Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #25

Day 25, and today’s Now! compilation was released on 2nd August 1993.

August 1993
This is the way the world looked in August 1993 (actually July – we did have a couple of pictures from August but they’re uniformly awful!) – a cornucopia of Laura Ashley dresses and flowers. Or at least it was if you were going to a wedding.

Can you believe we’re quarter of the way through this Now! journey already?  I certainly can.

Now! That's What I Call Music #25
Track 1: George Michael and Queen – Somebody To Love

It’s not really a cover when it’s your own song, right?  George Michael’s vocals are great, but nothing beats the Queen original for me.

Track 2: 4 Non Blondes – What’s Up?

Great chant-along track – I’ve always liked this one.

Track 3: Tina Turner – I Don’t Wanna Fight

Nice tune, nice beat.  Quite like this track.

Track 4: Ace Of Base – All That She Wants

Hands down the best track Ace Of Base ever did.  Absolutely love this one!

Track 5: Gabrielle – Dreams

Gorgeous introspective classic – absolutely lovely song.

Track 6: Lena Fiagbe – You Come From Earth

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

Pretty tune, but a bit slow for me.

Track 7: REM – Everybody Hurts

Everybody hurts, and everybody except me absolutely loves this song.  It’s alright, it’s just really overplayed.

Track 8: New Order – Regret

One of my favourite New Order tracks – absolutely beautiful tune. That guitar riff is just gorgeous.

Track 9: Freddie Mercury – Living On My Own

Love the synth line, if not the daft yodeling at the start.  Great atmosphere.

Track 10: Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive

’70s classic back in the charts.  I remember them always playing the video on Top of the Pops at the time, I guess because Gloria Gaynor wasn’t available to come back and perform it.

Track 11: Inner Circle – Sweat (A La La La La Long)

I’ve always liked this daft track, though I probably shouldn’t.  Great singalong chorus.

Track 12: Chaka Demus & Pliers – Tease Me

Not hugely keen on the tune – it’s a bit dull for me.

Track 13: Louchie Lou & Michie One – Shout

Laidback cover of the Isley Brothers classic.  Because I knew this one first, I actually always find the original (and the Lulu version, which gets played more often) a bit frenetic.

Track 14: Shabba Ranks and Maxi Priest – Housecall

Nice head-nodder once it gets going.

Track 15: Duran Duran – Come Undone

Yup, I still love Duran Duran, even though they’ve gone all grown-up on me with their ’90s stuff.  This track has a wonderful, brooding atmosphere all the way through, with lovely guitar lines and a gorgeous tune on the chorus.

Track 16: Paul Weller – Sunflower

Paul Weller’s gone solo and therefore dull.  I had to listen to a lot of his ’90s stuff on family car journeys and I’m not a fan.

Track 17: Kingmaker – Ten Years Asleep

Good danceable beat, but the tune’s a bit boring.

Track 18: 2 Unlimited – Tribal Dance

Another solid dance track from 2 Unlimited – good stuff.

Track 19: Robin S – Luv 4 Luv

A bit too similar to Show Me Love for me, but it’s okay.

Track 20: Sybil – When I’m Good And Ready

Bit generic – not a fan of this one.

Track 21: Dannii Minogue – This Is It

I’ve always loved this cover of the Melba Moore classic – pure solid feelgood pop, can’t fault it.

Track 22: The Time Frequency – The Ultimate High

Good upbeat dance track – like this one.

Track 23: Jon Secada – Do You Really Want Me

Good head-nodder, nice tune.

Track 24: Kim Wilde – If I Can’t Have You

Happily flashing back here to three weeks ago, when I saw Kim Wilde perform this live with the whole audience bellowing along.  Was it really three weeks ago?  My all-encompassing work project has made my sense of time a bit squiffy.

Great singalong track, love it.

Track 25: East 17 – West End Girls

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

Questionable cover of the Pet Shop Boys classic.  The original is one of my favourite songs of all time, so I was never going to be impressed by this.

Track 26: Joey Lawrence – Nothin’ My Love Can’t Fix

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

I had a poster of Joey Lawrence (who was mostly an actor) at the time.  I never watched any of his shows, I think I just liked the poster.

Anyway, the track.  It’s pretty generic, but it’s an okay pop song once it gets to the chorus.  He should probably have stuck to acting, though.

Track 27: Efua – Somewhere

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

Interesting spoken word verses, okay backing track.  Quite like this one.

Track 28: Sade – No Ordinary Love

Lovely vocals, but a bit slow for me.

Track 29: Richard Darbyshire – This I Swear

Dull tune, saccharine vocals.  Not keen on this one, though the sax solo does improve it a bit.

Track 30: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Dream Of Me

Typically lovely synth from OMD – good stuff.

