Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #81

Day 81 means Now! #81, which came out on 2nd April 2012.

April 2012
This is the way the world looked in April 2012 (actually March). Dublin was unseasonably warm, but the statue of Oscar Wilde was still chillin’ on his crag. I should probably get rid of that coat, as it’s too big for me now.

On with the 2012 hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #81
Track 1: Gotye and Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know

Gorgeous song that was deservedly number one for weeks and weeks.  Love this track.

Track 2: Coldplay – Paradise

I normally find Coldplay songs pretty depressing, but this is a beautiful tune.

Track 3: Ed Sheeran – Lego House

I find this one fairly dull, but the video with Rupert Grint is funny.

Track 4: Emeli Sandé – Next To Me

There’s something that irritates me about the tune.

Track 5: Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)

Nice solid pop song, quite like this track.

Track 6: Jessie J – Domino

Another feelgood pop track, but the tune’s not particularly exciting.

Track 7: David Guetta and Sia – Titanium

Great vocals, good tune.

Track 8: Flo Rida – Good Feeling

Flo Rida sampling Avicii sampling Etta James.  It’s a great hook, so I can see why.

Track 9: Katy Perry – The One That Got Away

I find this one a bit depressing.

Track 10: Labrinth – Last Time

Nice atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit pedestrian.

Track 11: Rizzle Kicks – Mama Do The Hump

Great, danceable track!  The video with Jordan Stephens’ mum and James Corden is also hilarious.

Track 12: Olly Murs – Dance With Me Tonight

In my Zumba class in Southampton, we always did a really fun jive number to this one.  Great, upbeat track.

Track 13: Pixie Lott – Kiss The Stars

Good upbeat dance tune – happily nodding along here.

Track 14: One Direction – One Thing

It’s always really annoyed me that this song rips off the chord sequence of Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way.  As such, I can’t hear it without getting a weird mash-up of the two songs stuck in my head.

Track 15: Marcus Collins – Seven Nation Army

Interesting, eerie, soul-tinged cover of the White Stripes classic.  Good stuff.

Track 16: Florence & The Machine – Shake It Out

Nice tune – quite like the build on this one.

Track 17: Drake and Rihanna – Take Care

Pretty tune, but it’s too slow for me.  I like the It’s My Party callback though!

Track 18: Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

Gorgeous atmosphere – really like this track.

Track 19: Little Mix – Cannonball

Pointless cover of the Damien Rice song (see Now! #80 review from yesterday) by the 2011 X Factor winners.  Thankfully Little Mix would go on to release much more interesting songs.

Track 20: JLS – Proud

Boring ballad, not keen.

Track 21: Military Wives and Gareth Malone – Wherever You Are

The Christmas number one for 2011 – a pretty tune from one of Gareth Malone’s TV choir projects.

Track 22: LMFAO – Sexy And I Know It

Hilarious song – this one’s a shameless pleasure!

Track 23: Flo Rida and Sia – Wild Ones

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Flo Rida on track 8 and Sia on track 7.

The tune’s really irritating, bu the rap’s okay.

Track 24: Lady Gaga – Marry The Night

Good solid pop – great tune.

Track 25: Avicii – Levels

This is the Avicii song that Flo Rida was sampling on track 8; in turn, this track samples Etta James’ 1962 song Something’s Got A Hold On Me.  There’s some great hooks going on throughout.

Track 26: Pitbull and Chris Brown – International Love

Awful theme, awful song.

Track 27: Lloyd, André 3000 and Lil’ Wayne – Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)

Another bad theme, but I actually really like this song!  Just make sure to avoid the squicky explicit version.

Track 28: Sean Paul – She Doesn’t Mind

Good beat, good tune.  Really like this one.

Track 29: Taio Cruz – Troublemaker

The lyrics are sort of hilarious and terrible at the same time.  Could do with a bit more melody as well!

Track 30: Alexandra Burke and Erick Morillo – Elephant

Great theme, and it’s got a good beat.  The tune’s a little generic, though.

Track 31: Swedish House Mafia and Knife Party – Antidote

It’s very danceable, but there’s not enough of a memorable hook for me.

Track 32: Rizzle Kicks – When I Was A Youngster

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rizzle Kicks on track 11.

The theme annoys me on this one, but the tune’s nice and feelgood.

