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

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

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

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

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

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

Track 2: Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl

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

Track 3: Pink – So What

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

Track 4: Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire

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

Track 5: Kid Rock – All Summer Long

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

Track 6: Rihanna – Disturbia

Great atmosphere – quite like this tune.

Track 7: Ne-Yo – Miss Independent

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

Track 8: The Pussycat Dolls – When I Grow Up

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

Track 9: Madcon – Beggin’

Good beat, nice retro tune – happily nodding along.

Track 10: Chris Brown – Forever

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

Track 11: Jennifer Hudson – Spotlight

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

Track 12: James Morrison – You Make It Real

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

Track 13: Will Young – Changes

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

Track 14: Jordin Sparks – Tattoo

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

Track 15: Geraldine McQueen – The Winner’s Song

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

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

Track 16: Sugababes – Girls

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

Track 17: The Saturdays – Up

Nice danceable track, good solid pop.

Track 18: Boyzone – Love You Anyway

Great instrumentals – quite like this one.

Track 19: Katy Perry – Hot N Cold

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

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

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

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

Track 21: Basshunter – Angel In The Night

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

Track 22: Eric Prydz – Pjanoo

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

Track 23: Steve Mac – Paddy’s Revenge

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

Track 24: Coldplay – Viva La Vida

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

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

A bit cheesy and soft-rock for my liking.

Track 26: Razorlight – Wire To Wire

Nice tune, nice atmosphere.  Good track.

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

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

Track 28: Iglu & Hartly – In This City

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

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

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

Track 30: Kaiser Chiefs – Never Miss A Beat

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

Track 31: Snow Patrol – Take Back The City

Boring tune, not particularly keen on this one.

Track 32: The Verve – Love Is Noise

Lots of messy, irritating lines.  Pretty awful.

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

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

Track 34: Christian Falk and Robyn – Dream On

Irritating vocals, but I quite like the backing track.

Track 35: Duffy – Stepping Stone

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

Track 36: Flobots – Handlebars

Daft theme, daft instrumentals.  Quite like this one.

Track 37: Keane – Spiralling

Messy, but I appreciate the retro tinge.

Track 38: McFly – Lies

Another good retro feel to this track.

Track 39: Alphabeat – Boyfriend

Good solid piece of electropop – really like this one.

Track 40: Biffy Clyro – Mountains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #65

Day 65 equals Now! #65, which was released on 20th November 2006.

November 2006
This is what the world looked like in November 2006. This is embarrassing levels of hoarding, but I still have that pack of sparklers – I’ve just not finished the packet yet (mainly because I can rarely be bothered to drag Geth outside to light sparklers on Bonfire Night these days). Maybe now we have a proper garden, I’ll make an effort to finish them off this November. Apart from anything else, if the incense sticks I’ve been burning this week are anything to go by, the sparklers are probably well past their best-before-end date by now.

As it’s still the mid-’00s, let’s hope for more rock and less pop, as the former was definitely better at the time.

Now! That's What I Call Music #65
Track 1: Scissor Sisters – I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’

Despite the name, this is a highly danceable track.  Great tune.

Track 2: Shakira and Wyclef Jean – Hips Don’t Lie

A classic – love that trumpet intro.

Track 3: Girls Aloud – Something Kinda Ooooh

The tune’s a little generic, but it’s a good solid upbeat pop song.

Track 4: The Fratellis – Chelsea Dagger

Oh, it’s this one!  Classic chant-along hook, but it can get super irritating.

Track 5: Amy Winehouse – Rehab

I always found the theme of this one really annoying, but it is a good tune.

Track 6: James Morrison – Wonderful World

Nothing special about this tune – it’s very forgettable.

Track 7: Robbie Williams – Lovelight

Good beat, but I could do with a bit more melody on this one.

Track 8: Christina Aguilera – Ain’t No Other Man

Nice soul tinge, but I find the tune dull.

Track 9: Justin Timberlake – SexyBack

Great beat, great atmosphere.  Really like this one.

Track 10: Nelly Furtado and Timbaland – Promiscuous

Repetitive verse, not enough melody.  The chorus is nice and atmospheric though – they should have just had that bit.

Track 11: Beyoncé – Déjà Vu

Very generic-sounding – not keen on this one.

Track 12: Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone – Ridin’

Great atmosphere, quite like this track..

Track 13: Bob Sinclar, Cutee B, Dollarman, Big Ali and Makedah – Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)

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

Basically a cover of C&C Music Factory’s Gonna Make You Sweat with added rapping over the top.  It’s okay, actually.

Track 14: Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit

I couldn’t find a radio edit of this, so I’m having to listen to the whole six minutes.  Repetitive hi-hat intro, annoying repetitive videogame-music hooks, very boring.  It’s probably very danceable if you’ve consumed the right substances.

Track 15: Fergie – London Bridge

Way too messy at the start, and there’s not enough melody for my liking.  Also, the theme is terrible.

