Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #73

Day 73 means Now! #73, which was released on 20th July 2009.

July 2009
This is how the world looked in July 2009. I seem to have fallen into a theme for these summer releases where the picture is ‘photo of me and Geth out for Kieran’s birthday’ (Kieran’s birthday always being an epic pub crawl around Edinburgh back in those days). I still wear that jacket ALL THE TIME in the summer – it’s sort of both lightweight and rock-chick-looking. I got it in a vintage shop (The Rusty Zip on Teviot Place, now taken over by W Armstrong & Son, the biggest vintage brand in the city) in the early ’00s, and from the fabric I would guess it’s from the ’90s originally.

Time for some summer hits!  With bonus electropop, because 2009.

Now! That's What I Call Music #73
Track 1: Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Great electropop tune, very danceable.  It’s become a bit of a classic.

Track 2: Cascada – Evacuate The Dancefloor

Good atmosphere on this one, with some great electro hooks.

Track 3: David Guetta and Kelly Rowland – When Love Takes Over

Great beat, but I find the tune on the chorus pretty irritating.

Track 4: Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone

Dull tune, and the acoustic-y intro is jarring with the main electro dance bit.

Track 5: La Roux – In For The Kill

Wonderful, atmospheric electro track.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 6: Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz – Number 1

Fittingly, this did get to number one in the charts at the time.  Good beat, good tune.

Track 7: AR Rahman and The Pussycat Dolls – Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)

Love that Eastern tinge – great chant-along track.

Track 8: Chipmunk and Emeli Sandé – Diamond Rings

Good rhythm on this one – I like the jazz-tinged backing track.

Track 9: Lily Allen – Not Fair

Awesome tune, love the lyrics.

Track 10: Pixie Lott – Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)

Great, classic big band sound – really like this tune.

Track 11: Pink – Please Don’t Leave Me

Love the guitar riff, but the vocals are a bit cheesy for my liking.

Track 12: The Veronicas – Untouched

Lovely instrumentals, great ’80s tinge.  Good track, only spoilt by the irritating vocals.

Track 13: Katy Perry – Waking Up In Vegas

Good rock edge, great lyrics.  Quite like this one.

Track 14: Girls Aloud – Untouchable

Lovely atmospheric ’80s-tinged guitar intro, pretty tune on the vocals.  Very nice.

Track 15: Agnes – Release Me

I find the tune on this pretty irritating, and the instrumentals very generic.  Not keen.

Track 16: Freemasons and Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)

Great atmospheric track – yet more ’80s-tinged electropop!  I’d forgotten how much I liked 2009 for music.

Track 17: Alesha Dixon – Let’s Get Excited

Good beat, good solid bit of pop.  Happily nodding along.

Track 18: The Saturdays – Work

Love the electro instrumentals – another awesome pop track.

Track 19: Take That – Up All Night

It’s a little too acoustic-y for my liking, but I do appreciate the ’60s tinge.

Track 20: Britney Spears – If U Seek Amy

Let’s gloss over the juvenile title.  The instrumentals are great and the atmosphere is nice and epic.

Track 21: Jordin Sparks – Battlefield

Irritating vocals, but I suppose the tune is quite nice.

Track 22: Shontelle and Akon – Stuck With Each Other

Uninspired tune, boring vocals.  Not a fan of this track.

Track 23: Beyoncé – Halo

Gorgeous tune, great atmosphere.  This is the kind of ballad I can get behind.

Track 24: Daniel Merriweather – Red

This one, meanwhile, is a boring, slow ballad.  Not for me.

Track 25: Keri Hilson, Kanye West and Ne-Yo – Knock You Down

There’s some nice electro lines here, but I find the vocals pretty dull.

Track 26: Ciara and Justin Timberlake – Love Sex Magic

Love that ’70s-style funk.  Great beat, very danceable.

Track 27: The Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow

Another great chant-along track – happily chair-dancing here again!

Track 28: Soulja Boy and Sammie – Kiss Me Thru The Phone

Some very irritating and jarring electro hooks and vocals going on here, but the atmosphere’s quite good.

