Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #101

Today, 23rd November 2018, is the release of Now! #101!  It’s also mine and Geth’s sixth wedding anniversary 🙂

November 2018
This is the way the world looks in November 2018, with pretty anniversary cards on our dresser.

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.

Track 20: Mabel – One Shot

Not a hit – only got to number 44.

It’s a pretty tune, but it’s very generic.

Track 21: Take That – Out Of Our Heads

Not a hit yet (as of 23rd November 2018)!  They did perform it on Strictly last weekend, so maybe it’s not even out yet.

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.

Not a hit yet (as of 23rd November 2018).

Standard pretty, slow romantic song from Andrea Bocelli – I never get sick of his voice.  Dua Lipa does fine, but she can’t hold a candle to Bocelli.

Track 24: DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Chance The Rapper and Quavo – No Brainer

I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday.  I still find it really dull.

Track 25: Dave and Fredo – Funky Friday

This track is:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.

I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday.  I’m still not keen on it at all.

Track 34: Travis Scott – Sicko Mode

There’s no tune, and the rap is extremely generic, but I quite like the eerie quality of the backing track.

Track 35: Shawn Mendes and Zedd – Lost In Japan [Remix]

Good atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit dull.

Track 36: MK, Jonas Blue and Becky Hill – Back And Forth

More ’90s-inspired instrumentals.  Very generic tune.

Track 37: Jonas Blue, Liam Payne and Lennon Stella – Polaroid

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve only just had Jonas Blue on track 36.

Okay tune with a good pop beat, but it’s not super exciting.

Track 38: Au/Ra and CamelPhat – Panic Room

I quite like the atmosphere, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 39: Sigala, Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor and French Montana – Just Got Paid

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had French Montana on track 27.

Daft song about payday.  The tune’s pretty uninspired, but it’s got a good beat and it’s quite fun – it’s a good danceable party track.

Track 40: David Guetta and Anne-Marie – Don’t Leave Me Alone

The tune is very generic and forgettable. I quite like the electro instrumentals, but on the whole there’s nothing interesting going on here.

Track 41: Hardy Caprio and One Acen – Best Life

Very repetitive, not very inspired, highly boring tune, dull rap.

Track 42: ZieZie – Fine Girl

I quite like the tune, but there’s some very irritating stuff with the vocals going on here.

Track 43: Sigrid – Sucker Punch

Not a hit yet (as of 23rd November 2018).

Nice bit of classic pop with a good atmosphere.

Track 44: Selena Gomez – Back To You

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

The verse is nice, but the tune on the chorus irritates me.

Track 45: LSD – Thunderclouds

LSD are a collaborative project between Labrinth, Sia, and Diplo, hence the name.

It’s the mobile phone advert music.  I actually had it stuck in my head before it got into the charts – it’s a really incessant earworm.  It’s a bit of a messy track, but quite a good tune.

Track 46: Dean Lewis – Be Alright

Dull, acoustic-y ballad.  I never thought I’d type this sentence, but the Streets did this theme much better in Dry Your Eyes back in the ’00s.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #99

Day 99 brings us to Now! #99, which was released on 23rd March 2018.

March 2018
This is how the world looked in March 2018. I have hundreds of photos from that month depicting things that I was getting rid of in my clothes cull – the joys of digital hoarding – but this is the only one I have of me, although I suspect Mum and Dad probably have some from their visit to Newcastle that month that I’ve not seen yet. Winning my Slimming World group’s Greatest Loser award was one of my highlights of my journey to target. The house, meanwhile, was even messier and full of boxes than it is now.

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.

Now! That's What I Call Music #99
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.

Track 13: Kylie Minogue – Dancing

There is something indescribably comforting about the fact that, thirty years after I Should Be So Lucky became the favourite song of every girl in my nursery school class, Kylie Minogue is still featuring on Now! compilations.  I feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I really like the guitar on this one – it’s a nice, pretty tune with a retro feel.

Track 14: Camila Cabello – Never Be The Same

Pretty tune, but it’s a little slow for me.

Track 15: Mabel and Notes – Fine Line

I quite like the tinkly instrumentals on this one, and it’s a good tune.

Track 16: Sigrid – Strangers

It’s got a good rhythm, but the tune annoys me.

Track 17: Paloma Faith – Guilty

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Paloma Faith on track 8.

As I explained in the intro, there have been a few tracks on Now! compilations recently I’ve not recognised, including this one.  Looking it up, I now know why.  This wasn’t actually a hit – not in the UK or anywhere else.  As such, I’m not sure why it’s been included!

It’s got a great atmosphere and a nice classic feel, though.

Track 18: Pink – Beautiful Trauma

I find this one a bit depressing, though the tune is very pretty.

Track 19: James Arthur – Naked

Too slow for me, and I don’t like the tune.

Track 20: Tom Walker – Leave A Light On

Again it’s a little too slow for me, but it’s got a good epic atmosphere.

Track 21: Calum Scott – You Are The Reason

Another one that wasn’t a hit – it only got to number 43!

This one’s too slow for me, and the tune’s very depressing.

Track 22: Sam Smith – One Last Song

I quite like the retro-sounding instrumentals on this track.

Track 23: Stormzy and MNEK – Blinded By Your Grace [Part II]

Good tune – quite like this one.

