This was released back in February and was a fairly frequent earworm for me in the early spring, but I’ve not heard it in months so I’m a bit surprised the Now! compilers have held it over for this compilation. It’s another one that annoys me now.
Track 7: Meduza and Goodboys – Piece Of Your Heart
I still quite like this tune! (I’m also endlessly confused by the lyric ‘I’m in Toronto and I got this view/But I might as well be in a hotel room’ – if he’s visiting Toronto, and he’s not in a hotel room, then where is he? Staying with a friend who has a really good view? Why is this not explained in the song?)
Track 10: Mark Ronson and Camila Cabello – Find U Again
I’m still gutted that, other than this track and a brief appearance by Catfish & The Bottlemen, there has been absolutely no rock music in the charts in 2019. I’m really hoping this trend reverses itself at some point during the 2020s!
I can’t stand this one. It’s way too saccharine for me, and the lyrics contain James Arthur’s favourite ‘romantic trope’ about holding girls’ hair back while they vomit due to overconsumption of alcohol. I have very little patience for that kind of message.
It’s another straightforward cover – Taron Egerton’s voice is sort of similar but not identical to Elton’s, which gives it a slight uncanny valley feel.
Track 44: Himesh Patel – Yesterday
Here’s another soundtrack song – this one is from the soundtrack to Yesterday, which got to number 40 in the album chart.
Like the Elton covers, this is arranged pretty identically to the Beatles original, which, as I understand it from reading about the film’s plot, is to be expected.
Track 45: Grandmaster Flash and Grandmaster Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It)
We’ve already had this track on Now! #3…because the Now! compilers are doing exactly the same thing as they did on the last compilation, and so the last few tracks are all bonus tracks that originally appeared on the third release back in 1984! Now! #3 is also being re-released today, on CD for the first time. I really need to start picking up these re-releases again – I got Now! #1 on CD last summer but haven’t bought Now! #2 yet.
Because the Now! company was posting Duran Duran pictures in order to tease the re-release on social media, I was hopeful that they’d include The Reflex as a bonus track, but sadly there was no love for it this time round – I’ll just have to enjoy the original White Lines (famously a DD cover a decade later) instead!
A couple more recently released videos for current chart hits.
Miley Cyrus – Mother’s Daughter
NSFW video full of intersectional feminist imagery. I can’t get over the fact that Miley seems to be wearing Britney Spears’ catsuit from the Oops…I Did It Again video though!
Mark Ronson and Camila Cabello – Find U Again
This is a cracking video with an actual storyline. It’s black and white, and we start off outside a motel, which gives me some nice Psycho vibes. However, instead of a slasher horror, the story is an endearingly daft tale about bounty hunters who are being hired to take out Camila Cabello. They’re all told about their job through the use of retro telephones, which of course I absolutely love.
Mark Ronson is one of the bounty hunters, and is the first to find the club where Camila is performing. He irritatingly parks his car across two parking spaces, and then there’s a completely unnecessarily prominent advert for Marc Jacobs eyewear when he removes his glasses. However, he’s too intrigued by Camila to kill her, and so when the rest of the bounty hunters show up, he rescues her instead and they drive off into the sunset.
So nice when a video has an actual coherent narrative!
Nicki Minaj has been AWOL from the charts for a while and I’ve missed her daft rap style. The tune is a bit soulless but the lyrics are fun (well, I thought so until I heard all the uncensored ones when I watched the video).
The video, similarly, is too NSFW for my taste – it does have some nice colours and neon lights, though.
Digga D and Russ – Mr Sheeen
Great title! It’s fairly standard London grime otherwise though, nothing about it really stands out.
The video is mostly about cleaning stuff, as befits the title (and there’s a launderette sequence, which I always appreciate).
Lil’ Nas X – Panini
The chorus is nice, but on the whole I find the tune a bit dull.
There’s no official video yet, but this stylish CGI robot animation has been released that is fun to watch in the meantime.
Bugzy Malone and Aitch – Kilos
I like the Spanish guitar in the background.