Track 29: Akon, Kardinal Offishall and Colby O’Donis – Beautiful

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Akon on track 22.

Very generic dance tune, boring vocals that sound like everything else released at the time.

Track 30: Flo Rida and Wynter Gordon – Sugar

Obviously I love the daft sampling of Eiffel 65’s Blue (Da Ba Dee).  The rest of the track is pretty messy and uninspired though!

Track 31: Ironik, Chipmunk and Elton John – Tiny Dancer (Hold Me Closer)

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Chipmunk on track 8.

The track’s based around a sample of the 1972 original, hence the Elton John credit.  It sounds fairly terrible with all that rapping over the top.

Track 32: Pitbull – I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)

Bonus points for the sample from The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind), and I do like the Latin tinge, even if the rap is a bit generic.

Track 33: Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden – Bonkers

Great dance tune, brilliant vocal hook – big fan of this one.

Track 34: The Prodigy – Warrior’s Dance

Gorgeous, atmospheric tune on the intro – then it launches into a highly danceable bass-driven track.  Great stuff.

Track 35: 3OH!3 – Don’t Trust Me

Another very danceable track, and a good tune.

Track 36: Kasabian – Fire

Iconic guitar riff, builds wonderfully.  Love this tune.

Track 37: Florence & The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Lovely atmosphere, gorgeous vocals.  Very nice track.

Track 38: Noisettes – Never Forget You

Great mid-century retro feel, with a nice reggae beat mixed in there as well.

Track 39: Little Boots – New In Town

Not keen on the stop-start intro, and the tune’s not very interesting.

Track 40: James Morrison – Please Don’t Stop The Rain

I quite like the piano and the atmosphere, but the vocals are too saccharine for me.

Track 41: Paolo Nutini – Candy

It’s the kind of instrumentals that would normally be too acoustic-y for me, but I quite like them.  The vocals, on the other hand, are just annoying.

Track 42: Empire Of The Sun – We Are The People

More acoustic guitar, but again I quite like it – it’s very atmospheric.  Lovely tune.

Track 43: Deadmau5 and Kaskade – I Remember

Fairly uninspired dance tune, but it’s another track that’s got quite a nice atmosphere.

Track 44: Chicane – Poppiholla

Instrumental cover of the Sigur Rós classic Hoppípolla.  It’s a lovely tune, and this reworking is very nice.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #70

Day 70,and we’ve reached Now! #70, which came out on 21st July 2008.

July 2008
This is what the world looked like in July 2008. My hair was still longer than Geth’s (it’s been a good few years since that was the case) and we sort of both had ill-conceived hair dye going on (dudes just don’t get highlights done any more – I wonder why that particular trend remained firmly in the ’00s?), but pubs, as I’ve mentioned before, never really change.

Let’s see what those summer hits were that year.

Now! That's What I Call Music #70
Track 1: Estelle and Kanye West – American Boy

Great tune.  There were a couple of good dances to this on Strictly at the time, so I mainly associate it with that.

Track 2: Dizzee Rascal, Calvin Harris and Chrome – Dance Wiv Me

Great track – love the rhythm, love the chorus.  Highly danceable.

Track 3: Mint Royale – Singin’ In The Rain

Cover of the musical classic with weird messy remix-y bits.  There’s about three good tracks here all mashed together into one bad one.

Track 4: Sam Sparro – Black And Gold

Great atmosphere, quite like this one.

Track 5: Duffy – Warwick Avenue

Nice tune, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 6: Sara Bareilles – Love Song

I like the piano, but the vocals are pretty generic.

Track 7: Gabriella Cilmi – Sweet About Me

Great tune, awesome theme.  Big fan of this track.

Track 8: Ne-Yo – Closer

Lovely tune – I really like the instrumentals, and the chorus is gorgeous.

Track 9: Girls Aloud – Can’t Speak French

Good rhythm, but there’s something that’s always annoyed me about the theme of this one.

Track 10: Kylie Minogue – In My Arms

Not massively keen on this track – it’s a bit messy for me and I don’t think much of the tune.

