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 #87

Day 87 equals Now! #87, which came out on 7th April 2014.

April 2014
This is how the world looked in April 2014…on a slightly overcast day in Salisbury. That hoodie, along with most of my hoodie collection, is far too big for me now and has been relegated to the pyjama drawer.

Into the mid-’10s already!  2014 was my last full year living in Southampton.  Let’s see what the chart sounded like.

Now! That's What I Call Music #87
Track 1: Pharrell Williams – Happy

It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s very joyful and danceable, so I quite like it.

Track 2: Route 94 and Jess Glynne – My Love

Annoying tune, generic track.  Not keen on this one.

Track 3: Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull – I’m A Freak

Good beat, but the tune’s pretty uninspired, and the chorus is really irritating.

Track 4: Avicii – Hey Brother

Another of Avicii’s EDM-bluegrass crossovers.  Quite like this track.

Track 5: Katy Perry and Juicy J – Dark Horse

Great atmosphere, and it’s got an okay tune.

Track 6: Sam Smith – Money On My Mind

I find this tune pretty irritating, and I’ve never been a fan of Sam Smith’s falsetto vocals.

Track 7: Little Mix – Word Up!

Pointless cover of the Cameo classic, released as the official Sport Relief single for 2014.  While the cover is pointless, the video is great – highlights include Chris Barrie reprising his role from The Brittas Empire and Melanie C showing she can still do those Spice Girl cartwheels.

Track 8: 5 Seconds Of Summer – She Looks So Perfect

Great bit of pop-rock – really like this tune!

Track 9: Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball

Irritating overblown ballad, not a fan.

Track 10: Pixie Lott – Nasty

Great beat, good big band feel –  very danceable.

Track 11: One Direction – Story Of My Life

Boring, slow, cheesy, and too acoustic-y for me.  Everything I dislike.

Track 12: Gary Barlow – Let Me Go

Okay beat, but the tune is dull.

Track 13: Alesso and OneRepublic – If I Lose Myself

Generic tune – nothing exciting going on here.

Track 14: Gorgon City and MNEK – Ready For Your Love

Another very uninspired track, with a dance beat that’s the same as every other dance beat from this decade.

Track 15: The Vamps – Wild Heart

Too cheesy for me, but it’s got quite a good rhythm.

Track 16: Lady Gaga and R Kelly – Do What U Want

The atmosphere’s okay, but again the tune’s not very interesting.

Track 17: Elyar Fox – Do It All Over Again

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

It’s an okay pop song with a good beat, but it’s pretty forgettable.

Track 18: Katy B – Crying For No Reason

This one’s a bit depressing, but the tune is quite pretty.

Track 19: John Legend – All Of Me

It’s very saccharine, but parts of the tune are absolutely beautiful, so I quite like it.

Track 20: A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera – Say Something

Another boring, mood-killing ballad.

Track 21: Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You

And yet another one.

Track 22: Sam Bailey – Skyscraper

The 2013 X Factor winner, this year doing a pointless cover of a Demi Lovato song.  Nothing interesting here.

Track 23: The Chainsmokers – #Selfie

That title is going to look so dated in decades to come.  Mind you, I don’t think anyone makes pop music with the thought that it’s going to be listened to in the future anymore – it’s all a bit disposable these days.  Anyway, this is interspersed throughout with the most annoying spoken word sample ever, which I think is meant to be the point, but it doesn’t make it in any way pleasant to listen to.

Track 24: Pitbull and Kesha – Timber

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

At my Zumba class in Southampton, we used to do a really fun, high energy, line dance-inspired routine to this, which I absolutely loved.  As such, I’ve got a soft spot for this song.

Track 25: DVBBS, Borgeous and Tinie Tempah – Tsunami (Jump)

Great rhythm – happily nodding along right now.

Track 26: Calvin Harris, Alesso and Hurts – Under Control

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

This is another one with a very unmemorable tune.

Track 27: Martin Garrix and Jay Hardway – Wizard

The hook’s okay, but everything that surrounds it is off – it could have created quite a good atmosphere if the track weren’t so messy.

Track 28: Tiësto – Red Lights

Depressingly generic tune.

Track 29: Duke Dumont and Jax Jones – I Got U

I like the steel drums, but otherwise it’s fairly boring.

Track 30: Bastille – Of The Night

Track completely made up of interpolations of Snap’s Rhythm Is A Dancer and Corona’s The Rhythm Of The Night, so I guess it’s sort of a cover.  I love both tracks so I don’t mind – this compilation has had so many boring forgettable tunes on that it’s a relief to hear a tune I like, even if it’s not original.

Track 31: Example – Kids Again

I like the backing track, but again I’m just not enthused by the tune.

Track 32: Little Mix – Move

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Little Mix on track 7.

This one’s a nice solid bit of pop – good stuff.

Track 33: Neon Jungle – Braveheart

Good solid pop tune – this one’s quite danceable.

Track 34: DJ Fresh, Jay Fay and Ms Dynamite – Dibby Dibby Sound

Bit of a Zumba theme to this playlist, because this is one that we danced to in a Zumba class I was attending in Newcastle last year.  I really need to go back to dance class – I fell out of the habit during the move and am a bit too busy at the moment.  Maybe in the autumn.

Anyway, this one’s a bit repetitive to listen to, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 35: Tujamo, Plastik Funk and Sneakbo – Dr Who!

I’m a bit surprised I ignored this one when it was in the charts, because I’m always looking for daft vaguely Doctor Who-related songs to add to that Doctor Who playlist I’m going to create at some point in the future.

It’s a bit tuneless, but it’s got a good beat.  It’d be nice if the lyrics were slightly more relevant to the title.

Track 36: Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne – Thank You

I find the rap a bit awkward.  Good rhythm, though, and the sample of Alicia Myers’ 1981 hit I Wanna Thank You is awesome.

Track 37: Fuse ODG – Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad)

Great atmosphere, good tune.  Really like this one.

Track 38: John Newman – Out Of My Head

Too slow for me, and the tune’s pretty depressing.

Track 39: Sub Focus – Turn Back Time

Bit of ’90s-tinged dance – great atmosphere.

Track 40: Matrix & Futurebound and Max Marshall – Control

Good beat, but this is another forgettable tune.

Track 41: Foxes – Let Go For Tonight

I like that piano at the start, and the chorus is epic.

Track 42: Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely On You

Interesting tune, good beat.  Not a bad track.

Track 43: Le Youth and Dominique Young Unique – Dance With Me

Great beat, and it’s got a welcome ’80s tinge.  Love the No Scrubs interpolation too.  Good stuff.

Track 44: London Grammar – Hey Now

I quite like the backing track, but the tune’s boring and it’s too slow.

Track 45: Vance Joy – Riptide

Endearingly daft lyrics, feelgood tune.  Big fan of this.

Track 46: American Authors – Best Day Of My Life

Good beat, but it’s a bit too twee for me.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #59

Day 59 equals Now! #59, which came out on 15th November 2004.

November 2004
This is how the world looked in November 2004, because we had just adopted our beautiful cat, José, and all of our photos were of him. José was the universe’s most wonderful creature, the feline love of my life, and the only thing that saved me from myself that year. He was only with us for seven short years, but I will miss him forever.

Let’s see what the hits were as we approached the midpoint of the decade.

Now! That's What I Call Music #59
Track 1: Blue – Curtain Falls

Love the Gangsta’s Paradise sample and its accompanying epic atmosphere, but the tune on the vocals is not really anything special.

Track 2: Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved

I’ve always quite liked this nice tune, though the chorus is a bit cheesy.

Track 3: Natasha Bedingfield – These Words

I like the instrumentals on the backing track, but the vocals are not really my thing.

Track 4: Robbie Williams – Radio

Great synth line, great tune – really like this one.