Track 33: Stooshe and Travie McCoy – Love Me

Mid-century retro jazz-tinged song with Spice Girls-esque cackling interspersed throughout.  It’s not a bad tune.

Track 34: Gym Class Heroes and Neon Hitch – Get Yourself Back Home

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

I quite like the tune on the chorus, but the rest of the track is pretty dull.

Also, though I don’t class band/individual repetitions as a repeated artist, that’s two songs in a row with Travie McCoy’s vocals on.

Track 35: Rihanna – You Da One

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on track 17.

This tune is a bit irritating to my ears – not a fan.

Track 36: Tinchy Stryder and Pixie Lott – Bright Lights

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Pixie Lott on track 13.

Bland, forgettable tune, and the rap’s nothing special.

Track 37: Cover Drive – Twilight

The tune’s pretty dull.  I’m sure I did like at least one of Cover Drive’s songs, but this wasn’t it.

Track 38: Alyssa Reid and Jump Smokers – Alone Again

Utterly appalling cover of Heart’s Alone, with a rap partway through it and new, terrible verses.  The original is special to me (partly because it was on the sacred tome that is Now! #10) and so I find this mess pretty offensive.

Track 39: Jessie J – Who You Are

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

Boring ballad with overblown vocals.  Not my thing.

Track 40: Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles

Good retro-sounding track – very noddable.

Track 41: will.i.am, Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger – THE (The Hardest Ever)

Fantastic track!  I love the atmosphere, the build, the melding of the three very different vocal styles.  Wonderful stuff.

Track 42: Dappy and Brian May – Rockstar

I’m a bit irritated that a legend like Brian May got roped into contributing to this very uninspired song.  The rap’s okay, but the tune’s really generic, and the theme is my least favourite: the whole ‘look, I’m rich and famous now, let me brag about it in a song!’ thing.  The brief guitar solo is, of course, epic.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #79

Day 79 equals Now! #79, which came out on 25th July 2011.

July 2011
This is how the world looked in July 2011. That summer, Geth and I were living with Mum and Dad, as we’d had to give up our flat in May when Geth’s last University of Edinburgh fellowship salary came to an end, and we wouldn’t be moving for him to start his new job in Southampton until September. When I wasn’t doing my volunteer shop job at Oxfam or attending the many weddings we were invited to that year, I spent most of the summer (which was characterised by a lot of thunderstorms) on my old childhood bed with my laptop. Geth did the same on the spare bed with his laptop, which meant we were often visited by José – like most cats, he loved laptops, as they were cosy and warm to lie on. We kept having to move him off. If I’d known he would only live for a couple more months, I’d have let him lie on my laptop for as long as he liked 🙁

The thunderstorms weren’t really conducive to summer songs, but from what I remember there were an awful lot of them that year.  Let’s have a listen.

Now! That's What I Call Music #79
Track 1: Adele – Someone Like You

Beautiful tune, but I’m not really into slow ballads.

Track 2: Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar

Great track!  Love the atmosphere on this one.

Track 3: Bruno Mars – The Lazy Song

A welcome break from Bruno Mars’ saccharine ballads.  This one’s very funny, and the video is great.

Track 4: Jason Derulo – Don’t Wanna Go Home

It’s the one with the sample of Show Me Love that I mentioned in my Now! #24 review.  Good beat, happily nodding along here.

Track 5: Lady Gaga – Born This Way

Great beat, very danceable.

Track 6: Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull – On The Floor

Another great dance track – really like this one.  The Lambada sample is immense!

Track 7: Alexandra Stan – Mr Saxobeat

An all-time favourite!  I love this track, especially the jaunty saxophone hooks throughout.

Track 8: Katy Perry – Last Friday Night (TGIF)

The song’s a solid pop track, but it’s the hilarious video that really makes this one (Hanson!  Rebecca Black!  Just Dance!).  Also, I REALLY appreciate the sax solo, ’cause you hardly ever hear them in 2010s pop.

Track 9: The Wanted – Glad You Came

Great summer dance track – this was another favourite of mine that year.

Track 10: Nicole Scherzinger – Don’t Hold Your Breath

Gorgeous tune – yet another favourite!

Track 11: The Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough

Thankfully/sadly (?) not a cover of the Depeche Mode song.  I’m not really a fan of songs copying classic song titles unless they’ve got some link to the original – it causes confusion apart from anything else.