Track 11: Sugababes – Denial

Quite like the beat on this one, and it’s not a bad tune either – good to nod along to.

Track 12: Jonas Brothers – SOS

Awful cheesy kiddie-sounding vocals, dodgy faux pop-pop-punk sound.  Not a fan.

Track 13: Alphabeat – 10,000 Nights

Quite like the retro-tinged piano, but the tune annoys me.

Track 14: The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

Great chant-along track, but I prefer the other two big Ting Tings hits from that year – fingers crossed they’re on future Now! editions!

Track 15: The Kooks – Always Where I Need To Be

I like the guitar on the intro, but in general this one sounds a bit uninspired and forgettable to me.

Track 16: Pendulum – Propane Nightmares

Great atmosphere, love the instrumentals – and that electro hook is great.

Track 17: Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You

Quite like the backing track, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 18: Scouting For Girls – Heartbeat

Interesting instrumentals, but again I’m not keen on the main tune.

Track 19: The Feeling – Turn It Up

Nice tune, interesting piano bit.  Quite like this one.

Track 20: The Hoosiers – Cops And Robbers

Great theme, awesome atmosphere to go with it.  Brilliant track.

Track 21: Paul Weller – Have You Made Up Your Mind

Nice classic sound, but I find the tune a bit bland.

Track 22: Coldplay – Violet Hill

Takes ages to get going.  When it does, though, it’s a nice tune with a classic rock feel and a good atmosphere.

Track 23: Rihanna – Take A Bow

Lovely tune, quite like this one.

Track 24: Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown – No Air

It’s a nice tune, but I find the vocals really overblown.

Track 25: will.i.am and Cheryl – Heartbreaker

It’s an okay tune, but 3 Words was a much better collaboration between these two.

Track 26: Usher and Young Jeezy – Love In This Club

Quite like the tune on the backing track, but the vocal’s pretty boring.

Track 27: Mariah Carey – Touch My Body

Daft, awkward theme, and the song’s just not my thing – I find it a bit irritating.

Track 28: Leona Lewis – Better In Time

Nice piano, but the tune is pretty dull, and it’s too slow for me.

Track 29: Chris Brown – With You

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Chris Brown on track 24.

Boring and cheesy song – not my thing.

Track 30: Ironik – Stay With Me

Lovely tune on the backing track, but then there’s a lot of clashing sung vocals (which are a hideous chipmunk-tuned sample of Westlife’s Written In The Stars) and rapping and it all gets far too messy.

Track 31: Taio Cruz – I Can Be

Some interesting instrumentals, but again the vocals are not doing it for me.

Track 32: The Script – We Cry

Nice atmosphere, with a slight eerie-ness about it.  The vocals are really uninspired though.

Track 33: Britney Spears – Break The Ice

Another great backing track with so-so vocals over the top.

Track 34: Timbaland, Nicole Scherzinger and Keri Hilson – Scream

Good atmosphere, but there’s too much going on in this track for my liking.

Track 35: Flo Rida and T-Pain – Low

This one’s a favourite of mine, largely for the lyric ‘the baggy sweatpants and the Reeboks with the straps‘.  This is referring to the Reebok Freestyle Hi, which is my favourite trainer of all time (I have them in seven different colours), though I never wear them with sweatpants unless I need a warm layer for walking to exercise classes in the winter – leggings or jeans all the way otherwise!  The epic atmosphere is just a bonus.

Track 36: Wiley – Wearing My Rolex

Good dance beat, daft theme, good bit of grime.  I find this one quite endearing.

Track 37: DJ Q and MC Bonez – You Wot!

It’s a bit messy, but it’s very danceable.

Track 38: Basshunter – All I Ever Wanted

Classic dance tune.  I should find the vocal hook irritating, but I actually quite like it.

Track 39: Scooter – Jumping All Over The World

Daft theme as ever from Scooter.  Irritatingly messy, but I LOVE that sample from Sailor’s A Glass Of Champagne, one of my favourite ’70s glam rock tracks.

