This was released back in February and was a fairly frequent earworm for me in the early spring, but I’ve not heard it in months so I’m a bit surprised the Now! compilers have held it over for this compilation. It’s another one that annoys me now.
Track 7: Meduza and Goodboys – Piece Of Your Heart
I still quite like this tune! (I’m also endlessly confused by the lyric ‘I’m in Toronto and I got this view/But I might as well be in a hotel room’ – if he’s visiting Toronto, and he’s not in a hotel room, then where is he? Staying with a friend who has a really good view? Why is this not explained in the song?)
Track 10: Mark Ronson and Camila Cabello – Find U Again
I’m still gutted that, other than this track and a brief appearance by Catfish & The Bottlemen, there has been absolutely no rock music in the charts in 2019. I’m really hoping this trend reverses itself at some point during the 2020s!
I can’t stand this one. It’s way too saccharine for me, and the lyrics contain James Arthur’s favourite ‘romantic trope’ about holding girls’ hair back while they vomit due to overconsumption of alcohol. I have very little patience for that kind of message.
It’s another straightforward cover – Taron Egerton’s voice is sort of similar but not identical to Elton’s, which gives it a slight uncanny valley feel.
Track 44: Himesh Patel – Yesterday
Here’s another soundtrack song – this one is from the soundtrack to Yesterday, which got to number 40 in the album chart.
Like the Elton covers, this is arranged pretty identically to the Beatles original, which, as I understand it from reading about the film’s plot, is to be expected.
Track 45: Grandmaster Flash and Grandmaster Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It)
We’ve already had this track on Now! #3…because the Now! compilers are doing exactly the same thing as they did on the last compilation, and so the last few tracks are all bonus tracks that originally appeared on the third release back in 1984! Now! #3 is also being re-released today, on CD for the first time. I really need to start picking up these re-releases again – I got Now! #1 on CD last summer but haven’t bought Now! #2 yet.
Because the Now! company was posting Duran Duran pictures in order to tease the re-release on social media, I was hopeful that they’d include The Reflex as a bonus track, but sadly there was no love for it this time round – I’ll just have to enjoy the original White Lines (famously a DD cover a decade later) instead!
I’ve got three weeks’ worth of Friday chart hits to catch up with today, as I’ve been a bit late with the chart recently due to travelling.
There were six new hits on the 24th of May.
Dominic Fike – 3 Nights
Love that reggae beat – it’s something a bit different!
The video is about a guy driving around a lot and cheating on his girlfriend (I think?). There’s also a shoebox. And a tortoise.
DJ Khaled, Chris Brown, Lil’ Wayne and Big Sean – Jealous
It sounds pretty much like every other DJ Khaled song, though I can forgive it a lot for the ‘listening to Sade’ lyric.
The video begins with an overblown cinematic bit featuring Jennifer Lopez for some reason, then when the music starts, it’s all about standing around in front of those Lamborghinis. At least it’s colourful.
Martin Garrix, Macklemore and Patrick Stump – Summer Days
Really appreciate the funk guitar on this one.
The video is a wonderfully daft story about an attractive elderly lady who dresses like she’s still twenty and hence causes everyone she meets to sweat profusely and flood cars and stuff.
Tyler The Creator – I Think
I love the atmospheric synth on the backing track – very retro-sounding.
There’s no video for this one yet.
Halsey – Nightmare
Interesting and slightly creepy recital of ‘Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep’ at the start. Following this, there’s a promising rock-sounding chorus, which is great – I just wish the verse matched it. It’s been so long since we had anything vaguely rock-sounding in the charts.
Is that ‘save me a prayer’ lyric a Duran Duran reference? I’m going to jump the gun and say YES, because everything should be a Duran Duran reference.
There’s a lot going on in the video, which is very filmic and retro and veers between rock stylings that match the song, ’90s-influenced bondage costumes, and Lady Gaga-esque ‘shocker’ imagery. Watch out for cameos from the likes of Cara Delevigne and Debbie Harry.
Tyler The Creator – Earfquake
I find the lyrics to this one a bit irritating, but the backing track is nice and retro.
The video is utterly surreal, with Tyler setting himself on fire while performing, and then he turns out to be a fireman as well, and then… However, it’s set in the world of a 1970s chat show, so I’m all about it.
There were also six new hits on the 31st of May.
Sigala and Becky Hill – Wish You Well
It’s very ’90s influenced, like most dance music is at the moment. Nice tune.
Again, there’s no video yet.
Jess Glynne and Jax Jones – One Touch
I like the bleepy backing track – again the ’90s dance influence is strong here – but the vocal melody is a bit dull.
No video for this one either.
5 Seconds Of Summer – Easier
5SOS seem to be completely divorced from their rock roots now. This is squeaky, annoying, and generic.
They’re still apparently playing their instruments in the video though. Why can I not hear those instruments in the song? Anyway, it’s set in a cave system, apart from when there’s a ‘walking through hallways while pictures on the wall catch fire’ sequence.
Young Thug, J Cole and Travis Scott – The London
I like some of the instrumentals on the backing track, but otherwise it’s a little repetitive for me.
There’s no video yet.
NSG – OT Bop
Great beat, but I’d prefer a bit more melody.
There is a lot of car-standing in this video, but I’m quite fond of the daft dance routines that are going on.
Ed Sheeran and Chance The Rapper – Cross Me
Love that synth line in the background.
Another one that doesn’t have a video as of yet.
Yet another six hits on the 7th of June. There’s a bit of a pattern to the chart at the moment!
Skepta – Bullet From A Gun
Not enough going on in this track melody-wise for me, but the lyrics are great.
I really like the video, which is just Skepta sitting on a bench in Camden Town tube station while the world goes by. Don’t think I’ve ever seen Camden Town so un-busy, mind!
Miley Cyrus – Mother’s Daughter
Good atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit forgettable. I have the feeling it’ll grow on me though.
The video’s not out yet.
Lewis Capaldi – Bruises
Another pretty piano ballad from Lewis Capaldi. Lovely atmosphere.
No official video for this one right now.
Mostack and Stormzy – Shine Girl
Nice summery rhythm to this one.
The video is a nice straightforward ‘does what it says on the tin’ affair, with Mostack and Stormzy just chilling with their girlfriends round the house.
Skepta and J Hus – What Do You Mean
I like the eerie instrumentals in the background.
We’re still waiting for the video.
Katy Perry – Never Really Over
I find the tune to this fairly dull.
The video is colourful, cartoony, and a bit daft – a textbook Katy Perry video, in other words.
More new hits next week (I will definitely be on time with them because I’ve got a nice quiet week ahead of me!).
Now! #102 has been released today, 12th April 2019! EDIT: I only just realised that it’s been a whole year today since I started my marathon of the first 100 Now! compilations with Now! #1. Great timing!
Let’s have a look at the Now! compilers’ roundup of what’s been going on in the chart recently.
A decade ago, I would not have believed you if you’d told me I would ever grow to like a Jonas Brothers song. They’ve grown up now, though, and they make much better music. This is a fairly decent pop song, and I always nod along when it’s on the radio.
This one’s not been in the charts since last year, so I’m a bit surprised they’ve held it back for this Now! instalment. As is usually the case with James Arthur’s stuff, it’s too saccharine for me, but I’ll grant you it’s got a good atmosphere on the chorus.
I could have told you that my feelings would not have changed about this ridiculous bastardisation of Andrea Bocelli’s Time To Say Goodbye. Awful interpolation that has me running screaming for the comfort of the original every single time.
Track 13: Little Mix and Ty Dolla Sign – Think About Us
One of those tracks that I found a bit slow to begin with and have grown to appreciate. Lovely acoustic track from the A Star Is Born soundtrack (no interest in seeing the film, but the song is gorgeous).