Track 24: Post Malone and Ty Dolla Sign – Psycho

Interesting instrumentals, but I don’t like the tune – it’s very repetitive.

Track 25: Blocboy JB and Drake – Look Alive

Not enough melody for me.

Track 26: Khalid – Location

Another non-hit – this only got to number 67!

Great atmosphere and classic feel – quite like this one.

Track 27: NF – Let You Down

I can’t stand this track – the tune and the high-pitched vocals are so irritating.

Track 28: Ramz – Barking

Great track!  Endearing theme, interesting tune.  Big fan of this one.

Track 29: J Hus – Bouff Daddy

Good atmosphere, but the tune’s boring.

Track 30: Cliq and Alika – Wavey

Also not a hit – this one only got to number 44!

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.)

Track 36: G-Eazy and Halsey – Him And I

Pretty tune, quite like this one.

Track 37: Sza and Calvin Harris – The Weekend

Another non-hit!  This only got to number 55.

I’m not hugely keen on the tune on this one, but it’s got a good retro-sounding beat.

Track 38: Hailee Steinfeld, Alesso, Florida-Georgia Line and Watt – Let Me Go

Another generic, irritating tune.

Track 39: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Want You Back

Nice tune, but the verse is too slow and cheesy for me.  The chorus is good though – and I love that rock guitar.

Track 40: Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me

Yet another one that wasn’t a hit – this one only got to number 85!

It’s got a good atmosphere though – really like those instrumentals.  The tune’s nice, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 41: Maroon 5 – Wait

And another non-hit – number 79 for this song.

Not keen on this tune – it’s pretty generic.

Track 42: James Bay – Wild Love

This one’s too slow for me.  Nice tune though.

Track 43: Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – As You Are

The complete opposite of a hit.  This didn’t chart at all!

I like the instrumentals at the start, but again it’s not upbeat enough for my liking.

Track 44: U2 – You’re The Best Thing About Me

This one, meanwhile, only got to number 92.

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.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #98

Day 98 takes us to Now! #98, which came out on 17th November 2017.

November 2017
This is the way the world looked in November 2017. It may have been 2017 but it’ll always be the ’80s in my world. Especially in London goth clubs, where the style’s not changed in over thirty years and I can dance away happily to my favourite Tears For Fears and Soft Cell tracks.

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.

Now! That's What I Call Music #98
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.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #95

Day 95, and we’re at Now! #95, which was released on 18th November 2016.

November 2016
This is how the world looked in November 2016. Running was much harder when I was bigger (you can see the tailrunner just behind me, which means I was the last finisher out of several hundred people…again), but I’m a stubborn cow and I still went out and did it every week. (Photo by Maggie Davison at Newcastle parkrun.)

Time for some party season hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #95
Track 1: James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go

I can’t stand this one!  It’s so saccharine, and the theme just sits really awkwardly with me.

Track 2: Little Mix – Shout Out To My Ex

Great solid piece of pop – really like this.

Track 3: Clean Bandit, Sean Paul and Anne-Marie – Rockabye

The Christmas number one for 2016 – and, notably, the first Christmas number one since 1999 that wasn’t either a charity single or a talent show winner.  It’s a good song – although I find the theme too cheesy – but really I like this one for the hilarious bit in the video where all the old dudes in the pub mime along to Sean Paul’s vocals.

Track 4: The Chainsmokers and Halsey – Closer

It’s a bit repetitive, but I quite like this tune.  The lyrics are pretty daft though!

Track 5: Major Lazer, Justin Bieber and Mø – Cold Water

It’s an okay tune, but it’s a bit generic.

Track 6: Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj – Side To Side

Great piece of pop – love the rhythm on this.

Track 7: Sia – The Greatest

I find the chorus really grating, but the tune on the verses is okay.

Track 8: Calvin Harris – My Way

Nothing to do with the Frank Sinatra song.  This one’s got an irritating tune, and is very repetitive.

Track 9: Hailee Steinfeld, Grey and Zedd – Starving

Cheesy, too slow, and the lyrics are a bit awkward.

Track 10: MO – Who Do You Think Of?

This is the girl group MO, not to be confused with the solo singer Mø who also appears on this Now! compilation (twice).  This is a good, danceable pop tune – quite like this one.

Track 11: Neiked and Dyo – Sexual

Highly irritating tune, too high-pitched, awkward theme.  Not a fan.

Track 12: Anne-Marie – Alarm

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Anne-Marie on track 3.

Great atmosphere, but again I’m not keen on the theme.

Track 13: Olly Murs – You Don’t Know Love

I quite like this one – there’s a nice ’80s tinge to the backing track.

Track 14: Mø – Final Song

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Mø on track 5.

Pretty tune though, quite like this one.

Track 15: Maroon 5 – Don’t Wanna Know

The tune is super irritating, but the video, which parodies the Pokémon Go phenomenon, is great.

Track 16: JP Cooper – September Song

The chorus for this rips off the chorus of Jealous by Nick Jonas, so whenever I get one or the other stuck in my head it usually turns into an unwelcome mash-up.  The rest of the tune is just annoying.

Track 17: Shawn Mendes – Mercy

Too slow for me, but it’s an okay tune.

Track 18: Ellie Goulding – Still Falling For You

Dull, saccharine and irritating.