Track 5: Busted – Thunderbirds Are Go

Awful track that just reminds me how bad the live-action Thunderbirds film was (I am a huge fan of the original Gerry Anderson series).  It bastardises the classic theme song in an even worse way than the film ruins the show.

Track 6: Eric Prydz – Call On Me

Brilliant sampling of Steve Winwood’s Valerie, though obviously I’ll always prefer the original song.  Steve Winwood apparently liked this so much that he re-recorded the vocals specially.  Also, I can’t not mention the infamous aerobics video.

Track 7: Girls Aloud – Love Machine

Nice upbeat song, quite like this one.

Track 8: McFly – Obviously

I’ve always found this one really irritating – annoying tune, annoying theme, annoying vocals.

Track 9: Rachel Stevens – More, More, More

Fairly pointless cover of the ’70s classic.  There’s some irritating ’00s instrumentals going on, but nothing else is really changed from the original.

Track 10: Darius – Kinda Love

Boring tune, never really gets going.

Track 11: V – Hip To Hip

Quite like the tune on the instrumental hook, but the vocals are irritating and dull.

Track 12: JoJo – Leave (Get Out)

Sounds like pretty much every other song from around the same time.  Very forgettable.

Track 13: Jay Sean – Stolen

Good atmosphere, though the vocals are pretty generic.

Track 14: Scissor Sisters – Mary

Nice piano line, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 15: Keane – Bedshaped

Takes forever to get started.  When it does, it’s quite a nice tune, but again it’s far too slow for my liking.

Track 16: The Libertines – Can’t Stand Me Now

Good beat, good guitar instrumentals.  Quite like this track.

Track 17: Hoobastank – The Reason

Annoying tune, and it’s not upbeat enough for me.

Track 18: Embrace – Gravity

Nice instrumentals on the intro, but it’s another one that’s too slow for me.

Track 19: Lucie Silvas – What You’re Made Of

Nice tune, but it’s a bit repetitive (and again, too slow!).

Track 20: Ronan Keating – I Hope You Dance

Another boring, slow ballad.  Despite the title, this is a highly undanceable song.

Track 21: Duncan James and Keedie Babb – I Believe My Heart

Semi-repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Duncan James as part of Blue on track 1.

All of these slow, dull ballads are so samey that I can’t tell where one ends and another begins.  It does get more interesting when Keedie Babb’s soprano vocals come in though.

Track 22: Daniel Bedingfield – Nothing Hurts Like Love

Cheesy lyrics/vocals, but the atmosphere’s nice and dramatic.

Track 23: Jamelia – Stop

One of those tracks that has Christmas associations for me nowadays – the music channels always play it at Christmas due to the video featuring clips from Love Actually.  I was annoyed to realise recently that it’s an utterly pointless ’00s cover of the ’80s Sam Brown song.

Track 24: R Kelly – Happy People

It’s nice and upbeat (makes a change from all those dull ballads) but the tune’s pretty forgettable.

Track 25: Nelly and Jaheim – My Place

Bit repetitive, but the tune’s okay.

Track 26: The Black Eyed Peas – Let’s Get It Started

Good upbeat party song, very danceable.

Track 27: Kelis and André 3000 – Millionaire

Interesting song, but there’s not enough melody for me.

Track 28: 3 Of A Kind – Baby Cakes

I shouldn’t like this one, but I actually find it quite pleasant to nod along to.

Track 29: Khia – My Neck, My Back (Lick It)

I’m not a prude but I’ve always found this very sexually explicit song a bit squicky, to be honest.  If you ignore the lyrics, it’s got a good danceable beat.

Track 30: Ice Cube, Mack 10 and Ms Toi – You Can Do It

Great beat on this one, and the vocal hook makes it a classic.

Track 31: Joss Stone – You Had Me

Great upbeat song with a good atmosphere – love that chorus.

Track 32: Christina Milian and Joe Budden – Whatever U Want

Highly generic track – nothing interesting or special going on here.

Track 33: Sugababes – Caught In A Moment

Nice atmosphere, but the tune on the vocals is pretty dull.

Track 34: The Pirates, Enya, Shola Ama, Naila Boss and Ishani – You Should Really Know

Answer song to the beautiful I Don’t Wanna Know by Mario Winans, which already sampled the Fugees sampling Enya.  It’s pretty much the same song, so it’s still a gorgeous tune.

Track 35: Houston, Chingy, Nate Dogg and I-20 – I Like That

Good head-nodder, good atmosphere.  Quite like this one.

Track 36: Mousse T and Emma Lanford – Is It ‘Cos I’m Cool?

Oh, it’s this one.  The tune’s a little annoying, but at least it’s something different and rockier than what we’ve had so far.

Track 37: Deep Dish – Flashdance

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

Despite the title, this is not actually a cover of Flashdance…What A Feeling by Irene Cara.  It is instead a cover of He’s A Dream by Shandi Sinnamon, which was also on the original Flashdance soundtrack.  It’s a very repetitive female-fronted rock track – there’s little of interest here.

Track 38: Angel City and Lara McAllen – Do You Know (I Go Crazy)

Painfully dull dance track that samples Robert Miles’ Children and adds some terrible vocals over the top of it.  Nothing new going on at all.

Track 39: Michael Gray – The Weekend

Oh, it’s this one.  It’s an okay dance track, but I find the electro hook a bit irritating.

Track 40: Intenso Project and Lisa Scott-Lee – Get It On

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

Good beat, okay atmosphere, but the vocals are pretty terrible and uninspired.

Track 41: Dannii Minogue and Flower Power – You Won’t Forget About Me

Like the guitar, and the vocals are nice too.

Track 42: Danzel – Pump It Up

The chant-along bit is kind of repetitive, but the beat’s good.

Track 43: Eyeopener – Hungry Eyes

Dodgy trance cover of the Eric Carmen song.  It’s pretty awful.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #55

Day 55 brings us to Now! #55, which came out on 21st July 2003.

July 2003
This is the way the world looked in July 2003. That balcony’s not changed much, but I don’t remember the last time we used those wine glasses (and those clothes are now definitely living in my keepsakes boxes rather than my wardrobe!). It’s also been a while since I was that blonde – it has been attempted a couple more times since then, but I’ve got fairly lazy with hair dyeing lately. I’m saving that particular energy up for when I eventually go grey and have to start doing something about it.

Time for another round of summer hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #55
Track 1: R Kelly – Ignition [Remix]

I’ve not thought about this one for a while.  It was a big summer hit and was played in all the clubs in Zante when I was there with my mates.  I still quite like the tune.

Track 2: 50 Cent – In Da Club

A classic.  Love this one – it still gets stuck in my head every time it’s my birthday.

Track 3: Justin Timberlake – Cry Me A River

Nice tune, great epic atmosphere.  Awesome track.

Track 4: Wayne Wonder – No Letting Go

Oh, it’s this one.  The tune’s pretty dull, but it’s got some good instrumentals going on.

Track 5: Javine – Real Things

Nice epic blaring intro, quite like it.

Track 6: Kym Marsh – Come On Over

Very bland tune – not my kind of thing.

Track 7: Girls Aloud – No Good Advice

The tune and lyrics on this are really poor quality and awkward.  It sounds like it was written by a twelve-year-old.  Just awful.

Track 8: t.A.T.u – Not Gonna Get Us

Dull, repetitive follow-up to All The Things She Said.  Should have been a one-hit wonder.

Track 9: S Club 8 – Fool No More

So after S Club 7 changed their name to S Club (see yesterday’s review), S Club Juniors then went and changed their name to S Club 8, presumably ’cause they weren’t so junior anymore.  Confused?  I certainly am.

This track is a dance track, but the vocals still sound pretty kiddie to me.

Track 10: Fast Food Rockers – Fast Food Song

We used to sing this daft kids’ song in the church hall at Girl Guides meetings back in the mid-’90s.  I have no idea why anyone thought it would make a good pop song.  Really makes me hungry though.