The first half of the video is a bit confusing – it seems to be a story about drug smuggling, but instead of drugs it’s Bugzy’s clothing line that is contraband? Possibly? Aitch shows up in the second half and it becomes a much more straightforward video about yachts and champagne.
Jay1 – Mocking It
This one was a bit too repetitive for my liking at first, but it gets more lyrically interesting on further listens.
The video contains all my least favourite clichés – twerking girls, people standing around in front of cars, and high-end shopping bags – but I do like the friend who shows up to mime the ‘you’re mocking it’ bit at the end of every verse.
Stormzy – Crown
Great atmospheric tune, love the piano.
There’s no official video yet but Stormzy has released this nice church-set live performance video.
Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – Señorita
Nice Latin-tinged pop duet. Like this tune.
The video is a fairly plot-light love story where the two singers hook up and then fall out at the end for some reason.
I love Mark Ronson’s take on classic pop sounds (Uptown Funk is without a doubt my favourite song of the decade), and I’ve been really enjoying his recent singles. The new album is out this week, and I’m excited to hear more.
Late Night Prelude
A bit of electronic instrumental buildup to the next track. A really nice addition.
Late Night Feelings
A current chart hit that I really like. I love the retro ’70s-ish stylings on the beat and backing track, and Lykke Li’s vocal line is gorgeous.
Find U Again
I’ve seen a lot of buzz about this Camila Cabello collaboration but this is the first time I’ve heard it. A nice bass-y piece of pop with a pretty tune.
Pieces Of Us
Another gorgeous tune. This one’s a bit slower at first, and more wistful, with the focus mainly on King Princess’ vocals.
Knock Knock Knock
The first of three consecutive songs with an appearance from Yebba. This is a nice old-fashioned funk track with almost gospel-esque vocals, which I’m all about.
Don’t Leave Me Lonely
Lovely atmosphere on this one, with the vocals turning more soulful. To my ear it’s got a bit of a ’90s vibe.
When U Went Away
Epic slow synth line! Straight out of the ’80s and straight onto my regular playlist.
Some slightly harsher electronic stuff going on in the background here. Alicia Keys is on vocal duties, which also gives the track an edgier feel. A nice change of pace.
Nothing Breaks Like A Heart
This was a big hit around Christmas time, and while I wasn’t sure about the country ‘n’ western vibe at first, I really fell for it hard after a few listens. Gorgeous atmosphere, beautiful emotional vocals from Miley Cyrus.
There’s a sort of old-timey muddy gramophone effect over the opening sequence, before the track launches into a smooth beat-driven march. It’s Angel Olsen doing the vocals for this one, and they’ve got a nice dreamy feel.
Some good classic-sounding piano on this slower, more introspective track, with Diana Gordon’s vocals feeling more classically pop than some of the other offerings on the album.
Lykke Li returns for another slow track, which starts off with some interesting Wings-esque instrumentals and slowly builds to a nice mournful chorus.
We finish with a slow, dreamlike piece of electronica, complete with robotic-sounding vocals (including a callback to Late Night Feelings) from Ilsey. It’s a wistful note to end on, which sums up the album perfectly.
I should note that a lot of the media buzz around this album has focused on the fact that it’s a breakup album, largely inspired by Mark Ronson’s divorce. I don’t really hear lyrics (being hard of hearing means that it’s difficult for me to make them out, which in turn means I’ve developed a lifelong habit of not really listening to them), so this is something I probably wouldn’t have picked up otherwise. I do think it’s really interesting that all the guest vocalists on the album are women, which to me gives it a more vulnerable feel.
Overall, it’s a lovely chilled-out listening experience. Great stuff.
I’ve loved this one for weeks and am really glad it’s got into the top 40 today! Lovely retro sound, great piece of pop.
The video is super ’70s retro and features Lykke Li dressing up and dancing around her house while taking lots of drugs and gazing at pictures of Mark Ronson. The decor and costumes are fab!
