Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #100

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.

July 2018
Finally, this is the way the world – and my family – looks now, in July 2018. We’re all a bit older, and music is definitely not what it was when the Now! compilations began, but we’re all still here, all together again this week, and all talking about building our collections of houseplants once again.

Here they are, then – the very last summer hits.

Now! That's What I Call Music #100

(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

Okay.

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.

Another one we’ve been recently discussing due to its interpolation in Dimelo!

Track 39: Take That – Rule The World

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.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #99

Day 99 brings us to Now! #99, which was released on 23rd March 2018.

March 2018
This is how the world looked in March 2018. I have hundreds of photos from that month depicting things that I was getting rid of in my clothes cull – the joys of digital hoarding – but this is the only one I have of me, although I suspect Mum and Dad probably have some from their visit to Newcastle that month that I’ve not seen yet. Winning my Slimming World group’s Greatest Loser award was one of my highlights of my journey to target. The house, meanwhile, was even messier and full of boxes than it is now.

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.

Now! That's What I Call Music #99
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.

Track 13: Kylie Minogue – Dancing

There is something indescribably comforting about the fact that, thirty years after I Should Be So Lucky became the favourite song of every girl in my nursery school class, Kylie Minogue is still featuring on Now! compilations.  I feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I really like the guitar on this one – it’s a nice, pretty tune with a retro feel.

Track 14: Camila Cabello – Never Be The Same

Pretty tune, but it’s a little slow for me.

Track 15: Mabel and Notes – Fine Line

I quite like the tinkly instrumentals on this one, and it’s a good tune.

Track 16: Sigrid – Strangers

It’s got a good rhythm, but the tune annoys me.

Track 17: Paloma Faith – Guilty

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

As I explained in the intro, there have been a few tracks on Now! compilations recently I’ve not recognised, including this one.  Looking it up, I now know why.  This wasn’t actually a hit – not in the UK or anywhere else.  As such, I’m not sure why it’s been included!

It’s got a great atmosphere and a nice classic feel, though.

Track 18: Pink – Beautiful Trauma

I find this one a bit depressing, though the tune is very pretty.

Track 19: James Arthur – Naked

Too slow for me, and I don’t like the tune.

Track 20: Tom Walker – Leave A Light On

Again it’s a little too slow for me, but it’s got a good epic atmosphere.

Track 21: Calum Scott – You Are The Reason

Another one that wasn’t a hit – it only got to number 43!

This one’s too slow for me, and the tune’s very depressing.

Track 22: Sam Smith – One Last Song

I quite like the retro-sounding instrumentals on this track.

Track 23: Stormzy and MNEK – Blinded By Your Grace [Part II]

Good tune – quite like this one.

Track 24: Post Malone and Ty Dolla Sign – Psycho

Interesting instrumentals, but I don’t like the tune – it’s very repetitive.

Track 25: Blocboy JB and Drake – Look Alive

Not enough melody for me.

Track 26: Khalid – Location

Another non-hit – this only got to number 67!

Great atmosphere and classic feel – quite like this one.

Track 27: NF – Let You Down

I can’t stand this track – the tune and the high-pitched vocals are so irritating.

Track 28: Ramz – Barking

Great track!  Endearing theme, interesting tune.  Big fan of this one.

Track 29: J Hus – Bouff Daddy

Good atmosphere, but the tune’s boring.

Track 30: Cliq and Alika – Wavey

Also not a hit – this one only got to number 44!

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.)

Track 36: G-Eazy and Halsey – Him And I

Pretty tune, quite like this one.

Track 37: Sza and Calvin Harris – The Weekend

Another non-hit!  This only got to number 55.

I’m not hugely keen on the tune on this one, but it’s got a good retro-sounding beat.

Track 38: Hailee Steinfeld, Alesso, Florida-Georgia Line and Watt – Let Me Go

Another generic, irritating tune.

Track 39: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Want You Back

Nice tune, but the verse is too slow and cheesy for me.  The chorus is good though – and I love that rock guitar.

Track 40: Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me

Yet another one that wasn’t a hit – this one only got to number 85!

It’s got a good atmosphere though – really like those instrumentals.  The tune’s nice, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 41: Maroon 5 – Wait

And another non-hit – number 79 for this song.

Not keen on this tune – it’s pretty generic.

Track 42: James Bay – Wild Love

This one’s too slow for me.  Nice tune though.