Track 16: The Pussycat Dolls – I Don’t Need A Man

Nice tune on the vocals, but in general the track’s not really that interesting.

Track 17: Ne-Yo – Sexy Love

Boring, saccharine, with jarring lines.  Not keen on this at all.

Track 18: Cassie – Me & U

Great atmosphere on the intro, but it’s very generic once it launches into the vocals.

Track 19: Lemar – It’s Not That Easy

I like the mid-century retro tinge, but the tune’s a bit bland.

Track 20: Rihanna – Unfaithful

Love the piano at the beginning – this one’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 21: Westlife – The Rose

Cover of the Bette Midler song.  It’s very typically Westlife, i.e. far too slow and saccharine for me.

Track 22: High School Musical Cast – Breaking Free

It’s a boring tune, and the female vocals are horribly grating and high-pitched!  I’ve had a headache since about thirty seconds in.

Track 23: Razorlight – America

Lovely tune, great chorus – really like this one.

Track 24: Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

Another great festival anthem from Snow Patrol, though it’s kind of slow so I have to be in the right mood for it.

Track 25: Paolo Nutini – Last Request

Boring tune, too slow, cheesy lyrics.  Not my thing.

Track 26: Keane – Nothing In My Way

I quite like the atmosphere, but again it’s too slow for me.

Track 27: The Feeling – Never Be Lonely

The tune’s okay, but it’s too cheesy – there’s not enough edge for me.

Track 28: Kasabian – Empire

Finally, something a bit more upbeat!  Great track, really like this one.

Track 29: The Killers – When You Were Young

Really like the riff and the atmosphere – good stuff.

Track 30: Pink – U + Ur Hand

It’s a bit repetitive, until it gets to the singalong chorus, which is great.

Track 31: Lily Allen – LDN

Great feelgood track – I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 32: All Saints – Rock Steady

All Saints making a comeback.  It feels like that came around fast.  This song’s actually better than most of their old stuff – I really like the beat and the atmosphere.

Track 33: Simon Webbe – Coming Around Again

Good beat, but the tune’s pretty bland.

Track 34: Jamelia – Something About You

Great atmosphere, but again the tune on the vocals is just not interesting enough for me.

Track 35: Bodyrox and Luciana – Yeah Yeah

Irritating backing track, irritating vocals, no melody.  Not to my liking at all.

Track 36: David Guetta and The Egg – Love Don’t Let Me Go (Walking Away)

Mash-up of The Egg’s Walking Away and David Guetta’s Love Don’t Let Me Go.  It’s pretty messy, and the original tracks aren’t exciting enough in my book to provide any interest.

Track 37: Cascada – Everytime We Touch

Another reminder from your friendly local proofreader that ‘every time’ should be two words – there’s no such word as ‘everytime’.

Cheesy vocals, generic trance backing track.  The chorus is a cover of the Maggie Reilly track of the same name (which was thus responsible for the grammatical error) from 1992, but thankfully I’m not familiar enough with the original to be as offended as I usually am by trance covers.

Track 38: Michael Gray and Shelly Poole – Borderline

The sample of ’70s hit Ready For Your Love gives this track a nice retro tinge, but it’s otherwise pretty bland.

Track 39: Beatfreakz – Superfreak

Pointless cover of the Rick James classic, Super Freak (not sure why Beatfreakz made it all one word).  This sounds more like a remix than a cover, but I can’t find enough information on it to be sure.

Track 40: El Chombo – Chacarrón

Daft novelty song made famous through internet memes and such.  Nothing redeeming here.

Track 41: Gnarls Barkley – Smiley Faces

Great atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit dull in my book.

Track 42: McFly – Star Girl

Extremely bland tune, very forgettable.

Track 43: Matt Willis – Hey Kid

I like the instrumentals, but it’s too slow and I find the vocals boring.

Track 44: David Hasselhoff – Jump In My Car

Daft cover of the ’70s rock classic from the Hoff.  I’m not familiar with the original, but I’m guessing this cover’s probably pointless.  I actually quite like it, so I should definitely make sure to check out the original.

Track 45: Meat Loaf – It’s All Coming Back To Me Now

Super dramatic cover of the song made famous by Céline Dion (for all the drama about how Meat Loaf always saw it as his song, see the Wikipedia page).  It’s the kind of epic, atmospheric power ballad that Meat Loaf does best, and this version is fantastic, although I do really like the Céline Dion one as well.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #64

Day 64 takes us to Now! #64, which came out on 24th July 2006.

July 2006
This is how the world looked in July 2006, or at least it did if you were at T in the Park, with me and my mate Gemma looking suitably terrified in front of the ‘Maze of Terror’. I already told you she loved the Thrills.

Let’s see what bands might have been playing the festival circuit that year.

Now! That's What I Call Music #64
Track 1: Gnarls Barkley – Crazy

Great vocals from Cee Lo Green, but there’s something about the tune I’ve always found a bit depressing.

