Nice chilled out backing track, but the rap style is a bit harsh for my liking.
There’s no video for this one yet.
Young T, Bugsey and Aitch – Strike A Pose
I like the beat, and it is growing on me after a couple of listens.
The video is very much a ‘does what it says on the tin’ affair, with lots of underwear-clad models all posing away. It gets a point for the use of good old-fashioned film photography, plus another one for the bit at the end where the models turn the cameras on the rappers (hence providing at least a brief nod to equal-opportunity perving…I suppose?).
AJ Tracey – Ladbroke Grove
Nice upbeat backing track, and the rhythm is great.
The street sign for Ladbroke Grove does make an appearance at the start of the video, but this was definitely not filmed in London! Somewhere in north Africa, I’m guessing.
Liam Gallagher – Shockwave
This one is in the charts due to being the biggest seller on vinyl and download this week, two formats that are both in interesting states of increasing/decreasing popularity at the moment. The track is classic rock – it’s a bit generic, but I don’t care because the charts are absolutely starved for rock at the moment.
The video is very filmic and ’90s-does-’70s – in other words, it’s just like an Oasis video from the ’90s. There are flares and crappy ’70s cars everywhere, and I am all about it. Also, Liam burns down a building in a big, dramatic way, although it looks like the building is actually just a beach hut.
Avicii – Heaven
Another posthumous release from Avicii – a bit more chilled than usual. Is that Chris Martin on vocals? It’s got that Glastonbury singalong feel. (Answer: yes, as confirmed by Scott Mills after it was played. Chris Martin is uncredited for some reason.)
There’s no video for this one.
Mostack, Dave and J Hus – Stinking Rich
I like the piano on the backing track.
Again, this one doesn’t have a video at the moment.
Mabel – Mad Love
Great atmosphere on this one – I expect it’ll become a frequent earworm.
The video is a fairly standard pop video with lots of dance routines and pretty costumes. Good stuff.
Chris Brown and Drake – No Guidance
The tune’s a bit generic, but at least there is a tune.
Another one that doesn’t have a video yet.
More new hits next Friday! (Or possibly a day or so later, as Geth is back from his work trip next Friday and so we will be doing belated birthday celebrations.)
Now! #102 has been released today, 12th April 2019! EDIT: I only just realised that it’s been a whole year today since I started my marathon of the first 100 Now! compilations with Now! #1. Great timing!
Let’s have a look at the Now! compilers’ roundup of what’s been going on in the chart recently.
A decade ago, I would not have believed you if you’d told me I would ever grow to like a Jonas Brothers song. They’ve grown up now, though, and they make much better music. This is a fairly decent pop song, and I always nod along when it’s on the radio.
This one’s not been in the charts since last year, so I’m a bit surprised they’ve held it back for this Now! instalment. As is usually the case with James Arthur’s stuff, it’s too saccharine for me, but I’ll grant you it’s got a good atmosphere on the chorus.
I could have told you that my feelings would not have changed about this ridiculous bastardisation of Andrea Bocelli’s Time To Say Goodbye. Awful interpolation that has me running screaming for the comfort of the original every single time.
Track 13: Little Mix and Ty Dolla Sign – Think About Us
One of those tracks that I found a bit slow to begin with and have grown to appreciate. Lovely acoustic track from the A Star Is Born soundtrack (no interest in seeing the film, but the song is gorgeous).
Track 28: Keala Settle and The Greatest Showman Cast – This Is Me
Another one where the Now! compilers have been a bit tardy – this track first entered the charts well over a year ago – but it’s a great feelgood musical number, and probably the best song on the soundtrack.
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had James Arthur on track 10.
One of the tracks from the Greatest Showman Reimagined album, where pop stars do karaoke versions of the songs from the musical. It’s okay, but not a patch on the original.
Track 32: Jack Savoretti – Candlelight
This wasn’t a hit – it only got to number 70. As I’ve been discussing since Now! #99, the Now! compilers have recently started to include songs that haven’t actually made the Top 40, but have been featured on hit albums – there’s less crossover than there used to be between the album and singles chart (mainly because the former is for older people like me who prefer classic pop and rock, and the latter is for the kids who like these strange new songs I’m always ranting about on here after listening to the chart on Fridays!). I wasn’t sure about this at first, but I think I’m okay about it now. After all, it’s probably an older demographic who actually still buys Now! albums. The Radio 2 demographic, if you like. This album got to number one, so I think it’s allowed.
Anyway, this track’s got a great atmosphere – lovely eerie instrumentals, lots of piano. Love this kind of epic tune!