Track 11: XTM, DJ Chucky and Annia – Fly On The Wings Of Love

Highly irritating vocals, cheesy tune, dodgy misplaced pan pipe instrumentals over a trance beat.  Appalling track.

Track 12: Lisa Scott-Lee – Lately

Uninspired vocals, bland tune.  Not keen on this.

Track 13: One True Voice – Shakespeare’s (Way With) Words

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

Too saccharine for me, but I suppose the tune’s alright.

Track 14: Bhangra Knights and Husan – Husan

Good tune, good beat – quite like this one.

Track 15: Tomcraft – Loneliness

Good head-nodder, very danceable.  I remember this being number one for quite a few weeks.

Track 16: Tiga and Jake Shears – Hot In Herre

Fairly pointless cover of the Nelly track, which was only a year old itself at this point (see Now! #52).  Jake Shears’ voice doesn’t suit the track at all, and all the fun is missing from the original.

Track 17: Lisa Maffia – All Over

There’s some interesting lines, but the track’s a bit messy in general.  I could do without the two rappers shouting over each other.

Track 18: Benny Benassi and The Biz – Satisfaction

The track’s tuneless and repetitive, but the video‘s a dubious classic (I was NOT a fan of the awful hiking-boots-with-stiletto-heels trend it encouraged, which has unfortunately made a few reappearances in the intervening time).

Track 19: Deepest Blue – Deepest Blue

Boring tune, uninspired dance beat.

Track 20: DJ Sammy – Sunlight

Good beat, but the tune’s very irritating.

Track 21: Plummet – Damaged

Interesting lines, but there’s not enough of a solid tune for me.

Track 22: Paul van Dyk and Hemstock & Jennings – Nothing But You

Generic dance track.  The vocals are quite nice, but it’s nothing special.

Track 23: Scooter – The Night

The high-pitched vocals on the chorus give me a headache, but the rest of the track’s quite danceable if it’s post-2am.

Track 24: Robbie Williams – Come Undone

Nice tune, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 25: Busted – You Said No

Urgh, whiny can’t-handle-rejection lyrics *shudder*

Track 26: Daniel Bedingfield – I Can’t Read You

Bland acoustic-y track with an annoying chorus, not to my liking.

Track 27: Amy Studt – Misfit

Nice vocals, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 28: The Thrills – Big Sur

It’s nice that the mid-’00s festival stalwart bands are starting to make appearances.  My mate Gemma absolutely loved this lot.

The track’s a nice retro-sounding soft rock tune.  Love that Monkees reference.

Track 29: Coldplay – God Put A Smile Upon Your Face

Nice atmosphere – this one’s got an okay tune.

Track 30: Appleton – Everything Eventually

Slow to start (as befits the title).  The vocal intro is nice, but after that it gets a bit generic.

Track 31: David Sneddon – Don’t Let Go

Boring slow tune – not keen.

Track 32: Ronan Keating – The Long Goodbye

Like the piano intro, but the rest of the track’s too saccharine for me.

Track 33: Darius – Incredible (What I Meant To Say)

Irritating tune that sounds like pretty much everything else.  Utterly forgettable.

Track 34: Feeder – Just The Way I’m Feeling

LOVED this track at the time and bought the single – it’s still a great tune.  I must have gone to see Feeder about three times that year, as they played the Glasgow Barrowlands a lot at the time.

Track 35: Sinéad Quinn – What You Need Is

Love the rock-edged instrumentals – this is quite a good track.

Track 36: Melanie C – On The Horizon

Boring, irritating tune.  I don’t find Melanie C’s second solo album anywhere near as good as her first.

Track 37: Emma Bunton – Free Me

I find the tune really irritating, and it’s too slow.

Track 38: S Club – Say Goodbye

Slow and saccharine.  You might have guessed I’m not a fan.

Track 39: Sugababes – Shape

Love the Sting sample – great atmosphere on this one.

Track 40: Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams – Excuse Me Miss

Some interesting lines going on here – quite like it, but it could do with a bit more melody.

Track 41: Mariah Carey and Cam’Ron – Boy (I Need You)

Boring, messy, irritating.  Next, please.

Track 42: Ja Rule and Ashanti – Mesmerise

Urgh.  Uninspired, repetitive tune, and the rap is awful.  Not my cup of tea at all.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #51

Day 51 brings us to Now! #51, which was released on 25th March 2002.

March 2002
This is how the world looked in March 2002. I am really glad that I don’t work as agency waiting staff any more! Black skirt and white shirt was the boring uniform we all had to wear. I’m just going to have a minute of remembrance for that awesome fern wallpaper, which my folks got rid of a few years back as part of their ongoing project to have all the walls in the house painted in plain colours.

Let’s see what was in the charts as I was finishing high school.

Now! That's What I Call Music #51
Track 1: Enrique Iglesias – Hero

Nice tune, but the vocals are far too saccharine for me.

Track 2: Blue – Fly By II

I can’t really remember how this differs from the original Fly By, but never mind.  It’s a nice enough tune, with a good singalong chorus.

Track 3: Ali G and Shaggy – Me Julie

A novelty song by a comedy character shouldn’t have this good an atmosphere.  Shaggy’s contribution helps as well.

Track 4: Daniel Bedingfield – Gotta Get Thru This

When I was in my final year of high school, pretty much every first year had this as their ringtone (this was the era when MIDI ringtones were a thing).  They would all sit on the bus showing off their ringtones on their Nokias, which is probably why I mostly walked to school that year.  (My MIDI ringtone on my Nokia 3310 was the Bergerac theme tune.  I never claimed to be a normal teenager.)

Um, the track’s okay, actually, when it’s not being MIDI-beeped at you from several different phones at once.

Track 5: Aaliyah – More Than A Woman

Great instrumentals, great atmosphere.  Not so keen on the vocals, but it’s an okay track in general.

Track 6: Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman – Somethin’ Stupid

Fairly pointless cover of the Frank and Nancy Sinatra classic.  Considered a Christmas song nowadays, as it was the Christmas number one for 2001.

Track 7: R Kelly – The World’s Greatest

Dull, cheesy, repetitive.  Not my thing.

Track 8: S Club 7 – Have You Ever

Saccharine ballad, irritating tune.  Next, please.

Track 9: Britney Spears – Overprotected

Annoying theme, but I quite like the tune.

Track 10: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Murder On The Dancefloor

I always quite liked this track, although it became a bit overplayed when Sophie Ellis-Bextor did Strictly many years later.

Track 11: Kylie Minogue – In Your Eyes

Great atmosphere, great pop tune.  Really like this one.

Track 12: DB Boulevard – Point Of View

Quite a nice tune, until the annoying vocals kick in.

Track 13: Lasgo – Something

Great atmosphere, but the vocals are really generic.

Track 14: PPK – Resurection

Yes, they did spell ‘resurrection’ with a missing ‘r’, and yes, it is killing me to have to type it out like that.

It’s a dance track with a nice hook – quite like the tune.

Track 15: DJ Aligator Project – The Whistle Song

Yes, they did spell ‘alligator’ with a missing ‘l’.  Musicians must have had it in for proofreaders in 2002.

Irritating, repetitive track with a lot of whistle blowing, as you might expect.

Track 16: Flip & Fill and Kelly Llorenna – True Love Never Dies

Lovely tune on the vocals – really quite like this one.

Track 17: Hear’Say – Everybody

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

Nauseatingly cheesy theme, irritating tune.  Just awful.

Track 18: Allstars – The Land Of Make Believe

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

Very bad cover of the Bucks Fizz classic.  Poor quality vocals, muddy backing track, generally pointless cover.

Track 19: Victoria Beckham – A Mind Of Its Own

Messy, jarring track.  Not keen on this at all.

Track 20: Steps – Words Are Not Enough

Cheesy, boring track.  Steps had really gone downhill at this point.

Track 21: Geri Halliwell – Calling

Nice atmosphere, classic sound.  Quite like this one.