Track 19: Emeli Sandé – Hurts

Great tune, great atmosphere.  Really like this one.

Track 20: Michael Bublé – I Believe In You

Too cheesy for me.

Track 21: Craig David – All We Needed

The official Children In Need single for 2016 – and it’s finally something that’s not a cover!  I’m so glad the trend has finally shifted!

What I’m not glad about is that this track is super slow.  The piano’s nice, though.

Track 22: Drake, Wizkid and Kyla – One Dance

This was number one for fifteen weeks in the summer of 2016, equalling the second place for longest-lasting number one held by Wet Wet Wet since 1994 for Love Is All Around.  I found this really interesting – because I have clear memories of the Wet Wet Wet chart run from when I was nine, I was able to compare the way fifteen weeks felt as a child versus as an adult.  It went a lot quicker as an adult, because time always does (I’m a firm believer in the theory that we are constantly subconsciously comparing intervals of time to our total life so far, which is why time just gets faster and faster as you age), but it also felt like I did and achieved more, probably because I was running and working so much during that summer.

Anyway, the track.  It’s got a good beat, and the tune’s okay, but it certainly didn’t deserve to be number one for fifteen weeks.  Thankfully it didn’t equal or beat Bryan Adams’ 1991 record of sixteen weeks for Everything I Do (I Do It For You), so that still stands.

Track 23: DJ Snake and Justin Bieber – Let Me Love You

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Justin Bieber on track 5.

This tune is almost unbearably irritating and cheesy.  Not my thing at all.

Track 24: Fifth Harmony – That’s My Girl

The tune’s a bit annoying, but it’s got a good rhythm.

Track 25: Sigma and Birdy – Find Me

Too slow, but the atmosphere’s okay.

Track 26: Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha – In The Name Of Love

Pretty tune on the vocals, but the electro hook annoys me.

Track 27: Nevada, Mark Morrison and Fetty Wap – The Mack

This is the second ’10s cover version of Mark Morrison’s 1996 hit Return Of The Mack, after the one by Mann, Iyaz and Snoop Dogg in 2011 (which was also called The Mack).  It doesn’t really add anything to the original.

Track 28: Tieks and Dan Harkna – Sunshine

It’s got a good beat, but the tune annoys me.

Track 29: Zara Larsson – Ain’t My Fault

Okay tune, but the theme is really problematic.

Track 30: Bob Marley & The Wailers, Lvndscape and Bolier – Is This Love

Semi-cover of the 1978 classic, with some dance rhythms over the top.  It’s got a good atmosphere, but it can’t touch the original.

Track 31: Digital Farm Animals, Cash Cash and Nelly – Millionaire

Irritating kiddie-style vocals on the chorus, and the tune annoys me.

Track 32: Snakehips and Zayn – Cruel

Forgettable tune, boring vocals.

Track 33: Matoma and Becky Hill – False Alarm

Another bland tune.

Track 34: Galantis and Hook ‘N’ Sling – Love On Me

I’ve never been keen on the vocals on this one, which sound to me like someone is faking a Scottish accent.

Track 35: Charli XCX and Lil’ Yachty – After The Afterparty

Irritating tune, but I quite like the theme.

Track 36: Dua Lipa – Blow Your Mind (Mwah)

Good beat, annoying chorus.

Track 37: Louisa Johnson – So Good

Good solid piece of pop with a great atmosphere.  Not keen on the theme though.

Track 38: James TW – When You Love Someone

Pretty tune, but it’s a bit too slow and acoustic-y for me.

Track 39: Wilkinson and Karen Harding – Sweet Lies

I find this tune very generic, and the beat is like every other dance track this decade.

Track 40: Craig David and Sigala – Ain’t Giving Up

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Craig David on track 21.

I quite like the tune and the tinkly instrumentals, but the chorus is kind of annoying.

Track 41: Charlie Puth – Dangerously

Good atmosphere, but it’s a little too high-pitched for me and the theme’s a bit saccharine.

Track 42: Offaiah – Trouble

Very repetitive tune, not keen.

Track 43: Christine & The Queens – Tilted

Good, interesting track.  I really like the instrumentals on this one, and there’s something lovely and classic about the vocals.

Track 44: Lady Gaga – Perfect Illusion

I like the rock edge on this one.

Track 45: Niall Horan – This Town

Saccharine acoustic ballad, and I don’t like the theme.  In short, it’s pretty much everything I dislike.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #90

Day 90!  This means Now! #90, which came out on 30th March 2015.

March 2015
This is how the world looked in March 2015 – or more specifically, how Southampton looked on our very last night there. We moved to Newcastle the next day. I’ve blogged about these phone boxes before. Fun fact: I got my hair cut into that blunt bob in the hope of looking like the girl in the video for Last Christmas by Wham! but it didn’t really work out for me, unsurprisingly.

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.

Now! That's What I Call Music #90
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)

This tune, on the other hand, is incredibly irritating.  It’s nothing to do with the David Bowie classic, but Bowie and Brian Eno were apparently credited anyway due to the identical title.  Nice to see some actual acknowledgment there – most artists releasing songs with identical titles to classics don’t bother.

Track 15: Kelly Clarkson – Heartbeat Song

Another highly annoying tune.

Track 16: Calvin Harris and Haim – Pray To God

I really like this one – the tune’s lovely and it builds really nicely.