DaBeatFreakz, Swarmz, Dappy and Deno – Motorola
I like the slightly Latino atmosphere on this one.
The video is all mansions and high-stakes poker until they get raided by the police. There’s then a very long car chase in a Lamborghini that appears to be haemorrhaging money, before they all get together for a good stand around in front of some cars.
James Arthur – Falling Like The Stars
Saccharine and mumbly and acoustic-y as ever from James Arthur. Not really my thing.
There’s no official video for this one yet.
Skepta – Greaze Mode
Too repetitive for me, with not enough melody going on, although the backing track does get more atmospheric as it goes on (there’s a slight videogame edge to it).
Again, there’s no video for this.
Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care
This unholy mash-up of Sheeran and Bieber sounds exactly as you would expect. It’s an okay tune but it’s a bit cheesy. I thoroughly expect it to make far too many appearances on my earworm playlist over the next few months.
The video is utterly bizarre and has some serious ’80s/’90s retro vibes, with the two singers being badly greenscreened into a succession of random scenarios while wearing comedy costumes.
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!
It’s been a while since I actually did a New Hits Friday post. August, I think? Anyway, here’s a giant catchup of all the hits that have entered the UK Top 40 for the first time in the intervening period. I’ll try not to leave it so long in the future!
Hardy Caprio and One Acen – Best Life
I reviewed this one for Now! #101. Still a highly annoying earworm, made worse by the fact that I’ve really grown to hate the idiom ‘living one’s best life’ this year.
The video is the typical tasteless ‘look at how rich I am’ video beloved of R&B stars, all poolsides and girls in bikinis and helicopters and wasting champagne by pouring it everywhere. It matches the smug lyrics in that respect.
Travis Scott and Frank Ocean – Carousel
No melody whatsoever; incredibly, frustratingly dull. Can’t even be called music in my opinion.
There’s no video for this one yet.
Travis Scott – Stargazing
A bit slow, and the tune’s very dull. Lots of jarring noise in the background too. I guess the plus point is that the lyrics are quite nice.
Again, there’s no video yet. I don’t think Travis Scott is keen on making them!
The video is full of glitter and fabulousness – I highly approve.
Pinkfong – Baby Shark
Daft viral video that’s in the charts because of the new video rules. It’s ridiculous, and also the best thing in the Top 40 at the moment.
The video has small kids in, obviously, and so I find it to be of little interest – it’s the song that makes it.
Freya Ridings – Lost Without You
Pretty voice, but the tune’s very generic and it’s far too slow for me. Advert music, basically.
The video is very floaty and ethereal, with lots of shots of the singer’s hair blowing about all over the place. Quite relaxing to watch.
BTS and Nicki Minaj – Idol
Good upbeat bit of K-Pop – nice to hear something different in the charts! Almost beats Baby Shark. Almost, but NOT QUITE. And for once, the rap (courtesy of Nicki Minaj) actually works quite well with this song.
The video is super colourful and manic! Good stuff.
AJ Tracey – Lo(v/s)er
Lots of out-of-key clanging noises, and an uninspired rap over the top. Bad Spanish too – if you’re talking about a girl, it’s ‘I love a pretty Latina’, not ‘I love a pretty Latino’. (The lyrics online say ‘Latina’ but it definitely sounds like ‘Latino’!) Very repetitive, not keen.
The video is another smug, tasteless montage of bikini-clad girls, poolsides, and ostentatious jewellery, with some guns ‘n’ drugs for good measure.
Bazzi and Camila Cabello – Beautiful
I like the swirly instrumentals, but it’s very cheesy and too slow for my liking.
The video starts off very literally with Camila showing up to a party in an angel costume, and then turns into a full-blown Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet homage.
Dean Lewis – Be Alright
Again, see Now! #101, though I’ll point out additionally that this is a very annoying and incessant earworm!
The video is lots of badly lit shots of a very artfully decorated house that makes me feel bad about my own house.
LSD – Thunderclouds
Another one on Now! #101!
