Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #42

Day 42, and here we are on 29th March 1999, when Now! #42 was released.

March 1999
This is how the world looked in March 1999…well, sort of. Again, we sucked at taking pictures that spring, so here’s one from later in the summer. The South of France never really changes, but I don’t wear tacky fake Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts from tourist stalls anymore *cringe*

Let’s see what the hits were as we went into the final year of the ’90s.

Now! That's What I Call Music #42
Track 1: Boyzone – When The Going Gets Tough

I mentioned this in my review of Now! #7, when discussing the Billy Ocean original.  As I said there, the cover doesn’t do anything different, but it was the Comic Relief single for 1999, so it probably raised a lot of money.  Including mine, ’cause I bought the single.

Obligatory ‘I hate pointless ’90s covers’ rant: And the reason I bought the single is because I thought ‘hey, that’s a great song!’ without realising there was a much better original version.  Sigh.

Track 2: Steps – Better Best Forgotten

Quite liked it at the time, find it super irritating now.

Track 3: Cher – Believe

I don’t hate this as much as some people do – in fact, I quite like the tune – but it was really overplayed at the time, so I don’t think there was anybody who wasn’t sick of it.

Track 4: Steps, Tina Cousins, Cleopatra, B*Witched and Billie Piper – Thank Abba For The Music

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

Medley of Abba songs performed at the Brit Awards 1999 by contemporary pop artists in tribute to Abba.  It was pretty cringeworthy at the time, and is even more so nineteen years later.

Track 5: Spice Girls – Goodbye

The Christmas number one from 1998, so it’s one of those ones that feels like it’s the wrong time of year for it.  Pretty track, though.

Track 6: Honeyz – End Of The Line

Like this tune, but the vocals aren’t really to my taste.

Track 7: Billie Piper – Honey To The Bee

Found it a bit dull at the time, but I quite like the tune nowadays.

Track 8: The Corrs – What Can I Do

Lovely tune, great instrumentals.  Big fan of this one.

Track 9: Emilia – Big Big World

Really liked it at the time, find it a bit saccharine now.  Still a nice tune.

Track 10: Tina Cousins – Killin’ Time

Epic-sounding dance track – really like this one.

Track 11: Vengaboys – We Like To Party! (The Vengabus)

Bit of a guilty pleasure, this one, ’cause I do love that singalong chorus (and I have a soft spot for anything with a daft bus theme).

Track 12: Cartoons – Witch Doctor

Dance cover of the ’50s classic.  Always quite liked this one.

Track 13: Ace Of Base – Always Have, Always Will

Jaunty track with a mid-century retro tinge.  Happily nodding along.

Track 14: Blockster – You Should Be

Dull dance track based around a sample of You Should Be Dancing.  It’s pretty uninspired.

Track 15: A+ – Enjoy Yourself

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

I quite like the take on Beethoven’s Fifth, but the rap is a bit generic.

Track 16: Deetah – El Paradiso Rico

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

I like the La Isla Bonita bit, but the rest of the track is pretty awful.

Track 17: Emmie – More Than This

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

Fairly dull dance track.  The vocal is quite nice, but the rest of the track’s pretty uninspired.

Track 18: DJ Sakin – Protect Your Mind (For The Love Of A Princess)

Dance cover of James Horner’s For The Love Of A Princess from the Braveheart soundtrack.  It’s as awful as it sounds.

Track 19: Fool Boona – Popped

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

There’s a nice sample from Iggy Pop’s The Passenger in there somewhere, but it gets lost among a ridiculous amount of other stuff going on.  It’s just a big mess, unfortunately.

Track 20: Sash! – Colour The World

Nice tune, but it’s pretty repetitive.

Track 21: Justin – Over You

Slow and dull, and I find the vocal too high-pitched and annoying.

Track 22: Robbie Williams – Strong

Never been a fan of this one – I find the tune super irritating.

Track 23: Lenny Kravitz – Fly Away

Classic rock track, really like this.  Love that singalong chorus.

Track 24: Fatboy Slim – Praise You

A classic!  Great dance track, love this one.

Track 25: Armand Van Helden and Duane Harden – U Don’t Know Me

Highly irritating intro.  Once the hook gets going, it’s sort of okay.

Track 26: Mr Oizo – Flat Beat

I had (in fact, I think I still have) the single of this one.  I don’t like it as much as I used to – it’s fairly tuneless.

Track 27: The Cardigans – Erase/Rewind

Another great rock track from the Cardigans.  Awesome tune.

Track 28: Stereophonics – Just Looking

Urgh, incredibly annoying and depressing chorus.  Don’t like this one at all.

Track 29: The All Seeing I and Tony Christie – Walk Like A Panther

I’ve always liked this track – great tune.