Track 2: Nelly Furtado – Maneater

This one has always been said to be inspired by the Hall & Oates track of the same name.  I’ve never been able to hear any similarities, but this is still a great song – it’s just not as good as Hall & Oates.  But then, few things are.

Track 3: Infernal – From Paris To Berlin

Nice bassline, nice ’80s-sounding dance track.  Really like this one.

Track 4: Rogue Traders – Voodoo Child

I’ve always loved this one, mainly ’cause it was used brilliantly in the Doctor Who episode ‘The Sound Of Drums’ when the Master wreaks havoc on the Earth.  Great dance track.

Track 5: McFly – Don’t Stop Me Now

Terrible pointless cover of the Queen song.  Actually, I shouldn’t say pointless, because the vocals are so poor compared to Freddie Mercury that it’s really obviously different.  Another good ‘point’ of this song is that it illustrates that there is a very good reason why nobody ever covers Queen songs, and that is because nobody has a hope of getting close to the brilliance of the originals.  I have no idea why McFly thought they could get away with this one.

Track 6: Pink – Who Knew

Dull tune that has none of the edge you usually get with Pink.  It sounds more like the kind of cheesy soft-rock you’d get from Kelly Clarkson or somebody like that.

Track 7: Sandi Thom – I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)

ARGH.  I almost don’t have the words to describe how awful I’ve always found this song.  It was the first notable example of a teenage singer discovered on YouTube.  The song, completely unironically, manages to conflate the late ’70s punk movement with the late ’60s hippy movement – hey, those alternative types are all the same, right?  If she really meant what she was singing about, the whole ‘born too late into a world that doesn’t care‘, she would at least have done enough research to know the difference.  ARGH.  Also, when I was at T in the Park 2006, she was given a five-minute slot on the main stage, because SHE ONLY HAD ONE SONG.

Sandi Thom, you are a totally fake 20th century girl.  Everything about this song is utterly cringeworthy.

ARGH.

And breathe.

Track 8: The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way

Too twee, acoustic-y, and cheesy for me.

Track 9: The Feeling – Fill My Little World

I’ve always found this one revoltingly twee, and worse, horrendously catchy.  I’ve got a horrible feeling it’s going to be stuck in my head again now after years of blissfully forgetting about it.

Track 10: Keane – Is It Any Wonder?

Quite like the guitar riff – it’s a bit edgier than I’d usually expect from Keane.  The vocals are still pretty bland though.

Track 11: Snow Patrol – You’re All I Have

Boring tune, very forgettable.

Track 12: Razorlight – In The Morning

Some nice interesting lines going on here, quite like this one.

Track 13: Orson – Bright Idea

The beat’s interesting, but the tune is a bit depressing.

Track 14: The Zutons – Valerie

Great tune, love that chord progression.  I know the Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse cover became more well-known, but I’ve got a real soft spot for the original.

Track 15: Dirty Pretty Things – Bang Bang You’re Dead

Good rock track, but the lines are a bit messy, and the tune on the vocals is kind of generic.

Track 16: The Automatic – Monster

Great track – it’s featured on Lego Rock Band, so I had a lot of fun drumming along to it back in the day.

Track 17: Paul Oakenfold and Brittany Murphy – Faster Kill Pussycat

Nice bassline, nice interesting vocals – good stuff.

Track 18: Chicane and Tom Jones – Stoned In Love

Good dance beat, but the tune’s pretty bland.  Not even Tom Jones’ vocals can make this one interesting.

Track 19: Primal Scream – Country Girl

Unfortunately, due to the theme, this one’s a bit country-inspired, and country music is not my thing at all.

Track 20: Bon Jovi – Who Says You Can’t Go Home

Bon Jovi starting to sound a bit dad-rock.  Not hugely keen on this one.

Track 21: Matt Willis – Up All Night

Matt Willis going solo from Busted and thankfully sounding a little more grown-up.  It’s not a bad rock song.

Track 22: Fall Out Boy – Dance, Dance

Great beat, interesting vocals.  Really like this one.

Track 23: Lily Allen – Smile

It’s a nice tune, but Lily Allen’s best stuff would appear later on.

Track 24: Rihanna – SOS

Good atmosphere, good solid pop track.

Track 25: The Black Eyed Peas – Pump It

The Latin tinge from the Misirlou sample (better known as the Pulp Fiction music) is great.  Happily nodding along here.

Track 26: The Pussycat Dolls and Snoop Dogg – Buttons

Great atmosphere, nice Eastern-tinged instrumentals.

Track 27: Ne-Yo – So Sick

Pretty tune on the instrumentals at the beginning, but the vocal line’s pretty boring.

Track 28: Busta Rhymes – Touch It

Messy rap, no melody, not my thing.

Track 29: Christina Milian and Young Jeezy – Say I

I like the retro ’70s-sounding backing track, and the vocals are quite interesting.

