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 #48

Day 48 means Now! #48, which was released on 9th April 2001.

April 2001
This is how the world looked in April 2001 (actually May). No family photos from spring 2001, so here’s a pretty vista photo that Mum took on a work trip to the Czech Republic.

Wikipedia has an interesting factoid about Now! #48: it is the favourite album of the character Kayleigh from Peter Kay’s Car Share (NO SPOILERS FOR THAT PLEASE, I know the final special episode aired last night but Geth and I have not seen any of the series yet and we want to catch up with it at some point!).  As a result, it charted on Amazon in spring 2017 despite being out of print.  Impressive!

Now! That's What I Call Music #48
Track 1: Atomic Kitten – Whole Again

Found it too cheesy at the time, still do nowadays.  This was the one where Kerry Katona left and they released a new version of the video with Jenny Frost replacing her, so there’s still two versions of it kicking about on the music channels.

Track 2: Hear’Say – Pure And Simple

The first of the noughties talent show winners, which was where pop music really started to go downhill.  Awful, irritating song.

Track 3: S Club 7 – Never Had A Dream Come True

It’s one of those ones that is a Christmas song nowadays.  Nice tune, but it’s a bit overplayed.

Track 4: Nelly Furtado – I’m Like A Bird

I’d not thought about this one for a while.  The tune’s okay, but I’ve always found the chorus a bit annoying.

Track 5: Shaggy and RikRok – It Wasn’t Me

Absolutely awful theme, but it’s a great tune!

Track 6: Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood

I remember everyone going on at the time about how ‘revolutionary’ the idea of a virtual band was, but really all it involved was the musicians using pseudonyms and getting some cartoons made for the videos.  It’s a good song, other than the fact it’s a bit drone-y.

Track 7: Modjo – Chillin’

Slight ’70s tinge, which is no bad thing.  The tune’s pretty dull though.

Track 8: Chocolate Puma – I Wanna Be U

Boring, tuneless, not my thing.

Track 9: Fragma and Maria Rubia – Everytime You Need Me

‘Every time’ should be two words ARGH.

Leaving aside their awful grammar, though, I quite like this tune.

Track 10: Samantha Mumba – Always Come Back To Your Love

I find the vocals on this one a bit annoying – not hugely keen.

Track 11: Britney Spears – Stronger

Great atmosphere, good tune, though I’ve always been really annoyed by that callback to …Baby One More Time in the chorus!

Track 12: Steps – It’s The Way You Make Me Feel

Nice tune.  It’s pretty saccharine, but I still quite like this one.

Track 13: Emma Bunton – What Took You So Long

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

Track 14: Ronan Keating and Bryan Adams – The Way You Make Me Feel

It’s almost a repeated title from the Steps offering above, but it’s a very different song – this one is a dodgy nausea-inducing guitar ballad.

Track 15: Backstreet Boys – Shape Of My Heart

Super saccharine, but the tune’s okay.

Track 16: LeAnn Rimes – I Need You

Extremely boring ballad with overblown vocals.  Not my thing at all.

Track 17: Damage – Still Be Lovin’ You

Another irritatingly cheesy track with a dull tune.

Track 18: Kaci Battaglia – Paradise

Nice atmosphere, like the Latin tinge and Spanish guitar.  Good track.

Track 19: Martine McCutcheon – On The Radio

Pointless cover of the Donna Summer classic.  Nothing new here at all, except the irritating ’00s hi-hat on the backing track.

Track 20: Kylie Minogue – Please Stay

Lovely atmosphere, with more Spanish guitar – loving that trend!  Gorgeous tune.

Track 21: Bob The Builder – Can We Fix It?

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

I read ages ago (I can’t find a link so hopefully this daft concept has disappeared from the public imagination) that your ‘life song’ is supposed to be the song that was number one on your sixteenth birthday.  Being a tail-end-of-Christmas baby, my birthday number one is usually still whatever was number one for Christmas.  For my sixteenth birthday, it was this novelty charity single from the kids’ TV show Bob The Builder.  I’m not sure what that’s supposed to say about my life.

Track 22: Eva Cassidy – Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Slow, acoustic cover of the Judy Garland number from The Wizard Of Oz.  Beautiful vocals, but the style’s not my kind of thing.

Track 23: U2 – Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of

I’ve always quite liked this one – good tune, interesting lyrics.

Track 24: Stereophonics – Mr Writer

Good guitar riff, but the vocals are depressing and drone-y.

Track 25: Coldplay – Don’t Panic

Oh, it’s this one.  The tune’s okay, but it’s pretty dull.

Track 26: Texas – Inner Smile

Great tune, great singalong chorus – really like this one.

Track 27: Robbie Williams – Let Love Be Your Energy

Nice tune, interesting vocals, though Robbie Williams is still trying to do the Britpop thing a few years after it ended.