The video is daft and colourful with a flying campervan. Big fan of this one!
Eminem – Fall
Good beat, and I quite like the atmosphere.
The video is all about Eminem getting mardy about bad online reviews, so there’s a lot of arty shots of phones and tablets emitting black smoke monsters, which proceed to chase him around a deserted building like in a horror film. I like the beard, though, it suits him.
Eminem and Joyner Lucas – Lucky You
Another great, epic atmosphere – nice and eerie and looming.
The video is grim-looking and apocalyptic, but considerably enlivened by a comedic interlude halfway through.
Eminem – The Ringer
This one, on the other hand, is really dull. No tune in the background, super repetitive. It also charted the highest. I will never understand people in this century.
There’s no video yet.
Machine Gun Kelly – Rap Devil
Apparently a diss track about Eminem – Scott Mills could only play eight seconds of it on the Official Chart Show. Dull, repetitive, and I’m not into the drama. It goes on for so long that it just gets a bit awkward.
The video is just Machine Gun Kelly rapping the track and looking all tough with a shovel. Nothing interesting here.
Silk City, Diplo, Mark Ronson and Dua Lipa – Electricity
The video is all about Dua Lipa dancing around a New York apartment block with her neighbours during a heatwave, which doesn’t seem like the most efficient way to keep cool. I like the cameos from the other artists though.
Kanye West, Lil’ Pump and Adele Givens – I Love It
Scott could only play seven seconds of this one. People today listen to the most disgusting music. #getoffmylawn
Update after listening to the clean version: boring, repetitive, nothing interesting going on.
The video features a lot of bizarre costumes, but the song is so gross that it’s best listened to on mute.
Sigala, Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor and French Montana – Just Got Paid
Another one on Now! #101. Just want to add a seasonal note that I love those cash register noises – they’re very I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day!
The video is a nice colourful pop affair with lots of dancing in launderettes. Good stuff.
David Guetta, Jason Derulo, Nicki Minaj and Willy William – Goodbye
Utterly appalling interpolation of Andrea Bocelli’s Time To Say Goodbye. The rest of the track is just a jarring, crackly and awful mishmash of styles, like three different songs layered on top of each other.
The video tells a slightly confusing story in which Jason Derulo appears to be sneaking off after a one-night stand in a London hotel room, though not before pausing to sing a song to the camera. Charming!
Mumford & Sons – Guiding Light
I’m not the biggest fan of Mumford & Sons’ brand of soft-folk-rock, and I find this one pretty dull.
The video is equally boring – just black and white performance footage. Not a fan!
I like the colours and costumes in the video – it’s very pretty.
Lil’ Wayne and XXXTentacion – Don’t Cry
Not enough melody for me.
There’s no video yet, and again there probably won’t be due to XXXTentacion’s death earlier this year.
Lil’ Wayne and Kendrick Lamar – Mona Lisa
I quite like the atmosphere on the piano intro, but I’m not keen on the rap at all (Scott couldn’t play it on the chart show, which tells you everything you need to know). Except for the Milli Vanilli reference, which is just beautifully random!
Again, there’s no video yet.
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – Shallow
Acoustic song from the A Star Is Born remake. It’s not my kind of thing, but I’m so relieved to hear something different on the chart – it has melody! Actual melody!
The video is just lots of clips from the film, which is perfectly adequate.
Lady Gaga – Always Remember Us This Way
Another slow piano ballad from the A Star Is Born soundtrack. It’s pretty dull.
Again, the video is just clips from the film.
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – I’ll Never Love Again
Yet another ballad that’s too slow and dull for my liking…
…and yet more clips from the film in the video.
6ix9ine and Bobby Shmurda – Stoopid
Generic unmelodious rap with gross lyrics that Scott couldn’t play on the radio.
The video is a pretty low-tech affair (and given that 6ix9ine is wearing a ridiculously blinged-out expensive watch on each wrist, you’d think they could have afforded a better camera), but I do like the colourful car.