Track 28: Keala Settle and The Greatest Showman Cast – This Is Me
Another one where the Now! compilers have been a bit tardy – this track first entered the charts well over a year ago – but it’s a great feelgood musical number, and probably the best song on the soundtrack.
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had James Arthur on track 10.
One of the tracks from the Greatest Showman Reimagined album, where pop stars do karaoke versions of the songs from the musical. It’s okay, but not a patch on the original.
Track 32: Jack Savoretti – Candlelight
This wasn’t a hit – it only got to number 70. As I’ve been discussing since Now! #99, the Now! compilers have recently started to include songs that haven’t actually made the Top 40, but have been featured on hit albums – there’s less crossover than there used to be between the album and singles chart (mainly because the former is for older people like me who prefer classic pop and rock, and the latter is for the kids who like these strange new songs I’m always ranting about on here after listening to the chart on Fridays!). I wasn’t sure about this at first, but I think I’m okay about it now. After all, it’s probably an older demographic who actually still buys Now! albums. The Radio 2 demographic, if you like. This album got to number one, so I think it’s allowed.
Anyway, this track’s got a great atmosphere – lovely eerie instrumentals, lots of piano. Love this kind of epic tune!
Track 33: The 1975 – It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)
As I understand it, this is one of the few new tracks on Take That’s recent remastered retrospective. It’s a bit dull until the second chorus kicks in. Also, the self-referential spoken word bit at the end is a bit odd.
Track 36: Hozier – Almost (Sweet Music)
The single only got to number 82, but the album went top ten, getting to number six.
Love this danceable, atmospheric song! So yeah, this is the point where I’m officially on board with the Now! compilers including songs-from-hit-albums that didn’t make the singles chart, because the notion of Rod Stewart still managing to get his new songs onto Now! compilations is the BESTEST THING.
Track 40: Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Zac Efron, Zendaya and The Greatest Showman Cast – The Greatest Show
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had the Greatest Showman cast on track 28.
Great stompalong number though. Fab track.
Track 41: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax
We’ve already had this track on Now! #2! How dare they be so lazy…wait. I can’t really start ranting in this case, because what’s going on here is that the Now! compilers have chosen to include six tracks from Now! #2 in order to advertise the fact that it’s had a re-release on CD today, the same release day as Now! #102. I’m hopeful that this pattern will continue, and will be scouting out the re-release for my collection this weekend!
Anyway, see the link for my review – it was track 16 on Now! #2.
If you spend any time watching the Now! ’80s channel, which often replays the classic TV adverts for the classic ’80s Now! compilations, you will be familiar with this song as the centrepiece for the Now! #2 advert due to it’s ‘hold me now‘ (geddit?) refrain on the chorus. Still a great track, and it was a highlight when I saw Tom Bailey supporting Culture Club in November.
Great choices for those bonus tracks. Could have done with a bit of love for Duran Duran’s New Moon On Monday (track 29) but I’m hopeful for The Reflex if they do this again when they re-release Now! #3!
It’s been a while since I actually did a New Hits Friday post. August, I think? Anyway, here’s a giant catchup of all the hits that have entered the UK Top 40 for the first time in the intervening period. I’ll try not to leave it so long in the future!
Hardy Caprio and One Acen – Best Life
I reviewed this one for Now! #101. Still a highly annoying earworm, made worse by the fact that I’ve really grown to hate the idiom ‘living one’s best life’ this year.
The video is the typical tasteless ‘look at how rich I am’ video beloved of R&B stars, all poolsides and girls in bikinis and helicopters and wasting champagne by pouring it everywhere. It matches the smug lyrics in that respect.
Travis Scott and Frank Ocean – Carousel
No melody whatsoever; incredibly, frustratingly dull. Can’t even be called music in my opinion.
There’s no video for this one yet.
Travis Scott – Stargazing
A bit slow, and the tune’s very dull. Lots of jarring noise in the background too. I guess the plus point is that the lyrics are quite nice.
Again, there’s no video yet. I don’t think Travis Scott is keen on making them!
The video is full of glitter and fabulousness – I highly approve.
Pinkfong – Baby Shark
Daft viral video that’s in the charts because of the new video rules. It’s ridiculous, and also the best thing in the Top 40 at the moment.
The video has small kids in, obviously, and so I find it to be of little interest – it’s the song that makes it.
Freya Ridings – Lost Without You
Pretty voice, but the tune’s very generic and it’s far too slow for me. Advert music, basically.
The video is very floaty and ethereal, with lots of shots of the singer’s hair blowing about all over the place. Quite relaxing to watch.
BTS and Nicki Minaj – Idol
Good upbeat bit of K-Pop – nice to hear something different in the charts! Almost beats Baby Shark. Almost, but NOT QUITE. And for once, the rap (courtesy of Nicki Minaj) actually works quite well with this song.
The video is super colourful and manic! Good stuff.
AJ Tracey – Lo(v/s)er
Lots of out-of-key clanging noises, and an uninspired rap over the top. Bad Spanish too – if you’re talking about a girl, it’s ‘I love a pretty Latina’, not ‘I love a pretty Latino’. (The lyrics online say ‘Latina’ but it definitely sounds like ‘Latino’!) Very repetitive, not keen.
The video is another smug, tasteless montage of bikini-clad girls, poolsides, and ostentatious jewellery, with some guns ‘n’ drugs for good measure.
Bazzi and Camila Cabello – Beautiful
I like the swirly instrumentals, but it’s very cheesy and too slow for my liking.
The video starts off very literally with Camila showing up to a party in an angel costume, and then turns into a full-blown Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet homage.
Dean Lewis – Be Alright
Again, see Now! #101, though I’ll point out additionally that this is a very annoying and incessant earworm!
The video is lots of badly lit shots of a very artfully decorated house that makes me feel bad about my own house.
LSD – Thunderclouds
Another one on Now! #101!
The video is daft and colourful with a flying campervan. Big fan of this one!
Eminem – Fall
Good beat, and I quite like the atmosphere.
The video is all about Eminem getting mardy about bad online reviews, so there’s a lot of arty shots of phones and tablets emitting black smoke monsters, which proceed to chase him around a deserted building like in a horror film. I like the beard, though, it suits him.
Eminem and Joyner Lucas – Lucky You
Another great, epic atmosphere – nice and eerie and looming.
The video is grim-looking and apocalyptic, but considerably enlivened by a comedic interlude halfway through.
Eminem – The Ringer
This one, on the other hand, is really dull. No tune in the background, super repetitive. It also charted the highest. I will never understand people in this century.
There’s no video yet.
Machine Gun Kelly – Rap Devil
Apparently a diss track about Eminem – Scott Mills could only play eight seconds of it on the Official Chart Show. Dull, repetitive, and I’m not into the drama. It goes on for so long that it just gets a bit awkward.
The video is just Machine Gun Kelly rapping the track and looking all tough with a shovel. Nothing interesting here.
Silk City, Diplo, Mark Ronson and Dua Lipa – Electricity
The video is all about Dua Lipa dancing around a New York apartment block with her neighbours during a heatwave, which doesn’t seem like the most efficient way to keep cool. I like the cameos from the other artists though.
Kanye West, Lil’ Pump and Adele Givens – I Love It
Scott could only play seven seconds of this one. People today listen to the most disgusting music. #getoffmylawn
Update after listening to the clean version: boring, repetitive, nothing interesting going on.
The video features a lot of bizarre costumes, but the song is so gross that it’s best listened to on mute.
Sigala, Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor and French Montana – Just Got Paid
Another one on Now! #101. Just want to add a seasonal note that I love those cash register noises – they’re very I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day!
The video is a nice colourful pop affair with lots of dancing in launderettes. Good stuff.