Track 40: Ultrabeat and Darren Styles – Discolights

Another great atmosphere, but again the vocals are letting it down.

Track 41: Alex Gaudino and Shena – Watch Out

The Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag sample is obviously awesome, but it jars pretty badly with the vocals, which themselves are kind of a rip-off of Mousse T’s Horny.

Track 42: September – Cry For You

I really like the electro hooks, but yet again the vocals are bland and uninspired.

Track 43: Fragma – Toca’s Miracle 2008

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).  (Urgh, and we were doing so well today!)

We’ve already had the original on Now! #45, and as usual, the new-version-with-a-year-added-to-the-title is not different enough from the first version to justify including it again!

See the link for my review.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #68

Day 68 takes us to Now! #68, which was released on 19th November 2007.

November 2007
This is how the world looked in November 2007. Well, it did if you were in a smoky neon synthpop club with your boyfriend, which is frankly the best place to be when you’re twenty-two.

It’s the time of year for party tracks.  Don’t disappoint me, Now! compilers!

Now! That's What I Call Music #68
Track 1: Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

Lovely tune, quite like this one.

Track 2: Take That – Rule The World

I’ve always found this one a bit jarring, because the verse and chorus are two beautiful tunes that don’t really work with each other.  Just when you’re enjoying one, it breaks the mood by switching to the other.  Should have been two separate songs.

Track 3: Kylie Minogue – 2 Hearts

I like the stripped-back instrumentals at the start – it gives the track lots of edge and atmosphere.  The vocals are great too.

Track 4: Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse – Valerie

I mentioned this cover four days ago in my review of the Zutons original on Now! #64.  It’s a great, bombastic big band version, and I really like it, but the classic-rock-tinged original still has the slight edge for me.

Track 5: Sugababes – About You Now

Quite like this tune – nice solid pop song.

Track 6: Kanye West – Stronger

Really like this atmospheric electro-infused track – it’s probably the best song Kanye West ever did.

Track 7: Craig David – Hot Stuff (Let’s Dance)

It’s based around a sample of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, which is obviously appreciated, but the rest of the track is very generic and just makes me want to go listen to Let’s Dance instead.

Track 8: Sean Kingston – Beautiful Girls

Pretty tune, quite like this one.  At the time, because I wasn’t following chart music very closely, I kept getting it mixed up with Mika’s Big Girls (You Are Beautiful).  The songs are very different, but that’s the power of a title.

Track 9: Shayne Ward – No U Hang Up

I like the electro-tinged instrumentals – it’s getting into that late ’00s era when that was in vogue, yay! – but the vocals are too cheesy for me.

Track 10: Timbaland, DOE and Keri Hilson – The Way I Are

Oh, it’s this one!  That electro hook is absolutely classic.  Great atmospheric track.

Track 11: Britney Spears – Gimme More

It’s Britney, bitch‘.  I remember everyone found this comeback a bit laughable at the time, but it was sampled brilliantly a few years later when she did Scream And Shout with will.i.am.  I really like the electro bassline on this one, too.

Track 12: Rihanna – Shut Up And Drive

Great guitar on this one – it’s an unusual style for Rihanna, but I really like it.

Track 13: Girls Aloud – Sexy! No No No…

Awesome epic atmosphere – it builds really nicely at the start and then launches into a brilliantly frenetic rock-tinged song.  Big fan of this one.

Track 14: Robyn and Kleerup – With Every Heartbeat

Quite like the chilled-out backing track, but the vocals are too high-pitched for me.

Track 15: Enrique Iglesias – Tired Of Being Sorry

Nice Latin tinge, though it jars slightly with the electro instrumentals.

Track 16: Groove Armada and Mutya Buena – Song 4 Mutya (Out Of Control)

Nice retro ’80s-sounding backing track, but I’m not hugely keen on the vocal style constantly veering between sung and spoken.

Track 17: Se:Sa and Sharon Phillips – Like This Like That

Nice upbeat track, with more retro instrumentals.  Very danceable.

Track 18: Ida Corr and Fedde Le Grand – Let Me Think About It

There’s a bit too much going on in this dance track, and it doesn’t all work together.