Lil’ Baby and Gunna – Drip Too Hard
Boring song, no melody, not my thing.
‘This video may be inappropriate for some users,’ says YouTube, so I’m not looking forward to this. Turns out it’s because it’s a ‘girls in bikinis plus wasted champagne’ theme on acid. Not recommended.
The video starts off with a nice botanical gardens sequence with lots of flowers, but quickly degenerates into ‘showing off my wealth’ cars ‘n’ mansions. Boring.
Cadet and Deno – Advice
Nice funky reggae backing track, but that rap is awful and dull. I do like the comedic theme though!
The video is about a boring night-time petrol station with lots of tacky watch and car product placement.
Jess Glynne – Thursday
Cheesy and boring song.
The video is black and white and equally dull. Also, despite the lyrics, she does wear makeup in every scene.
Bad Bunny and Drake – Mia
Nice upbeat Latin track – quite like this one.
The video is set at a beers ‘n’ bongs garden party and gets pretty dull in places, although I do like the random old people on the porch at the party.
Kodak Black, Travis Scott and Offset – Zeze
Boring, unmelodious, sounds like everything else.
The video is meant to be a comedy story about making a music video, but it’s pretty gross and tasteless due to all the bling and twerking girls. Not my cup of tea.
Little Mix and Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
One from Now! #101, and another that’s become an incessant earworm for me recently!
The video is a lot of fun with all the pretty costumes.
Rak-Su – I Want You To Freak
That interpolation of Adina Howard’s Freak Like Me! Which has spawned so many cover versions, including most notably the Sugababes version with THAT interpolation of Are Friends Electric! There’s some good guitar going on here, even though it’s fairly generic and the cover/interpolation chain means there’s nothing original about it at all. Great to have an opportunity to ramble on about pop history though, and I never take songs with melody for granted nowadays!
The video is Caribbean-set and a bit generic, but I do like the dancing.
Dua Lipa and Blackpink – Kiss And Make Up
One of the welcome trends of 2018 has been K-Pop acts getting popular enough to enter the UK charts. This isn’t quite as good as BTS’ Idol – it’s a bit generic, and I’m not a huge fan of Dua Lipa’s vocals, but it’s decent enough pop, and any kind of melodious pop is a good thing at the moment, even when it’s as uninspired as this.
There’s no video yet.
D Block Europe, Young Adz, Lil’ Pino and Dirtbike LB – Nassty
Aaaaand we’re back to the offensive lyrics, depressing generic rapping, and dreary unmelodious drone. Awful.
The video is all the usual gross cliches like drugs and expensive cars. Not recommended.
Zara Larsson – Ruin My Life
Too slow and dull for me, and the tune is really generic. Awful message too.
The video has lots of pretty costumes, though, so I quite like it.
Post Malone and Swae Lee – Sunflower
Dull and repetitive song.
The animated video, which ties in with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, is fab though.
The Budapest-set video is gorgeous – so much stunning architecture, so many pretty costumes!
Billie Eilish – When The Party’s Over
Too slow for me, but I like the harmonisation – it’s a bit different.
Lots of weird stuff going on with a glass of ink in the video.
XXXTentacion, Lil’ Pump, Maluma and Swae Lee – Arms Around You
There’s some actual melody in this one! I was not expecting that at all! I really quite like it.
The video is kind of arty and dreamlike, very suited to the song.
Pink – A Million Dreams
Cover of the Greatest Showman number. Apparently doing Greatest Showman covers is a hot new trend (there’s a whole compilation album full of them), which is highly alarming! There’s nothing different about this at all, which I guess makes it a pointless ’10s cover. And the ’10s were doing so well at avoiding that if you don’t count the X Factor!
There’s no video for this yet.
Benny Blanco and Calvin Harris – I Found You
Boring and repetitive tune! People have been really bigging up this track, but it’s very disappointing. Nothing interesting here at all.
The video is a good laugh though, with various people trying to show Benny how to dance.