David Guetta, Jason Derulo, Nicki Minaj and Willy William – Goodbye
Utterly appalling interpolation of Andrea Bocelli’s Time To Say Goodbye. The rest of the track is just a jarring, crackly and awful mishmash of styles, like three different songs layered on top of each other.
The video tells a slightly confusing story in which Jason Derulo appears to be sneaking off after a one-night stand in a London hotel room, though not before pausing to sing a song to the camera. Charming!
Mumford & Sons – Guiding Light
I’m not the biggest fan of Mumford & Sons’ brand of soft-folk-rock, and I find this one pretty dull.
The video is equally boring – just black and white performance footage. Not a fan!
I like the colours and costumes in the video – it’s very pretty.
Lil’ Wayne and XXXTentacion – Don’t Cry
Not enough melody for me.
There’s no video yet, and again there probably won’t be due to XXXTentacion’s death earlier this year.
Lil’ Wayne and Kendrick Lamar – Mona Lisa
I quite like the atmosphere on the piano intro, but I’m not keen on the rap at all (Scott couldn’t play it on the chart show, which tells you everything you need to know). Except for the Milli Vanilli reference, which is just beautifully random!
Again, there’s no video yet.
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – Shallow
Acoustic song from the A Star Is Born remake. It’s not my kind of thing, but I’m so relieved to hear something different on the chart – it has melody! Actual melody!
The video is just lots of clips from the film, which is perfectly adequate.
Lady Gaga – Always Remember Us This Way
Another slow piano ballad from the A Star Is Born soundtrack. It’s pretty dull.
Again, the video is just clips from the film.
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – I’ll Never Love Again
Yet another ballad that’s too slow and dull for my liking…
…and yet more clips from the film in the video.
6ix9ine and Bobby Shmurda – Stoopid
Generic unmelodious rap with gross lyrics that Scott couldn’t play on the radio.
The video is a pretty low-tech affair (and given that 6ix9ine is wearing a ridiculously blinged-out expensive watch on each wrist, you’d think they could have afforded a better camera), but I do like the colourful car.
Lil’ Baby and Gunna – Drip Too Hard
Boring song, no melody, not my thing.
‘This video may be inappropriate for some users,’ says YouTube, so I’m not looking forward to this. Turns out it’s because it’s a ‘girls in bikinis plus wasted champagne’ theme on acid. Not recommended.
The video starts off with a nice botanical gardens sequence with lots of flowers, but quickly degenerates into ‘showing off my wealth’ cars ‘n’ mansions. Boring.
Cadet and Deno – Advice
Nice funky reggae backing track, but that rap is awful and dull. I do like the comedic theme though!
The video is about a boring night-time petrol station with lots of tacky watch and car product placement.
Jess Glynne – Thursday
Cheesy and boring song.
The video is black and white and equally dull. Also, despite the lyrics, she does wear makeup in every scene.
Bad Bunny and Drake – Mia
Nice upbeat Latin track – quite like this one.
The video is set at a beers ‘n’ bongs garden party and gets pretty dull in places, although I do like the random old people on the porch at the party.
Kodak Black, Travis Scott and Offset – Zeze
Boring, unmelodious, sounds like everything else.
The video is meant to be a comedy story about making a music video, but it’s pretty gross and tasteless due to all the bling and twerking girls. Not my cup of tea.
Little Mix and Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
One from Now! #101, and another that’s become an incessant earworm for me recently!
The video is a lot of fun with all the pretty costumes.
Rak-Su – I Want You To Freak
That interpolation of Adina Howard’s Freak Like Me! Which has spawned so many cover versions, including most notably the Sugababes version with THAT interpolation of Are Friends Electric! There’s some good guitar going on here, even though it’s fairly generic and the cover/interpolation chain means there’s nothing original about it at all. Great to have an opportunity to ramble on about pop history though, and I never take songs with melody for granted nowadays!
The video is Caribbean-set and a bit generic, but I do like the dancing.
Dua Lipa and Blackpink – Kiss And Make Up
One of the welcome trends of 2018 has been K-Pop acts getting popular enough to enter the UK charts. This isn’t quite as good as BTS’ Idol – it’s a bit generic, and I’m not a huge fan of Dua Lipa’s vocals, but it’s decent enough pop, and any kind of melodious pop is a good thing at the moment, even when it’s as uninspired as this.
There’s no video yet.
D Block Europe, Young Adz, Lil’ Pino and Dirtbike LB – Nassty
Aaaaand we’re back to the offensive lyrics, depressing generic rapping, and dreary unmelodious drone. Awful.
The video is all the usual gross cliches like drugs and expensive cars. Not recommended.
Zara Larsson – Ruin My Life
Too slow and dull for me, and the tune is really generic. Awful message too.
The video has lots of pretty costumes, though, so I quite like it.
Post Malone and Swae Lee – Sunflower
Dull and repetitive song.
The animated video, which ties in with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, is fab though.
The Budapest-set video is gorgeous – so much stunning architecture, so many pretty costumes!
Billie Eilish – When The Party’s Over
Too slow for me, but I like the harmonisation – it’s a bit different.
Lots of weird stuff going on with a glass of ink in the video.
XXXTentacion, Lil’ Pump, Maluma and Swae Lee – Arms Around You
There’s some actual melody in this one! I was not expecting that at all! I really quite like it.
The video is kind of arty and dreamlike, very suited to the song.
Pink – A Million Dreams
Cover of the Greatest Showman number. Apparently doing Greatest Showman covers is a hot new trend (there’s a whole compilation album full of them), which is highly alarming! There’s nothing different about this at all, which I guess makes it a pointless ’10s cover. And the ’10s were doing so well at avoiding that if you don’t count the X Factor!
There’s no video for this yet.
Benny Blanco and Calvin Harris – I Found You
Boring and repetitive tune! People have been really bigging up this track, but it’s very disappointing. Nothing interesting here at all.
The video is a good laugh though, with various people trying to show Benny how to dance.
Clean Bandit, Marina & The Diamonds and Luis Fonsi – Baby
The video is fairly literal, with a cute story about a love triangle and all the characters portrayed by the artists (plus so-far one-hit wonder Starley, whom I wasn’t expecting to see here!)
James Arthur – Empty Space
Extremely dull. Also, I’ve just remembered how much I am NOT a fan of James Arthur’s vocals.
The video is really interesting though (in a slightly depressing way) – it appears to be about a troubled alcoholic (played by Tom Felton) stalking his ex-girlfriend, but all is not as it seems. Also, judging by the gadgets, set dressing, and costumes, it’s set in the early ’00s, which is also interesting!
Jonas Blue, Liam Payne and Lennon Stella – Polaroid
The video’s a bit dull and involves a lot of wandering round New York. I do like that Polaroid technology is having one of those retro moments though.
Ariana Grande – Thank You Next
Straight in at number one, which is unusual these days. I like the ’70s-esque synth sound on the instrumentals – it’s very pretty. The tune could be a bit more exciting, but on the whole it’s a nice bit of proper pop, and is much appreciated.
The video is a daft comedy sequence with lots of celebrity cameos and homages to ’90s and ’00s teen movies. Lots to like here.
Ava Max – Sweet But Psycho
Really like this piece of classic-sounding pop. Good stuff!
The video features Ava as the eponymous psycho, and there’s a cute shout-out to the Hitchcock film at the start. Lovely colours, great costumes (and the dude in this video is actually attractive, which is extremely rare for ’10s media).
Fredo – BMT
Great atmospheric instrumentals but awful rap, which seems to be a theme.
The video is a depressing medley of mansions, cigars, champagne, and the obligatory bikini-clad girl in a swimming pool, with the slightly alarming implication at one point that Fredo and his mates have burnt a girl to death for keying his car. At least, that’s what it looks like. I really hope I’m wrong.