Track 30: The Divine Comedy – National Express

I normally like the Divine Comedy, but this is another one with an annoying chorus.  The verse is great though!

Track 31: Terrorvision – Tequila [Mint Royale Shot]

A classic, and it was a bit of an anthem for me and my friends at the time.  True fact: I drank my first shot of tequila while this song was playing, on Hogmanay 1999, Millennium Eve.  Good times.

Track 32: The Beautiful South – How Long’s A Tear Take To Dry?

It’s a nice tune, but as often happens with the Beautiful South, I find the theme a little awkward.

Track 33: Roxette – Wish I Could Fly

Lovely tune, solid as ever from Roxette – great atmosphere too.

Track 34: 911 – A Little Bit More

It was too cheesy for me at fourteen, so you can imagine what I think of it at thirty-three.  Just no.

Track 35: Dru Hill – These Are The Times

Slow, boring ballad with a forgettable tune, and you know what I think about those.

Track 36: Kele Le Roc – My Love

Another dull ballad.  Not keen on this at all.

Track 37: All Saints – War Of Nerves

Great atmosphere, but there’s a slight disharmony between the vocal and instrumental that gets on my nerves.

Track 38: Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Inkanyezi Nezazi (The Star And The Wiseman)

Nice a cappella track – lovely tune.

Track 39: Blur – Tender

Gorgeous tune, great lyrics – really like this one.

Track 40: Dusty Springfield – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me

Classic ’60s track, re-released in tribute to Dusty Springfield, who had just passed away in March 1999.  Great song.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #26

Day 26, and we’ve reached 15th November 1993, which marks a full decade of Now! compilations!

November 1993
This was how the world looked in November 1993 (actually December, obviously. We don’t have any photos of autumn 1993 at all, which is a bit alarming!). My outfit here is cute, although my bob is still unfortunate, and the wee bro is still wearing that rugby shirt that he’s apparently not taken off all year.

Now! 26 is a bit of a classic one – loads of the kids at school had it, so it always got played at parties.  Let’s have a listen.

Now! That's What I Call Music #26
Track 1: UB40 – (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You

Cover of the Elvis classic in standard UB40 style.  I quite like this one – it’s got a nice epic atmosphere.

Track 2: Pet Shop Boys – Go West

Fabulous synthpop cover of the Village People song!  I’ve always loved this one, even if it does bring back embarrassing memories of doing a dodgy dance performance (choreographed by two friends who did tap, jazz and modern classes and thus thought they could choreograph) to it for the rest of my primary school class.

Track 3: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax

We’ve had this one already, on Now! #2!  The prevalence of this nonsense at the moment just shows how many great ’80s tracks were returning to the chart in the early ’90s.

You know the drill, click the link for my review.

Track 4: M People – One Night In Heaven

I usually quite like M People, but this one is a bit dull.

Track 5: Eternal – Stay

Dull tune, annoying vocals.  I’m sure Eternal did better tracks.

Track 6: SWV – Right Here [Human Nature Radio Mix]

Oh, it’s this one…and I’m back in the backseat of our Volvo 340 with the radio on, endless Scottish country roadsides zooming past.  It’s not that great a track, but it certainly brings back some memories.

Track 7: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Boom! Shake The Room

An absolute classic, played at every birthday party I went to in the early ’90s.  I’m aware I’ve said that about a few songs, which makes me think I should compile some sort of ‘kids’ birthday nostalgia’ playlist.  Anyway, you can’t not sing along to this one.

Track 8: The Shamen – Comin’ On

A bit repetitive, not enough melody for me.

Track 9: Stakka Bo – Here We Go

Another repetitive, dull track – not keen on this at all.

Track 10: Chaka Demus & Pliers – She Don’t Let Nobody

The tune annoys me, and I find the vocals a bit saccharine.

Track 11: Tina Turner – Disco Inferno

Nice rock-tinged cover of the Trammps classic.  Like this one.

Track 12: Belinda Carlisle – Big Scary Animal

Belinda Carlisle’s gone all ’90s and guitar-edged.  Not hugely keen.

Track 13: Spin Doctors – Two Princes

Adore this one!  Absolutely stunning tune, great singalong track.

Track 14: REM – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite

Lovely tune from REM – and I always appreciate that little The Lion Sleeps Tonight reference in the opening vocals.  Great song.

Track 15: Levellers – This Garden

Lovely song from the Levellers – beautiful tune, never gets old (and because Geth and I used to go to Beautiful Days all the time I’ve seen this one played live many times).

Speaking of seeing stuff live at Beautiful Days…

Track 16: James – Laid

This was probably my highlight of James’ set at Beautiful Days 2009, and is probably my favourite track of theirs.  Great tune.

Track 17: Crowded House – Distant Sun

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

Track 18: Radiohead – Creep

Classic track, although it’s a bit overplayed these days.