Track 19: Axwell and Max C – I Found U

Bit of a throwback to early ’90s dance, with some added ’70s retro instrumentals for good measure.  The tune’s boring though.

Track 20: Freaks – The Creeps (Get On The Dancefloor)

Another dull tune, with a very repetitive backing track.

Track 21: Peter Gelderblom – Waiting 4

House remix of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ By The Way.  It’s okay, but it’s one of those ones where I just want to listen to the original instead.

Track 22: David Guetta and Chris Willis – Love Is Gone

Some very irritating siren-sounding instrumentals in the middle of this one, but otherwise it’s quite a good upbeat electro track.

Track 23: Plain White Ts – Hey There Delilah

Pretty tune, but it’s a bit too acoustic-y and twee for my liking.

Track 24: James Blunt – 1973

Always love a 20th-century-inspired title!  Unfortunately the tune is not 20th-century-inspired – I was hoping it would be four-on-the-floor glam rock.  Instead, it’s a fairly standard melancholy one from James Blunt – pretty tune, but not really my style.

Track 25: Newton Faulkner – Dream Catch Me

Boring tune, irritating twangy guitar.  Not keen.

Track 26: The Hoosiers – Worried About Ray

Interesting instrumentals, good atmosphere, but the vocals irritate me.

Track 27: Scouting For Girls – She’s So Lovely

This one has always annoyed me – I find the tune and theme very twee.

Track 28: Feist – 1234

Too acoustic-y for me, and again I find the vocals irritating.

Track 29: Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight

We’ve already had this one on Now! #12!  I don’t care how awesome that 2007 Dairy Milk ad with the gorilla was – there’s no excuse for repeating songs!

As ever, see the link for my review.

Track 30: Avril Lavigne – When You’re Gone

Lovely piano at the start, but the vocals are too high-pitched and hurt my head.

Track 31: McFly – The Heart Never Lies

Horribly saccharine and repetitive.  Not my kind of thing at all.

Track 32: Amy MacDonald – Mr Rock And Roll

Nice tune – if I were in a folk-rock mood I would absolutely love it, but I’ve not been that way inclined lately.

Track 33: KT Tunstall – Hold On

Not keen on the jarring guitar lines at the start, but it’s got quite a good atmosphere.

Track 34: The Killers and Lou Reed – Tranquilise

I shouldn’t like this, as the lines are sort of messy and jarring, but it actually works really well to create an awesome epic atmosphere.

Track 35: Stereophonics – It Means Nothing

Dull and drone-y, not a fan of this one.

Track 36: Peter, Björn & John and Victoria Bergsman – Young Folks

Oh, it’s this one.  I’ve always found that whistling really annoying, especially due to its use in the Homebase adverts!

Track 37: Freemasons and Bailey Tzuke – Uninvited

Great atmosphere, but the vocals are irritatingly generic.

Track 38: Mika – Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)

Daft theme, but it’s quite nice and feelgood.  At the time, because I wasn’t following chart music very closely, I kept getting it mixed up with Sean Kingston’s Beautiful Girls…oh, wait, I’ve done that anecdote.  Great bassline and retro feel, anyway.

Track 39: Amy Winehouse – Tears Dry On Their Own

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Amy Winehouse on track 4.

Great tune though, quite like this one.

Track 40: Jennifer Lopez – Do It Well

Some great, epic instrumentals going on here – good stuff.

Track 41: Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry

Slow and cheesy – not keen on this track.

Track 42: Akon – Don’t Matter

Nice tune, but the vocals are a bit too saccharine for me.  Also, it kind of rips off R Kelly’s Ignition.

Track 43: Nicole Scherzinger and will.i.am – Baby Love

Super irritating tune on the vocals!  Don’t like this at all.

Track 44: Westlife – Home

The usual nauseatingly saccharine guff from Westlife.  Time to line up that original version of Let’s Dance.

Three days in a row without a ‘Not on Spotify’ incident!  It would be nice if we’d seen the last of them, but I suspect there will still be a few lurking about.