XXXTentacion – Bad
Well, at least there is melody…sort of? It’s a real dirge though.
There’s no video yet, and again there probably won’t be now.
I really like the dancing in the video, but she’s wearing the ugliest pair of boots!
Charli XCX and Troye Sivan – 1999
Song paying tribute to 1999, which was the worst year of the twentieth century in my opinion, because it meant that the century was nearly over. Still, I really do appreciate the sentiment of the song, which is generally that last century was great and this century sucks. I can heartily get behind that message. The song is…of the same quality that pop songs were in 1999, which is a lot better than average pop songs from today, but nowhere near as good as in the ’80s.
I do also want to point out quickly that the Saturdays did this theme better with Disco Love.
The video, as you might expect, is a glorious mishmash of homages to pop culture from around the turn of the millennium!
Panic! At The Disco – The Greatest Show
Another one from the Greatest Showman tribute album, and it’s the first one I actually like. Great epic rock cover!
There’s no video for this yet.
The Plug, Nafe Smallz, M Huncho and Gunna – Broken Homes
Generic hip-hop. Nothing memorable here.
Another one with no video so far.
Sheck Wes – Mo Bamba
Awful and off-key. How can a song that’s unmelodious in the first place be off-key? It’s so dire I don’t know what to say. The vocals are worse than some appalling unsigned local bands I’ve seen, and that’s saying something.
I quite like the comedic video though. Just make sure to watch it on mute.
The video is a slightly depressing story about George being trapped in a rapidly flooding house and drowning at the end!
Little Mix and Sharaya J – Strip
Interesting spoken word intro, leads into a fairly R&B influenced pop song. On the whole, could do with a bit more melody in this one, but it’s got a good beat, and I do like the harmonies on the vocals!
The video is a nice black and white piece with a body positivity theme, featuring an homage to the Dixie Chicks’ ‘critical words written on nude bodies’ photoshoot (and hence starting a Twitter feud with Piers Morgan, which I’m not linking to because it’s depressing).
James Arthur and Anne-Marie – Rewrite The Stars
URGH this is saccharine. It’s another Greatest Showman cover, and I’m not keen.
This one actually has a video, though! It predictably goes with the film’s circus theme, but it’s very pretty and I quite like it.
6ix9ine – Kika
Scott could only play three seconds, so I couldn’t hear anything yet. Listening to it online, the lyrics are as gross as expected, but I quite like the steel drums in the background.
There’s no video yet.
Digdat, K Trap and Krept & Konan – Air Force
No melody, very repetitive. Atmosphere’s okay but it’s generally very dull.
The London-set video is all gritty and urban with lots of balaclavas and gang signs. Not really my cup of tea.
Meek Mill and Drake – Going Bad
Awful! So dull and generic and unmelodious.
There’s no video for this yet.
Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart
Great atmosphere on the intro, though I’m not hugely keen on the main bit where it goes a bit country.
The video is a slightly daft story about Miley driving a car on the run from the police while wearing a pretty silver outfit, but it’s aesthetically pleasing so I’m all about it.
Dalton Harris and James Arthur – The Power Of Love
A real step back for the X Factor winner’s single, as they’ve gone back to covers. It’s horribly soulless and the singer just admitted on the chart show that he only first heard the original Frankie Goes To Hollywood song about a week ago (WTF? HOW do you go through twentyish Christmases without ever hearing The Power Of Love?). Far worse than the Gabrielle Aplin cover (HOW has he managed to make the ‘hooded claw’ line sound so EMPTY?). I am actually offended by this, even more so than I was by Alexandra Burke’s Hallelujah (covered in similar circumstances in that Alexandra Burke had no personal love for the song). Just terrible.
There’s no video yet – time will tell if they do what they did with Rak-Su last year and just release the X Factor performance clip as the video.
Whew! All caught up. I’ll do this week’s New Hits on Saturday, as I won’t have time to listen to the chart tomorrow evening!
Today, 23rd November 2018, is the release of Now! #101! It’s also mine and Geth’s sixth wedding anniversary 🙂
We’re now entering a new exciting era of Now! compilations where I only have to review them every four months! The first hundred compilations were characterised by a gradually worsening quality of music. I pray this trend will not continue. Pop music can’t get any worse than it currently is. Right?
Track 1: Little Mix and Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
Great reggae-style rhythm, but the tune’s pretty dull.
Track 2: Calvin Harris and Sam Smith – Promises
Sam Smith’s voice is great as ever, but the tune is pretty forgettable. Somehow got to number one for weeks on end.
Track 3: Ariana Grande – God Is A Woman
I really like the tune on this one – nice and epic.
Track 4: George Ezra – Hold My Girl
A little slow for me, but it’s a nice tune. Only entered the charts today, so it was definitely not a hit when chosen for this Now! compilation!
Track 5: Rita Ora – Let You Love Me
Great atmosphere on the chorus – tune’s a bit generic, but it’s an okay pop track.
Track 6: Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid – Eastside
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. It’s grown on me a bit since then!
Track 7: Jess Glynne – All I Am
I’ve never been much of a Jess Glynne fan – I find her stuff very boring and the lyrical content very saccharine, and this track is no exception.
Track 8: Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin – I Like It
Not super keen on the rap (except the enjoyable nonsense in the first verse about Balenciaga et al.!), but I do love the Latin tinge, and it’s very danceable.
Track 9: The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar – Pray For Me
Black Panther soundtrack song – really like this epic track.
Track 10: Silk City, Dua Lipa, Diplo and Mark Ronson – Electricity
Bored of these ’90s dance-inspired beats now. The tune is very generic too.
Track 11: Dynoro and Gigi D’Agostino – In My Mind
I really like the eerie atmosphere – there’s some great instrumentals here. Not keen on the dance beat though.
Track 12: Loud Luxury and Brando – Body
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. I’m still not hugely keen, but it’s a really irritatingly catchy track that’s constantly ending up on my daily earworm playlists.
Track 13: Maroon 5 and Cardi B – Girls Like You
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Cardi B on track 8.
It’s a bit saccharine, but it’s a nice tune.
Track 14: Marshmello and Bastille – Happier
Too slow for me, and the tune’s very dull and generic.
Track 15: Clean Bandit, Marina & The Diamonds and Luis Fonsi – Baby
The vocalist on this is calling herself Marina now, but she was formerly known as Marina & The Diamonds (not a band, just a solo artist with a band name, kind of like Florence & The Machine – this was a bizarre 2009/2010 micro trend). I’ve missed her vocal style and way with a tune. This is very Latin-inspired, especially due to the involvement of Luis Fonsi. Great party pop tune.
Track 16: Ellie Goulding, Diplo and Swae Lee – Close To Me
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Diplo on track 10.
Not exciting or original enough for me, but at least it’s got some semblance of a melody, and it’s starting to grow on me with time.
Track 17: Cheryl – Love Made Me Do It
The lyrics are okay if kind of cheesy, but the tune is terrible.
Track 18: Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. It’s become one of my songs of the year – really like this track.
Track 19: The 1975 – Too Time Too Time Too Time
Yes, I know the title’s supposed to be written in all caps with no spaces, but I won’t be having any of that nonsense here. This is a dignified blog.
Lovely upbeat tune, though – really like this one. One of my favourites of 2018.
There’s a nice old-fashioned big-band feel about this one – it’s very jaunty.
Track 22: Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies and Celia Imrie – When I Kissed The Teacher
Taken from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Songs from musicals have been a bit of a chart trend this year. It’s a fairly bog-standard cover of the Abba song, as is normally the case with jukebox musicals.
Track 23: Andrea Bocelli and Dua Lipa – If Only
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Dua Lipa on track 10.