Track 43: Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – As You Are

The complete opposite of a hit.  This didn’t chart at all!

I like the instrumentals at the start, but again it’s not upbeat enough for my liking.

Track 44: U2 – You’re The Best Thing About Me

This one, meanwhile, only got to number 92.

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.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #77

Day 77 means Now! #77, which came out on 22nd November 2010.

November 2010
This is the way the world looked in November 2010. I was hoping when going back through these photos that we’d have the ‘newly engaged couple’ sparkle, but in all honesty, we both look awful – in those days our diet was a lot worse and neither of us did any exercise. I don’t think my scraped-back hair or Geth’s unshaven face are doing this picture any favours either. I do feel really happy that we’ve been able to get healthier and fitter together through running, even if that engagement ring is far too big for me now and I have to be extra careful it doesn’t slip off my finger.

Let’s have a listen to the Christmas party tunes of 2010.

Now! That's What I Call Music #77
Track 1: Rihanna – Only Girl (In The World)

Great piece of pop, awesomely danceable tune.

Track 2: Katy Perry – Firework

I appreciate the epic nature of this song, but I’ve always found the tune irritating.

Track 3: Cheryl – Promise This

Another danceable pop track with some great vocal hooks.

Track 4: Flo Rida and David Guetta – Club Can’t Handle Me

Pleasant enough, but the tune’s a bit forgettable.

Track 5: Cee Lo Green – Forget You

Great, powerful track with an awesome mid-century retro feel.  This song was everywhere in 2010.

Track 6: Taio Cruz – Dynamite

Brilliantly danceable tune with a great singalong chorus.

Track 7: Tinie Tempah and Eric Turner – Written In The Stars

I do like this tune – some lovely lines going on.

Track 8: Mike Posner – Cooler Than Me

Great rhythm, really interesting song.  Strangely, after this hit, Mike Posner disappeared from the charts for six years before showing up again in 2016 with the number one smash I Took A Pill In Ibiza (or just In Ibiza, if you’re listening to daytime radio).

Track 9: Enrique Iglesias and Nicole Scherzinger – Heartbeat

I like the piano bit, but the tune’s really boring.

Track 10: Usher and Pitbull – DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love

Good beat, and there’s a nice singalong chorus.  The verse is pretty generic though.

Track 11: The Wanted – All Time Low

Great tune, really like this one.

Track 12: Olly Murs – Please Don’t Let Me Go

Nice retro-sounding tune, but it’s a little saccharine for my liking.

Track 13: Eliza Doolittle – Pack Up

Great feelgood retro-tinged pop track.  Quite like this tune.

Track 14: Michael Bublé – Hollywood

Nice epic tune, great feelgood pop song.  Great track.

Track 15: Kylie Minogue – Get Outta My Way

Lovely tune, but the vocal line is a bit bland.

Track 16: The Saturdays and Flo Rida – Higher

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Flo Rida on track 4.

This is quite a good tune, though – nice and upbeat.

Track 17: Roll Deep – Green Light

Good dance beat, great bassline, interesting rap, but the tune on the sung vocals is pretty bland.

Track 18: Ne-Yo – Beautiful Monster

Not keen on the theme, but the tune’s okay.

Track 19: Duck Sauce – Barbra Streisand

I’ve always had a soft spot for this daft dance track – Geth used to play it when we were doing Electrolicious Sundays at Mr Modos.

Track 20: Swedish House Mafia and Tinie Tempah – Miami 2 Ibiza

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Tinie Tempah on track 7.

Great beat, and I love the rap on this.  Good track.

Track 21: Tinchy Stryder – In My System

Messy and dull – not keen on this one.

Track 22: Diana Vickers – My Wicked Heart

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

Quite an interesting track – like Florence & The Machine except exciting.  The tune could be a bit more pleasant, though.

Track 23: Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are

Super saccharine, as was standard for Bruno Mars during this era.  The tune’s nice, but it’s just too cheesy for me.

Track 24: B.o.B and Hayley Williams – Airplanes

Gorgeous atmosphere, really nice tune.

Track 25: The Script – For The First Time

Nauseatingly cheesy soft-rock – not my kind of thing at all.

Track 26: Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow – Shame

Daft duet to celebrate the former Take That bandmates being friends again after years of rivalry.  The Brokeback Mountain-esque video is also hilarious.

Track 27: Adele – Make You Feel My Love

Cover of the Bob Dylan song.  The vocals are gorgeous, but it’s just far too slow for my liking.

