan.

Track 36: Divine Inspiration – The Way (Put Your Hand In My Hand)

More trance.  This has got quite a good atmosphere, though.

Track 37: Queen and DJ Vanguard – Flash

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

Semi-cover of the 1980 classic with lots of repetitive hi-hat over the top.  It kind of loses the epic atmosphere of the original.

Track 38: Erasure – Solsbury Hill

Good to see Erasure back in the charts for the ’00s, especially as they sound exactly like they did in the ’80s.  This is a nice synthpop cover of the Peter Gabriel song.

Track 39: The Mock Turtles – Can You Dig It? [Fatboy Slim and Simon Thornton 2003 Remix]

Nice feelgood soft rock song, quite like this one.

Track 40: Counting Crows and Vanessa Carlton – Big Yellow Taxi

Pointless cover of the Joni Mitchell classic, but it’s a good song whoever does it (well, maybe I wouldn’t be saying that if it were one of DJ Sammy’s trance covers, but you know what I mean).

Track 41: Richard Ashcroft – Science Of Silence

Dull, drone-y track, but it’s at least more upbeat than most of Richard Ashcroft’s stuff.

Track 42: Massive Attack and Sinéad O’Connor – Special Cases

Love the slightly spooky atmosphere on this one – great track.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #37

Day 37, and Now! #37, released 14th July 1997.

July 1997
This is how the world looked in July 1997 – and given how long those Hebridean structures have been standing, it’s how the world has looked for quite some time. I loved those leggings at the time, though I’m not quite sure about them now.

Let’s have a listen to some artists who have almost certainly never played live in the Outer Hebrides.

Now! That's What I Call Music #37
Track 1: Hanson – MMMBop

Loved Hanson at the time, as did all my friends – my walls were covered in their posters!  Nowadays I find this one pretty cringeworthy though.

Track 2: Eternal and Bebe Winans – I Wanna Be The Only One

I’ve always quite liked this one – the chorus is great.

Track 3: The Cardigans – Lovefool

A huge favourite!  Loved it then, love it now.  Gorgeous tune.

Track 4: No Doubt – Just A Girl

Another great tune from No Doubt – great beat, great instrumentals.

Track 5: Sash! and Rodriguez – Ecuador

I adored this at the time and played it over and over.  It’s still my favourite Sash! track.

Track 6: No Mercy – Where Do You Go

I’d totally forgotten about this one.  It’s quite a good dance track, through I’m not hugely keen on the chorus reference to ’60s hit Where Do You Go To (My Lovely), which I find to be a super irritating song!

Track 7: Spice Girls – Who Do You Think You Are

This was a double A-side with Mama, and this is undoubtedly the better song in my opinion.  It was the Comic Relief single for 1997, and it had a dance to go with it, which was the absolute best thing a song could have at the time.  Great tune.

Track 8: Ultra Naté – Free

Annoyed by it at the time, still find the chorus a bit irritating now.

Track 9: Rosie Gaines – Closer Than Close

Oh, it’s this one!  The backing track is dull, but there’s something I find quite endearing about the vocals.

Track 10: George Michael – Star People

Quite like the instrumentals, but it’s a boring tune.

Track 11: En Vogue – Don’t Let Go (Love)

Absolutely beautiful song – love this one.

Track 12: Shola Ama – You Might Need Somebody

Originally an ’80s track, but this is the version everybody knows.  I’ve never been that keen on this tune – I don’t like the chorus.

Track 13: Coolio and 40 Thevz – C U When U Get There

I like the sample from Pachelbel’s Canon in D, even when it goes a bit electro and odd.  The rap’s a bit generic, though.

Track 14: Warren G and Ron Isley – Smokin’ Me Out

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

Nice atmosphere on the intro, but I find the rest of the track a bit messy.

Track 15: R Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly

Quite liked it at the time, find it massively overplayed and irritating now.

Track 16: Damage – Wonderful Tonight

Soul-tinged cover of the Eric Clapton classic, generally a bit uninspired.  Not different enough to be worthwhile in my opinion (even if they do change the blonde subject of the song into a brunette!).

Obligatory ‘I hate pointless ’90s covers’ rant: this was the first version of this song I ever heard.  I still can’t believe that.

Track 17: 911 – The Journey

Slow, dull ballad.  Not keen on this one.

Track 18: Boyzone – Isn’t It A Wonder

This one’s far too saccharine for me, I’m afraid.

Track 19: Backstreet Boys – Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)

I suggested this song the other day when Geth and I were in the pub trying to come up with songs that had ‘game‘ in the title for a boardgame-themed playlist.  I wouldn’t actually put it in a playlist, though, ’cause it’s cheesy and irritating.

Track 20: N-Tyce – Hey DJ! (Play That Song)

I quite like the backing track, but the vocals are super annoying.

Track 21: Foxy Brown and Jay-Z – I’ll Be

The rap is good, but there’s not enough of a tune for me.

Track 22: Wet Wet Wet – If I Never See You Again

Slow beat, slightly irritating tune, but at least it’s got a nice classic edge to it.

Track 23: U2 – Staring At The Sun

Nice atmosphere, but again, the tune is slow and dull.

Track 24: The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

Overplayed at the time, irritating now, and of course it’s not helped by that infuriating video.

Track 25: The Seahorses – Love Is The Law

Really like the guitar intro and the melody – great tune.

Track 26: Ocean Colour Scene – Hundred Mile High City

Another rock classic from OCS, with a slightly ’60s tinge about it.  Awesome track.

Track 27: Robbie Williams – Old Before I Die

I like the theme, but I’m not hugely keen on the tune.

Track 28: Cast – Guiding Star

Oh, it’s this one.  I’ve always found the vocal hook super annoying – not a fan.

Track 29: Paul McCartney – Young Boy

Nice upbeat track, like the tune.  Good stuff.

Track 30: Sheryl Crow – A Change Would Do You Good

The ‘change’ here for me is that I actually quite like this one, which is a first for the Sheryl Crow tracks that have been on Now! compilations so far.  Nice beat and atmosphere on the verses.

Track 31: Radiohead – Paranoid Android

Nice tune on the instrumentals, but the vocal line is depressing (and not in a good way).

Track 32: Texas – Halo

Lovely tune, apart from the chorus, which annoys me.

Track 33: Supergrass – Sun Hits The Sky

And this one’s vice versa – irritating, repetitive tune on the verses, but the chorus is all right.

Track 34: James – Waltzing Along

Great track – love the melody on this one, and the atmosphere’s really nice too.

Track 35: Blur – On Your Own

Great beat, interesting instrumentals, but once the vocal is added to the mix it becomes a bit messy.

Track 36: Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Scooby Snacks

I’ve always really liked this one!  Great singalong track.

Track 37: Orbital – The Saint

Electronica cover of the theme tune to The Saint.  It’s as random as it sounds.

Track 38: Brainbug – Nightmare

Great spiky electro dance, really like this one.

Track 39: The Course – Ain’t Nobody

Messy dance cover of the Chaka Khan classic.  It’s pretty atrocious.

Track 40: Todd Terry, Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown – Something Going On

Oh, it’s this one!  Generic beat to start off, but the vocals are quite nice.

Track 41: Diddy – Give Me Love

No, it’s not the hip-hop act – he was known as ‘Puff Daddy’ at the time.  ’90s Diddy was a dance producer, and I reckon he should probably have sued when Puff Daddy decided to change his name.

The track is a pretty generic dance offering, very forgettable.