The second number one this year to get to number one after exhortation from the previous number one artist (in this case Sam Smith with Promises – the previous example was George Ezra (Shotgun) telling people to stream Baddiel & Skinner and the Lightning Seeds’ Three Lions).
The second number one this year to feature the word ‘Friday’ in the title (after Lil’ Dicky and Chris Brown with Freaky Friday).
Nothing much else interesting about this song. It’s very dull and unmelodious and repetitive – no idea why enough people were listening to it to get it to number one. Oh, wait, there’s a good instrumental electro bit for three seconds – then it goes back to the boring rap.
Track 26: DJ Snake, Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B – Taki Taki
Repeated artist mega alert! We’ve already had Cardi B on both track 8 and track 13. That is far too much of one artist for one Now! compilation!
I do like the background instrumentals, especially the atmospheric whistling, and the Latin vocals are nice, but the rap is very dull.
Track 27: French Montana and Drake – No Stylist
I quite like the atmosphere, but it’s very repetitive. Are they trying to win a competition to see who can say ‘Gucci’ the most times in a song?
Track 28: Dennis Lloyd – Nevermind
Great rhythm, very noddable.
Track 29: Khalid – Better
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Khalid on track 6.
The track is so boring that I couldn’t even concentrate on writing this sentence.
Track 30: Martin Garrix feat. Khalid – Ocean
Repeated artist mega alert! We’ve already had Khalid on track 6 and track 29. That’s two mega alerts on one compilation, which is not an auspicious start for the second century of Now! entries!
It’s a pretty tune with a gorgeous atmosphere – I really quite like this one.
Track 31: Halsey – Without Me
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Halsey on track 6.
Urgh, this track is so slow! I do like the synthy background instrumentals though.
Track 32: B Young – 079ME
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. I still think it’s too similar to Jumanji.
Track 33: Stay Flee Get Lizzy, Fredo, Young T and Bugsey – Ay Caramba
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Fredo on track 25.
So. Three and a half months, ten and a half solid days of music listening, and 4,020 tracks later, here we are at Day 100, the final day of this Now! compilation marathon. Day 100 means that we have finally reached Now! #100, which has just been released today, 20th July 2018.
Here they are, then – the very last summer hits.
(Let’s take a minute to appreciate this awesome celebratory cover. On the top left, we have the pig that featured on the covers of Now! #3 to Now! #5 – well, it’s actually a much cuter version! On the top right, we have an airship with the logo that was used on the covers of Now! #3 to Now! #16. Love the fireworks too! Perfect cover for this special occasion.)
Track 1: Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
This was number one for quite a few weeks, but it’s not my thing. I find the tune really irritating and a bit repetitive.
Track 2: George Ezra – Shotgun
I like the rhythm on this one.
Track 3: Clean Bandit and Demi Lovato – Solo
Good bit of pop – I quite like the tune. There’s some annoying vocal stuff going on in the chorus though.
Track 4: Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry
Absolutely gorgeous pop tune – I really like this one.
Track 5: Anne-Marie – 2002
Hmm. I do like the clever interpolation on the chorus of a single line – ‘oops, I got 99 problems singing “bye, bye, bye”/hold up, if you wanna go and take a ride wit me/better hit me, baby, one more time‘ – that mixes up the hooks from Britney Spears’ …Baby One More Time, Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye, Dr Dre’s The Next Episode, Nelly’s Ride Wit Me and Britney Spears’ Oops!… I Did It Again. If you remember the turn of the millennium, it’s very evocative.
I can’t stand the theme, though – and the tune on the verses really annoys me!
Track 6: Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
Extremely irritating, cloying tune. I don’t know why I always find Jess Glynne’s stuff so grating, but I do.
Track 7: Years & Years – If You’re Over Me
Great bouncy rhythm – this one’s quite fun.
Track 8: David Guetta and Sia – Flames
Annoying tune on the vocals – not keen.
Track 9: Post Malone – Better Now
Another irritating tune.
Track 10: Jonas Blue and Jack & Jack – Rise
I get this one stuck in my head a lot at the moment. I’m not sure why, ’cause the tune’s very uninspired.
Track 11: Liam Payne and J Balvin – Familiar
I really like this one – it’s got a great Latin feel to it.
Track 12: Banx & Ranx, Ella Eyre and Yxng Bane – Answerphone
Good solid pop tune – I love that singalong chorus.
Track 13: MO, Lotto Boyzz and Mr Eazi – Bad Vibe
Nice summery song – quite like this one.
Track 14: Tiësto, Dzeko, Preme and Post Malone – Jackie Chan
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Post Malone on track 9.
Ridiculous lyrics, annoying tune on the chorus. It’s got a good beat, though.
Track 15: M-22 and Medina – First Time
Another annoying tune, and the EDM backing track is painfully generic.
Track 16: 5 Seconds of Summer – Youngblood
Great epic rock track – the chorus is awesome. Really like this one.
Track 17: Bebe Rexha and Florida-Georgia Line – Meant To Be
Too country-tinged for me, and I really hate that chorus.
Track 18: Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey – The Middle
Yet another very irritating tune.
Track 19: Khalid and Normani – Love Lies
Beautiful tune – lovely and melancholy.
Track 20: Jax Jones, Mabel and Rich The Kid – Ring Ring
Great atmosphere – quite like this tune.
Track 21: Cheat Codes and Little Mix – Only You
Bit of a dull tune – not a fan of this one.
Track 22: Shawn Mendes – In My Blood
Again, I find the tune really annoying, and I don’t like the theme either.
Track 23: MU4 – You Can’t Hurry Love
Now, this is an interesting way to end the first disc! MU4 won a competition on Good Morning Britain to appear on this Now! compilation. The competition winners were asked to cover the Phil Collins classic, which was the very first song on a Now! compilation – track 1 on Now! #1 back in 1983.
I do like the harmonies on this cover, and the retro feel remains intact, which is great. Obviously I’ll always prefer the original, but this version is not bad.
Track 24: UB40 – Red Red Wine
Disc two of this special Now! compilation is not full of new hits, like it usually would be. Instead, it features favourite pop songs that have appeared on Now! compilations throughout the years. As you know if you’re one of the intrepid souls who have been following my Now! marathon right from the start, I don’t usually like it when songs are included that have already been featured on previous entries in the series. However, seeing as this is a special celebration album, I’ll let it slide today!
Red Red Wine first appeared as track 3 on Now! #1 in November 1983. See the link for my review.
Incidentally, seeing as both track 1 and track 3 of Now! #1 have been honoured on this compilation, I wouldn’t have minded a wee shout-out to track 2! The second half of my Now! marathon has not had any Duran Duran for me to love.
Track 25: Phil Collins – Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) first appeared as track 8 on Now! #3 in July 1984. See the link for my review.
Phil Collins is getting a good look-in on this celebratory Now! entry!
Track 26: Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
Livin’ On A Prayer first appeared as track 25 on Now! #9 in March 1987. See the link for my review.
I’m not sure how I feel about the ’80s being represented on this disc by a reggae track, a ballad and a hairmetal song. Just one synthpop or New Romantic track would have made me a very happy girl.
Track 27: Wet Wet Wet – Love Is All Around
Love Is All Around first appeared as track 1 on Now! #28 in August 1994. See the link for my review.
Interesting to see this one again after recent discussion of Drake equalling the second-place number one longevity record!
Track 28: Spice Girls – Wannabe
Wannabe first appeared as track 1 on Now! #34 in August 1996. See the link for my review.
I think eleven-year-old me would have been thrilled to find out the Spice Girls would be featuring on Now! #100, so thirty-three-year-old me will try not to roll her eyes too much!
Track 29: Oasis – Wonderwall
Wonderwall first appeared as track 24 on Now! #34 in August 1996. See the link for my review.