Track 22: Rik Waller – I Will Always Love You

Uninspired cover of the Dolly Parton track in Whitney Houston style.  Unless you’ve got a better voice than Whitney – and who does? – you should leave this song well enough alone.

Track 23: Stereophonics – Handbags And Gladrags

It’s a little less depressing than most Stereophonics tracks, but that’s not saying much.

Track 24: Nickelback – How You Remind Me

When I get annoyed by this song, I just remember a show on afternoon TV at the time where kids were encouraged to phone in and sing along to their favourite songs.  This song is a lot better when the lyric about having ‘been down into the bottom of every bottle‘ is being creepily sung by seven-year-olds.

Track 25: Alien Ant Farm – Movies

Good pop-punk head-nodder – quite like this one.

Track 26: Sum 41 – In Too Deep

Another pleasant pop-punk tune – it reminds me of all the house parties I went to at the time.

Track 27: Puretone – Addicted To Bass

I always really liked this one – great vocals, great bassline (as you might expect).

Track 28: Christina Milian – AM To PM

Great tune, good singalong chorus.  A favourite from that time.

Track 29: Ja Rule and Ashanti – Always On Time

Quite like the chorus on this one – I was really annoyed when it was covered by Raye and Mr Easi as Decline a few months ago.

Track 30: City High and Eve – Caramel

Irritating vocals, dull tune, not keen.

Track 31: Beverley Knight – Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Boring track, nothing interesting here at all.

Track 32: Samantha Mumba – Lately

Another bland tune, very forgettable.

Track 33: Backstreet Boys – Drowning

Dull, saccharine ballad – not keen.

Track 34: Mary J Blige – Dance For Me

It’s nice to have an upbeat track after some very dull ones, but the tune’s pretty uninspired.

Track 35: Afroman – Crazy Rap

The guitar’s nice, but the endless incoherent shouting at the start is really irritating.  Once it gets into the track, it’s pretty dull and tuneless.  Also, I’m listening to the explicit version, and I can’t imagine any of these lyrics would have been allowed on the radio or on a Now! compilation – maybe they just played an instrumental version or something.

Track 36: Princess Superstar and High & Mighty – Bad Babysitter

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

Loved this one at the time!  It was often played at Uluru, which was the pub that my mates and I frequented during my final year of high school.

Track 37: Platinum 45 and More Fire Crew – Oi!

Tuneless and repetitive.  Not a fan of this at all.

Track 38: Goldtrix and Andrea Brown – It’s Love (Trippin’)

More repetitive beats, and the tune’s very forgettable.

Track 39: X-Press 2 and David Byrne – Lazy

I like the piano instrumentals, but I’ve always found the vocals really annoying.

Track 40: Jakatta – So Lonely

Fairly pointless cover/remix of the ’80s hit Ever So Lonely, using the original vocals.

Track 41: The Chemical Brothers – Star Guitar

Tuneless and messy.  Not for me.

Track 42: Lange and Skye – Drifting Away

Beat-driven track that is so dull I can’t concentrate on it.

Track 43: Dreamcatcher – I Don’t Wanna Lose My Way

The tune’s nice, but it’s pretty generic and forgettable trance.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #44

Day 44, and Now! #44, which was released on 22nd November 1999.

November 1999
This is how the world looked in November 1999 (actually December, you know the drill). Apologies for the poor quality photo, but these are dodgy old TIF scans from the early ’00s! I need to dig out the originals and re-scan them. Technology marches on, and so does my sense of style (I got rid of that shapeless gold velvet thing a LONG time ago).  My parents had the cushions of those screamingly ’70s chairs re-covered in the ’00s, and they’re still in use.

Let’s see what was in the charts as we approached the end of the millennium.

Now! That's What I Call Music #44
Track 1: Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time

Loved it at the time, bought the single.  It’s pretty overplayed these days, but I still have a bit of a soft spot for it.

Track 2: Shania Twain – That Don’t Impress Me Much

I’ve always quite liked this one, and I love her daft leopard-print outfit in the video.

Track 3: Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…)

The turn-of-the-millennium Latin pop craze was in full swing by this point, and so songs like this were huge.  I’ve always loved this one – the lyrics are great, and it’s really danceable.  I know it’s early on, but I’m going to make this my top wedding disco track of today.

Track 4: Eiffel 65 – Blue (Da Ba Dee)

I absolutely adored this one at the time, mainly because people were constantly singing it at me (I had, and still have in storage, a bright blue chenille cardigan that I wore constantly between 1998 and 2004 – you can see it in the picture for the Now! #40 review).  I still love the tune and the lyrics – great song.

Track 5: Steps – Tragedy

Daft, epic cover of the Bee Gees classic.  I can’t not mention the ludicrous video, which I must have seen a hundred times back in the day.

Track 6: Geri Halliwell – Mi Chico Latino

Geri Halliwell hopping on board with the Latin craze.  I quite like this tune, and I always appreciate a bit of Spanish guitar.

Track 7: Robbie Williams – She’s The One

I shouldn’t like this ballad (and apparently Robbie Williams didn’t like it himself for quite a number of years), but I do actually really like the tune.  Not sure why, as it’s the kind of thing I’d normally find depressing.

Track 8: Ronan Keating – When You Say Nothing At All

Cover of the country song.  I actually prefer this version, mainly ’cause it’s not country, but it’s still pretty cheesy and pedestrian.

Track 9: Melanie C – Northern Star

I had the Northern Star album and pretty much every track on it was a cracker – Melanie C’s solo stuff was far and away the best out of all the Spice Girls, and not just because she had the best voice.  This track is beautiful and melancholy, with an absolutely gorgeous atmosphere.

Track 10: Sixpence None The Richer – Kiss Me

The tune’s pleasant enough, but I find the theme a bit twee and irritating.

Track 11: Texas – Summer Son

Really like this one – it’s one of my favourite Texas tracks.  Love the instrumentals, love the edgy atmosphere to the song.

Track 12: Moloko – Sing It Back

Great upbeat tune – I’ve always quite liked this track.  Happily nodding along.

Track 13: Bob Marley & The Wailers and Funkstar De Luxe – Sun Is Shining

Remix of the 1971 track that adds a slightly messy dance beat over the top.  Still a great tune though.

Track 14: Diana Ross – Not Over You Yet

Dance track with a good atmosphere and interesting instrumentals.  Quite like this one.

Track 15: Tina Turner – When The Heartache Is Over

I’ve always quite liked this tune, though it mainly reminds me of an episode of Ally McBeal in which Tina Turner featured at the time.

Track 16: Jamiroquai – Canned Heat

Really like this tune – one of my favourite Jamiroquai tracks – though before I became aware of the title, I always misheard the lyric as ‘candy in my heels‘ rather than ‘canned heat in my heels‘.

Track 17: Tom Jones and The Cardigans – Burning Down The House

I owned and loved the Reload duet album that Tom Jones did, and this was probably one of the best tracks on it.  Great tune, wonderful singalong chorus, excellent stuff.

Track 18: Bran Van 3000 – Drinking In LA

Always really liked this one, to the extent that on the one single occasion in my life I have gone drinking in LA (at LAX airport in 2012 while waiting for a connection) I made sure to photograph the moment just so I could caption it appropriately on Facebook.

Track 19: Supergrass – Moving

I find this one a bit depressing – it’s just kind of slow and drone-y.

Track 20: Phil Collins – You’ll Be In My Heart

Boring tune, and I don’t like the country-tinged guitar.

Track 21: R Kelly – If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time

Slow, irritating ballad.  Not my thing.

Track 22: Geri Halliwell – Lift Me Up

Repeated artist alert!  This track’s a bit twee and cheesy, so really I think the Now! compilers should have just gone with Mi Chico Latino for this compilation.