It’s a nice tune though – quite like this one.

Track 12: Take That – Love Love

Nice feelgood tune – quite like this track.  Love that bassline!

Track 13: Jessie J – Nobody’s Perfect

Irritating tune, and I’m not keen on the theme.

Track 14: The Saturdays – Notorious

Another track that borrows a classic title (see track 11 above).  Not a cover of the Duran Duran song.

I actually really like this track, though – I just wish they’d used a more original title!

Track 15: Rihanna – California King Bed

It’s the kind of ballad that would normally be too slow for me, but the tune’s so gorgeous that I really like it.  Also, that rock guitar solo is retro and epic!

Track 16: Scouting For Girls – Love How It Hurts

Too saccharine for me.

Track 17: Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall

I find this tune a bit irritating.

Track 18: Cee Lo Green – I Want You (Hold Onto Love)

Nice retro disco feel, but the tune’s a bit forgettable.

Track 19: Yasmin – Finish Line

Dull and uninspired, and that As sample is just ill-fitting.

Track 20: Ed Sheeran – The A Team

Lovely tune, but I find the theme a bit on-the-nose.

Track 21: Birdy – Skinny Love

Highly irritating whiny ballad.  Not a fan.

Track 22: Templecloud – One Big Family

I like the vocals, and it’s a good atmosphere, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 23: Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer – Give Me Everything

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

This is a great track though – I love the tune on the chorus.

Track 24: LMFAO, Lauren Bennett and GoonRock – Party Rock Anthem

I’ve always really liked this daft dance track – it was played at every wedding I went to in 2011 (and there were a lot of them!)

Track 25: DJ Fresh and Sian Evans – Louder

’90s-tinged dubstep, which was a big thing at the time and which I had kind of forgotten about until now.  Good beat, but the tune’s a bit generic.

Track 26: Example – Changed The Way You Kiss Me

An absolute classic!  Wonderful track – love the tune, the way it builds, everything.

Track 27: David Guetta, Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj – Where Them Girls At

I like that chant-along chorus, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the video.

Track 28: Chris Brown and Benny Benassi – Beautiful People

Annoying chorus, and the rest of the tune’s just uninspired.

Track 29: Calvin Harris and Kelis – Bounce

Great feelgood dance tune!  Gorgeous stuff.

Track 30: Loick Essien and Tanya Lacey – How We Roll

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

Great atmosphere, good beat.  Quite like this one.

Track 31: Nicki Minaj – Super Bass

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Nicki Minaj on track 27.

This tune’s okay, but it’s a bit generic.

Track 32: Tinchy Stryder and Dappy – Spaceship

Daft track that always makes me laugh with its ridiculous lyrics.  I’m not sure if that was intentional or not.

Track 33: Wretch 32 and Example – Unorthodox

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Example on track 26.

This is another great track though – love that chorus.  The Fools’ Gold sample is awesome too.

Track 34: Vato Gonzalez and Foreign Beggars – Badman Riddim (Jump)

Some good lines on this dance track, but it’s a little messy.

Track 35: Snoop Dogg and David Guetta – Sweat

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had David Guetta on track 27.

Good beat, good atmosphere – very danceable.

Track 36: Swedish House Mafia and John Martin – Save The World

Repetitive, irritating tune, and in general I just find this one a bit bland.

Track 37: Dev, The Cataracs and Tinie Tempah – Bass Down Low

Daft theme, but I really like this one!

Track 38: Mann and 50 Cent – Buzzin’

Another pleasingly daft song, but I find the tune a bit annoying.

Track 39: Chase & Status and Tinie Tempah – Hitz

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Tinie Tempah on track 37.

This one’s too messy for my liking, although Tinie Tempah’s whimsical rapping is always appreciated.

Track 40: Katy B – Broken Record

I find the tune very irritating, but the beat’s okay.

Track 41: Nero – Guilt

This one’s pretty boring, but I quite like the dubstep bass once it gets going.

Track 42: Alex Gaudino and Kelly Rowland – What A Feeling

The tune’s too cheesy for me, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 43: Wynter Gordon – Dirty Talk

Another solid pop track – really like this one.

Track 44: Inna – Sun Is Up

The tune’s a bit dull, but it’s fairly danceable.

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.