Track 30: Sérgio Mendes and The Black Eyed Peas – Mas Que Nada

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had the Black Eyed Peas, just five tracks ago.

Great Latin track – still a favourite for warm-ups and cool-downs in Zumba classes everywhere.

Track 31: The Ordinary Boys and Lady Sovereign – Nine2Five

Great uptempo song with that Ordinary Boys ska tinge – and somehow Lady Sovereign’s rap style melds really well with it.

Track 32: Sugababes – Red Dress

Great bassline, good beat, good pop track.

Track 33: Beatfreakz – Somebody’s Watching Me

Pointless ‘cover’ (actually a remix that doesn’t give proper credit to the original artist) of the Rockwell classic that leaves out the verses and just samples the chorus.  Definitely need to go listen to the original after this.

Track 34: Sunblock and Robin Beck – First Time

Another remix masquerading as a cover, this time of Robin Beck’s 1988 hit.  Yet another ’80s classic where I will be listening to the original after this Now! compilation is done!

Track 35: Bob Sinclar and Steve Edwards – World, Hold On (Children Of The Sky)

Great atmosphere, great beat – quite like this track.

Track 36: Supermode – Tell Me Why

Cover of a nonexistent mash-up of the Bronski Beat songs Smalltown Boy and Why?  When we used to run our Electrolicious Sundays night at Mr Modos, Geth would always mix the original Smalltown Boy into this, which really emphasised the shortcomings of this cover.  More originals to listen to when I’m done here!

Track 37: Mousse T and The Dandy Warhols – Horny As A Dandy

Mash-up of Horny and Bohemian Like You.  I’ve mentioned before how much I hate mash-ups.  This just makes me want to go and listen to the two originals to scrub this mess from my brain.  I think it’s going to be a long night on Spotify.

Track 38: The Shapeshifters and Chic – Sensitivity

Love that classic funk – great retro sound.  Also, apparently it was only Nile Rodgers representing Chic on this track, but I suppose he basically is Chic now.

Track 39: Beverley Knight – Piece Of My Heart

Fairly pointless cover of the ’60s classic, but it’s a great song whoever does it.

Track 40: James Morrison – You Give Me Something

Oh, it’s this one.  Boring tune, and it’s too slow for me.

Track 41: Will Young – Who Am I

Interesting backing track, but the vocal’s very repetitive.

Track 42: Ronan Keating and Kate Rusby – All Over Again

Bit of an odd pairing that I would never have guessed did a song together.  It’s slow and sappy and not my kind of thing, but I suppose the vocals are quite nice.

Track 43: Girls Aloud – Whole Lotta History

Nice tune, nice atmosphere, but I find the vocal lines a bit messy and jarring.

We’ve avoided any ‘Not on Spotify’ moments again!  Hopefully this will become more and more regular.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #60

Day 60 brings us to Now! #60, which was released on 21st March 2005.

March 2005
This was how the world looked in March 2005. MySpace was a huge thing, which meant that surprised-looking bathroom selfies with headphones draped around one’s neck were also a huge thing.

Let’s see what music sounded like now that I was in my twenties.

Now! That's What I Call Music #60
Track 1: Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For?

Great tune, great atmosphere, interesting vocals – I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 2: Sunset Strippers – Falling Stars

Remix of Waiting For A Star To Fall by Boy Meets Girl.  Love the song, obviously prefer the original version, but this is still nice to hear.

Track 3: Kylie Minogue – I Believe In You

Great synth instrumentals at the start, and I quite like the vocals.  Good track.

Track 4: McFly – All About You

The tune’s irritating, and the song’s far too cheesy for me.

Track 5: Nelly and Tim McGraw – Over And Over

This one’s not interesting enough for me – it’s pretty forgettable.

Track 6: Lemar – If There’s Any Justice

Good atmosphere, good tune – quite like this one.

Track 7: Girls Aloud – I’ll Stand By You

Utterly pointless cover of the Pretenders classic.  As ever, I feel obliged to point out that this was the official Children In Need single for 2004, and therefore the ‘point’ was to raise money for charity, but it would still have been better if they’d actually done something new and interesting with the song.

Track 8: Uniting Nations – Out Of Touch

Dance cover of the Hall & Oates classic.  It doesn’t quite have the wonderful atmosphere of the original, but I do quite like it.

Track 9: Scissor Sisters – Filthy/Gorgeous

Great song – awesome tune, highly danceable.

Track 10: The Chemical Brothers – Galvanise

I’ve always really liked the tune on this one, and it’s good to nod along to.

Track 11: LL Cool J and 7 Aurelius – Hush

Quite like the backing vocals, but the track’s pretty generic otherwise.

Track 12: Ashanti – Only U

Don’t like the muddiness of the backing track, and the tune is very bland.  The atmosphere’s okay though.

Track 13: Ciara and Petey Pablo – Goodies

Painful whistling on the backing track, terrible rap, awful theme, no melody.  Actively dislike this one.