Track 33: The 1975 – It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)
As I understand it, this is one of the few new tracks on Take That’s recent remastered retrospective. It’s a bit dull until the second chorus kicks in. Also, the self-referential spoken word bit at the end is a bit odd.
Track 36: Hozier – Almost (Sweet Music)
The single only got to number 82, but the album went top ten, getting to number six.
Love this danceable, atmospheric song! So yeah, this is the point where I’m officially on board with the Now! compilers including songs-from-hit-albums that didn’t make the singles chart, because the notion of Rod Stewart still managing to get his new songs onto Now! compilations is the BESTEST THING.
Track 40: Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Zac Efron, Zendaya and The Greatest Showman Cast – The Greatest Show
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had the Greatest Showman cast on track 28.
Great stompalong number though. Fab track.
Track 41: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax
We’ve already had this track on Now! #2! How dare they be so lazy…wait. I can’t really start ranting in this case, because what’s going on here is that the Now! compilers have chosen to include six tracks from Now! #2 in order to advertise the fact that it’s had a re-release on CD today, the same release day as Now! #102. I’m hopeful that this pattern will continue, and will be scouting out the re-release for my collection this weekend!
Anyway, see the link for my review – it was track 16 on Now! #2.
If you spend any time watching the Now! ’80s channel, which often replays the classic TV adverts for the classic ’80s Now! compilations, you will be familiar with this song as the centrepiece for the Now! #2 advert due to it’s ‘hold me now‘ (geddit?) refrain on the chorus. Still a great track, and it was a highlight when I saw Tom Bailey supporting Culture Club in November.
Great choices for those bonus tracks. Could have done with a bit of love for Duran Duran’s New Moon On Monday (track 29) but I’m hopeful for The Reflex if they do this again when they re-release Now! #3!
Today, 23rd November 2018, is the release of Now! #101! It’s also mine and Geth’s sixth wedding anniversary 🙂
We’re now entering a new exciting era of Now! compilations where I only have to review them every four months! The first hundred compilations were characterised by a gradually worsening quality of music. I pray this trend will not continue. Pop music can’t get any worse than it currently is. Right?
Track 1: Little Mix and Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
Great reggae-style rhythm, but the tune’s pretty dull.
Track 2: Calvin Harris and Sam Smith – Promises
Sam Smith’s voice is great as ever, but the tune is pretty forgettable. Somehow got to number one for weeks on end.
Track 3: Ariana Grande – God Is A Woman
I really like the tune on this one – nice and epic.
Track 4: George Ezra – Hold My Girl
A little slow for me, but it’s a nice tune. Only entered the charts today, so it was definitely not a hit when chosen for this Now! compilation!
Track 5: Rita Ora – Let You Love Me
Great atmosphere on the chorus – tune’s a bit generic, but it’s an okay pop track.
Track 6: Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid – Eastside
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. It’s grown on me a bit since then!
Track 7: Jess Glynne – All I Am
I’ve never been much of a Jess Glynne fan – I find her stuff very boring and the lyrical content very saccharine, and this track is no exception.
Track 8: Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin – I Like It
Not super keen on the rap (except the enjoyable nonsense in the first verse about Balenciaga et al.!), but I do love the Latin tinge, and it’s very danceable.
Track 9: The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar – Pray For Me
Black Panther soundtrack song – really like this epic track.
Track 10: Silk City, Dua Lipa, Diplo and Mark Ronson – Electricity
Bored of these ’90s dance-inspired beats now. The tune is very generic too.
Track 11: Dynoro and Gigi D’Agostino – In My Mind
I really like the eerie atmosphere – there’s some great instrumentals here. Not keen on the dance beat though.
Track 12: Loud Luxury and Brando – Body
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. I’m still not hugely keen, but it’s a really irritatingly catchy track that’s constantly ending up on my daily earworm playlists.
Track 13: Maroon 5 and Cardi B – Girls Like You
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Cardi B on track 8.
It’s a bit saccharine, but it’s a nice tune.
Track 14: Marshmello and Bastille – Happier
Too slow for me, and the tune’s very dull and generic.
Track 15: Clean Bandit, Marina & The Diamonds and Luis Fonsi – Baby
The vocalist on this is calling herself Marina now, but she was formerly known as Marina & The Diamonds (not a band, just a solo artist with a band name, kind of like Florence & The Machine – this was a bizarre 2009/2010 micro trend). I’ve missed her vocal style and way with a tune. This is very Latin-inspired, especially due to the involvement of Luis Fonsi. Great party pop tune.
Track 16: Ellie Goulding, Diplo and Swae Lee – Close To Me
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Diplo on track 10.