That’s two tracks for Now! #34, which is interesting! Really, though, Wonderwall should have appeared on a Now! compilation earlier, as it had been released about a year before it made its appearance.
Track 30: Robbie Williams – Angels
Angels first appeared as track 7 on Now! #39 in April 1998. See the link for my review.
Another favourite childhood artist that I would thoroughly have wanted to receive this honour back in the day!
Track 31: Cher – Believe
Believe first appeared as track 3 on Now! #42 in March 1999. See the link for my review.
Good to see Cher on here, though I’ll always prefer her ’80s stuff. (Yes, I know that’s the case with most decade-spanning artists.)
Track 32: Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time
…Baby One More Time first appeared as track 1 on Now! #44 in November 1999. See the link for my review.
Well, it would have been wrong if we hadn’t had at least one of the songs featured in Anne-Marie’s 2002 interpolation on track 5!
In my opinion, the ’90s selection on this disc has been a little more representative than the ’80s selection (it helps that twice as many were included), but it’s a shame that there was absolutely nothing from the early ’90s – a bit of classic dance like 2 Unlimited or Snap! wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Track 33: S Club 7 – Reach
Reach first appeared as track 2 on Now! #46 in July 2000. See the link for my review.
Track 34: Destiny’s Child – Survivor
Survivor first appeared as track 13 on Now! #49 in July 2001. See the link for my review.
Track 35: Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head first appeared as track 1 on Now! #50 in November 2001. See the link for my review.
Track 36: Justin Timberlake – Cry Me A River
Cry Me A River first appeared as track 3 on Now! #55 in July 2003. See the link for my review.
Track 37: James Blunt – You’re Beautiful
You’re Beautiful first appeared as track 1 on Now! #61 in July 2005. See the link for my review.
Track 38: Shakira and Wyclef Jean – Hips Don’t Lie
Hips Don’t Lie first appeared as track 2 on Now! #65 in November 2006. See the link for my review.
Rule The World first appeared as track 2 on Now! #68 in November 2007. See the link for my review.
Track 40: Coldplay – Viva La Vida
Viva La Vida first appeared as track 24 on Now! #71 in November 2008. See the link for my review.
Track 41: Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl
I Kissed A Girl first appeared as track 2 on Now! #71 in November 2008. See the link for my review.
Now! #71 getting a double look-in as well!
Very representative selection from the ’00s overall – songs from every part of the decade and lots of different genres.
Track 42: Ed Sheeran – Sing
Sing first appeared as track 2 on Now! #88 in July 2014. See the link for my review.
Mind the six-year jump there, Now! compilers! Could have done with fewer ’00s tracks to make room for some more from the ’10s!
Track 43: Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
Uptown Funk first appeared as track 1 on Now! #90 in March 2015. See the link for my review.
My favourite track on this celebratory disc – absolutely deserves to be on here.
Track 44: Justin Bieber – Love Yourself
Love Yourself first appeared as track 2 on Now! #93 in March 2016. See the link for my review.
I’m not sure how I feel about a celebration of thirty-five years and a hundred compilation albums worth of pop music being ended on a Justin Bieber track. They could at least have gone with Sorry, his one good track, which was released around the same time.
Short and sweet from the ’10s, but at least it was more representative than the ’80s selection.
Final note: So, that’s it from me and my Now! marathon, then – well, until Now! #101 comes out in the autumn. I’ll post some stats from the whole thing at some point over the weekend as well, ’cause I love my stats – but other than that, I’m looking forward to having my music listening time back to myself again!
It’s been an interesting few months, and as a pop music geek, it’s really consolidated for me what I already felt about the way chart music has evolved during the course of my lifetime. I’ll always prefer the ’80s stuff, I’ll always cringe when the ’90s stuff reminds me of my childhood, I’ll always think most of the ’00s stuff is really tacky, and I’ll always wish most of the ’10s stuff weren’t such poor quality and so generic.
On many days – especially days when the music was especially terrible and boring – it’s the daily picture feature that has been the most fun. It’s been fascinating and terrifying at the same time to watch my life flash by, season by season.
Finally, surprisingly, after all that, I appreciate the institution of Now! That’s What I Call Music more than ever. I’m actually already looking forward to the next one.
Day 99 brings us to Now! #99, which was released on 23rd March 2018.
I’m starting to get a little suspicious that some of the tracks on these latest Now! compilations weren’t actually hits at all. I know that a) the charts change so rapidly that there too many songs to remember and b) most chart music these days is so generic that it all blurs into one, but my memory is pretty good, and given that all of these songs are supposed to have been in the charts just a few months ago, I’m surprised that there are so many song titles I don’t recognise. I will have to do some research as we go through them.
We’ve finally reached the current year, 2018! Let’s see what pop music has come to these days.
Track 1: Rudimental, Jess Glynne, Macklemore and Dan Caplen – These Days
Now I know I’m nearly at the end of this long Now! marathon – this track is still currently (as of today, 19th July 2018) in the Top 40. We’re so close to the end!
I find the tune pretty irritating and the theme a bit awkward, but there’s some good stuff going on with the lyrics.
Track 2: Dua Lipa – IDGAF
Another tune that really annoys me.
Track 3: Portugal The Man – Feel It Still
Great tune, great danceable beat, and a lyric like ‘let me kick it like it’s 1986 now‘ is always going to go down well with me. Love this one.
Track 4: Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton – Say Something
I really like this tune – it builds very nicely.
Track 5: Taylor Swift – Ready For It?
Good atmosphere, but the tune is very forgettable.
Track 6: Marshmello and Anne-Marie – Friends
This one is insidiously catchy and was stuck in my head for weeks earlier this year. I’m not a fan of the tune or the theme, so it wasn’t pleasant.
Track 7: Bruno Mars and Cardi B – Finesse
I do like that early ’90s feel (which, judging by the style of the video, is deliberate). Like the callback to Walk This Way too.
Track 8: Sigala and Paloma Faith – Lullaby
Another annoying tune, but it’s got a good beat.
Track 9: Craig David and Bastille – I Know You
I really like the rhythm, but I find the song a bit cheesy.
Track 10: Jason Derulo and French Montana – Tiptoe
Good solid danceable pop song – really like this one.
Track 11: Jax Jones and Ina Wroldsen – Breathe
Good beat, good tune – quite like this track.
Track 12: George Ezra – Paradise
I really like George Ezra’s stuff – it’s so different to the generic EDM-hip-hop-pop lyrically-vapid tuneless mush that makes up the bulk of the charts these days. This is an upbeat feelgood song with great lyrics and an awesome chant-along bit near the end.
It’s got a good rhythm, but I could do with some more melody.
Track 31: Dave and Mostack – No Words
Nice tune, but the rap’s too messy for me.
Track 32: B Young – Jumanji
It’s got an okay beat, but the tune’s very uninspired.
Track 33: Raye and Mr Eazi – Decline
It’s based heavily around an interpolation of 2002 hit Always On Time by Ja Rule and Ashanti. I just find it very unoriginal.
Track 34: Notes and Mabel – My Lover
Double repeated artist alert! We’ve already had both Notes and Mabel on track 15.
This tune really irritates me.
Track 35: Rak-Su, Wyclef Jean and Naughty Boy – Dimelo
This is an interesting one. It was the X Factor winner’s single for 2017, and for the last couple of years the X Factor winner’s single has not been featured on the spring Now! compilation like it used to be – both Louisa Johnson’s Forever Young and Matt Terry’s When Christmas Comes Around were left out, the latter presumably partly because nobody wants to hear an explicitly Christmas-themed song in the spring. Part of this, I believe, is because of the X Factor‘s decline in popularity recently, but it’s meant we’ve not been following an interesting change. Louisa Johnson’s winner’s single was a cover as usual – Forever Young was originally a Bob Dylan song – but Matt Terry’s When Christmas Comes Around was an original song (written by Ed Sheeran), which was a first for the X Factor since Shayne Ward’s That’s My Goal, and signalled an interesting move away from its irritating karaoke format. This move towards original songs continued in the 2017 competition, with many of the contestants (notably Rak-Su and Grace Davies) performing tracks they had written themselves.