Track 23: Tin Tin Out and Emma Bunton – What I Am

We’re certainly getting a lot of Spice Girls solo stuff at the moment.  This one is a fairly uninspired cover of the Edie Brickell & New Bohemians track from 1988.  It’s okay to nod along to.

Track 24: Martine McCutcheon – I’ve Got You

Boring ballad, depressing tune.  Not keen.

Track 25: Backstreet Boys – Larger Than Life

The track’s a great danceable song (especially that epic guitar solo!), and I always liked the Y2K-themed video.

Track 26: Jordan Knight – Give It To You

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

Interesting fairground-y instrumental during the intro, and there’s a good atmosphere to this one.  There’s a lot going on, but I quite like it.

Track 27: Gabrielle – Sunshine

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

Track 28: Honeyz – Never Let You Down

Slow, dull ballad, and I don’t like those.

Track 29: S Club 7 – S Club Party

Another irritating track from S Club 7, though there are some good singalong hooks if you’re in the right mood (approximately six or seven pints should do it).

Track 30: Lolly – Mickey

Pointless cover of the Toni Basil classic, with the only change being the more muddy and electro instrumentals.  Unlike with most pointless ’90s covers, I was actually aware of the original when this one came out, and I remember being totally confused about why someone would release a cover that was so similar, and why anyone would buy it (I did have a friend who actually bought it, though I won’t name and shame!).

Track 31: Ann Lee – 2 Times

Pretty, feelgood, interesting track – I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 32: Vengaboys – We’re Going To Ibiza!

It’s a fairly typical daft Vengaboys track, with the added major irritation that they don’t know how to pronounce ‘Ibiza’, so the lyric sounds like ‘whoa – we’re going to eat pizza‘.  Which is definitely something to get excited about, but maybe not to the point of releasing a song.

Track 33: Enrique Iglesias – Bailamos

Loved it at the time, requested an Enrique Iglesias album for Christmas off the back of loving this track (and then it turned out to be an earlier album that didn’t have this track on it.  Oh well).  Still a great tune.

Track 34: Shaft – (Mucho Mambo) Sway

Oh, it’s this one!  Great atmosphere, great Latin beat.  Good stuff.

Track 35: ATB – Don’t Stop!

ATB using a similar irritating instrumental hook to the one on their last track, 9PM (Till I Come).  Bored already.

Track 36: DJ Jean – The Launch

Annoying, repetitive hook.  Not keen.

Track 37: Groove Armada and Gram’ma Funk – I See You Baby [Fatboy Slim Radio Edit]

Classic dance track, great vocal hook.

Track 38: Wamdue Project – King Of My Castle

I’ve always found this one pretty interesting, mainly due to the utterly incomprehensible lyrics (she’s doing what with her trestle?).  Good tune too.

Track 39: Alice Deejay – Back In My Life

Irritating, repetitive vocals, generic dance backing track.  Never really liked this one.

Track 40: Alena – Turn It Around

Boring dance track, nothing good about it.

Track 41: Tina Cousins – Angel

Pretty vocals, but the track is otherwise very uninspired.

Track 42: Liquid Child – Diving Faces

The vocal sample is awful, but I quite like the electro hooks.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #41

Day 41 brings us to Now! #41, which was released on 23rd November 1998.

November 1998
This is the way the world looked in November 1998…no it didn’t. Again, we don’t have any pictures from autumn 1998, so instead, you get this slightly cringeworthy one from January 1999 of me dressed up for a gangster-themed party. My hair was super curly then – it’s still curly but it calmed down a bit in the next couple of years.

Let’s see what might have been on the CD player at that party.

Now! That's What I Call Music #41
Track 1: Boyzone – No Matter What

It’s a bit slow and saccharine, but it is a nice tune.

Track 2: Robbie Williams – Millennium

The tune is a bit dull, but there’s something quite pleasant about his one.

Track 3: The Beautiful South – Perfect 10

I’ve always been a bit mixed on this one – great tune, but for some reason I find the theme a bit depressing.

Track 4: U2 – Sweetest Thing

I’ve always quite liked this one, and the video‘s still great.

Track 5: Culture Club – I Just Wanna Be Loved

This reminded me that I read in Classic Pop (my new favourite magazine – it’s basically like Smash Hits grew up and is now a middle-aged man) the other day that Culture Club have finally made up and got back together in order to go on tour and release that album that they made a few years back before the last bust-up.  As such, I’ve just ordered tickets, and I’m going to see them in November!  So excited.

This song is from the late ’90s reformation, and it’s quite a pleasant reggae track, but it’s not quite up there with the ’80s stuff for me.

Track 6: Ace Of Base – Life Is A Flower

Loved it at the time, still quite like it now.  Nice tune.

Track 7: Jennifer Paige – Crush

Lovely tune, classic chorus.  I’ve always liked this one.

Track 8: Steps – Heartbeat

The annual music channel Christmas playlists have ensured that this is now a bona fide Christmas song, so it feels wrong in May.  Trying to put that aside, it’s a pretty daft, cheesy song, fairly standard for Steps.

Track 9: Honeyz – Finally Found

We return to the theme from yesterday, of tracks that were also featured on the Top of the Pops 1998 compilation, which I owned for some reason despite liking almost none of the songs on it.  This one has an annoying chorus and a boring theme.

Track 10: East 17 – Each Time

I like the instrumentals at the start, but the vocal is pretty uninspired.

Track 11: Kele Le Roc – Little Bit Of Lovin’

Overblown vocals, slow ballad, generic tune.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 12: Sweetbox – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

The Bach sample is nice, but the vocals over the top (both sung and rap) are pretty awful.

Track 13: UB40 – Come Back Darling

Fairly standard reggae track from UB40, except it’s got a sort of messy beat that I find a bit irritating.  Shame, ’cause the tune’s nice.

Track 14: Melanie B and Missy Elliott – I Want You Back

So-so effort from the Spice Girls’ Mel B for her first solo single.  The dull tune on the chorus does nothing for me, really…

Track 15: All Saints – Bootie Call

…and bizarrely, the dull tune on the chorus of this one is strongly reminiscent of it.  I’m also irritated by the theme.

Track 16: Aqua – Turn Back Time

Gorgeous tune, love this one.  Great song.

Track 17: Spice Girls – Too Much

The Now! compilers are a little late with this one, as it was the Christmas number one for 1997.  Still a nice tune, though, and possibly my favourite of the three consecutive Spice Girls Christmas number ones.

Track 18: Lutricia McNeal – Someone Loves You Honey

Super cheesy and irritating, but at least it attempts to bring back the sax solo, which was much neglected by this point of the ’90s.

Track 19: Lighthouse Family – Question Of Faith

Really nice tune, great atmosphere.  Good head-nodder.

Track 20: Phil Collins – True Colours

Laid-back cover of the Cyndi Lauper classic.  Interesting, slightly folky instrumentals, but it doesn’t quite have the rawness of the original.

Track 21: Janet Jackson – Every Time

Pretty song – quite like this one, even if the tune on the chorus does massively rip off Go West’s King Of Wishful Thinking.

Track 22: Billie Piper – Girlfriend

Annoyed by it at the time, annoyed by it now.  I remember taking the piss out of this one with mates at school using alternative lyrics, but I can’t for the life of me remember what they were.

Track 23: 911 – More Than A Woman

Fairly pointless cover of the Bee Gees song, with the only real changes being some added tinkly instrumentals and the fact that it’s not sung in falsetto.  Meh.

Track 24: T-Spoon – Sex On The Beach

Well, it’s at least upfront.  Found it a bit awkward at the time – nowadays I just find it interesting as a ’90s musical artefact.

Track 25: The Tamperer and Maya – If You Buy This Record Your Life Will Be Better

It’s pretty similar to their previous hit Feel It, except this time it samples Material Girl instead of Can You Feel It?  It’s okay, but there’s a reason it wasn’t as big a hit as the first one.

Track 26: Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You

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

I should be irritated by this one, but I do like that singalong hook.

