Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #78

Day 78 takes us to Now! #78, which was released on 11th April 2011.

April 2011
This is how the world looked in April 2011. Geth and I would have been midway through one of our walks along the Union Canal, which was our favourite thing to do on a sunny day in Edinburgh.

Let’s see what I would have been listening to during the last few months in our Tollcross flat.

Now! That's What I Call Music #78
Track 1: Bruno Mars – Grenade

Too saccharine for me, but the tune’s okay.

Track 2: Adele – Rolling In The Deep

Great atmosphere – love the chorus on this one.

Track 3: Jessie J – Do It Like A Dude

The theme’s a bit daft, but there are some nice instrumental lines here.

Track 4: Rihanna – S&M

Great piece of electropop – really like this tune.

Track 5: Kesha – We R Who We R

Irritating tune, very uninspired.

Track 6: The Wanted – Gold Forever

Released as the official Comic Relief single for 2011.  Sadly the song’s really bland.

Track 7: Matt Cardle – When We Collide

What was it I was saying three days ago?

Right on schedule, here’s X Factor winner Matt Cardle’s pointless cover of Biffy Clyro’s Many Of Horror.  Rather offensively, they changed the title of the song, because it clearly wasn’t bland enough for the kind of people who buy X Factor winners’ singles.  What’s hilarious is that the cover is SO pointless that on occasion, Cardle even apes Simon Neil’s Scottish accent.

Track 8: Take That – The Flood

Yay!  Take That are no longer Fake That!  Well, for one album at least.  Robbie Williams returned for the Progress album, and all was finally right with the world again.  This song is a gorgeous, epic, atmospheric tune – lovely stuff.

Track 9: Ellie Goulding – Your Song

Interesting folky cover of the Elton John classic (which was performed by Ellie Goulding for the first dance of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their wedding reception, fact fans).  The operatic Moulin Rouge! version from 2001 had cast a long shadow over the ’00s in terms of other people copying that take on the song when they did cover versions, so it was refreshing that this cover was so different again.

Track 10: JLS and Tinie Tempah – Eyes Wide Shut

Far too cheesy for my tastes, and the electro line sounds the same as every other dance track of this era.

Track 11: David Guetta and Rihanna – Who’s That Chick?

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

This is a great piece of bouncy pop, though – awesome tune.

Track 12: Taio Cruz and Travie McCoy – Higher

Taio Cruz did two versions of this song, one with Travie McCoy and one with Kylie Minogue.  I prefer the Kylie version, I have to say.  It’s still a good tune though.

Track 13: Chris Brown – Yeah 3x

Another dance track where the instrumentals sound the same as every other dance track released around this time.

Track 14: Britney Spears – Hold It Against Me

Daft theme, as the lyrics are based around that terrible pun of a pick-up line, but the tune’s okay.

Track 15: Alexis Jordan – Happiness

I’ve always quite liked the video for this one.  Do you remember how in the late ’00s/early ’10s, women’s fashion shoes were all ludicrously high six-inch-stiletto affairs with round covered platforms?  (As with most things, I only got rid of (most of) mine in my cull earlier this year.)  Like every other female pop artist of the era, Alexis Jordan wears them in the video here, but there’s a weird bit that makes it look like she can’t walk in them.

Anyway, the song’s kind of forgettable, but it’s got a nice feelgood atmosphere.

Track 16: Parade – Louder

Good beat, but the chorus is annoying.

Track 17: Olly Murs – Thinking Of Me

Nice jaunty track, quite like this tune.

Track 18: Avril Lavigne – What The Hell

Great bit of pop-rock – love that singalong chorus.

Track 19: McFly and Taio Cruz – Shine A Light

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Taio Cruz on track 12.

I’ve always found this tune pretty irritating.

Track 20: Noah & The Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.

Great folk-rock track – awesome lyrics, lovely tune.

Track 21: Susan Boyle and Geraldine McQueen – I Know Him So Well

Cover (complete with hilarious parody video) of the classic ’80s duet by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson.  It’s the kind of cover I would normally decry as pointless, but the point here is comedy, and they absolutely nailed it.  The charity fundraising for Comic Relief doesn’t hurt either.

Track 22: Jessie J and B.o.B – Price Tag

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Jessie J on track 3.

This is a very nice feelgood tune though – good stuff.

Track 23: Chipmunk and Chris Brown – Champion

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Chris Brown on track 13.

I like the intro – lovely piano, nice choral bit, great atmosphere.  The tune on the chorus is nice as well.

Track 24: Wiz Khalifa – Black And Yellow

Great tune, awesome atmosphere.

Track 25: Rihanna and Drake – What’s My Name?

Repeated artist mega alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on both track 4 and track 11!  I am not impressed, Now! compilers.