Not exciting or original enough for me, but at least it’s got some semblance of a melody, and it’s starting to grow on me with time.
Track 17: Cheryl – Love Made Me Do It
The lyrics are okay if kind of cheesy, but the tune is terrible.
Track 18: Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. It’s become one of my songs of the year – really like this track.
Track 19: The 1975 – Too Time Too Time Too Time
Yes, I know the title’s supposed to be written in all caps with no spaces, but I won’t be having any of that nonsense here. This is a dignified blog.
Lovely upbeat tune, though – really like this one. One of my favourites of 2018.
There’s a nice old-fashioned big-band feel about this one – it’s very jaunty.
Track 22: Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies and Celia Imrie – When I Kissed The Teacher
Taken from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Songs from musicals have been a bit of a chart trend this year. It’s a fairly bog-standard cover of the Abba song, as is normally the case with jukebox musicals.
Track 23: Andrea Bocelli and Dua Lipa – If Only
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Dua Lipa on track 10.
The second number one this year to get to number one after exhortation from the previous number one artist (in this case Sam Smith with Promises – the previous example was George Ezra (Shotgun) telling people to stream Baddiel & Skinner and the Lightning Seeds’ Three Lions).
The second number one this year to feature the word ‘Friday’ in the title (after Lil’ Dicky and Chris Brown with Freaky Friday).
Nothing much else interesting about this song. It’s very dull and unmelodious and repetitive – no idea why enough people were listening to it to get it to number one. Oh, wait, there’s a good instrumental electro bit for three seconds – then it goes back to the boring rap.
Track 26: DJ Snake, Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B – Taki Taki
Repeated artist mega alert! We’ve already had Cardi B on both track 8 and track 13. That is far too much of one artist for one Now! compilation!
I do like the background instrumentals, especially the atmospheric whistling, and the Latin vocals are nice, but the rap is very dull.
Track 27: French Montana and Drake – No Stylist
I quite like the atmosphere, but it’s very repetitive. Are they trying to win a competition to see who can say ‘Gucci’ the most times in a song?
Track 28: Dennis Lloyd – Nevermind
Great rhythm, very noddable.
Track 29: Khalid – Better
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Khalid on track 6.
The track is so boring that I couldn’t even concentrate on writing this sentence.
Track 30: Martin Garrix feat. Khalid – Ocean
Repeated artist mega alert! We’ve already had Khalid on track 6 and track 29. That’s two mega alerts on one compilation, which is not an auspicious start for the second century of Now! entries!
It’s a pretty tune with a gorgeous atmosphere – I really quite like this one.
Track 31: Halsey – Without Me
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Halsey on track 6.
Urgh, this track is so slow! I do like the synthy background instrumentals though.
Track 32: B Young – 079ME
I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday. I still think it’s too similar to Jumanji.
Track 33: Stay Flee Get Lizzy, Fredo, Young T and Bugsey – Ay Caramba
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Fredo on track 25.
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.
Here they are, then – the very last summer hits.
(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
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.
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.
Day 99 brings us to Now! #99, which was released on 23rd March 2018.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Day 98 takes us to Now! #98, which came out on 17th November 2017.
The following are not likely to be played at goth clubs, but let’s see what the party season songs were for this most recent Christmas period.
Track 1: Camila Cabello and Young Thug – Havana
Good solid pop tune – love the Latin feel. Really nice song.
Track 2: Post Malone and 21 Savage – Rockstar
There are some interesting instrumentals going on, but it’s got quite a depressing feel.
Track 3: Sam Smith – Too Good At Goodbyes
Too slow and ballad-y for me.
Track 4: Pink – What About Us
It’s an okay song with an important theme, but I find it a bit depressing.
Track 5: Dua Lipa – New Rules
Absolutely wonderful track, gorgeous instrumentals, great tune, clever lyrics and vocals. The video is immense too.
Track 6: Ed Sheeran – Galway Girl
Inspired by the Irish folk classic of the same name, but nowhere near as good. Still a nice upbeat song though.
Track 7: Charlie Puth – How Long
I really like this one – great atmosphere, awesome tune, retro feel.
Track 8: CNCO and Little Mix – Reggaetón Lento
Very danceable Latin-tinged pop – good stuff.
Track 9: J Balvin and Willy William – Mi Gente
More great Latin pop (Despacito really kicked off a trend in 2017). I remember dancing to all of these in Zumba class. This one’s got an awesome atmosphere and a really interesting rhythm.
Track 10: Justin Bieber and BloodPop – Friends
I really like the bassline, but the tune’s pretty uninspired.