Track 17: David Guetta and Emeli Sandé – What I Did For Love

I quite like the tune on the chorus, and it’s got a good atmosphere.

Track 18: Usher and Juicy J – I Don’t Mind

It’s got a nice smooth soulful feel to it, but the tune’s fairly uninspired and the theme is kind of creepy.

Track 19: Marlon Roudette – When The Beat Drops Out

Love those steel drums, and the tune is quite nice.

Track 20: Chris Brown and Tyga – Ayo

The tune’s okay, but on the whole the song’s pretty uninspired.

Track 21: Fergie – LA Love (La La)

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

Good atmosphere, but the vocals are extremely annoying.

Track 22: Tough Love – So Freakin’ Tight

Repetitive and irritating, and the theme’s very awkward.

Track 23: Philip George – Wish You Were Mine

I like the My Cherie Amour sample, but the rest of the track’s pretty forgettable.

Track 24: Avicii – The Nights

Good chant-along song – quite like this one.

Track 25: Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding – Outside

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Calvin Harris on track 16.

Dull, forgettable tune, though the atmosphere on the chorus is quite good.

Track 26: David Guetta and Sam Martin – Dangerous

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

Great tune, wonderful atmosphere – some really interesting lines going on here.

Track 27: Flo Rida, Sage The Gemini and Lookas – GDFR

Good rhythm, but there’s not enough melody for me.

Track 28: DJ Fresh and Ella Eyre – Gravity

Boring tune, uninspired beat.

Track 29: Sigma and Labrinth – Higher

The atmosphere’s okay, but again the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 30: Tchami and Kaleem Taylor – Promesses

Nothing exciting going on with this track except for the bizarre spelling of ‘promises’ in the title, which is just irritating.

Track 31: Blonde and Melissa Steel – I Loved You

Good beat, but it’s another bland tune.

Track 32: Oliver Heldens and KStewart – Last All Night (Koala)

Really interesting electro lines going on in this track, and it’s very danceable.

Track 33: Wretch 32 – 6 Words

Slow and boring, with a slightly jarring beat.

Track 34: Charli XCX and Rita Ora – Doing It

Extremely bland and uninspired tune.  It actually depresses me how terrible it is.

Track 35: Ne-Yo – Coming With You

Another boring tune, and repetitive to boot.

Track 36: Cheryl – I Don’t Care

Great beat, good solid pop song.

Track 37: Karen Harding – Say Something

Irritating tune, not my cup of tea.

Track 38: Gorgon City and Jennifer Hudson – Go All Night

Yet another dull, forgettable tune.

Track 39: Alex Adair – Make Me Feel Better

Dance track that sounds like every other dance track of the era.

Track 40: Labrinth – Jealous

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Labrinth on track 29.

This one is notoriously depressing.  I’m going to have to line up about twenty ’80s party tracks to cheer myself up after this compilation is done.

Track 41: Ella Henderson – Yours

Yet another depressing ballad.

Track 42: Rixton – Wait On Me

Finally, something upbeat!  I like the rhythm on this one.

Track 43: McBusted – Air Guitar

Unholy cross between the two biggest British pop-pop-punk bands of the ’00s, Busted and McFly.  It’s as cringeworthy as you’d expect, but at least it’s not another slow ballad.

Track 44: Florence & The Machine – What Kind Of Man

Good atmosphere, and I like the rock guitar once the track gets going.

Track 45: Sam Smith – Lay Me Down

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

Back to the depressing slow ballads.  What was making people so miserable in early 2015?  Time to line up I’m Still Standing and get out of here.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #89

Day 89 means Now! #89, which was released on 24th November 2014.

November 2014
This is how the world looked in November 2014. Buffalo Bill’s was our favourite restaurant in Southampton, and so we went there for our wedding anniversary. I was wearing that silver top (which I originally bought for Millennium Eve in 1999 and is one of the many things I only just got rid of – I can’t remember whether I binned it or put it in storage) because I always wear my wedding shoes (which are silver) for our anniversary date, and my style is very matchy-matchy.

Let’s see what was in the charts during our final few months in Southampton.

Now! That's What I Call Music #89
Track 1: Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass

Love this one!  Great mid-century retro tinge, brilliant theme, and it’s another one to which my Southampton Zumba class did a really fun routine.

Track 2: Olly Murs and Travie McCoy – Wrapped Up

Love the retro feel, but I could do without the rap.

Track 3: Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj – Bang Bang

Good solid pop track – really like this one.

Track 4: Nico & Vinz – Am I Wrong

I really like the tune on this track.

Track 5: Magic – Rude

I can’t stand this one – the theme’s just awful!  Irritatingly, it was constantly stuck in my head at the time as well.

Track 6: Sam Smith – I’m Not The Only One

Too slow for me.

Track 7: Tom Odell – Real Love

This one was the 2014 John Lewis Christmas advert song (it was the year of Monty the penguin), so it still gets played on the music channels at Christmas time.  Again, it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 8: Gareth Malone and All Star Choir – Wake Me Up

Gareth Malone’s project for Children In Need 2014 – a choir of celebrities doing a cover of Avicii’s Wake Me Up.  It’s not that exciting, but the voice-spotting can be quite fun.

Track 9: Ed Sheeran – Don’t

Good rhythm, interesting vocals – quite like this one.