Track 28: Rumer – Slow

It certainly is slow.  Slow and impossibly dull.

Track 29: Shontelle – Impossible

I appreciate the power ballad stylings, but the tune is super annoying.

Track 30: Nelly – Just A Dream

Lovely guitar on the intro, and it’s got a good rhythm.  Quite like this one.

Track 31: Labrinth – Let The Sun Shine

Very pretty tune – great track.

Track 32: Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars – Billionaire

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Bruno Mars on track 23.

Nice jaunty song to which we can all relate.  Good stuff.

Track 33: Alesha Dixon – Drummer Boy

As you might guess from the title, the drums on this are great.  The theme is a bit daft, though.

Track 34: Mark Ronson and The Business Intl – Bang Bang Bang

Good head-nodder, pleasant tune, though it’s a little repetitive.

Track 35: Brandon Flowers – Crossfire

Nice tune, but a bit slow for my liking.

Track 36: Mumford & Sons – The Cave

This one’s a bit too acoustic-y for my current tastes.

Track 37: Plan B – Prayin’

Good beat, good atmosphere.

Track 38: Jay Sean and Nicki Minaj – 2012 (It Ain’t The End)

Annoying, cheesy tune, and the theme is pretty daft (and will get more and more dated – who’s even going to remember the 2012 apocalypse prophecy in a couple of decades’ time?).

Track 39: N-Dubz – Best Behaviour

I find the tune a little too cheesy for my tastes, but I do like the bassline once the track gets going.

Track 40: Jason Derulo – What If

On hearing the first notes of the piano intro just now, I was like ‘whoa!  It’s Alone by Heart!’  Apparently this is not coincidental.  Other than that bit of interest, the song’s a bit boring.

Track 41: Pixie Lott – Broken Arrow

Too ballad-y for me, like most of the stuff off Pixie Lott’s first album.

Track 42: Joe McElderry – Ambitions

The vocals are too high-pitched and irritating for me, and the tune’s pretty uninspired.  It’s got quite a good beat though.

Track 43: McFly – Party Girl

Very messy track!  Far too much going on here, very jarring sound.

Track 44: Katy B – Katy On A Mission

Good danceable track – happily nodding along here.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #76

Day 76, and Now! #76, which was released on 19th July 2010.

July 2010
This is how the world looked in July 2010. Night-time beer gardens were a big part of my world that summer! I’ve recently rediscovered that necklace and wear it daily at the moment. The purple hoodie, meanwhile, has become my post-run hoodie; I’ve had it since 1999 so I may have mentioned that before.

Time for the first summer hits of the new decade!

Now! That's What I Call Music #76
Track 1: Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg – California Gurls

Great piece of pop, awesome party tune.

Track 2: Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull – I Like It

Great beat, highly danceable, fun tune.  Quite like this track!  We used to dance to this one at my Zumba class in Southampton, as my instructor Hayley was a big Pitbull fan.

Track 3: JLS – The Club Is Alive

Daft take on The Sound Of Music.  It’s a bit less cheesy than their usual stuff, so I actually find this one okay.

Track 4: Usher and will.i.am – OMG

Great tune!  Love the interesting vocals on this one.

Track 5: David Guetta, Chris Willis, Fergie and LMFAO – Gettin’ Over You

Great upbeat dance track – happily chair-dancing away here.

Track 6: Kylie Minogue – All The Lovers

Solid pop track, really like those instrumentals.

Track 7: Professor Green and Lily Allen – Just Be Good To Green

Fairly pointless cover of Beats International’s Dub Be Good To Me with added rapping.  It’s okay, but the original is better.

Track 8: B.o.B and Bruno Mars – Nothin’ On You

I’ve always found this one a bit too saccharine.

Track 9: Lady Gaga – Alejandro

Great, atmospheric electropop.  When we were doing Electrolicious Sundays at Mr Modos, Geth would always mix this one into La Isla Bonita by Madonna, ’cause the melodies are so similar.

Track 10: Cheryl – Parachute

The atmosphere’s nice, but the tune’s a bit dull.

Track 11: Rihanna – Te Amo

Quite like the vocal hook on this one, and the electro line is gorgeous.  Nice Latin tinge too.

Track 12: Roll Deep and Jodie Connor – Good Times

Good dance beat, but the tune’s very generic.

