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 #38

Day 38 takes us to 17th November 1997 with our Now! compilation marathon.

November 1997
This was how the world looked in November 1997 (actually September – it was another autumn where we didn’t really take any photos). I still have that jumper – it’s had a few recent reprieves from wardrobe culls!

Let’s see what was tearing up the charts at the time.

Now! That's What I Call Music #38
Track 1: Chumbawamba – Tubthumping

The ultimate in singalong classics, and a feature of every school disco and a lot of post-school discos in subsequent years.  Brilliant track.  Also, this album version that I’ve found on Spotify has a Brassed Off sample at the start, which makes it even better.

Track 2: Spice Girls – Spice Up Your Life

One of my favourites from the Spice Girls – really like this upbeat, danceable song.

Track 3: Hanson – Where’s The Love

Considering that I played Hanson’s Middle Of Nowhere album non-stop for about a year, the fact that I couldn’t remember this song shows you how forgettable it is.  I sort of remember it now I’m listening to it again, but I doubt it’ll stick in my brain long.

Track 4: Boyzone – Picture Of You

I’ve never really liked this one – the tune has always annoyed me.

Track 5: Backstreet Boys – As Long As You Love Me

It should be too saccharine for me, but I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for it, largely because I always liked the video.

Track 6: Eternal – Angel Of Mine

Absolutely beautiful tune – love this one.

Fun fact: American singer Monica did a completely pointless cover of this that sounds pretty much identical, which was a huge hit in the US, so that’s the version that most people across the pond know.

Track 7: Lighthouse Family – Raincloud

Great, interesting instrumentals, but the tune on the vocals is a bit dull.

Track 8: Janet Jackson – Got ‘Til It’s Gone

Love that Big Yellow Taxi sample…but in all honesty, nowadays it just makes me want to listen to Big Yellow Taxi instead.  I remember my dad getting similarly frustrated whenever it came on the radio at the time, ’cause you can’t improve on the original Joni Mitchell track.

Track 9: The Brand New Heavies – You’ve Got A Friend

Dull cover of the Carole King song (which was pretty dull to begin with) with an irritating funk bit over the top.

Track 10: All Saints – I Know Where It’s At

I quite like most of All Saints’ stuff, but this one’s got an annoying tune.  Not keen.

Track 11: Louise – Arms Around The World

Interesting Eastern-tinged instrumentals in the intro, and a nice synth riff running through the verses.  Shame the vocals are so generic.

Track 12: Gala – Freed From Desire

It’s not the kind of thing I normally like, but I’ve always quite enjoyed this one – I like the atmosphere.

Track 13: Sash! and La Trec – Stay

Great electro lines, but the vocals are a bit overblown.

Track 14: Dario G – Sunchyme

Love this electro track – lovely feelgood tune.  Only just realised right now that the sample is Life In A Northern Town – but it’s done really well, so I won’t moan.

Track 15: Tina Moore – Never Gonna Let You Go

Horrendous nails-down-a-blackboard vocal opening!  Then the rest of the track is repetitive and irritating.  Not keen at all.

Track 16: Hot Chocolate – You Sexy Thing

We’ve had this one already, on Now! #9.  I’m keeping an eye on you, Now! compilers!  I’m guessing this was back in the charts due to The Full Monty.

As ever, see the link for my review.

Track 17: N-Trance and Rod Stewart – Da Ya Think I’m Sexy

Slightly messy semi-cover of the 1978 classic.  There are far too many vocal lines going on, but somehow it works.

Track 18: LL Cool J – Phenomenon

Good head-nodder, quite like this one.

Track 19: 911 – Party People…Friday Night

I’ve always quite liked this one, if only for the jaunty days-of-the-week bit in the chorus (I have a similar soft spot for 7 Days by Craig David, but I’m sure we’ll get to that later).

Track 20: Ricky Martin – María

I started studying Spanish the year after this, so I was a huge fan of Ricky Martin and had all his albums.  This one is a great, danceable, Latin-flavoured track, an early indicator of the Latin pop craze that would characterise the turn of the millennium.

Speaking of which…

Track 21: Bellini – Samba De Janeiro

…here’s another.  Absolutely classic trumpet line, great dance track.

Track 22: DJ Quicksilver – Free

Oh, it’s this one!  Really like the electro lines on this – great tune.

Track 23: Wet Wet Wet – Yesterday

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

Utterly pointless cover of the Beatles classic.  There is nothing different about this version at all except for an irritating country-tinged twangy guitar instrumental in the middle.

Track 24: George Michael – You Have Been Loved

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

Track 25: The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work

Depressing in a bad way.  I’ve never been keen on this one.

Track 26: Oasis – Stand By Me

This track has a really irritating chord change sequence in the chorus that messes up the time signature in an infuriating way.  It’s been driving me nuts for over twenty years, and as such, I’m not a fan of this song.

Example of a song that messes up the time signature in a nice, pleasant way: Golden Brown by the Stranglers.  I think I’ll go listen to that once this compilation is done.

Track 27: Embrace – All You Good Good People

Nice tune, but I’m not keen on the vocals, as they sound kind of droning.

Track 28: Faithless – Don’t Leave

I really liked this one at the time ’cause I had it on the A Life Less Ordinary soundtrack.  It’s still a good tune.

Track 29: Radiohead – Karma Police

Great tune, but I’m not hugely keen on the theme.

Track 30: Moby – James Bond Theme

I have often said throughout this Now! marathon that I love a James Bond theme.  This is slightly different, as instead of being a new song released for a James Bond film, it’s an electro cover of the main theme.  It’s okay, but you shouldn’t really mess with a classic.

Track 31: PF Project and Ewan McGregor – Choose Life

Dance track with Ewan McGregor’s ‘choose life‘ monologue from Trainspotting over the top of it.  The track itself is pretty awful, so the monologue is the only bit that’s of interest.

Track 32: Robbie Williams – Lazy Days

Annoying dregs-of-Britpop tune.  Not keen on this one.

Track 33: Ash – A Life Less Ordinary

Another one that’s (obviously) off the A Life Less Ordinary soundtrack.  Great chorus, but the verses are pretty boring.

Track 34: Texas – Black Eyed Boy

Great beat, great tune.  One of my favourite Texas tracks.

Track 35: Meredith Brooks – Bitch

Loved it at the time, makes me cringe a bit now, mainly because my friends and I all loved to adapt the lyrics when literally bitching about other girls at school.  Growing up is a good thing.

Track 36: Jon Bon Jovi – Janie, Don’t Take Your Love To Town

Irritating tune, not a fan of this one.

Track 37: Ocean Colour Scene – Better Day

Lovely tune, great atmosphere – a longtime favourite.

Track 38: Cast – I’m So Lonely

Dreary, depressing tune.  Not keen.

Track 39: Conner Reeves – Earthbound

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

The vocals are far too saccharine for me, but the tune’s quite nice.

Track 40: Peter Andre – Lonely

Another slow, cheesy tune.  Blurgh.

Also, while Cast (see above) are so lonely, Peter Andre is just lonely full stop.  I’m pretty sure this was deliberate on the part of the Now! compilers…

Track 41: Boyz II Men – Four Seasons Of Loneliness

…especially now that Boyz II Men have both of them beat by being lonely all year round.  It shouldn’t be a competition, guys!

The piano instrumental on this one’s quite nice, but in general it’s yet another ballad that’s too slow and too saccharine for my liking.