Track 10: George Ezra – Blame It On Me

I’m not too keen on the tune on this one.

Track 11: The Script – Superheroes

It’s got a good epic feel, but it’s a bit cheesy.

Track 12: OneRepublic – Love Runs Out

I really like this one – the atmosphere is great.

Track 13: Maroon 5 – Maps

Pretty tune, quite summery.

Track 14: Hozier – Take Me To Church

Beautiful track – the tune, atmosphere and theme are all absolutely stunning.

Track 15: Charli XCX – Boom Clap

I find this one pretty generic.

Track 16: One Direction – Steal My Girl

Irritating tune, irritating theme.

Track 17: The Vamps and Shawn Mendes – Oh Cecelia (Breaking My Heart)

Uninspired cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic with new verses.  Not a fan.

Track 18: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Amnesia

Too slow and saccharine for me.

Track 19: GRL – Ugly Heart

I really like this upbeat pop song.  Sadly, group member Simone Battle passed away during the promotion of this track, and they’ve not really had any hits since.

Track 20: Katy Perry – This Is How We Do

It’s got a good beat, but the tune’s pretty repetitive.

Track 21: Cheryl and Tinie Tempah – Crazy Stupid Love

It’s got a good beat, but the tune’s a bit annoying.

Track 22: Ella Henderson – Glow

Pretty tune, but it’s a little slow for my liking.

Track 23: The Veronicas – You Ruin Me

Dull and depressing.

Track 24: Calvin Harris and John Newman – Blame

It’s an okay tune, but it’s a bit forgettable.

Track 25: Sigma and Paloma Faith – Changing

Nice upbeat, feelgood track.  Quite like this one.

Track 26: Lilly Wood and Robin Schulz – Prayer In C

It’s not the kind of thing I usually like, but I’ve got a soft spot for this tune.

Track 27: Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne – Real Love

I like some of the instrumentals, but the tune on the vocals irritates me.

Track 28: Jeremih and YG – Don’t Tell ‘Em

The beat on the various lines of this is very jarring.  Not keen.  Also, that Rhythm Is A Dancer interpolation is done really badly.

Track 29: David Guetta and Sam Martin – Lovers On The Sun

Great Western-tinged instrumentals, and the tune’s quite nice.  Good stuff.

Track 30: Waze & Odyssey and R Kelly – Bump And Grind 2014

Reworking of R Kelly’s 1994 song.  I’m not keen on the original anyway, and this dance version is just messy.

Track 31: Ariana Grande and Zedd – Break Free

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Ariana Grande on track 3.

Very uninspired and irritating tune.

Track 32: Nicole Scherzinger – Your Love

Another track where the tune is so bland I’m not sure it even counts as a tune.

Track 33: Pitbull and John Ryan – Fireball

Good beat on this one – very danceable.

Track 34: Wankelmut, Emma Louise and Mark Kinchen – My Head Is A Jungle [MK Remix]

That chorus is horribly irritating!

Track 35: ZHU – Faded

I like the retro-sounding bassline, but in general it’s too repetitive for me.

Track 36: Duke Dumont – Won’t Look Back

One of those ’90s-sounding dance track from the mid-’10s.  It’s a bit too generic for my liking.

Track 37: Parra For Cuva and Anna Naklab – Wicked Games

Guitar-driven dance cover of Wicked Game by Chris Isaak.  It’s not a patch on the original, which is beautiful – somehow this version manages to be dull.

Track 38: Fuse ODG and Angel – TINA

Nice feelgood tune, quite like this one.

Track 39: Ten Walls – Walking With Elephants

Takes ages to get going.  When it does, it’s okay, but nothing special.

Track 40: Kiesza – Giant In My Heart

Some interesting lines on the backing track, but I’m not keen on the tune.

Track 41: The Magician and Years & Years – Sunlight

Another generic, bland tune.

Track 42: Melissa Steel and Popcaan – Kisses For Breakfast

I had this one stuck in my head for years afterwards.  Thankfully it’s an okay tune.

Track 43: Professor Green and Tori Kelly – Lullaby

The tune on the sung vocals is pretty, but I find the theme too depressing.

Track 44: Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora – Black Widow

Good atmosphere, but the tune is fairly uninspired.

Track 45: Nicki Minaj – Anaconda

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Nicki Minaj on track 3.

I find the theme on this one painfully stupid.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #83

Day 83 equals Now! #83, which brings us to 19th November 2012 – just four days before mine and Geth’s wedding.

November 2012
This is the way the world looked in November 2012. Not every day looks like your wedding day – to put it mildly – but on that day the world looked very good indeed, and so did we.

I am proud to report that we played absolutely none of the following songs at our wedding disco.  Not even Gangnam Style.

Now! That's What I Call Music #83
Track 1: Psy – Gangnam Style

It’s still hilarious nearly six years later, and very danceable, even if you’re not inclined to do the comedy dance that goes with the song.

Track 2: Robbie Williams – Candy

Nice feelgood tune that gave Robbie Williams an unexpected number one later in his career.  Good song.

Track 3: Swedish House Mafia and John Martin – Don’t You Worry Child

The theme is pretty cheesy, and the tune is a bit bland.

Track 4: Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Great folk-pop track with an awesome singalong chorus – really like this one.