Track 31: D:Ream – U R The Best Thing

Great upbeat dance-pop, really like this one.

Track 32: Juliet Roberts – Caught In The Middle

Another nice upbeat track – happily nodding along here.

Track 33: Oui 3 – Break From The Old Routine

Not enough melody for me, but the rap’s okay.

Track 34: Utah Saints – I Want You

Nice beat, but there’s a bit too much going on with the track for me.

Track 35: Jesus Jones – Zeroes And Ones

Geth: ‘We’ve definitely hit critical greebo.’

Good upbeat head-nodder for me, good end to the compilation.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #24

Day 24, and we’ve arrived at 26th April 1993.

April 1993
This is the way the world looked in April 1993. Trees looked like trees, and I looked like a vision in pastels with an unfortunate bob. I did finally chuck out that headband when I had my clearout a couple of months ago.

While I didn’t have this particular Now! compilation, I did have rival compilation The Greatest Hits of 1993 (the first album I ever bought, on cassette, with my Christmas money), which had most of the same songs.  As such, I’m very familiar with a lot of these.  Let’s crack on!

Now! That's What I Call Music #24
Track 1: The Bluebells – Young at Heart

We’ve had this one already, on Now! #3!  I know it was back in the charts in 1993, but I’m still cross about the Now! compilers repeating songs.

Urgh.  I guess this is going to become an ongoing thing.  See the link above for my review.

Track 2: Take That – Could It Be Magic

Great upbeat pop cover of the Barry Manilow song.  Take That seem to have been doing a lot of covers at this point – I’m guessing it was before the mangement let Gary Barlow take over songwriting duties.  I do like this one, though, especially for Robbie Williams on lead vocals.

Track 3: Sub Sub and Melanie Williams – Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)

A bit repetitive, but a good uptempo dance track.

Track 4: Snap – Exterminate!

Another great, atmospheric track from Snap.  I’ve always liked this one, even leaving aside the obvious Dalek connotations.

Track 5: Sister Sledge – We Are Family [Sure Is Pure Remix]

This was huge in my primary school playground at the time – you couldn’t escape it.  Great remix of the ’70s classic.

Track 6: Snow – Informer

I’ve always loved this one, especially the gibberish chorus.  Great, interesting song.

Track 7: Shabba Ranks and Chevelle Franklin – Mr Loverman

Annoying chorus alert!  It’s a good tune, but I don’t like those vocals.

Track 8: Shaggy – Oh Carolina

Nice cover of the Folkes Brothers classic – great tune – but it’s another one where the chorus annoys me.

Track 9: East 17 – Deep [Breath Mix]

Great instrumentals, especially that bassline – wonderful atmosphere.  I’ve always liked this one.

Track 10: Stereo MCs – Step It Up

Great head-nodder, fun theme.  Good stuff.

Track 11: Arrested Development – Tennessee

Repetitive, not much melody.  Not hugely keen on this one.

Track 12: Robin S – Show Me Love [Stonebridge Club Mix]

Classic track, great beat.

Fun fact: Jason Derulo sampled this on Don’t Wanna Go Home, and when I first heard it I literally went ‘who the ****’s sampled this?’ only to be immediately answered with that ‘JASON DERULO’ lyric he always used to do at the start of his songs.  A handy, if annoying feature.

Track 13: Lulu – Independence [Brothers In Rhythm Mix]

Fairly generic tune, but it’s a nice solid bit of pop.  Good sax solo too!

Track 14: West End and Sybil – The Love I Lost

Another annoying chorus, but I quite like the track otherwise.

Track 15: 2 Unlimited – No Limit

This was the classic singalong track on every school trip during 1993.  Imagine, if you will, a bus full of sixty-six eight-year-olds, all squeaking ‘NO NO, NO NO NO NO, NO NO NO NO, NO NO THERE’S NO LIMIT’ over and over and over and over for a good couple of hours.  Sometimes I’m amazed we never had a bus driver start screaming madly and drive us all off a high cliff.

Track 16: Cappella – U Got 2 Know

I absolutely love this classic dance track – brilliant tune.

Track 17: Sunscreem – Pressure Us

Another good upbeat dance number – like this one.

Track 18: Monie Love – Born 2 BREED

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

Not at all keen on the theme of this song, but it’s quite a good upbeat tune.

Track 19: Hue & Cry – Labour Of Love

We already had this one on Now! #10, which I’m extra-especially cross about ’cause it’s my favourite Now! compilation!

Sigh.  See the link for my thoughts.

Track 20: Duran Duran – Ordinary World

They’re back for the ’90s, and I still love Duran Duran!  This is a gorgeous introspective one – beautiful track.

Track 21: Annie Lennox – Love Song For A Vampire

Lovely tune, great atmosphere.