Track 14: Akon – Locked Up

Boring tune, very repetitive.  Nothing special here.

Track 15: Joss Stone – Spoiled

The tune’s okay, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 16: Verbalicious – Don’t Play Nice

Good beat, great head-nodder.  It’s a bit repetitive and tuneless though.

Track 17: The Shapeshifters – Back To Basics

Another great beat, but the lines are a bit messy and there’s not much to the tune.

Track 18: Geri Halliwell – Ride It

Great atmosphere, really interesting intro, good tune.  Really like this one.

Track 19: Lovefreekz – Shine

Like the retro disco tinge on this dance track.

Track 20: Reflekt and Delline Bass – Need To Feel Loved

Some nice, atmospheric lines going on here – good piece of chillout.

Track 21: Soul Central and Kathy Brown – Strings Of Life (Stronger On My Own)

The instrumentals give this track a decidedly early ’90s dance vibe, which is no bad thing.

Track 22: Styles & Breeze – Heartbeatz

Generic, repetitive dance track with saccharine vocals.  Not my thing at all.

Track 23: U2 – Vertigo

Great guitar riff, great singalong chorus.  Really like this track.

Track 24: The Killers – Somebody Told Me

A classic!  Great track – I remember seeing this live at T in the Park 2005.  Brilliant lyrics, brilliant tune.

Track 25: Stereophonics – Dakota

Nice interesting spiky instrumentals, and the vocals are a lot more upbeat than most Stereophonics tracks.  Quite like this.

Track 26: Keane – This Is The Last Time

Dull and saccharine, not keen on this one.

Track 27: Bloc Party – So Here We Are

Very repetitive instrumentals, boring vocals.  Not for me.

Track 28: Athlete – Wires

I like the piano, and the atmosphere’s nice, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 29: Robbie Williams – Misunderstood

Dull tune, and again it’s too slow.

Track 30: Ronan Keating and Yusuf Islam – Father And Son

We’ve sort of already had this on Now! #33, in that we’ve already had the Boyzone version (with Ronan Keating on lead vocals) and this is the Ronan Keating solo version.  The instrumentals are a bit different on this version.  It’s also got guest vocals from Yusuf Islam, who used to be known as Cat Stevens and did the original song, thus making this a semi-cover.

Track 31: Darius – Live Twice

Boring and saccharine.  Not my thing.

Track 32: Daniel Bedingfield – Wrap My Words Around You

Good beat, like the guitar, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 33: Lucie Silvas – Breathe In

Good instrumentals, but the vocals are dull and uninspired.

Track 34: Doves – Black And White Town

Repetitive, droning tune.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 35: The Bravery – An Honest Mistake

I remember seeing this lot at T in the Park 2005 – they had a lot of bottles thrown at them and were really pissed off about it!  This was their only real hit from what I remember.  I quite like the song, to be honest.

Track 36: Freefaller – Do This! Do That!

Quite like this pop-punk track – it’s got a good tune.

Track 37: Thirteen Senses – Thru The Glass

Great eerie atmosphere on the intro, then it launches into a solid rock track.  Good stuff.

Track 38: Feeder – Tumble And Fall

I normally like Feeder, but this one’s too slow and drone-y for me.

Track 39: Raghav, Frankey Maxx and Jucxi D – Angel Eyes

I’m not keen on the rap, but otherwise it’s an okay song.

Track 40: JoJo – Baby It’s You

Highly irritating vocals, bad rap, generic tune.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 41: Atomic Kitten – Cradle

Super saccharine and too slow, and the tune is bland.  Utterly forgettable.

Track 42: Brian McFadden and Delta Goodrem – Almost Here

Great atmosphere on this one.  It’s slow and cheesy so I shouldn’t like it, but I do.

Track 43: Tony Christie and Peter Kay – (Is This The Way To) Amarillo

The Comic Relief song for 2005, which was just a re-release of the original (Tony Christie didn’t re-record it or anything).  Peter Kay is credited despite not contributing to the song – his contribution was of course the legendary video.  (I have linked to the original complete video, so I should probably include a warning that it contains Jimmy Savile.  The fascinating media practice of performing damnatio memoriae on anything involving Savile since his crimes became public knowledge is briefly covered here.)

For only the second time in sixty Now! compilations, we have avoided any ‘Not on Spotify’ incidents!  This makes me very happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track 2: Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved

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

Track 3: Natasha Bedingfield – These Words

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

Track 4: Robbie Williams – Radio

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

Track 5: Busted – Thunderbirds Are Go

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

Track 6: Eric Prydz – Call On Me

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

Track 7: Girls Aloud – Love Machine

Nice upbeat song, quite like this one.

Track 8: McFly – Obviously

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

Track 9: Rachel Stevens – More, More, More

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

Track 10: Darius – Kinda Love

Boring tune, never really gets going.

Track 11: V – Hip To Hip

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

Track 12: JoJo – Leave (Get Out)

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

Track 13: Jay Sean – Stolen

Good atmosphere, though the vocals are pretty generic.