Track 5: The Wanted – I Found You

Good danceable track, but the tune’s a bit bland.

Track 6: Calvin Harris and Florence Welch – Sweet Nothing

Another boring tune – not keen on this one.

Track 7: Maroon 5 – One More Night

Great reggae-tinged beat – this one’s a great head-nodder.

Track 8: Wiley, Skepta, JME and Dayo Olatunji – Can You Hear Me? (Ayayaya)

Love those steel drums at the start – good tune, great rhythm.

Track 9: Flo Rida – I Cry

I quite like the tune on this one – despite the title, it’s quite feelgood.

Track 10: Ne-Yo – Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)

Irritating tune, even more irritating theme.

Track 11: Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen – Good Time

Another annoying tune, and the theme is really cheesy.

Track 12: Katy Perry – Wide Awake

Again, a very bland tune.

Track 13: Pink – Blow Me (One Last Kiss)

Great beat, and I love the instrumentals.

Track 14: Little Mix – Wings

Good solid pop track – very danceable.

Track 15: Stooshe – Waterfalls

Uninspired cover of the TLC classic.  What’s kind of irritating is that the surviving members of TLC show up in the video.

Track 16: JLS – Hottest Girl In The World

Good beat, but in general I find this track a bit messy and jarring.

Track 17: Nicki Minaj – Pound The Alarm

Another very danceable track, another fairly forgettable tune.

Track 18: Redlight – Lost In Your Love

Dull, repetitive tune, and the messy beat gives me a headache.

Track 19: Rita Ora – How We Do (Party)

Boring, bland track – not enough melody for me.

Track 20: Cheryl – Under The Sun

It’s got quite a nice retro tinge, but the tune’s fairly forgettable.

Track 21: Wiley and Dayo Olatunji – Heatwave

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had both Wiley and Dayo Olatunji on track 8.

Great rhythm, but the vocals are repetitive and irritating (and it’s never clear whether the lyric is ‘body‘ or ‘party‘).

Track 22: Sam & The Womp – Bom Bom

Daft track that’s a lot of fun.  Happily chair-dancing right now.

Track 23: Labrinth and Emeli Sandé – Beneath Your Beautiful

I know the grammar of that title looks horrible – it’s actually because they’re using ‘beautiful’ as a noun rather than misspelling ‘you’re’.  Still wrong, but not a your/you’re fail.  ‘Beneath Your Beauty’ is what they actually mean.

Anyway, the song’s a slow, saccharine ballad, and I’m not keen on those.

Track 24: The Script and will.i.am – Hall Of Fame

Collaboration cooked up between will.i.am and Script singer Danny O’Donoghue, who were both coaches on The Voice at the time.  It’s a bit awkward and poor.

Track 25: Florence & The Machine – Spectrum (Say My Name) [Calvin Harris Remix]

Not technically a repeated artist alert, but this is the second collaboration between Florence Welch and Calvin Harris on this Now! compilation.

This tune is epic and gorgeous.  Lovely stuff.

Track 26: David Guetta and Sia – She Wolf (Falling To Pieces)

Boring, forgettable tune, and I don’t find any of the hooks very interesting.

Track 27: Calvin Harris and Example – We’ll Be Coming Back

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Calvin Harris on track 6, and sort of on track 25.

Nice atmosphere though, and the tune’s quite pretty.

Track 28: Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen

I find this one pretty dull.

Track 29: Naughty Boy and Emeli Sandé – Wonder

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Emeli Sandé on track 23.

Not keen on this tune – I find it a bit twee.

Track 30: Conor Maynard and Ne-Yo – Turn Around

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Ne-Yo on track 10.

This one’s another boring, uninspired tune.

Track 31: One Direction – Live While We’re Young

Extremely bland tune – very forgettable.

Track 32: Chris Brown – Don’t Wake Me Up

Irritating spoken word bit at the start, dull saccharine vocals.  Not a fan.

Track 33: Amelia Lily – You Bring Me Joy

Another dull, forgettable song.

Track 34: Fun – Some Nights

Good tune – there’s something a bit folk-rock about this one.

Track 35: Example – Say Nothing

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

This is another bland, uninspired tune.

Track 36: Lawson – Taking Over Me

Too cheesy for me.

Track 37: Karmin – Brokenhearted

Yet another forgettable song.

Track 38: Trey Songz – Simply Amazing

Again, this one’s far too saccharine for my liking.

Track 39: Simple Plan and Sean Paul – Summer Paradise

Nice jaunty track, though it’s a bit cheesy.

Track 40: Angel – Wonderful

This tune’s okay, and there are some interesting instrumentals going on too.

Track 41: Devlin and Ed Sheeran – Watchtower

The chorus samples/covers Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower, and there’s also a bit of the guitar riff from the Jimi Hendrix version.  Other than that, it’s mainly a rap, which I’m not keen on.

Track 42: Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait

I find this tune really dull, and a bit depressing.

Track 43: Elbow – One Day Like This

2008 hit that was back in the charts for 2012 – I can’t remember why.  Classic tune though, and that repeated anthemic hook at the end is epic.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #82

Day 82 brings us to Now! #82, which came out on 23rd July 2012.