As such, this winner’s single from Rak-Su is self-written – an upbeat Latin-tinged hip-hop track with great lyrics and a clever interpolation of Wyclef Jean’s lines from Hips Don’t Lie – and as a result it’s the only X Factor winner’s single I’ve ever liked. It’s a great track. It’s just a shame we had to put up with years of awful pointless cover versions to get to this stage.
(I should note that, despite the above essay, I’ve never actually watched the X Factor. My interest in this stuff is purely from a chart geek perspective.)
It’s nice to hear some rock music, but the tune’s a bit dull. It’s got a good retro-sounding instrumental in the middle though.
Track 45: Oasis – Live Forever
This wasn’t actually back in the charts this year (so it’s yet another non-hit, although of course it was a hit on its original release in 1994), but there was an increased awareness of it due to Liam Gallagher performing it at the Brits in tribute to the Manchester Arena bombing victims.
One more thing: I just want to add a quick note about all the non-hits that have littered this playlist. While I’ve only just noticed it with this one, I suspect non-hits have been a thing for quite a few Now! compilations leading up to this, as there have been quite a few instances where I’m surprised I recognise so few of the tracks (as I mentioned in the intro, while it is tough to remember hundreds of generic songs, I have followed the charts religiously this decade and have a good memory).
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I can sort of understand it in a way, as 95% of chart music in the late ’10s is woefully, utterly dire. It’s awful – the worst quality it has ever been in my lifetime. Most of it is completely generic, uninspired and half-arsed, and so I have a bit of sympathy for the Now! compilers deciding to include songs that they think are good but didn’t trouble the charts for whatever reason, rather than yet another terrible identical-sounding EDM track that somehow managed to get to number 24 for a few weeks.
At the same time, what I’ve always liked about the Now! compilations is that they do reflect the most popular music of the time – good and bad. I feel that including songs that weren’t hits, that weren’t soundtracking people’s lives by being played on the radio and on TV shows and at sports events – well, it kind of takes away from the status of these albums as cultural artefacts of the time. I’m a little sad about that. We’ll see what tomorrow brings with the release of the 100th entry in this long music marathon.
Day 93 equals Now! #93, which came out on 18th March 2016.
On with the hits!
Track 1: Lukas Graham – 7 Years
It’s a nice tune, but I find the theme a bit irritating.
Track 2: Justin Bieber – Love Yourself
Another nice tune with an awkward theme. It’s also too slow for me.
Track 3: Zayn – Pillowtalk
Zayn Malik’s first solo release since becoming the Robbie Williams/Geri Halliwell of One Direction and leaving the group about a year before they split ‘went on hiatus’. It’s too slow for me, and the tune is pretty forgettable.
Track 4: Coldplay and Beyoncé – Hymn For The Weekend
Gorgeous tune – really like this one.
Track 5: Mike Posner – I Took A Pill In Ibiza [SeeB Remix]
Mike Posner returning to the charts with this surprise number one hit. It’s a lovely chillout tune with a wistful theme.
Track 6: Zara Larsson – Lush Life
Solid danceable pop tune – big fan of this.
Track 7: Jonas Blue and Dakota – Fast Car
Dodgy house cover of the Tracy Chapman classic. Should have left well alone.
Track 8: Shawn Mendes – Stitches
Pretty tune – quite like this one.
Track 9: Major Lazer, Nyla and Fuse ODG – Light It Up [Remix]
Boring tune, and it’s too slow for my liking.
Track 10: Snakehips, Tinashe and Chance The Rapper – All My Friends
Good singalong chorus, but it’s too slow for me.
Track 11: Little Mix and Jason Derulo – Secret Love Song
Horrendously saccharine and slow! Not my kind of thing at all.
Track 12: Jess Glynne – Take Me Home
Irritating tune, and again it’s too slow.
Track 13: Ellie Goulding – Army
The tune’s quite interesting, but it’s a little too cheesy for me.
Track 14: One Direction – History
Too acoustic-y for me, but the tune’s okay.
Track 15: Selena Gomez – Hands To Myself
This tune doesn’t really do it for me, although there’s some interesting stuff going on with the backing track, and it’s got a good atmosphere. The theme’s awful, though.
Track 16: Jason Derulo – Get Ugly
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Jason Derulo on track 11.
This one’s got a good rhythm and a slight retro tinge – I quite like it.
Track 17: Sigma and Rita Ora – Coming Home
I find this tune pretty uninspired.
Track 18: Elle King – Exes and Ohs
Great classic-sounding blues-tinged rock. Really like this.
Track 19: Olly Murs – Stevie Knows
Love that retro-sounding funk. Good stuff.
Track 20: Jack Garratt – Worry
Slow and boring, with some odd instrumentals that are very distracting.
Track 21: James Bay – If You Ever Want To Be In Love
Pretty tune, and it’s got quite a good rhythm. I like the rock-edged guitar too.
Track 22: Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir – A Bridge Over You
This was the 2015 Christmas number one – a charity choral offering. It was the first time, due to streaming becoming more popular than downloading, that the X Factor winner’s single didn’t really get a look in for the Christmas number one – in fact, Louisa Johnson’s Forever Young is not even included on this Now! compilation, which marks the first time since Steve Brookstein’s Against All Odds from 2005 that the X Factor song has been left out by the Now! compilers.
Anyway, this song is a dodgy mash-up of Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and Coldplay’s Fix You, but I’m sure it raised a lot of money for charity.
Track 23: Justin Bieber – Sorry
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Justin Bieber on track 2.
I love this song, though. It’s the only Justin Bieber song I actually like, and it’s a cracker.
Track 24: The Weeknd – The Hills
Great atmosphere, but I’m not keen on the theme.
Track 25: Coldplay – Adventure Of A Lifetime
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Coldplay on track 4.
I find the warbly instrumentals on this one a bit irritating, but I do like the retro-tinged beat.
Track 26: 99 Souls, Destiny’s Child and Brandy – The Girl Is Mine
Mash-up of Destiny’s Child’s Girl and Brandy and Monica’s The Boy Is Mine (which was itself based on Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s The Girl Is Mine). Brandy re-recorded her vocals, Monica didn’t, which I guess explains the credit. I do quite like the electro lines on this track, and it’s not as messy as you would expect from a mash-up.
Track 27: Tinie Tempah and Zara Larsson – Girls Like
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Zara Larsson on track 6.
I quite like this one – it’s very danceable.
Track 28: Fleur East – Sax
I’m a big fan of this one, but you expected that, didn’t you? Saxophone a-go-go. I highly approve.
Track 29: Craig David and Big Narstie – When The Bassline Drops
The start of Craig David’s inexplicable but strangely welcome comeback! This one’s got a good beat, and, as should probably be expected, a bit of an early ’00s tinge.
Track 30: David Guetta, Sia and Fetty Wap – Bang My Head
I find the beat on this one a bit jarring, and the tune’s pretty bland.
Track 31: Sigala and Bryn Christopher – Sweet Lovin’
Another forgettable tune, and I’m actually starting to get a bit fed up of the ’90s-inspired dance tracks now.
Track 32: Kygo and Maty Noyes – Stay
Again, this tune doesn’t do anything for me.
Track 33: Mount and Nicholas Haelg – Something Good
Not a cover of the Utah Saints track, which is probably for the best, given how many versions of that one have shown up on Now! compilations. This one’s a dance track with some interesting instrumentals, but yet another generic, unmemorable tune.