Track 14: Scissor Sisters – Mary

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

Track 15: Keane – Bedshaped

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

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

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

Track 17: Hoobastank – The Reason

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

Track 18: Embrace – Gravity

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

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

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

Track 20: Ronan Keating – I Hope You Dance

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

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

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

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

Track 22: Daniel Bedingfield – Nothing Hurts Like Love

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

Track 23: Jamelia – Stop

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

Track 24: R Kelly – Happy People

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

Track 25: Nelly and Jaheim – My Place

Bit repetitive, but the tune’s okay.

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

Good upbeat party song, very danceable.

Track 27: Kelis and André 3000 – Millionaire

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

Track 28: 3 Of A Kind – Baby Cakes

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

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

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

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

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

Track 31: Joss Stone – You Had Me

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

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

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

Track 33: Sugababes – Caught In A Moment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track 37: Deep Dish – Flashdance

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

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

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

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

Track 39: Michael Gray – The Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

Like the guitar, and the vocals are nice too.

Track 42: Danzel – Pump It Up

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

Track 43: Eyeopener – Hungry Eyes

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

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #58

Day 58, and Now! #58, which was released on 26th July 2004.

July 2004
This is how the world looked in July 2004. I imagine that dusk in the South of France has probably always been that enticing and beautiful. I often miss my late teenage goth style, which is something I’ve not really been able to replicate properly in later years.

Let’s see what would have been blaring out on the promenade.

Now! That's What I Call Music #58
Track 1: Rachel Stevens – Some Girls

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

Track 2: The Shapeshifters – Lola’s Theme

Quite like the ’70s retro tinge and the way the instrumentals work together, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 3: Anastacia – Left Outside Alone

Good track – really like the power vocals and the lyrics in this one.

Track 4: Kelis – Trick Me

Oh, it’s this one!  Great beat, very danceable.

Track 5: Jamelia – See It In A Boy’s Eyes

Some interesting instrumentals, but the tune’s very generic.

Track 6: Eamon – F**k It (I Don’t Want You Back)

Repetitive, bitter breakup song that was everywhere in the early part of the year…

Track 7: Frankee – FURB (F U Right Back)

…and then this answer song was released with exactly the same tune.  It was later revealed that she wasn’t actually his ex-girlfriend and the whole thing had been made up to sell more records.  Anyway, both tracks are awful.

Track 8: Christina Milian – Dip It Low

Irritating vocals, boring tune.

Track 9: Outkast – Hey Ya!

Great, classic singalong track!  Still love this one.

Track 10: The Black Eyed Peas – Hey Mama

Great atmosphere, good beat.  Quite like this track.

Track 11: Scissor Sisters – Laura

Great tune, probably the best song Scissor Sisters ever did.  That recurring instrumental is stunning.

Track 12: George Michael and The Ones – Flawless (Go To The City)

Semi-cover of the 2001 track Flawless (see Now! #50 for review of the original) with George Michael singing over the top.  This version is better, to be honest.

Track 13: Narcotic Thrust – I Like It

Quite like the tune on this dance track.

Track 14: Beverley Knight – Come As You Are

Nice classic retro tinge on the bassline, but the vocal line’s not really doing anything for me.

Track 15: Joss Stone – Super Duper Love

Cover of a ’70s song by Sugar Billy, though this version is a lot more well-known.  It’s a nice feelgood song and a nice tune.

Track 16: Keane – Everybody’s Changing

Cheesy soft rock, a bit cringeworthy.  The tune’s okay, I suppose.

Track 17: Franz Ferdinand – The Dark Of The Matinée

I always quite liked this one – good stompy ’00s festival rock.  Super bonus points for the bit in the lyrics about Terry Wogan (RIP).

Track 18: Razorlight – Golden Touch

Another great festival track – love the tune and the atmosphere on this.

Track 19: The Rasmus – In The Shadows

A song long detested by alternative music fans because it’s kind of fake and cheesy, but I have to admit I have a bit of a nostalgic fondness for it.

Track 20: Gladiator and Izzy – Now We Are Free

Like the operatic vocals, but the trance is very uninspired.

Track 21: Britney Spears – Everytime

‘Every time’, Britney.  ‘Every time’.  There’s no such word as ‘everytime’!

The track is a boring slow ballad, and it’s probably pretty clear by now that I’m not keen on those.

Track 22: Kylie Minogue – Chocolate

This one’s a bit slow for me, and there’s not really anything interesting going on.

Track 23: Girls Aloud – The Show

Great electro backing track, very danceable – really solid piece of pop.

Track 24: McFly – 5 Colours In Her Hair

A really cringeworthy bit of trying-to-be-alternative pop-pop-punk.  You just know that the ‘five colours in her hair’ were from hair mascara (anyone else remember that awful late ’90s/early ’00s trend?  I only just chucked out all of mine earlier this year!).