Track 13: Kelly Rowland and David Guetta – Commander

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

This is a great track though – very danceable.

Track 14: Dizzee Rascal – Dirtee Disco

Messy intro, but I really like the disco instrumentals (the sample is the Staple Singers track I’ll Take You There, from 1972).

Track 15: Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP – We No Speak Americano

Interesting, danceable track.  The sample is the 1956 song Tu Vuò Fà L’Americano by Renato Carosone, fact fans – it gives it an awesome mid-century feel.

Track 16: Inna – Hot

Good beat, but the vocals are pretty irritating.

Track 17: Edward Maya and Vika Jigulina – Stereo Love

I love the accordion on this one – it gives it a lovely Eastern European tinge.

Track 18: Sean Kingston and Justin Bieber – Eenie Meenie

Terrible theme, jarring lines, irritating vocals.  The chorus is okay, though.

Track 19: Miley Cyrus – Can’t Be Tamed

Great atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit uninspired.

Track 20: Pixie Lott – Turn It Up

Bit of a bland tune, but the chorus is okay.

Track 21: Justin Bieber and Ludacris – Baby

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Justin Bieber on track 18.

Horrendously saccharine and squeaky.  Teenage girls loved it, though, which just goes to prove that teenage girls’ taste is getting worse and worse as time goes on.  How did we get from the Beatles to Bieber?  You could write a whole book on that, and maybe one day I will.

Track 22: Iyaz – Solo

I quite like the piano, but in general the song’s a bit too cheesy for my liking.

Track 23: Timbaland and Justin Timberlake – Carry Out

Love the atmosphere on this one – great track.

Track 24: Plan B – She Said

Great tune, awesome classic jazz feel.

Track 25: Scouting For Girls – This Ain’t A Love Song

It’s a bit cheesy and soft-rock for me, and the vocals are kind of irritating.

Track 26: K’naan – Wavin’ Flag

Nice jaunty tune released to tie in with the World Cup 2010.  It’s funny to think that was two World Cups ago, and now we’re in the middle of another one (which I have been successfully avoiding).

Track 27: Jason Derulo – Ridin’ Solo

It’s an okay pop track, but the tune is a bit forgettable compared to most of Jason Derulo’s stuff.

Track 28: Alicia Keys – Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart

Gorgeous tune, beautiful atmosphere.

Track 29: Fyfe Dangerfield – She’s Always A Woman

Pointless cover of the Billy Joel track.  I adore the song whoever does it, but there’s nothing new about this version.

Track 30: Train – Hey Soul Sister

What this song consistently achieves for me is that I always wish it really were Mr Mister on the radio, instead of Train.  You have to give them credit for that.

Track 31: Scissor Sisters – Fire With Fire

I find this one a bit slow and dull.

Track 32: Diana Vickers – Once

Great pop tune – really like this one.  I also love the video with all her hundreds of different outfits!

Track 33: Example – Kickstarts

The lyrics are a bit cheesy, but it’s a good danceable tune.

Track 34: Swedish House Mafia and Pharrell Williams – One (Your Name)

Great electro hooks, nice atmosphere.

Track 35: The Black Eyed Peas – Rock That Body

Good beat, but the tune’s a bit dull.

Track 36: Alexandra Burke and Pitbull – All Night Long

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

I quite like the vocal hook on the chorus, but the rap over the intro is pretty jarring.

Track 37: Aggro Santos and Kimberly Wyatt – Candy

Great bassline, great atmosphere.  Good solid pop track.

Track 38: Taio Cruz and Kesha – Dirty Picture

Daft theme, and the tune is pretty forgettable.

Track 39: Chipmunk and Esmée Denters – Until You Were Gone

Generic and bland.

Track 40: Skepta – Rescue Me

I find the tune on this one a bit depressing.

Track 41: N-Dubz and Bodyrox – We Dance On

I like the Canon in D sample, but the rest of the track’s pretty forgettable.

Track 42: Robyn – Dancing On My Own

Boring tune – nothing redeeming about this one.

Track 43: Florence & The Machine and Dizzee Rascal – You’ve Got The Dirtee Love [Live At The Brit Awards 2010]

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Dizzee Rascal on track 14.

I remember watching this performance on the Brits at the time.  You wouldn’t think You’ve Got The Love would work with Dizzee Rascal rapping over the top, but it’s actually quite an interesting take.