Track 11: Zayn and Sia – Dusk Till Dawn
Nice epic chorus, but on the whole the tune’s a bit generic.
Track 12: Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj – Swish Swish
Great beat, but agin the tune’s not very exciting.
Track 13: Demi Lovato – Sorry Not Sorry
This tune really irritates me.
Track 14: Stefflon Don and French Montana – Hurtin’ Me
Another one where I just don’t like the tune. I also find the theme irritating.
Track 15: Louis Tomlinson, Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals – Back To You
Yet another annoying tune!
Track 16: Khalid – Young Dumb And Broke
I quite like this one – it’s got an interesting rhythm and an endearing theme.
Track 17: Maroon 5 and Sza – What Lovers Do
Nice feelgood song – the vocals are a little irritating, but I quite like the tune.
Track 18: Jason Derulo – If I’m Lucky
Good atmosphere, but the tune’s very generic.
Track 19: Clean Bandit and Julia Michaels – I Miss You
Again, I just don’t find this tune very interesting.
Track 20: Alma – Chasing Highs
Uninspired and depressing.
Track 21: Zedd and Liam Payne – Get Low
Another very bland tune.
Track 22: Charli XCX – Boys
Great track! Fun theme, interesting instrumentals. The celebrity-filled video is great too.
Track 23: Rita Ora – Anywhere
It’s got a good beat, but it’s another bland tune.
Track 24: Marshmello and Khalid – Silence
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Khalid on track 16.
This is a lovely tune though.
Track 25: Avicii and Rita Ora – Lonely Together
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Rita Ora on track 23.
I find the tune on this really irritating, but the backing track is great.
Track 26: James Hype and Kelli-Leigh – More Than Friends
Generic-sounding dance cover of En Vogue’s ’90s classic Don’t Let Go. The original song is beautiful. This track is anything but.
Track 27: Yungen and Yxng Bane – Bestie
That chorus is incredibly annoying.
Track 28: Mabel and Kojo Funds – Finders Keepers
So is the chorus on this one.
Track 29: Chris Brown – Questions
This is the second hit in the space of eighteen months that interpolates Kevin Lyttle’s 2003 classic Turn Me On, after Cheat Codes and Dante Klein’s Let Me Hold You (Turn Me On) in 2016. I think it’s fairly poorly done, and I love the original so I find all these poor imitations pretty irritating.
Track 30: Craig David – Heartline
Dull and generic.
Track 31: Selena Gomez and Marshmello – Wolves
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Marshmello on track 24.
I quite like the tune on this one, though.
Track 32: MK – 17
Another really irritating tune.
Track 33: Axwell & Ingrosso – More Than You Know
I like the guitar at the start, and the tune’s okay if a bit generic.
Track 34: Liam Payne – Bedroom Floor
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Liam Payne on track 21.
It’s another fairly generic tune, but I remember I had the chart on in the background last year, and this was playing and got to the lyric ‘but your clothes say different on my bedroom floor‘. Geth interjected crossly, ‘Stop stealing her clothes then!’ It really cracked me up and is all I can think about when I hear this song now.
Track 35: Duke Dumont, Gorgon City and Naations – Real Life
Another boring tune that sounds like every other dance track this decade.
Track 36: CamelPhat and Elderbrook – Cola
Really squicky theme – to put it bluntly, it’s blatantly a song about spiking someone’s drink. It’s a shame, ’cause it would be a good track if it weren’t for that.
Track 37: Lil’ Uzi Vert – XO Tour Llif3
Some interesting instrumentals going on, but the tune’s very bland.
Track 38: Big Shaq – Man’s Not Hot
Very funny hip-hop parody, and it’s got a good rhythm to boot. Really like this.
Track 39: Chris & Kem – Little Bit Leave It
Apparently these dudes were on Love Island or something. I’m not sure why someone allowed them to release a song – it’s extremely grating.
Track 40: Cardi B – Bodak Yellow
I find this one extremely depressing.
Track 41: Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid – 1-800-273-8255
Repeated artist mega alert! We’ve already had Khalid on both track 16 and track 24. Give someone else a chance!
This one’s got a nice tune, but it’s too slow for me.
Track 42: Paloma Faith – Crybaby
I like the rhythm, but the tune’s very dull.
Track 43: The Script – Rain
The tune’s okay except for that annoying chorus.
Track 44: Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Grace (We All Try)
The tune’s quite interesting, but again it’s too slow for me.
Track 45: Liam Gallagher – Wall Of Glass
Very refreshing to hear some actual rock music – it’s something different, finally.
Track 46: The Killers – The Man
Love the retro disco sound on this one. Great stuff.