Track 25: Sugababes – In The Middle

The vocals are a little irritating on this one, and the tune’s a bit repetitive.

Track 26: Busted – Air Hostess

Bad clangy guitars, cheesy vocals, uninspired tune.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 27: O-Zone – Dragostea Din Tea

This daft Eurodance track was everywhere in summer 2004 and later became the subject of a meme.  I’ve always really liked the tune!

Track 28: Blue – Bubblin’

Good beat, but the tune is really dull.

Track 29: V – Blood Sweat And Tears

Highly generic, bland song.  Utterly forgettable.

Track 30: 2 Play, Raghav and Naila Boss – It Can’t Be Right

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

Quite like the tune, and it’s nice and upbeat.

Track 31: Nina Sky and Jabba – Move Ya Body

Good head-nodder, happily chair-dancing here.

Track 32: Fatman Scoop and The Crooklyn Clan – It Takes Scoop

Cover of the 1988 song It Takes Two, which is possibly one of the most covered/sampled tracks of all time (and was already a mishmash of samples itself).  I’m not familiar enough with the 1988 song to ascertain the differences, but this version’s a bit messy for me, though it’s got a good beat.

Track 33: Kanye West – Through The Wire

I like the retro tinge on the sung vocals in the background, but the main rap is not really my thing.

Track 34: NERD – Maybe

There are some interesting lines going on here, but the beat’s a bit jarring and the tune’s not doing it for me.

Track 35: Estelle – 1980

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

This song would be a lot better if it actually sounded like it was made in 1980.  Still, it’s an okay track.

Track 36: Jay Sean and Rishi Rich Project – Eyes On You

Really like the piano instrumentals, and the tune’s quite nice too.

Track 37: VS – Call U Sexy

Love the sample of Imagination’s Body Talk, but the rest of the track is pretty boring.

Track 38: Joe – Ride Wit U

Not enough melody for my liking, and the backing track’s really one-note and dull.

Track 39: Gabrielle – Stay The Same

Too slow and too bland for me.

Track 40: Ronan Keating and LeAnn Rimes – Last Thing On My Mind

Boring ballad, which, to be honest, I kind of expected from these two.

Track 41: Kristian Leontiou – Story Of My Life

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

Track 42: Atomic Kitten – Someone Like Me

Really like the piano on this.  The tune’s quite nice too.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #57

Day 57 brings us to Now! #57, which came out on 5th April 2004.

April 2004
This is the way the world looked in April 2004, or at least the bit that was me and the wee bro (clearly not quite as wee as he once was) silhouetted against central Manhattan. I am very behind on furnishing trends and that lampshade looks pretty futuristic to me even now, fourteen years later.

We’re really getting into the mid-’00s now.  Bring on the pop-punk and anthemic festival rock!

Now! That's What I Call Music #57
Track 1: Britney Spears – Toxic

Great danceable song – really good piece of pop.

Track 2: Kelis – Milkshake

Good atmosphere, good beat.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 3: Jamelia – Thank You

The tune’s a bit generic and forgettable for me.

Track 4: Kylie Minogue – Red Blooded Woman

Good atmosphere, love the instrumentals on this.  Great tune too.

Track 5: Justin Timberlake – I’m Lovin’ It

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

Irritating hooks, messy lines, jarring beat.  Not keen on this one.

Track 6: Enrique Iglesias and Kelis – Not In Love

Repeated artist alert!  We already had Kelis, only four tracks ago.

The track’s got a good beat, and I like the Spanish-tinged guitar and the way the vocals blend together.  Nice tune, although the chorus does slightly rip off Night Games by Graham Bonnet.

Track 7: The Black Eyed Peas – Shut Up

I love this one – probably my all-time favourite Black Eyed Peas track (and there’s some stiff competition from their 2009-2010 era).  In my second year at uni, there was someone in the flat next door who played this on a loop for several weeks, and I still never got sick of it.  Just a gorgeous piece of music.

Track 8: 2 Play and Raghav – So Confused

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

Quite like this tune, and the Latin-tinged instrumentals are nice.

Track 9: Beenie Man and Ms Thing – Dude

I shouldn’t like it, ’cause it’s really repetitive, but there’s something I find quite feelgood and endearing about it.

Track 10: Peter Andre and Bubbler Ranx – Mysterious Girl

We’ve already had this one, on Now! #34!  This must have been around the time Peter Andre got famous again by going on I’m A Celebrity.  It’s still no excuse!

As ever, see the link for my review.

Track 11: DJ Casper – Cha Cha Slide

Slow to get going, not enough melody.  It’s basically spoken dance instructions with some repetitive instrumentals in the background.

Track 12: Girls Aloud – Jump

Utterly pointless cover of the Pointer Sisters classic.  There’s nothing new here at all.

Track 13: Boogie Pimps – Somebody To Love

Electro cover of the Jefferson Airplane song.  It’s quite nice and atmospheric.