However, I am contractually obliged to point out that in addition to the three instances of the Source and Candi Staton’s original version of the song on Now! #19, Now! #36, and Now! #63, we now have two instances of the Florence & The Machine version, on Now! #74 and on this one, making a total of FIVE instances!  I am almost certain that this makes it the most featured song in the history of Now! compilations, though I will have to check my stats at the end of the project.

Track 44: Kelis – Acapella

That title should be spelt ‘a cappella’, but I’m sure you all knew that.

I like the drums on the intro, and the vocal line is quite interesting.

Track 45: Tinie Tempah and Labrinth – Frisky

Great instrumentals, awesome atmosphere – very danceable.

Track 46: Pendulum – Watercolour

Lovely electro track – it builds beautifully, and the hooks are wonderful.

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 #69

Day 69 brings us to Now! #69, which came out on 17th March 2008.

March 2008
This is the way the world looked in March 2008. Yup, it’s another car picture, this time of Dad’s Saab in the snow. It didn’t actually cope very well with snow, hence why he now has a Land Rover.

On with the hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #69
Track 1: Duffy – Mercy

I’ve always really liked this track – classic, danceable tune.

Track 2: Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music

Great dance track!  Happily nodding along here.

Track 3: Basshunter and DJ Mental Theo’s Bazzheadz – Now You’re Gone

Great tune, love the atmosphere – and that bass is awesome.

Track 4: Girls Aloud – Call The Shots

I don’t find this tune very interesting, but the atmosphere’s quite good.

Track 5: Nickelback – Rockstar

I mentioned in the Now! #56 review that there are only two Nickelback tracks worth listening to, and neither is for reasons to do with the song itself.  How You Remind Me is the first (see Now! #51 review for why) and this is the second, because of the video with all the celebrities and random fans miming along.

Track 6: OneRepublic – Stop And Stare

A bit slow and depressing for my liking.

Track 7: David Jordan – Sun Goes Down

Interesting track, great harmonies, epic guitar.  Quite like this one.

Track 8: Kelly Rowland – Work [Freemasons Remix]

Upbeat and danceable, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 9: Soulja Boy – Crank That (Soulja Boy)

Good atmosphere, but there’s not enough melody for me, and I find the rap style irritating.

Track 10: Britney Spears – Piece Of Me

Slightly awkward theme, and it could do with being a bit more uptempo.

Track 11: T2 and Jodie Aysha – Heartbroken

Too messy on the intro, and then the tune’s irritating once it gets going.

Track 12: H ‘Two’ O and Platnum – What’s It Gonna Be

Another annoying tune with headache-inducing high-pitched vocals.

Track 13: Taio Cruz – Come On Girl

Good head-nodder, but the tune’s pretty generic.

Track 14: Kylie Minogue – Wow

Another solid pop track from Kylie Minogue.  Great tune.

Track 15: Robyn – Be Mine!

Irritating vocals, boring tune.  Not keen on this one.

Track 16: Cascada – What Hurts The Most

Slow ballad intro before it launches into the usual Eurodance.  The tune’s fairly uninspired, but it’s quite danceable.

Track 17: Booty Luv – Some Kinda Rush

More ’70s-tinged dance from Booty Luv.  Good stuff.

Track 18: Samim – Heater

Repetitive, messy and irritating – not my thing at all.

Track 19: Mary J Blige – Just Fine

Jarring electro instrumentals that don’t really go with the soul-tinged vocals.  Also, the tune’s pretty forgettable.

Track 20: Jay Sean – Ride It

Great tune and atmosphere – lovely track.

Track 21: Shayne Ward – Breathless

Slow ballad, too saccharine for me.

Track 22: Leon Jackson – When You Believe

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

Pointless cover of the Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston soundtrack song for The Prince Of Egypt.  This was the X Factor winner’s single for 2007 and also the Christmas number one, as was standard for the late ’00s and early ’10s (otherwise known as the era when Simon Cowell ruined everything that was fun about the Christmas number one race).  Leon Jackson was one of those X Factor winners who immediately faded into obscurity and never released anything else, hence why his stuff’s not even on Spotify.

Track 23: Adele – Chasing Pavements

It’s an okay tune, but a bit slow for me.  I’ve never been that keen on the stuff off Adele’s 19 album – 21, for me, was her real masterpiece.

Track 24: Timbaland and OneRepublic – Apologise

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had OneRepublic on track 6.

This one’s nice and atmospheric – love the piano at the start.  Great tune.