This one’s an okay tune, but it’s a little repetitive.

Track 26: The Black Eyed Peas – The Time (Dirty Bit)

Messy cover of ’80s classic (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, with lots of…well…dirty bits (i.e. squeaky, tuneless feedback).  I shouldn’t like it, but it’s actually very danceable.

Track 27: Nicole Scherzinger – Poison

Nice solid pop track, really like this tune.

Track 28: Enrique Iglesias, Ludacris and DJ Frank E – Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)

Daft theme (don’t get me started on the explicit version), but it’s got a good beat.

Track 29: Cee Lo Green and Wiz Khalifa – Bright Lights Bigger City

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Wiz Khalifa on track 24.

This one’s a bit slow for my liking, but it’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 30: Katy Perry and Kanye West – ET

Awesome epic atmosphere, lovely tune, and the video is beautiful.

Track 31: Pink – Perfect

I find the theme of this one a bit awkward and the tune a bit dull.  Not a fan.

Track 32: Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding – Wonderman

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Tinie Tempah on track 10 and Ellie Goulding on track 9.

This song is lovely, though – that chorus is just gorgeous.

Track 33: Willow Smith – Whip My Hair

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

The theme is a little cheesy, but then she was about nine at the time.  Good song otherwise.

Track 34: Katy B and Ms Dynamite – Lights On

I’m not hugely keen on the tune, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 35: Martin Solveig and Dragonette – Hello

Great dance track!  Really like this feelgood tune.

Track 36: Flo Rida and Akon – Who Dat Girl

Dull tune, boring rap.  Not keen.

Track 37: Far East Movement, The Cataracs and Dev – Like A G6

Daft lyrics, but it’s a good head-nodder.

Track 38: Wretch 32 and L Marshall – Traktor

Great beat – happily chair-dancing here.  Awesome lyrics too.

Track 39: Aggro Santos and Kimberley Walsh – Like U Like

Love this tune, and the verses have an awesome rhythm.

Track 40: Devlin and Yasmin – Runaway

This one’s a bit generic – nothing special here.

Track 41: Tinchy Stryder and Melanie Fiona – Let It Rain

Boring and forgettable.

Track 42: Chase & Status and Liam Bailey – Blind Faith

I like the ’90s tinge, but on the whole the track’s far too messy for my liking.

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 #67

Day 67 means Now! #67, which was released on 23rd July 2007.

July 2007
This is the way the world looked in July 2007. We were in a hotel bar in Lerwick, Shetland, celebrating Mum and Dad’s silver wedding anniversary. Hotel bars don’t seem to have changed that much to my eye, but then I’ve never been very observant when it comes to trends in decor.  Fashion is another matter – because it rained pretty much the entire week we were there, that was the exact point that I uneasily noticed Crocs were suddenly a huge thing.

Let’s get on with those summer hits.  Not that it felt very summery in Shetland!

Now! That's What I Call Music #67
Track 1: Rihanna and Jay-Z – Umbrella

Classic pop song that was everywhere in 2007.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 2: Gwen Stefani and Akon – The Sweet Escape

Great atmosphere, great vocal hook.  Quite like this track.

Track 3: Gym Class Heroes and Patrick Stump – Cupid’s Chokehold

I really like the hints of ’70s rock inspiration – there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on here.

Track 4: Kate Nash – Foundations

Interesting instrumentals, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 5: Avril Lavigne – Girlfriend

Highly irritating high-pitched pop-pop-punk.  Avril Lavigne’s stuff did get easier on the ear later on.

Track 6: Take That – Shine

Another great tune from ‘Fake That’ – generally when Mark Owen’s singing lead, you’re onto a winner.

Track 7: Enrique Iglesias – Do You Know? (The Ping Pong Song)

Great chorus and synth line, but the song’s not nearly as interesting as the title suggests.

Track 8: Mika – Love Today

Brilliant, danceable track, one of my favourites from this era.  Great tune.

Track 9: Mutya Buena – Real Girl

I like the sample of Lenny Kravitz’s It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over – it gives the track a nice retro tinge – but the vocals are pretty bland.

Track 10: Beyoncé and Shakira – Beautiful Liar

Love the Eastern-tinged instrumentals – this one’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 11: Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado – Give It To Me

Nice eerie instrumentals, making for another awesomely atmospheric song.

Track 12: Amerie – Take Control

This one’s pretty uninspired – nothing interesting here.

Track 13: Christina Aguilera – Candyman

Great classic big band feel – really like this one.

Track 14: Kelly Clarkson – Never Again

I find the lines on this very jarring and the vocals too high-pitched and headache-inducing, which is a shame ’cause there’s a good atmospheric tune in there somewhere.