Track 27: Vengaboys – Up And Down

I’ve always quite liked this one, although it’s not the most memorable of the Vengaboys’ tracks.

Track 28: Sash! and Shannon – Move Mania

The backing track is great, but I’m not keen on the vocals.

Track 29: Touch & Go – Would You…?

I like the instrumentals, and the vocal sample’s used quite well.  While it’s still not exactly innuendo, it’s not as in-your-face as Sex On The Beach (see above), and I actually quite like the track.

Track 30: The Corrs – Dreams [Tee’s Radio Mix]

Pretty, folky cover of the Fleetwood Mac classic.  Really like this one.

Track 31: The Cardigans – My Favourite Game

Great track!  Loved it at the time, love it now.  That guitar riff is gold.

Track 32: James – Sit Down ’98

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

We already had the original on Now! #20, but this version is different enough that I’m not going to moan about that.  It’s not different in a good way, though – it’s just really messy.

Track 33: Fatboy Slim – Gangster Trippin’

I like the instrumental hook, but the rest of the track is pretty haphazard and irritating.

Track 34: Eagle-Eye Cherry – Falling In Love Again

It’s okay, but it sounds too similar to Save Tonight.  I prefer artists to diverge a bit more.

Track 35: Sheryl Crow – My Favourite Mistake

A bit repetitive, and it’s too slow for me.  Nice tune though.

Track 36: Robbie Williams – No Regrets

Repeated artist alert!  I know Robbie Williams was having a lot of hits at the time, but that’s really no excuse.

The tune is lovely, and had I been the Now! compilers, I would have chosen this one over Millennium and given the extra slot to someone else.  I’ll remember that when I get round to building that time machine.

Track 37: Space – We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

Interesting, atmospheric cover of the Animals classic.  Quite like this one.

Track 38: Embrace – My Weakness Is None Of Your Business

It’s another depressing one from Embrace.  Droning vocals, slow tune, brings my mood right down.  Next one, please.

Track 39: Alisha’s Attic – The Incidentals

Oh, it’s this one!  Nice tune, but it’s a bit acoustic-y for my liking.

Track 40: Deetah – Relax

Pretty intro, but the instrumentals don’t really go with the rap.

Track 41: R Kelly and Keith Murray – Home Alone

Not enough melody for me, and it’s very repetitive.  Not a fan.

Track 42: Sham Rock – Tell Me Ma

Dance-infused version of the traditional Irish song that I absolutely adored at the time – I bought the single and everything.  It’s still a guilty pleasure, but I do find it a bit daft nowadays!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #40

Day 40, and Now! #40, which takes us to 3rd August 1998.

August 1998
This is how the world looked in August 1998. There were maybe other things going on in the world that weren’t me posing on a rock, but this is what you get today. I loved that blue chenille cardigan and wore it constantly for my entire teenage years – I still have it in my keepsakes collection.

Let’s see what the hits were that summer!

Now! That's What I Call Music #40
Track 1: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John – Grease Megamix

Megamix of You’re The One That I Want, Greased Lightnin’ and Summer Nights from the 1978 film.  It was apparently created in 1990 but wasn’t really a hit until the late ’90s.  This was another favourite at my school youth club.

Track 2: Spice Girls – Viva Forever

Lovely tune, nice melancholy atmosphere, gorgeous Spanish guitar.  The last song of the classic Spice Girls run to feature Geri Halliwell, and in many ways it’s a nicer farewell song for her than Goodbye was.

Track 3: Karen Ramirez – Looking For Love

I had this one on a Top of the Pops 1998 compilation.  I’ve never been that keen, as I find the tune a bit dull.

Track 4: Billie Piper – Because We Want To

Thought of it as a clearly-awful-but-sort-of-guilty-pleasure at the time, now think it’s just awful, but as a Doctor Who fan it’s always amusing to be reminded of Billie Piper’s ’90s pop career.

Track 5: All Saints – Lady Marmalade

So-so cover of the Labelle track.  It would be eclipsed a few years later by the much-more-memorable Moulin Rouge! soundtrack cover, so I’ve not listened to this one in years.

Track 6: Mousse T and Hot ‘N’ Juicy – Horny

You couldn’t escape this one in 1998, and at the time I quite liked it.  It’s not aged well though.

Track 7: The Tamperer and Maya – Feel It

What’s she gonna look like with a chimney on her?‘  That is the lyric, right?  It’s what I’ve always heard, anyway.  Everyone called this ‘The Chimney Song’ at the time.  Nowadays I’m more interested in the Can You Feel It? sample, which works quite well in this track.

Track 8: Aqua – Doctor Jones

Follow-up to Barbie Girl.  I remember a few of my friends complaining because they thought Aqua would have been the perfect one-hit wonder.  This one is a bit uninspired, but there are actually quite a few crackers off that first album, so I’m glad they stuck around for a while.

Track 9: Steps – Last Thing On My Mind

Steps lose the comedy line-dance schtick and settle into their standard full-on Abba tribute sound.  I’ve always found this one a bit annoying, to be honest.

Track 10: Groove Generation and Leo Sayer – You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

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

Semi-cover of Sayer’s 1976 track.  It’s basically a messy cut-up sample-y version of the original with a misplaced rap where the verses used to be.  Not impressed by this one.

Track 11: Bus Stop and Carl Douglas – Kung Fu Fighting

Another semi-cover of a ’70s hit, this time with Bus Stop rapping all over Carl Douglas’ classic track.  While it doesn’t quite live up to the original, I’ve always had a soft spot for this version.

Track 12: Ultra Naté – New Kind Of Medicine

Another one that was also on my TOTP 1998 compilation, and it’s another boring tune, I’m afraid.

Track 13: Lutricia McNeal – Stranded

Nice piano opening, but the main tune doesn’t do anything for me.

Track 14: Lighthouse Family – Lost In Space

While it’s not my favourite Lighthouse Family track ’cause it’s a bit slow and dull, I always liked the video because of the helicopter shots of the then-new Angel of the North.  Now that I live near the Angel of the North, that makes it even better.

Track 15: Boyzone – All That I Need

It’s an okay tune, but it’s just a bit too cheesy for me.

Track 16: All Saints – Under The Bridge

Repeated artist alert!  Lady Marmalade and Under The Bridge were a double A-side, and I guess the Now! compilers couldn’t pick which one to include.

It’s a cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song that is much less epic than the original.  I quite liked it at the time, though.

Track 17: K-Ci & JoJo – All My Life

I adored this one at the time and even bought the single.  I still think it’s a lovely tune, though it’s a little saccharine for me these days.

Track 18: Janet Jackson – I Get Lonely

Boring tune, irritating instrumentals!  Not keen on this at all.

Track 19: Sparkle and R Kelly – Be Careful

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

Another dull, irritating track that was also on my TOTP 1998 compilation (the lyrics are good, but they can’t save the tune).  Looking back, I’m not sure why I bought that compilation – I didn’t actually like most of the tracks that were on it.

Track 20: Peter Andre – Kiss The Girl

Cover of the classic Disney track from Aladdin.  Hated it at the time, still think it’s pretty awful.  It comes nowhere near the original.

Track 21: Don Henley – The Boys Of Summer

Classic 1984 hit, back in the charts for some reason.  Not complaining!

Track 22: The Mavericks – Dance The Night Away

Found it annoying then, find it annoying (and depressing) now.  Never been a fan of this one.

Track 23: Eagle-Eye Cherry – Save Tonight

This one, however, I’ve always loved!  Gorgeous tune.

Track 24: Catatonia – Road Rage

Great, classic singalong track from Catatonia.  Wonderful tune.

Track 25: Natalie Imbruglia – Big Mistake

I’d forgotten about this one!  Great tune with a nice epic chorus.

Track 26: Embrace – Come Back To What You Know

Hated it then, hate it now.  Awful, depressing dirge.