Track 34: The Chainsmokers and Rozes – Roses
There’s a good atmosphere buried in there somewhere, but the track’s too messy to feel it, really.
Track 35: Alessia Cara – Here
Really don’t like this tune at all – I find it very grating.
Track 36: Alan Walker – Faded
Another slow, boring track. The beat does pick up, but it doesn’t get any more interesting.
Track 37: G-Eazy and Bebe Rexha – Me, Myself And I
I quite like the rhythm on the vocals, but I’m not keen on the tune.
Track 38: Robin Schulz and Francesco Yates – Sugar
I like the guitar at the start, and it’s got a good beat.
Track 39: Dawin and Silentó – Dessert [Remix]
The lines on this are pretty jarring, and the tune’s nothing special.
Track 40: AlunaGeorge and Popcaan – I’m In Control
Irritating vocals, dull song.
Track 41: Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out
I like the reggae-tinged beat, and the chorus is great – it gives the song an awesome eerie atmosphere. Brilliant lyrics too.
Track 42: The 1975 – The Sound
Love that classic pop feel – big fan of this track.
Track 43: Charlie Puth – One Call Away
Pretty tune, but it’s too slow and saccharine for me.
Track 44: David Bowie – Heroes
1977 classic back in the charts after David Bowie’s passing. I’m still sad about Bowie being gone even two and a half years later, and I wish I didn’t now associate this one with it being everywhere in early 2016. The song is as beautiful as everything else he did.
Day 92 means Now! #92, which brings us to 20th November 2015.
Let’s see what the party tunes were that year! No, they most certainly wouldn’t have been played at Beat:Cancer.
Track 1: Sam Smith – Writing’s On The Wall
It’s a Bond theme, so it’s got a good epic atmosphere, even if it is a slow Sam Smith song.
Track 2: Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean?
Not keen on the tune – it’s a bit depressing.
Track 3: The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
Another tune that I don’t find particularly exciting. The chorus has quite a good rhythm, though.
Track 4: Calvin Harris and Disciples – How Deep Is Your Love
The vocals on this one really irritate me.
Track 5: Naughty Boy, Beyoncé and Arrow Benjamin – Runnin’ (Lose It All)
Too slow for my liking, and again the tune doesn’t do anything for me.
Track 6: Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor – Marvin Gaye
Great upbeat big-band-sounding pop – really like this tune.
Track 7: R City and Adam Levine – Locked Away
One of those songs that’s so dull I can’t concentrate on it.
Track 8: Rachel Platten – Fight Song
Too high-pitched for me – it gives me a headache.
Track 9: Jess Glynne – Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
Irritating tune, but the beat’s okay.
Track 10: Olly Murs – Kiss Me
I like the ’80s-tinged synthy lines on this one.
Track 11: Ellie Goulding – On My Mind
Some really nice instrumentals on this track.
Track 12: Little Mix – Love Me Like You
I find this tune a bit irritating.
Track 13: One Direction – Drag Me Down
Good rhythm, and it builds quite well, but the tune is fairly uninspired.
Track 14: Demi Lovato – Cool For The Summer
I really like the synth on this one.
Track 15: Years & Years – Eyes Shut
Nice piano at the start, but it’s a little too slow for me.
Track 16: Grace and G-Eazy – You Don’t Own Me
Cover of the Lesley Gore song. It was used in the 2015 House of Fraser Christmas advert, so now it’s a feature of the annual Christmas playlists on the music channels. It’s an okay tune, but in general I find there’s too much going on in this track.
Track 17: Birdy – Wings
Good tune, though it’s a little too slow for me.
Track 18: Aurora – Half The World Away
Cover of the Oasis song, the original being best known as the theme tune to The Royle Family. This was the 2015 John Lewis Christmas advert offering. It’s a pretty cover, but I find it a little depressing when it shows up on the music channels at Christmas time.
Track 19: Jamie Lawson – Wasn’t Expecting That
Too slow, cheesy and acoustic-y for my liking.
Track 20: Ed Sheeran – Photograph
Boring, depressing and again far too slow.
Track 21: Selena Gomez and ASAP Rocky – Good For You
Good atmosphere on this one, but as ever I could do with a more interesting tune.
Track 22: 5 Seconds Of Summer – She’s Kinda Hot
Good upbeat bit of pop-rock – the tune’s not that exciting but it’s refreshing to hear something in a different style.
Track 23: The Vamps – Wake Up
Great instrumentals, great atmosphere – shame the song is a bit too cheesy for me.
Track 24: KDA, Tinie Tempah and Katy B – Turn The Music Louder (Rumble)
Great danceable track – really like this tune.
Track 25: Galantis – Peanut Butter Jelly
Good beat, but the track’s pretty messy. I do like the ’70s-tinged lines though.
Track 26: Sigala – Easy Love
Another song that’s too high-pitched – it’s quite painful to listen to.
Track 27: Martin Solveig and GTA – Intoxicated
I really like the rhythm on this one – very danceable.
Track 28: MNEK and Zara Larsson – Never Forget You
The vocals annoy me on this one.
Track 29: Diplo and Sleepy Tom – Be Right There
Not sure what I think about the interpolation of Jade’s 1992 hit Don’t Walk Away. I hadn’t even thought about the original track in years. It’s certainly the most interesting thing about this track, which is very generic otherwise.
Track 30: Felix Jaehn and Jasmine Thompson – Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better)
Interestingly tinkly cover of the Chaka Khan classic. Obviously nothing can touch the original, but this version’s not horrible.
Track 31: Pia Mia, Chris Brown and Tyga – Do It Again
The beat’s okay, but it’s a pretty generic track.
Track 32: Rudimental and Ed Sheeran – Lay It All On Me
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Ed Sheeran on track 20.
I quite like this tune, and it’s got a good rhythm.
Track 33: Sigma and Ella Henderson – Glitterball
Repetitive tune, not enough beat. Quite like the ’90s tinge though.
Track 34: Disclosure and Sam Smith – Omen
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Sam Smith on track 1.
This one’s another dull tune – there’s just nothing interesting about it at all.
Track 35: Fetty Wap – Trap Queen
Interesting track with great rhythm, even if the tune is a bit repetitive.
Track 36: Format:B – Chunky
Irritating, messy dance track with painfully blaring vocals.
Track 37: WSTRN – In2
Starts off with some boring, random chords. The vocals have got quite a good rhythm, though.
Track 38: Ariana Grande – Focus
Great beat, good solid pop tune. Quite like this one.
Track 39: Silentó – Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)
I like the videogame-esque beeping on the backing track, but the vocals are daft in an annoying way.
Track 40: Joe Stone and Montell Jordan – The Party (This Is How We Do It)
Remix of Montell Jordan’s 1995 classic (see Now! #31 for review of the original version). It’s got a good beat, but I was never a huge fan of the original anyway, and the remix has a lot of jarring lines going on.
Track 41: Nick Brewer and Bibi Bourelly – Talk To Me
Messy and uninspired, and the rap is just irritating.
Track 42: KSI and JME – Keep Up
Inspired theme! Good atmosphere, too.
Track 43: Wretch 32, Anne-Marie and PRGRSHN – Alright With Me
Good rhythm – happily nodding along here.
Track 44: Philip George and Anton Powers – Alone No More
Cover of the 1998 song by Another Level. Very repetitive, and it’s another bland tune.
Track 45: Kygo and Ella Henderson – Here For You
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Ella Henderson on track 33.
The tinkly instrumentals are nice, but the track is slow, and I don’t like slow.
Track 46: Ben Haenow and Kelly Clarkson – Second Hand Heart
Great atmosphere, but the song’s too saccharine for my liking.