Track 22: World Party – Is It Like Today?

Nice tune, like the instrumentals.  Good stuff.

Track 23: KD Lang – Constant Craving

I’m not a fan of KD Lang’s vocals, but I do like the tune.

Track 24: Tasmin Archer – In Your Care

Good atmosphere on this one, though it’s a little slow for me.

Track 25: PM Dawn – Looking Through Patient Eyes

Not keen on the tune, the sung vocals or the rap.  Not a fan.

Track 26: The Beloved – Sweet Harmony

Nice electro head-nodder – really like this one.  Lovely sax solo too.

Track 27: Dina Carroll – This Time

Fairly typical Dina Carroll ballad – too slow and generic for my liking.

Track 28: Simply Red – Lady Godiva’s Room

An improvement on the last couple of Simply Red tracks we’ve had – great tune – but still a bit slow for me.

Track 29: Genesis – Invisible Touch [Live]

We already had the original studio version on Now! #7.  Not sure why the live version was suddenly a thing.

See above for my review – the live version doesn’t add anything!

Track 30: Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way

Great classic rock track that I’m going to make today’s top ‘wedding disco’ track!  Brilliant stuff.

Track 31: Depeche Mode – I Feel You

Love this atmospheric track from Depeche Mode – great vocals, awesome tune.

Track 32: Peter Gabriel – Steam

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

Good upbeat tune, happily nodding along here.

Track 33: Ugly Kid Joe – Cats In The Cradle

I always liked this cover of the Harry Chapin song and its whimsical lyrics, but I absolutely hate the fact that Ugly Kid Joe got rid of the apostrophe (the original title is Cat’s In the Cradle), as it makes the punctuation incorrect in the context of the song.

Track 34: Faith No More – Easy

Pointless ’90s cover of the Commodores classic.  Always a great song, but the cover doesn’t do anything new.

Track 35: Bryan Ferry – I Put A Spell On You

Nice chillout-ish cover of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins classic.  Really like this one.

Track 36: Ultravox – Vienna

Not sure what this 1981 classic was doing back in the charts, but I’m not complaining!  Wonderful, epic track.

Track 37: Paul McCartney – Hope Of Deliverance

Bit of a retro-tinged track, but it’s got a nice beat and a lovely tune.  Good one to end on.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #19

Day 19, and we’ve reached 25th March 1991.

March 1991
This is the way the world looked in March 1991 (actually April, as March was photo-less – we seem to be having that issue a lot at the moment). Rocks and trees are some of those lovely timeless things that haven’t changed since before humans were around and will still be here long after we’ve gone, so I imagine these ones still look the same. I don’t think little girls wear hair ribbons as much as they used to, though (and coats are definitely not as stylish nowadays).

Let’s see what was on the radio at the time!

Now! That's What I Call Music #19

Track 1: The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go

No idea why this early ’80s classic was back in the charts, but I love it – one of my favourite Clash songs – and as chart music quality was rapidly declining at this point, I’ll take what I can get!

Track 2: Scritti Politti and Shabba Ranks – She’s A Woman

Nice tune, but there’s a bit too much going on throughout the track, so it sounds a bit messy.

Track 3: The Source and Candi Staton – You Got The Love

…and my heart just sank as I realised that the Florence & The Machine song from 2009, which I always quite liked, is a pointless ’00s cover of this track.  The lesson: never become complacent about your level of music knowledge.

(This is why I hate pointless covers so much, incidentally – I’ve always felt really aggrieved to learn that chart songs I adored when I was growing up in the ’90s were actually bland, unimaginative, nothing-new, cash-in covers of ’70s and ’80s songs.  While I typically transfer my affection to the original in such cases, I still feel pretty cheated.)

Track 4: The KLF and The Children Of The Revolution – 3AM Eternal

Nice stormy-atmosphere intro, nice vocals, nice chillout track.  Good stuff.

The version I found on Spotify has some random sampling of The Blue Danube in, for some bonus relaxation points.

Track 5: C&C Music Factory and Freedom Williams – Gonna Make You Sweat

One of those ‘ohh, it’s this one!’ moments.  I always just assumed this track was called Everybody Dance Now.  Classic dance tune, anyway, and I’ll be up on the wedding dancefloor for this.

Track 6: Nomad and MC Mikee Freedom – (I Wanna Give You) Devotion

Dull and repetitive dance song with boring sung vocals and uninspired rapping.  Not for me.

Track 7: EMF – I Believe

I really like EMF, and this is a great guitar-driven dance track.  Happily nodding along here.

Track 8: 808 State – In Yer Face

Nice electro track, love the instrumentals on this.

Track 9: Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy

Massive Attack were really killing it during this period – really like this one.  The way it builds is beautiful.