Track 25: Alicia Keys – No One

Nice tune, but the vocals are too saccharine and overblown for my liking.

Track 26: Mika – Happy Ending

Not keen on the tune, and it’s too slow for me.

Track 27: Kanye West and Chris Martin – Homecoming

Interesting instrumentals, great tune on the sung vocals – quite like this one.

Track 28: The Hoosiers – Goodbye Mr A

Quite like the circus-y instrumentals at the start – good upbeat track.

Track 29: The Feeling – I Thought It Was Over

Retro feel, good beat, nice tune.  Really like this one!

Track 30: Alphabeat – Fascination

Another nice upbeat song with a retro tinge – happily chair-dancing again.

Track 31: Scouting For Girls – Elvis Ain’t Dead

Classic tune, but I have to be in the right mood for it, as I sometimes find the style annoying.

Track 32: One Night Only – Just For Tonight

Love the instrumentals, but I find the vocals a bit dull.

Track 33: Hot Chip – Ready For The Floor

Nice to hear some electropop, but this one’s a bit repetitive.

Track 34: Bloc Party – Flux

Good beat, good electro lines – very danceable.

Track 35: Utah Saints – Something Good ’08

Shaking my head a bit here, ’cause we already had the original on Now! #22, and this redone version is not different enough to the original, in my book, to justify its inclusion.

See the link for my review of the song.

Track 36: Mark Brown and Sarah Cracknell – The Journey Continues

Dull tune, and I don’t like the way the operatic vocals clash with the pop ones.

Track 37: Amy MacDonald – This Is The Life

Another nice folk-rock song from Amy MacDonald – great tune on the vocals.

Track 38: Kate Nash – Pumpkin Soup

There are some interesting lines here, but in general the track’s a bit messy with too much going on.

Track 39: Sugababes – Change

Slow, dull ballad.  There’s always one.

Track 40: Goldfrapp – A&E

Again, this one’s too slow for my liking.

Track 41: Amy Winehouse – Love Is A Losing Game

Lovely tune, gorgeous vocals as ever from Amy Winehouse.

Track 42: Eva Cassidy and Katie Melua – What A Wonderful World

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

So Eva Cassidy did a slow, acoustic-y cover of the ’60s classic, and then when she became posthumously famous, Katie Melua decided to do one of those creepy duets from beyond the grave by replacing half the vocals with her own.  It’s not at all inspired or fun to listen to.

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.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #61

Day 61 equals Now! #61, which came out on 25th July 2005.

July 2005
This is the way the world looked in July 2005. I had apparently got to that stage in my life and in world history where all photos were either selfies (or ‘MySpace photos’ as they were called in the ’00s), pictures of my cat sleeping in unlikely places, or drunken pub pictures. I’m sure my friends will thank me if I stick to the selfies and cat pictures.

Hoping for some festival rock anthems here and not too much saccharine pop!  Fingers crossed.

Now! That's What I Call Music #61
Track 1: James Blunt – You’re Beautiful

Overplayed and ludicrously saccharine, but it’s been parodied so much and become so infamous that I actually find it quite funny now.

Track 2: 2Pac and Elton John – Ghetto Gospel

Track from 2Pac’s posthumous 2004 album.  It samples Indian Sunset, hence the Elton John credit.  The sample is beautifully used, and works really well with the rap here.

Track 3: Coldplay – Speed Of Sound

Nice tune, nice piano, nice atmosphere.  Quite like this one.

Track 4: Gorillaz and De La Soul – Feel Good Inc

Great beat, great danceable track.  Good stuff.

Track 5: The Black Eyed Peas – Don’t Phunk With My Heart

There’s a bit too much going on here for me, but the sung vocal is quite nice.

Track 6: Audio Bullys and Nancy Sinatra – Shot You Down

Yes, their grammatically correct name should be ‘Audio Bullies’.  Urgh.

The track is basically a remix of Nancy Sinatra’s version of Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).  The sample is great, but the rest of the track is pretty dull.

Track 7: Jem – They

Oh, it’s this one!  Really like the vocal harmony hook that runs throughout the track.

Track 8: Natalie Imbruglia – Shiver

It’s quite a nice atmosphere, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 9: KT Tunstall – Other Side Of The World

Boring tune, and it’s too acoustic-y for me.

Track 10: Oasis – Lyla

Bland Oasis-by-numbers track.  Nothing interesting here at all.