Clean Bandit, Marina & The Diamonds and Luis Fonsi – Baby
The video is fairly literal, with a cute story about a love triangle and all the characters portrayed by the artists (plus so-far one-hit wonder Starley, whom I wasn’t expecting to see here!)
James Arthur – Empty Space
Extremely dull. Also, I’ve just remembered how much I am NOT a fan of James Arthur’s vocals.
The video is really interesting though (in a slightly depressing way) – it appears to be about a troubled alcoholic (played by Tom Felton) stalking his ex-girlfriend, but all is not as it seems. Also, judging by the gadgets, set dressing, and costumes, it’s set in the early ’00s, which is also interesting!
Jonas Blue, Liam Payne and Lennon Stella – Polaroid
The video’s a bit dull and involves a lot of wandering round New York. I do like that Polaroid technology is having one of those retro moments though.
Ariana Grande – Thank You Next
Straight in at number one, which is unusual these days. I like the ’70s-esque synth sound on the instrumentals – it’s very pretty. The tune could be a bit more exciting, but on the whole it’s a nice bit of proper pop, and is much appreciated.
The video is a daft comedy sequence with lots of celebrity cameos and homages to ’90s and ’00s teen movies. Lots to like here.
Ava Max – Sweet But Psycho
Really like this piece of classic-sounding pop. Good stuff!
The video features Ava as the eponymous psycho, and there’s a cute shout-out to the Hitchcock film at the start. Lovely colours, great costumes (and the dude in this video is actually attractive, which is extremely rare for ’10s media).
Fredo – BMT
Great atmospheric instrumentals but awful rap, which seems to be a theme.
The video is a depressing medley of mansions, cigars, champagne, and the obligatory bikini-clad girl in a swimming pool, with the slightly alarming implication at one point that Fredo and his mates have burnt a girl to death for keying his car. At least, that’s what it looks like. I really hope I’m wrong.
XXXTentacion – Bad
Well, at least there is melody…sort of? It’s a real dirge though.
There’s no video yet, and again there probably won’t be now.
I really like the dancing in the video, but she’s wearing the ugliest pair of boots!
Charli XCX and Troye Sivan – 1999
Song paying tribute to 1999, which was the worst year of the twentieth century in my opinion, because it meant that the century was nearly over. Still, I really do appreciate the sentiment of the song, which is generally that last century was great and this century sucks. I can heartily get behind that message. The song is…of the same quality that pop songs were in 1999, which is a lot better than average pop songs from today, but nowhere near as good as in the ’80s.
I do also want to point out quickly that the Saturdays did this theme better with Disco Love.
The video, as you might expect, is a glorious mishmash of homages to pop culture from around the turn of the millennium!
Panic! At The Disco – The Greatest Show
Another one from the Greatest Showman tribute album, and it’s the first one I actually like. Great epic rock cover!
There’s no video for this yet.
The Plug, Nafe Smallz, M Huncho and Gunna – Broken Homes
Generic hip-hop. Nothing memorable here.
Another one with no video so far.
Sheck Wes – Mo Bamba
Awful and off-key. How can a song that’s unmelodious in the first place be off-key? It’s so dire I don’t know what to say. The vocals are worse than some appalling unsigned local bands I’ve seen, and that’s saying something.
I quite like the comedic video though. Just make sure to watch it on mute.
The video is a slightly depressing story about George being trapped in a rapidly flooding house and drowning at the end!
Little Mix and Sharaya J – Strip
Interesting spoken word intro, leads into a fairly R&B influenced pop song. On the whole, could do with a bit more melody in this one, but it’s got a good beat, and I do like the harmonies on the vocals!
The video is a nice black and white piece with a body positivity theme, featuring an homage to the Dixie Chicks’ ‘critical words written on nude bodies’ photoshoot (and hence starting a Twitter feud with Piers Morgan, which I’m not linking to because it’s depressing).
James Arthur and Anne-Marie – Rewrite The Stars
URGH this is saccharine. It’s another Greatest Showman cover, and I’m not keen.