Track 19: Meat Loaf – I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)

I’ve always loved this one (and it’s gotta be the full twelve-minute version!) – it’s an absolutely beautiful track.

Track 20: Cappella – U Got 2 Let The Music

Great uptempo dance tune – happily chair-dancing away here.

Track 21: Haddaway – What Is Love

Absolute stunner, one of my favourite songs of this era.  Beautiful dance tune.

Track 22: 2 Unlimited – Maximum Overdrive

This one’s a bit of a dull tune, but the beat’s good and danceable.

Track 23: Culture Beat – Mr Vain

Another absolute dance classic with a great tune and wonderful singalong vocals – love this one.

Track 24: The Goodmen – Give It Up

Lots of upbeat drumming, nothing much else until it breaks into the slightly messy melody.  Not one for the playlist, I’m afraid.

Track 25: Leftfield and John Lydon – Open Up

Nice upbeat head-nodder – quite like this one.

Track 26: Apache Indian – Boom Shack-A-Lak

Good jaunty retro-tinged reggae – great stuff.

Track 27: Urban Cookie Collective – Feels Like Heaven

Nice dance-pop tune – big fan of this.

Track 28: Captain Hollywood Project – More And More

Great electro instrumentals, but the vocals let it down.

Track 29: Juliet Roberts – Free Love

Interesting instrumentals, good uptempo beat.

Track 30: Jamiroquai – Too Young To Die

Nice funky track, a little slow, but it is absolutely standard Jamiroquai even this early on, so I do like it.

Track 31: Dina Carroll – Don’t Be A Stranger

The most overblown of all the overblown Dina Carroll ballads.  Nice tune, but the style is just too much for me.

Track 32: Take That – Pray

I’ve mentioned that I was a big Take That fan during this era, and this is another solid pop song.  Great stuff.

Track 33: Gabrielle – Going Nowhere

Nice upbeat tune, but I find the vocals a bit dull.

Track 34: Lena Fiagbe – Gotta Get It Right

Annoying tune, annoying cheesy lyrics.  Vocals are interesting, but generally not a fan.

Track 35: Soul II Soul – Wish

Too slow and dull for me.

Track 36: Lisa Stansfield – So Natural

Urgh, saccharine ballad!  Not a fan of this at all.

Track 37: Björk and David Arnold – Play Dead

Great, interesting duet with a wonderfully epic atmosphere.  A classic.

Track 38: Lenny Kravitz – Heaven Help

Another dull ballad.  Not keen.

Track 39: Go West – The Tracks Of My Tears

Slow guitar cover of the Smokey Robinson classic.  I shouldn’t like it, but it’s such a great song however it’s done that I can’t help it.

Track 40: Janet Jackson – That’s The Way Love Goes

Dull, repetitive track – not enough melody for me.

…Do my eyes deceive me?  Have we really reached the end of a Now! compilation without a single ‘Not on Spotify’ moment?  We really must be approaching the modern age!

It’s also the first Now! compilation to stretch to 40 tracks.  No wonder it’s taking longer and longer to listen to these every day!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #24

Day 24, and we’ve arrived at 26th April 1993.

April 1993
This is the way the world looked in April 1993. Trees looked like trees, and I looked like a vision in pastels with an unfortunate bob. I did finally chuck out that headband when I had my clearout a couple of months ago.

While I didn’t have this particular Now! compilation, I did have rival compilation The Greatest Hits of 1993 (the first album I ever bought, on cassette, with my Christmas money), which had most of the same songs.  As such, I’m very familiar with a lot of these.  Let’s crack on!

Now! That's What I Call Music #24
Track 1: The Bluebells – Young at Heart

We’ve had this one already, on Now! #3!  I know it was back in the charts in 1993, but I’m still cross about the Now! compilers repeating songs.

Urgh.  I guess this is going to become an ongoing thing.  See the link above for my review.

Track 2: Take That – Could It Be Magic

Great upbeat pop cover of the Barry Manilow song.  Take That seem to have been doing a lot of covers at this point – I’m guessing it was before the mangement let Gary Barlow take over songwriting duties.  I do like this one, though, especially for Robbie Williams on lead vocals.

Track 3: Sub Sub and Melanie Williams – Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)

A bit repetitive, but a good uptempo dance track.

Track 4: Snap – Exterminate!

Another great, atmospheric track from Snap.  I’ve always liked this one, even leaving aside the obvious Dalek connotations.

Track 5: Sister Sledge – We Are Family [Sure Is Pure Remix]

This was huge in my primary school playground at the time – you couldn’t escape it.  Great remix of the ’70s classic.

Track 6: Snow – Informer

I’ve always loved this one, especially the gibberish chorus.  Great, interesting song.