July 2012
This is the way the world looked in July 2012. Our Southampton flat was a bombsite because we were about to move at the end of that August, our wedding was set for the November, I was finishing the first draft of a novel, I had a million and one things to do…and yet my nose was buried in The Best Of Smash Hits: The ’80s. Some days I think there’s no hope for my procrastination habit. Other days, when I feel I never get a break, I think I could learn a few lessons from my twenty-seven-year-old self.

Let’s have a listen to some summer hits I would have been far too busy to go partying to.  Except when I felt like it.

Now! That's What I Call Music #82
Track 1: Fun and Janelle Monáe – We Are Young

Gorgeous atmosphere, awesome tune.  A favourite.

Track 2: Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe

I’ve always had a soft spot for this feelgood track.  Love the instrumental hook.

Track 3: Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa – Payphone

Very pretty tune, quite like this one.

Track 4: Flo Rida – Whistle

I find the theme and chorus of this track a bit irritating.

Track 5: Coldplay and Rihanna – Princess Of China

Another beautiful tune.  Really like the way this works as a duet.

Track 6: Rudimental and John Newman – Feel The Love

I like the vocals, but I find the rest of the track a bit dull.

Track 7: Nicki Minaj – Starships

It’s an okay tune, but it’s a bit generic.

Track 8: Rihanna – Where Have You Been

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on track 5.

This one’s pretty uninspired and forgettable.

Track 9: Rita Ora and Tinie Tempah – RIP

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

Track 10: Conor Maynard – Can’t Say No

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

Track 11: Justin Bieber – Boyfriend

Justin Bieber sounding like Justin Timberlake.  It’s not a bad tune though.

Track 12: Ed Sheeran – Small Bump

I find this one really depressing!

Track 13: D’Banj – Oliver Twist

Good danceable track, great atmosphere.

Track 14: Stooshe – Black Heart

Another nice retro-tinged track from Stooshe – good stuff.

Track 15: Katy Perry – Part Of Me

The verse sounds too similar to David Guetta and Rihanna’s Who’s That Chick?, and the chorus is pretty generic.

Track 16: Marina & The Diamonds – Primadonna

Pretty tune – quite like this one.

Track 17: Paloma Faith – Picking Up The Pieces

Depressing, annoying tune.

Track 18: Train – Drive By

Good beat, but the theme and tune are irritating.

Track 19: Cover Drive – Sparks

Pretty tune, quite like this one.

Track 20: Jason Mraz – I Won’t Give Up

So slow and depressing that I actively dislike it.

Track 21: Alex Clare – Too Close

Great atmosphere, builds beautifully.

Track 22: Emeli Sandé – My Kind Of Love

Lovely tune, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 23: will.i.am and Eva Simons – This Is Love

I really like this one – beautiful atmosphere, epic chorus.

Track 24: Cheryl – Call My Name

It’s got a good beat, but the tune’s a bit generic.

Track 25: DJ Fresh and Rita Ora – Hot Right Now

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rita Ora on track 9.

This is a great track though – really upbeat and danceable.

Track 26: Tulisa – Young

Annoying tune, but it’s got an okay beat.

Track 27: David Guetta and Nicki Minaj – Turn Me On

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Nicki Minaj on track 7.

Interesting hook, but the vocals are pretty bland.

Track 28: Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo – Let’s Go

Quite like this tune, and it’s very danceable.

Track 29: Usher – Scream

Good beat – happily nodding along to this one.

Track 30: Jessie J and David Guetta – LaserLight

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

Annoying tune, uninspired bland electro lines.  Just boring.

Track 31: Chris Brown – Turn Up The Music

Another forgettable dance track.

Track 32: The Wanted – Chasing The Sun

Quite like this one – it’s very danceable, and the atmosphere’s great.

Track 33: The Saturdays – 30 Days

Another one with a good rhythm, but the tune’s a little repetitive.

Track 34: Loreen – Euphoria

The Eurovision winner for 2012.  Great tune, awesome atmosphere.

Track 35: Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound

Great beat, and it’s got a nice epic feel, but again it’s very repetitive.

Track 36: Azealia Banks and Lazy Jay – 212

Love this one – the rhythm is awesome.

Track 37: Plan B – Ill Manors

Great atmosphere, but it’s another one that’s too repetitive for me.

Track 38: B.o.B – So Good

Love that piano at the start.  Good stuff.

Track 39: Sway – Level Up

There’s some interesting lines here – I like the hint of harmonica – but on the whole it’s too messy for me.

Track 40: Taio Cruz and Pitbull – There She Goes

Daft lyrics, generic tune.  Not hugely keen on this one.

Track 41: Labrinth – Express Yourself

Interesting rhythm, but I find the tune pretty irritating.

Track 42: Scissor Sisters – Only The Horses

The tune’s okay, but it’s a bit forgettable.

Track 43: Lawson – When She Was Mine

Boring tune, cheesy lyrics.  Not my thing.

Track 44: Gary Barlow, The Commonwealth Band and Military Wives – Sing

Song released to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  It’s cheesy and fairly awful.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #80

Day 80 brings us to Now! #80, which came out on 21st November 2011.

November 2011
This is how the world looked in November 2011 (actually October). This was a pub somewhere near Southampton, but I have no idea exactly where. I’m actually wearing that hoodie right now, but it is getting a bit worse for wear.

Let’s see what was soundtracking my first few months living in Southampton.