Track 10: MC Hammer – Pray

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

This one’s not bad – I quite like the melody on the sung vocals and it’s nice and upbeat.  Could do without the sampling of When Doves Cry, though (I do NOT like it when brilliant classic pop tunes are sampled as backing music in newer songs).

Track 11: Kim Appleby – GLAD

Nice piece of solid pop, a welcome breather from all the dance and hip-hop.  Lovely.

Track 12: Kylie Minogue – What Do I Have To Do?

Another great upbeat pop track from the ever-reliable Kylie (who’s still having chart hits in 2018, incidentally, but we won’t talk about that just yet).

Incidentally, I’m sure most people realise that Kylie Minogue guest starred in an episode of Doctor Who (Voyage of The Damned, 2007), but the only reason I’m pointing that out…

Track 13: Hale & Pace and The Stonkers – The Stonk

…is that Hale & Pace did too (Survival, 1989).  Nice bit of prophetic track-listing there, Now! compilers!

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

Daft novelty track from the comedy duo, which, judging by the lyrics and video, I’m guessing was for Comic Relief.  I actually quite like those guitar instrumentals.

Track 14: 2 In A Room – Wiggle It

Quite like the backing track and the chorus, but the verse is a bit repetitive.

Track 15: Vanilla Ice – Play That Funky Music

I wasn’t aware that Vanilla Ice did an awful cover of the Wild Cherry classic, but I’m not exactly surprised.  It’s very different to the original, so not a pointless cover, but there’s nothing good about all the stuff that’s different, especially not the typically bad rapping.

Track 16: Jesus Loves You – Bow Down Mister

Not a fan of the all-over-the-place vocals in the intro, or the folky guitar bit that follows.  Apparently this was Boy George’s project post-Culture Club.  It’s very different to his previous stuff, and not my cup of tea, unfortunately.

Track 17: Enigma – Sadness [Part 1]

Always love that monastic chanting.  Great classic chillout track.

Track 18: Praise – Only You

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

Another nice chillout track – lovely vocals.

Track 19: Oleta Adams – Get Here

For some reason, they always played this one on the radio on ferries in the early ’90s when I was travelling with my family, so I strongly associate it with cabin bunk beds and pristine white sheets.  Classic ballad, lovely tune.

Track 20: Rick Astley – Cry For Help

Who knew Rick Astley was still having hits into the ’90s?  Wow.

The track’s got a nice tune and a good atmospheric chorus – quite like this one.

Track 21: Robert Palmer – Mercy Mercy Me/I Want You

Good, interesting track from Robert Palmer – great vocals, nice tune.

Track 22: Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes – (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life

The Dirty Dancing soundtrack classic, back in the charts for some reason (I’d like to think that reason was that none of the new stuff being released was anywhere near as good, but I know that music taste is subjective, blah blah boring blah, and so others will disagree.  They’re wrong though – this feelgood singalong number complete with epic sax solo is worth a million repetitive house tracks).

Track 23: The Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

Another old track back in the charts, this time from the ’60s.  A bit saccharine for me, but it’s such a classic I’ll forgive it.

Track 24: Seal – Crazy

Great epic atmosphere, brilliant tune.  A classic in my book.

Track 25: Banderas – This Is Your Life

Bit of a repetitive dance number, though the vocal melody is quite interesting.

Track 26: Stevie B – Because I Love You (The Postman Song)

Slow track, but it’s got a great atmosphere – I really quite like this.

Track 27: Chris Rea – Auberge

Could do without the ‘music video’ whistling and car noises on the intro.  Just start the track, please.

Once it gets going, it’s quite interesting, if a bit slow.

Track 28: Chris Isaak – Blue Hotel

Typical dramatic atmosphere from Chris Isaak, with some great Spanish-tinged guitar.  Great tune.

Track 29: Free – All Right Now

Slightly annoying chorus, but it is a good chant-along track, especially after a few pints.

Incidentally, an old uni mate whose surname is Allwright once told me that her dad had declared this their official family song.  I did do some googling to see if I could find a good equivalent for mine, but in all honesty I don’t think I’m into the family song thing.

Track 30: INXS – Disappear

Great solid pop song, nice tune, good rockier chorus.  I like this one.

Track 31: Belinda Carlisle – Summer Rain

Really interesting tune with a great atmosphere on the verses – big fan of this.

Track 32: The Railway Children – Every Beat Of The Heart

A little saccharine for me, but the tune is quite nice.

Track 33: Thunder – Love Walked In

Bit more acoustic-y than I usually go for, but I really like the tune and the atmosphere, especially when it goes full-on rock ballad a couple of minutes in.

Track 34: Queen – Innuendo

You can always rely on Queen for a nice dramatic tune.  Good track to end today’s compilation.