Track 7: Shabba Ranks and Chevelle Franklin – Mr Loverman

Annoying chorus alert!  It’s a good tune, but I don’t like those vocals.

Track 8: Shaggy – Oh Carolina

Nice cover of the Folkes Brothers classic – great tune – but it’s another one where the chorus annoys me.

Track 9: East 17 – Deep [Breath Mix]

Great instrumentals, especially that bassline – wonderful atmosphere.  I’ve always liked this one.

Track 10: Stereo MCs – Step It Up

Great head-nodder, fun theme.  Good stuff.

Track 11: Arrested Development – Tennessee

Repetitive, not much melody.  Not hugely keen on this one.

Track 12: Robin S – Show Me Love [Stonebridge Club Mix]

Classic track, great beat.

Fun fact: Jason Derulo sampled this on Don’t Wanna Go Home, and when I first heard it I literally went ‘who the ****’s sampled this?’ only to be immediately answered with that ‘JASON DERULO’ lyric he always used to do at the start of his songs.  A handy, if annoying feature.

Track 13: Lulu – Independence [Brothers In Rhythm Mix]

Fairly generic tune, but it’s a nice solid bit of pop.  Good sax solo too!

Track 14: West End and Sybil – The Love I Lost

Another annoying chorus, but I quite like the track otherwise.

Track 15: 2 Unlimited – No Limit

This was the classic singalong track on every school trip during 1993.  Imagine, if you will, a bus full of sixty-six eight-year-olds, all squeaking ‘NO NO, NO NO NO NO, NO NO NO NO, NO NO THERE’S NO LIMIT’ over and over and over and over for a good couple of hours.  Sometimes I’m amazed we never had a bus driver start screaming madly and drive us all off a high cliff.

Track 16: Cappella – U Got 2 Know

I absolutely love this classic dance track – brilliant tune.

Track 17: Sunscreem – Pressure Us

Another good upbeat dance number – like this one.

Track 18: Monie Love – Born 2 BREED

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

Not at all keen on the theme of this song, but it’s quite a good upbeat tune.

Track 19: Hue & Cry – Labour Of Love

We already had this one on Now! #10, which I’m extra-especially cross about ’cause it’s my favourite Now! compilation!

Sigh.  See the link for my thoughts.

Track 20: Duran Duran – Ordinary World

They’re back for the ’90s, and I still love Duran Duran!  This is a gorgeous introspective one – beautiful track.

Track 21: Annie Lennox – Love Song For A Vampire

Lovely tune, great atmosphere.

Track 22: World Party – Is It Like Today?

Nice tune, like the instrumentals.  Good stuff.

Track 23: KD Lang – Constant Craving

I’m not a fan of KD Lang’s vocals, but I do like the tune.

Track 24: Tasmin Archer – In Your Care

Good atmosphere on this one, though it’s a little slow for me.

Track 25: PM Dawn – Looking Through Patient Eyes

Not keen on the tune, the sung vocals or the rap.  Not a fan.

Track 26: The Beloved – Sweet Harmony

Nice electro head-nodder – really like this one.  Lovely sax solo too.

Track 27: Dina Carroll – This Time

Fairly typical Dina Carroll ballad – too slow and generic for my liking.

Track 28: Simply Red – Lady Godiva’s Room

An improvement on the last couple of Simply Red tracks we’ve had – great tune – but still a bit slow for me.

Track 29: Genesis – Invisible Touch [Live]

We already had the original studio version on Now! #7.  Not sure why the live version was suddenly a thing.

See above for my review – the live version doesn’t add anything!

Track 30: Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way

Great classic rock track that I’m going to make today’s top ‘wedding disco’ track!  Brilliant stuff.

Track 31: Depeche Mode – I Feel You

Love this atmospheric track from Depeche Mode – great vocals, awesome tune.

Track 32: Peter Gabriel – Steam

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

Good upbeat tune, happily nodding along here.

Track 33: Ugly Kid Joe – Cats In The Cradle

I always liked this cover of the Harry Chapin song and its whimsical lyrics, but I absolutely hate the fact that Ugly Kid Joe got rid of the apostrophe (the original title is Cat’s In the Cradle), as it makes the punctuation incorrect in the context of the song.

Track 34: Faith No More – Easy

Pointless ’90s cover of the Commodores classic.  Always a great song, but the cover doesn’t do anything new.

Track 35: Bryan Ferry – I Put A Spell On You

Nice chillout-ish cover of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins classic.  Really like this one.

Track 36: Ultravox – Vienna

Not sure what this 1981 classic was doing back in the charts, but I’m not complaining!  Wonderful, epic track.

Track 37: Paul McCartney – Hope Of Deliverance

Bit of a retro-tinged track, but it’s got a nice beat and a lovely tune.  Good one to end on.