This one actually has a video, though! It predictably goes with the film’s circus theme, but it’s very pretty and I quite like it.
6ix9ine – Kika
Scott could only play three seconds, so I couldn’t hear anything yet. Listening to it online, the lyrics are as gross as expected, but I quite like the steel drums in the background.
There’s no video yet.
Digdat, K Trap and Krept & Konan – Air Force
No melody, very repetitive. Atmosphere’s okay but it’s generally very dull.
The London-set video is all gritty and urban with lots of balaclavas and gang signs. Not really my cup of tea.
Meek Mill and Drake – Going Bad
Awful! So dull and generic and unmelodious.
There’s no video for this yet.
Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart
Great atmosphere on the intro, though I’m not hugely keen on the main bit where it goes a bit country.
The video is a slightly daft story about Miley driving a car on the run from the police while wearing a pretty silver outfit, but it’s aesthetically pleasing so I’m all about it.
Dalton Harris and James Arthur – The Power Of Love
A real step back for the X Factor winner’s single, as they’ve gone back to covers. It’s horribly soulless and the singer just admitted on the chart show that he only first heard the original Frankie Goes To Hollywood song about a week ago (WTF? HOW do you go through twentyish Christmases without ever hearing The Power Of Love?). Far worse than the Gabrielle Aplin cover (HOW has he managed to make the ‘hooded claw’ line sound so EMPTY?). I am actually offended by this, even more so than I was by Alexandra Burke’s Hallelujah (covered in similar circumstances in that Alexandra Burke had no personal love for the song). Just terrible.
There’s no video yet – time will tell if they do what they did with Rak-Su last year and just release the X Factor performance clip as the video.
Whew! All caught up. I’ll do this week’s New Hits on Saturday, as I won’t have time to listen to the chart tomorrow evening!
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 90! This means Now! #90, which came out on 30th March 2015.
Nine-tenths of the way through this Now! marathon! Let’s see (or hear, rather) what music sounded like as we entered the second half of the decade.
Track 1: Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
This is hands down my favourite song of the ’10s. The ’80s-tinged funk sound, the beat, the lyrics – just wonderful. I love it.
Track 2: Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
It’s a slow ballad, so it’s not the kind of thing I’d usually be a fan of, but I do actually really like this.
Track 3: Years & Years – King
Good tune – big fan of this one.
Track 4: Maroon 5 – Sugar
Another good, danceable tune.
Track 5: James Bay – Hold Back The River
It’s the kind of thing that would normally be too acoustic-y for me, but the rhythm is great, so I quite like it.
Track 6: Sam Smith – Like I Can
Sam Smith finally releases something a bit upbeat! Another good track.
Track 7: Olly Murs and Demi Lovato – Up
I really like this duet – it’s got a great rhythm and a lovely tune. Good stuff.
Track 8: Meghan Trainor – Lips Are Movin’
I find this one to be a bit of a disappointing follow-up to All About That Bass, but I suppose it’s got a good beat.
Track 9: Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand
This tune really irritates me.
Track 10: Sia – Elastic Heart
Good rhythm, and the tune’s quite interesting.
Track 11: Ben Haenow – Something I Need
The X Factor winner for 2014, this year doing a cover of a OneRepublic song. As usual, it’s pretty uninspiring. At the time of writing, this was the last X Factor winner’s single to get the Christmas number one, and hopefully – due to the combination of the X Factor finishing earlier in December nowadays and the continued increase in streaming and related decline in downloads in chart figures – it will remain that way forever.
Track 12: Take That – These Days
It’s Fake That version II, now only featuring Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald! Mind you, after the happy reunion of all five members for the Progress album, I’m actually okay with the lineup swapping about a bit. I’ve made my peace with that. Only took me twenty years.
This song is quite good, actually. Great beat, nice tune.
Track 13: One Direction – Night Changes
It’s a saccharine ballad, but I don’t hate the tune.
Track 14: Alesso and Tove Lo – Heroes (We Could Be)