Speaking of which…

Track 27: The Verve – Sonnet

It’s another depressing tune from the Verve, although after that godawful Embrace song, it sounds almost lively.

Track 28: Massive Attack – Teardrop

Great, epic track!  A classic.

Track 29: Mansun – Legacy

This one’s a bit drone-y for my liking.  Not keen.

Track 30: Baddiel & Skinner and The Lightning Seeds – Three Lions ’98

Reworking of Three Lions from 1996 to tie in with the World Cup in 1998.  It’s just as bad as the original.

However…

Track 31: Fat Les – Vindaloo

…if we have to be subjected to England football songs every time it’s the summer of a year that ends in an even number, this is the way to go.  Hilarious song, great video that parodies the awful video for Bitter Sweet Symphony that I mentioned the other day.

Track 32: Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank

Classic track, anthemic hooks.  Great stuff.

Track 33: David Morales and The Face – Needin’ U

Awful, repetitive dance track.  This was also on TOTP 1998.

Track 34: Lucid – I Can’t Help Myself

Irritating, depressing dance track.  This was also on TOTP 1998.  Why did I buy that compilation?

Track 35: Perpetual Motion – Keep On Dancin’ (Let’s Go)

Irritating squeaky hook throughout, repetitive beat, messy lines, uninspired spoken vocal.  It’s time to get out of the imaginary ’90s nightclub again.

Track 36: Barbara Tucker – Everybody Dance (The Horn Song)

Slight throwback sound to this one, which has a vocal that sounds like it should have been released earlier in the ’90s.  The titular horns, meanwhile, are super annoying.

Track 37: Imaani – Where Are You?

Nice atmosphere to this track, quite like it.

Track 38: Adam Garcia – Night Fever

Pointless cover of the Bee Gees track, released as part of the Saturday Night Fever: The Musical soundtrack.  Because of the nature of the release, it was never going to add anything interesting to the original, let’s face it.

Track 39: Kerri-Ann – Do You Love Me Boy?

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

The calypso instrumental is a bit different, and it’s fairly solid pop, but the tune is pretty uninspired.

Track 40: Los Umbrellos – No Tengo Dinero

Another one I’d forgotten about.  I quite liked it at the time ’cause of the Spanish chorus, but I find the vocal pretty irritating now.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #37

Day 37, and Now! #37, released 14th July 1997.

July 1997
This is how the world looked in July 1997 – and given how long those Hebridean structures have been standing, it’s how the world has looked for quite some time. I loved those leggings at the time, though I’m not quite sure about them now.

Let’s have a listen to some artists who have almost certainly never played live in the Outer Hebrides.

Now! That's What I Call Music #37
Track 1: Hanson – MMMBop

Loved Hanson at the time, as did all my friends – my walls were covered in their posters!  Nowadays I find this one pretty cringeworthy though.

Track 2: Eternal and Bebe Winans – I Wanna Be The Only One

I’ve always quite liked this one – the chorus is great.

Track 3: The Cardigans – Lovefool

A huge favourite!  Loved it then, love it now.  Gorgeous tune.

Track 4: No Doubt – Just A Girl

Another great tune from No Doubt – great beat, great instrumentals.

Track 5: Sash! and Rodriguez – Ecuador

I adored this at the time and played it over and over.  It’s still my favourite Sash! track.

Track 6: No Mercy – Where Do You Go

I’d totally forgotten about this one.  It’s quite a good dance track, through I’m not hugely keen on the chorus reference to ’60s hit Where Do You Go To (My Lovely), which I find to be a super irritating song!

Track 7: Spice Girls – Who Do You Think You Are

This was a double A-side with Mama, and this is undoubtedly the better song in my opinion.  It was the Comic Relief single for 1997, and it had a dance to go with it, which was the absolute best thing a song could have at the time.  Great tune.

Track 8: Ultra Naté – Free

Annoyed by it at the time, still find the chorus a bit irritating now.

Track 9: Rosie Gaines – Closer Than Close

Oh, it’s this one!  The backing track is dull, but there’s something I find quite endearing about the vocals.

Track 10: George Michael – Star People

Quite like the instrumentals, but it’s a boring tune.

Track 11: En Vogue – Don’t Let Go (Love)

Absolutely beautiful song – love this one.

Track 12: Shola Ama – You Might Need Somebody

Originally an ’80s track, but this is the version everybody knows.  I’ve never been that keen on this tune – I don’t like the chorus.

Track 13: Coolio and 40 Thevz – C U When U Get There

I like the sample from Pachelbel’s Canon in D, even when it goes a bit electro and odd.  The rap’s a bit generic, though.

Track 14: Warren G and Ron Isley – Smokin’ Me Out

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

Nice atmosphere on the intro, but I find the rest of the track a bit messy.

Track 15: R Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly

Quite liked it at the time, find it massively overplayed and irritating now.

Track 16: Damage – Wonderful Tonight

Soul-tinged cover of the Eric Clapton classic, generally a bit uninspired.  Not different enough to be worthwhile in my opinion (even if they do change the blonde subject of the song into a brunette!).

Obligatory ‘I hate pointless ’90s covers’ rant: this was the first version of this song I ever heard.  I still can’t believe that.

Track 17: 911 – The Journey

Slow, dull ballad.  Not keen on this one.

Track 18: Boyzone – Isn’t It A Wonder

This one’s far too saccharine for me, I’m afraid.

Track 19: Backstreet Boys – Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)

I suggested this song the other day when Geth and I were in the pub trying to come up with songs that had ‘game‘ in the title for a boardgame-themed playlist.  I wouldn’t actually put it in a playlist, though, ’cause it’s cheesy and irritating.

Track 20: N-Tyce – Hey DJ! (Play That Song)

I quite like the backing track, but the vocals are super annoying.

Track 21: Foxy Brown and Jay-Z – I’ll Be

The rap is good, but there’s not enough of a tune for me.

Track 22: Wet Wet Wet – If I Never See You Again

Slow beat, slightly irritating tune, but at least it’s got a nice classic edge to it.

Track 23: U2 – Staring At The Sun

Nice atmosphere, but again, the tune is slow and dull.

Track 24: The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

Overplayed at the time, irritating now, and of course it’s not helped by that infuriating video.

Track 25: The Seahorses – Love Is The Law

Really like the guitar intro and the melody – great tune.

Track 26: Ocean Colour Scene – Hundred Mile High City

Another rock classic from OCS, with a slightly ’60s tinge about it.  Awesome track.

Track 27: Robbie Williams – Old Before I Die

I like the theme, but I’m not hugely keen on the tune.

Track 28: Cast – Guiding Star

Oh, it’s this one.  I’ve always found the vocal hook super annoying – not a fan.

Track 29: Paul McCartney – Young Boy

Nice upbeat track, like the tune.  Good stuff.

Track 30: Sheryl Crow – A Change Would Do You Good

The ‘change’ here for me is that I actually quite like this one, which is a first for the Sheryl Crow tracks that have been on Now! compilations so far.  Nice beat and atmosphere on the verses.

Track 31: Radiohead – Paranoid Android

Nice tune on the instrumentals, but the vocal line is depressing (and not in a good way).

Track 32: Texas – Halo

Lovely tune, apart from the chorus, which annoys me.

Track 33: Supergrass – Sun Hits The Sky

And this one’s vice versa – irritating, repetitive tune on the verses, but the chorus is all right.

Track 34: James – Waltzing Along

Great track – love the melody on this one, and the atmosphere’s really nice too.

Track 35: Blur – On Your Own

Great beat, interesting instrumentals, but once the vocal is added to the mix it becomes a bit messy.

Track 36: Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Scooby Snacks

I’ve always really liked this one!  Great singalong track.

Track 37: Orbital – The Saint

Electronica cover of the theme tune to The Saint.  It’s as random as it sounds.

Track 38: Brainbug – Nightmare

Great spiky electro dance, really like this one.