Track 11: Razorlight – Somewhere Else

Nice anthemic festival rock, really like this one.

Track 12: Bodyrockers – I Like The Way

Love the guitar riff, but it takes until the chorus for the track to get going properly.

Track 13: Kaiser Chiefs – Everyday I Love You Less And Less

It should be ‘every day’, not ‘everyday’.

It’s a great song though – that first Kaiser Chiefs album was really good.  I remember seeing them play an awesome set at T in the Park 2005.

Track 14: Caesars – Jerk It Out

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

Track 15: The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It

Not the most exciting track off the Hot Fuss album, but it’s still a really nice song.

Track 16: Hard-Fi – Hard To Beat

Really like this track – interesting tune, good beat.

Track 17: Weezer – Beverly Hills

Good rock beat, but the tune’s a bit lacking for me.

Track 18: Rob Thomas – Lonely No More

I quite like the tune until it gets to the uninspired chorus.

Track 19: The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost

At the time, I was really not keen on the Magic Numbers as I found their stuff very twee.  I’m still not the biggest fan, but I don’t hate this track as much as I used to.  The tune’s okay.

Track 20: Jack Johnson – Good People

Not my kind of thing – it’s too acoustic-y and I’m not keen on the tune.

Track 21: U2 – Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own

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

Track 22: Akon – Lonely

The sample of the sped-up chipmunk version of Bobby Vinton’s Mr Lonely is inspired, and the rest of the track’s okay to listen to.

Track 23: Mario – Let Me Love You

Boring, generic tune.  Not my kind of thing.

Track 24: Gwen Stefani and Eve – Rich Girl

Interesting vocals, great take on If I Were A Rich Man.  It’s actually a cover of the Louchie Lou and Michie One song from 1993, but I’m not familiar with that version.

Track 25: Will Smith – Switch

Great beat, but the song’s a bit dull.

Track 26: MVP – Roc Ya Body (Mic Check 1 2)

Really like the sung vocals on the chorus, and it’s got a good beat.

Track 27: Mariah Carey – It’s Like That

Generic tune, not keen on this one.

Track 28: Nelly – N Dey Say

Love the sample of Spandau Ballet’s True, but the rap over the top just annoys me.

Track 29: Bobby Valentino – Slow Down

Boring tune, nothing redeeming here.

Track 30: Faith Evans – Again

Not keen on the tune – just find it very bland.

Track 31: Joss Stone – Don’t Cha Wanna Ride

Good beat, but again the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 32: Roll Deep – The Avenue

I like the sample of ’80s hit Heartache Avenue, though I’m not too keen on the rap over the top.  This seems to be a theme today.

Track 33: Charlotte Church – Crazy Chick

This was the album where Charlotte Church basically rebelled against her wholesome opera-voiced kid image and went pop instead.  The song’s a bit twee, and the tune’s nothing special.

Track 34: Rachel Stevens – So Good

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

Track 35: Inaya Day – Nasty Girl

Cover of the ’80s Vanity 6 song.  Good beat, but it’s another dull, generic tune.

Track 36: Deep Dish – Say Hello

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

Quite like the tune on the instrumentals, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 37: Freeloaders and The Real Thing – So Much Love To Give

The Real Thing’s contribution here is the sample.  Great tune as a result, but it’s a little repetitive.

Track 38: Kylie Minogue – Giving You Up

Good tune, interesting vocals – quite like this one.

Track 39: Girls Aloud – Wake Me Up

Good atmosphere, but I just don’t find the tune interesting enough.

Track 40: Crazy Frog – Axel F

I mentioned my disdain for this awful ringtone-advert cover of the Harold Faltermeyer track way back in my review of the original on Now! #5.  Why anybody spent money on this stuff is beyond me.

Track 41: Tony Christie – Avenues And Alleyways

Tony Christie still riding his wave of resurgence post-Amarillo.  This is a nice tune and the classic style is a refreshing change from regular chart music.

Track 42: McFly – You’ve Got A Friend

Cover of the Carole King classic.  It’s very uninspired and far too acoustic-y for me.

Track 43: Heather Small – Proud

Re-release of the 2000 hit in honour of 2005’s successful London 2012 Olympics bid.  I literally last heard this two days ago, over the PA while waiting in the start pen for the Blaydon Race – it’s still used a lot for sporting events and things like that.  It’s quite a nice, uplifting song.

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 #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.