Track 14: Atomic Kitten and Kool & The Gang – Ladies’ Night

Semi-cover of the 1979 classic.  Apparently Kool & The Gang asked Atomic Kitten to ‘update’ the song, but this is a pretty pointless cover, as it doesn’t do anything different.

Track 15: Emma Bunton – I’ll Be There

Pretty ballad – quite like this tune.

Track 16: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – I Won’t Change You

Irritating theme, bland tune.  Not a fan of this.

Track 17: Scissor Sisters – Comfortably Numb

Danceable cover of the Pink Floyd track.  Quite like this one.

Track 18: Deepest Blue – Give It Away

Dull tune, dull beat.  It’s so boring I can’t even concentrate on it.

Track 19: LMC and U2 – Take Me To The Clouds Above

Dance cover of Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know? that also samples With Or Without You, hence the U2 involvement.  Proof that no matter how many classic songs you bastardise in your terrible ’00s dance track, it will still be terrible.

Track 20: Special D – Come With Me

Dance track with a pleasant bleepy tune and interesting vocals.  Very danceable.

Track 21: Ultrabeat – Feelin’ Fine

It’s a bit saccharine, but there’s something slightly retro about the vocals that I quite like.

Track 22: Motorcycle – As The Rush Comes

Great beat, great atmosphere.  The vocals are a bit lacking, but it’s otherwise a good track.

Track 23: Ferry Corsten – Rock Your Body Rock

Not sure about the vocoder on the vocals, but I quite like the backing track – it sounds a bit like video game music.

Track 24: Will Young – Leave Right Now

I’ve always found the tune on this one really irritating.

Track 25: Katie Melua – The Closest Thing To Crazy

Actively disliked it at the time, still actively dislike it now.  Annoying and depressing.

Track 26: Norah Jones – Sunrise

Nice tune, but it’s a bit slow and acoustic-y for me.

Track 27: Blue – Breathe Easy

It’s got a nice epic feeling about it, though the tune’s a bit boring.

Track 28: Ozzy Osbourne and Kelly Osbourne – Changes

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

Appallingly cheesy semi-cover of the ’70s Black Sabbath song, with the lyrics altered to reflect the Osbournes’ father-daughter relationship.  I still laugh every time I remember this song coming on in big Bennets*, Edinburgh, and the consequent furious pub ranting of a mate of a mate who was a Black Sabbath fan.

*Not to be confused with wee Bennets, Edinburgh.  Big Bennets is in Tollcross, wee Bennets is in Morningside.

Track 29: Blink-182 – I Miss You

It’s the lead track off the infamous album where Blink-182 grew up and went serious.  This one’s okay, but my favourite track from that album is All Of This, a duet with the Cure’s Robert Smith.  Worth checking out.

Track 30: Busted – Who’s David

Generic tune, offputting jealousy theme in the lyrics.  Not keen.

Track 31: Fountains Of Wayne – Stacy’s Mom

I adore this hilarious track.  It’s not even a guilty pleasure, I just love it.  Brilliant stuff.

Track 32: Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out

Great, classic piece of ’00s rock.  Love the intro, love the way the main song kicks in.

Track 33: Alistair Griffin – Bring It On

Bland, uninspired tune, boring acoustic-y instrumentals.  Not my thing at all.

Track 34: Sugababes – Too Lost In You

Gorgeous track.  It’s one of those ones that’s been turned into a Christmas song in recent years – it was on the Love Actually soundtrack and the film features heavily in the video, hence the music channels always adding it to their Christmas playlists – but the song’s lovely to listen to any time of year.

Track 35: VS – Love You Like Mad

Twee instrumentals, annoying vocals.  Not for me.

Track 36: Joss Stone – Fell In Love With A Boy

Quite like this soul track – it’s a bit different to what was generally going on in the charts at the time.

Track 37: FYA and Smujji – Must Be Love

Quite like the atmosphere on the intro, but I’m not keen on the rap, and the sung sections are very generic-sounding.

Track 38: NERD – She Wants To Move

Good head-nodder – I’ve always quite liked this one.

Track 39: Jamie Cullum – Frontin’ [Live]

I’m not hugely keen on most of Jamie Cullum’s laid-back lounge-y jazz stuff – it’s not exciting enough for me.  I don’t like live versions either.

Track 40: Keane – Somewhere Only We Know

Overplayed, irritatingly twee tune.  I actually prefer the Lily Allen cover that was done for the John Lewis Christmas advert a few years back.

Track 41: Snow Patrol – Run

Classic lighters-in-the-air anthem – gorgeous tune.

Track 42: Alex Parks – Maybe That’s What It Takes

Boring, slow ballad.  Not my kind of thing.

Track 43: Ronan Keating – She Believes (In Me)

An even slower ballad, with ‘bonus’ saccharine lyrics.  The tune’s awful too.

Track 44: Michelle McManus – All This Time

Nice tune, but it’s another one that’s too slow for my liking.