Track 39: The Course – Ain’t Nobody

Messy dance cover of the Chaka Khan classic.  It’s pretty atrocious.

Track 40: Todd Terry, Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown – Something Going On

Oh, it’s this one!  Generic beat to start off, but the vocals are quite nice.

Track 41: Diddy – Give Me Love

No, it’s not the hip-hop act – he was known as ‘Puff Daddy’ at the time.  ’90s Diddy was a dance producer, and I reckon he should probably have sued when Puff Daddy decided to change his name.

The track is a pretty generic dance offering, very forgettable.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #30

Day 30 takes us to Now! #30, which was released on 10th April 1995.

April 1995
This is how the world looked in April 1995. There seems to be a bit of a theme of photos from halfway up hills and in woods and on beaches lately. Those things have obviously not changed in appearance, but my T-shirt collection has – not sure I could pull off bright yellow these days.

On with the tunes!

Now! That's What I Call Music #30
Track 1: Freak Power – Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out

It’s starting to get to the point with some of these where I’m a bit like ‘oh!  I haven’t even thought about this song for more than twenty years’, and all these incredibly vague memories sort of flash through my mind for a second.  This must be what getting old feels like.

The track is still great – love that tune on the chorus.

Track 2: Janet Jackson – Whoops Now

Slightly ’60s-tinged, jaunty track – another one I haven’t thought about for a long time.  The chorus is a little repetitive, but it’s a nice tune.

Track 3: Boyzone – Love Me For A Reason

Yup, I had this album.  Boyzone showed up just at the right point when Take That were coming to the end of their original run, giving tween girls everywhere a new favourite band.  Pretty much every girl in my primary school class loved this song.

To adult ears, it’s kind of cheesy, and while I’ve never heard the original ’70s version, I’m guessing the cover probably doesn’t add much.

Track 4: Cher, Chrissie Hynde, Neneh Cherry and Eric Clapton – Love Can Build A Bridge

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

Absolutely loved this one at the time, still like it now.  It was the Comic Relief song for 1995, back when Comic Relief songs were still good.  Love the tune, really like the way the vocals are shared throughout the song.

Track 5: East 17 – Stay Another Day

This track’s status as the Christmas number one for 1994, its festive bells toward the end, its snowy video and its ubiquity on the music channels during December all mean that this is very firmly considered a Christmas song nowadays, so it feels highly out of place in May.  I’ve always loved it, though, and remember being wowed by it when I first saw it performed on Top of the Pops in late 1994.

Track 6: Mike & The Mechanics – Over My Shoulder

This one was the ‘played all the time on the ferry’ track of summer 1995, so it just takes me straight back to being on a cross-channel voyage.  Great song, love the tune.

Track 7: Jimmy Nail – Crocodile Shoes

Super annoying chorus – never been keen on this one.

Track 8: Scarlet – Independent Love Song

Nice tune, nice atmosphere, but a bit slow, and the chorus is kind of overblown.

Track 9: Simple Minds – She’s A River

Great, epic-sounding rock song.  Really like this one.

Track 10: The Boo Radleys – Wake Up Boo!

I think the tune and theme to this one are pretty annoying, but I still find myself nodding along to it.

Track 11: The Human League – Tell Me When

Good to see the Human League back in the charts, with a great bit of synthpop.  Lovely tune.

Track 12: M People – Sight For Sore Eyes

Great danceable track  – really like this tune.

Track 13: Sting – This Cowboy Song

The instrumentals are nice, but there’s nothing special about the song.

Track 14: Shut Up And Dance – Save It Till The Mourning After

‘Sampling’ of Duran Duran’s Save A Prayer where they’ve just taken the backing track and chorus and added a horrible misplaced rap over the top.  I’m also not sure why, in the title, they’ve changed ‘morning’ to ‘mourning’.

However, no matter how messy the sampling, I love Duran Duran, and Save A Prayer is one of my favourites, so I’m just going to enjoy the sample and ignore everything else.

Track 15: R Kelly – Bump ‘N’ Grind

The vocal gymnastics at the start are pretty anthemic, but once the track gets going it’s messy, dull and irritating, not my cup of tea at all.

Track 16: Eternal – Oh Baby I…

Fairly generic-sounding ballad.  Not keen.

Track 17: Massive Attack and Tracey Thorn – Protection

Too slow for me, and I find the tune pretty dull.

Track 18: Portishead – Glory Box

Great hook, great tune, classic track.

Track 19: Oasis – Whatever

Nice violin instrumentals, awesome tune.  It’s another one I hadn’t thought about for a while.

Track 20: Outhere Brothers – Don’t Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)

This was everywhere in 1995.  It’s actually a really annoying song, but it certainly has a lot of memories attached to it.

Track 21: Alex Party – Don’t Give Me Your Life

Oh, it’s this one!  Another one I’d forgotten about.  Loved it at the time, find that chorus a little annoying nowadays.

Track 22: Strike – U Sure Do

And…oh, it’s this one!  I’ve got a feeling this is going to start happening a lot.  Found the tune annoying at the time, find it quite nice and nostalgic now.

Track 23: Kenny Dope and The Bucketheads – The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)

Absolute classic – great party tune with an awesome singalong chorus.

Track 24: Nightcrawlers – Push The Feeling On

I find this one pretty repetitive, but I do like the instrumental hooks.

Track 25: Tin Tin Out – Always (Something There To Remind Me)

Electro dance cover of the ’60s classic.  The instrumentals are too messy for my liking, unfortunately.

Track 26: Corona – Baby Baby

Great dance track, great atmosphere – really like this one.

Track 27: Clock – Axel F

Before Crazy Frog ruined the Harold Faltermeyer classic in the ’00s (which I mentioned in my review of the original), Clock had a go at a ’90s cover, which is basically a dance remix of the ’80s track.  I don’t hate it, but nothing beats the purity of the original tune.

Track 28: N-Trance – Set You Free

Absolutely classic dance track – that chorus is epic.

Track 29: JX – You Belong To Me

Ten dance tracks in a row, and we’re most definitely back in the imaginary ’90s nightclub.  This one’s got a nice atmosphere around the vocals, but it’s a bit generic otherwise.

Track 30: Perfecto Allstars – Reach Up (Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag)

Cover/sampling/remix (the line is becoming a bit blurred with these dance producers) of the Pigbag song with some messy drums over the top at the start and some irritating dance vocals cutting in thereafter.  Really not keen on all the messing with classic tracks that started happening during this period.

Track 31: Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe

Daft novelty country/linedance/electro dance track.  I loved it at the time, but it’s become super overplayed in the intervening years.

Track 32: Deuce – Call It Love

Great piano intro, great atmosphere.  Really like this one.

Track 33: 2 Unlimited – Here I Go

The tune to the vocals is nice, but it’s pretty generic otherwise.

Track 34: MC Sar & The Real McCoy – Run Away

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

Great bassline, great atmosphere.  Good stuff.

Track 35: Nicki French – Total Eclipse Of The Heart

Dance cover of the Bonnie Tyler classic.  The vocals are very far from the original standard, and the dance beat is a bit wishy-washy.  It’s different enough not to be pointless, but it’s pretty poor.

Track 36: Sean Maguire – Suddenly

Irritating tune, irritating vocals.  I remember Smash Hits being obsessed with this guy, but his stuff’s hugely forgettable.

Track 37: Bobby Brown – Two Can Play That Game

I really liked this one at the time, and I still quite like it now – great tune.  Shame it’s by Bobby Brown.

Track 38: Ultimate Kaos – Hoochie Booty

More creepy kiddie vocals about sex from Ultimate Kaos.  Please go away.

Track 39: Pato Banton and Ranking Roger – Bubbling Hot

Like that saxophone in the background, as well as the reggae instrumentals.  Nice jaunty song.

Track 40: Mica Paris – One

Slow, soulful cover of the U2 song.  The vocals are a bit overblown, but I quite like it.