Now! That's What I Call Music #80
Track 1: Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger

This one reminds me of unpacking all the stuff in our new flat when we first moved to Southampton.  I’ve always really liked this one – great tune, and the theme is awesome.

Track 2: Rihanna and Calvin Harris – We Found Love

Nice tune, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 3: One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

Revoltingly saccharine!  Everything about this track is just irritating.

Track 4: Bruno Mars – Marry You

It’s a bit cheesy, but I quite like the tune.

Track 5: JLS – Take A Chance On Me

I like the piano at the start, but again, the song in general is too saccharine for me.

Track 6: Christina Perri – Jar Of Hearts

It would be a good song if she could actually sing.  Seriously, it’s so off-key!  Why was this even allowed to be released?

Track 7: Kelly Clarkson – Mr Know It All

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

Track 8: Olly Murs and Rizzle Kicks – Heart Skips A Beat

Great track – I love this one!  Upbeat, feelgood, awesome tune.

Track 9: The Wanted – Lightning

I like the instrumentals, but the vocals are kind of annoying.

Track 10: Pixie Lott – All About Tonight

Good solid danceable pop, and lyrical references to shoes are always a winner with me.

Track 11: The Saturdays – All Fired Up

Fairly generic dance track, but the tune’s okay, and it’s quite danceable.

Track 12: Lady Gaga – The Edge Of Glory

Great pop tune!  Love the sax solo too, obviously.

Track 13: Will Young – Jealousy

Irritatingly whiny and insipid.

Track 14: James Morrison – I Won’t Let You Go

Painfully boring and depressing ballad.

Track 15: Ed Sheeran – You Need Me, I Don’t Need You

Great upbeat track, and I’m sorry, but I still find the elevator lyric hilarious.

Track 16: Damien Rice – Cannonball

Too slow and earnest for me.

Track 17: Lana Del Rey – Video Games

Gorgeous tune!  An all-time favourite.

Track 18: Charlene Soraia – Wherever You Will Go

Slow, dull ‘TV advert’ cover of the Calling song.  It’s a good tune, but the original beats this hands down.

Track 19: Goo Goo Dolls – Iris

Absolutely beautiful tune – a classic rock track from the ’90s, back in the charts due to somebody performing it on Britain’s Got Talent.

Track 20: Matt Cardle – Run For Your Life

Achingly boring.

Track 21: Westlife – Lighthouse

Jarring lines, saccharine vocals.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 22: Adele – Set Fire To The Rain

Gorgeous tune – love the atmosphere on this.

Track 23: Professor Green and Emeli Sandé – Read All About It

I find this one a bit depressing.

Track 24: Gym Class Heroes and Adam Levine – Stereo Hearts

The tune’s okay, but the rap’s really uninspired.

Track 25: Labrinth and Tinie Tempah – Earthquake

Great, danceable track – really like this one!  That monastic bit is wild.

Track 26: Jason Derulo – It Girl

Cheesy and forgettable.  Not a great song.

Track 27: Dappy – No Regrets

Again, there’s something very depressing about the tune on this one.

Track 28: David Guetta and Usher – Without You

Boring tune, uninspired lines.

Track 29: Calvin Harris – Feel So Close

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

I find this tune pretty dull.

Track 30: Leona Lewis and Avicii – Collide

I remember there was a bit of upset at the time, according to the Radio 1 DJs, because Avicii hadn’t originally been credited despite the fact that it was his track and Leona Lewis was just singing over the top.  Anyway, the tune’s a bit repetitive and bland.

Track 31: Example – Stay Awake

Slightly awkward theme, but the vocals are good.

Track 32: Sean Kingston – Party All Night (Sleep All Day)

Daft theme, but it’s a pleasant enough tune, if a bit bland.

Track 33: Tinchy Stryder, Calvin Harris and Matthew Burns – Off The Record

Repeated artist mega alert!  We’ve already had Calvin Harris on both track 2 and track 29.

Boring electro hook, generic rap.  Not a fan.

Track 34: Sak Noel – Loca People

Another daft theme, and the track itself is pretty repetitive and dull.

Track 35: Rizzle Kicks – Down With The Trumpets

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rizzle Kicks on track 8.

This song is great though – wonderful atmosphere.  I absolutely love the vocal style, and the lyrics are brilliant.

Track 36: Cher Lloyd and Mike Posner – With Ur Love

Extremely generic and forgettable.

Track 37: Jessie J – Who’s Laughing Now

Very irritating hooks and vocals, and I’m not keen on the theme.

Track 38: Rihanna – Cheers (Drink To That)

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

Nice feelgood tune, quite like this one.

Track 39: Sean Paul and Alexis Jordan – Got 2 Luv U

Good beat, and I quite like the vocal hook.

Track 40: Emeli Sandé – Heaven

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Emeli Sandé on track 23.

This track’s awesome, though – very Massive Attack-esque.

Track 41: Maverick Sabre – I Need

Boring, forgettable tune.

Track 42: Wretch 32 and Josh Kumra – Don’t Go

Gorgeous tune, even if it is a little depressing.

Track 43: The Collective – Teardrop

Too many artists to mention collaborating on the Children In Need single for 2011 – a cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop.  There’s a lot of misplaced rap; it’s not horrible but it’s pretty uninspired.

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.