Track 15: McFly – Baby’s Coming Back

Boring tune, cheesy vocals.  Not keen on this.

Track 16: Natasha Bedingfield – I Wanna Have Your Babies

Terrible title, irritating vocals.  The tune’s okay though.

Track 17: Fergie and Ludacris – Glamorous

Love the tune on the backing track, and the sung vocals are quite interesting, but I could do without the rap bits.

Track 18: Justin Timberlake – LoveStoned/I Think She Knows

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Justin Timberlake on track 11.

Some interesting instrumentals, but on the whole the tune’s not really doing it for me here.

Track 19: Ne-Yo – Because Of You

Saccharine and boring.  Not my thing.

Track 20: Akon and Snoop Dogg – I Wanna Love You

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

Unfortunately I seem to have accidentally added the explicit version to my Spotify list, and everything about it is just offensive.  Sometimes hilariously so, but mostly just offensive.

Track 21: Robin Thicke – Lost Without U

There’s a slight lounge-y retro tinge that is quite nice, but in general I’m not really feeling this tune.

Track 22: Snow Patrol – Signal Fire

All the versions on Spotify are very proud of the fact this song was used in Spiderman 3 and so have ‘FROM THE MOTION PICTURE SPIDERMAN 3’ and things like that stamped all over them.  I don’t remember it for that – I remember it because it was used in a random Doctor Who fanvid, which gives you a good indication of where my head was at the time.  The track itself is pretty dull and depressing.

Track 23: Maroon 5 – Makes Me Wonder

Interesting ’80s-tinged instrumentals, which is always a good thing.  The tune’s pretty forgettable though.

Track 24: Mark Ronson and Daniel Merriweather – Stop Me

Cover of the Smiths track Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before, with added bits from the Supremes’ You Keep Me Hangin’ On.  A double cover!  As it’s Mark Ronson, though, there’s nothing pointless about it – the track is quite innovative.

Track 25: Hellogoodbye – Here (In Your Arms)

Irritating vocals, twee lyrics.  The backing track’s nice and ’80s-tinged once it gets going, but unfortunately it’s mostly drowned out by the boring tune.

Track 26: Alex Gaudino and Crystal Waters – Destination Calabria

Mash-up of the saxophone hook from Rune’s Calabria and Alex Gaudino’s earlier track Destination Unknown.  Of the two tracks, I think it’s Calabria I want to go listen to after this, ’cause I love a good bit of saxophone.

Track 27: Booty Luv – Shine

Fairly generic dance track, but it does have a good retro ’70s disco tinge to it.

Track 28: Calvin Harris – The Girls

Awkward theme to the lyrics, but the synth line’s good.  I think I’m going to have to hunt for an instrumental version.

Track 29: Reverend & The Makers – Heavyweight Champion Of The World

Good upbeat tune, quite like this one.

Track 30: Paolo Nutini – New Shoes

Daft but highly appreciated theme, good atmosphere, nice tune.  Good stuff.

Track 31: Paul McCartney – Dance Tonight

Good tune, interesting guitar.

Track 32: Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

Gorgeous tune with a beautiful melancholy atmosphere, probably the best track Amy Winehouse ever did.

Track 33: The Fray – Over My Head (Cable Car)

Cheesy and boring, not to my liking at all.

Track 34: The Twang – Either Way

Pleasant if repetitive tune, but the spoken word verses are very irritating.

Track 35: Editors – Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors

Great title!  Very topical at the time given the recently-introduced smoking ban.  The track itself is a bit slow, but it’s got a good anthemic feel.

Track 36: Manic Street Preachers and Nina Persson – Your Love Alone Is Not Enough

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

Track 37: Fall Out Boy – Thnks Fr Th Mmrs

That should be ‘Thanks For The Memories‘, if you’re struggling with the silly ‘wacky’ vowel-less title.

Great eerie atmosphere, excellent upbeat rock track.  Really like this one.

Track 38: Klaxons – It’s Not Over Yet

Great backing track, and the chorus is nice and epic.

Track 39: Super Mal and Luciana – Bigger Than Big

Upbeat but slightly messy dance track – there are some good lines but they get lost in the mishmash of stuff that’s going on.

Track 40: Groove Armada, Stush and Red Rat – Get Down

Tuneless and messy with bad rapping over the top – not a fan of this at all.

Track 41: Unklejam – What Am I Fighting For?

Great atmosphere, great synth, and a wonderful ’80s feel – loving this one!

Track 42: The Chemical Brothers – Do It Again

Great beat, really interesting vocals.  Very danceable.

Track 43: Jamie T – Sheila

Awful vocals, messy instrumentals, not enough melody.  Poor track to end the compilation on.