Track 28: Feeder – Buck Rogers

Great, classic singalong rock track.  Loved it at the time, still really like it now, with bonus amusement at the notion that a car having a CD player made it top of the range in 2001.  Also, I could never work out whether the lyric was ‘drink cider from a lemon‘ or ‘drink cider from eleven‘.

Track 29: Papa Roach – Last Resort

This pop-punk classic was a bit of a soundtrack song in my teens – we always had it blasting at parties and in cars and so on.  I still quite like the track.

Track 30: Planet Funk – Chase The Sun

Nice tune, but it’s too repetitive for me.

Track 31: Safri Duo – Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song)

Good beat (obviously), good danceable track, though the trance bit is fairly generic.

Track 32: Dario G – Dream To Me

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

Cover of the Cranberries’ Dreams.  High-pitched classical/opera-style bit irritates throughout, and is joined by an uninspired trance beat.  The whole thing is a bit messy.

Track 33: Jakatta – American Dream

Oh, it’s this one.  Quite like the clangy instrumental, but it’s a bit dull otherwise.

Track 34: Sonique – I Put A Spell On You

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

Spiky, upbeat, atmospheric cover of the ’50s rock ‘n’ roll classic.  Really like this one.

Track 35: Melanie B – Feels So Good

Irritating, repetitive tune – not keen on this track.

Track 36: Mýa – Case Of The Ex

Great atmosphere, good tune, great singalong bit on the bridge and chorus.  Good stuff.

Track 37: Chanté Moore – Straight Up

Highly irritating tinkly xylophone-sounding instrumental at the start, then it launches into an uninspired tune.  The vocals are okay, but it’s generally not my thing.

Track 38: Joe – Stutter

Boring tune, irritating lines, annoying theme.  Not keen on this one.

Track 39: Architechs – Show Me The Money

Too repetitive for me, and the tune’s very generic.

Track 40: DJ Luck & MC Neat – Piano Loco

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

Nice Latin flavour – good danceable track.  Could do without the added ‘wub’ bits and rap though, it makes it very messy.

Track 41: Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Loco

A slower type of loco here, maybe because there’s no piano this time.  Still a good helping of Spanish vocals though, so I quite like it.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #34

Day 34 brings us to Now! #34, which came out on 12th August 1996.

August 1996
This is the way the world looked in August 1996 (actually July – we seem to be short of photos again for 1996). Sunlounger, Walkman and speakers, dodgy cycling shorts ‘n’ swimsuit combo – a perfect late 20th century summer’s day.

Let’s hear those summer hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #34
Track 1: Spice Girls – Wannabe

At eleven, I was exactly the right age for the Spice Girls, and from the moment this first song of theirs came out, I adored them.  I bought every single and every album in HMV on the day they came out, I had every single Spice magazine (still do), I had the limited edition Spice Girls Impulse body spray.  I was a huge fan, to put it mildly, and I remember carefully writing down the lyrics of this song and editing it over the course of several months, trying to work out what they were saying (I’ve mentioned before that I’m no good with being able to hear lyrics, and a lot of it was so nonsensical that there were endless arguments in the playground about what the words were – it was only when the album came out in December, complete with lyric insert, that I was able to confirm them properly).

Nowadays, I find this first track pretty cringeworthy – they did much better songs later on.  I still remember how much I loved it at the time, though, the summer I moved from primary school to high school.  Interesting times.

Track 2: Robbie Williams – Freedom

Pointless cover of the George Michael track.  Although Robbie was my favourite member of Take That and I was gutted when he left, I find his solo stuff can be a bit hit and miss, and this cover doesn’t add anything to the original.

Track 3: Peter Andre and Bubbler Ranx – Mysterious Girl

Quite liked it at the time –  nowadays I see it as a ‘so-bad-it’s-hilarious’ classic.

Track 4: Dodgy – Good Enough

I was never hugely keen on this one, though I quite enjoyed it when we saw them live at Beautiful Days in 2013.

Track 5: Ocean Colour Scene – The Day We Caught The Train

I adore Ocean Colour Scene (they were my favourite band for quite a while in my teens) and this is an absolute classic – great tune, great instrumentals, great lyrics.

Track 6: Larry Mullen Jr and Adam Clayton – Theme From Mission: Impossible

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

The two less famous members of U2 taking on the Mission: Impossible theme for the film version.  It’s perhaps slightly rockier than the original, but not hugely different.  I’ll give it a pass, though, ’cause you wouldn’t want a classic theme like this to be changed too much.

Track 7: Underworld – Born Slippy

Really liked it at the time, find it dated and annoying now.

Track 8: JX – There’s Nothing I Won’t Do

Quite like the tune on this dance track, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 9: Gina G – Ooh Aah (Just A Little Bit)

The UK’s Eurovision entry for 1996.  Loved it at the time, find it irritating now.  I’m finding that’s a bit of a theme with 1996.  I must not have been hugely discerning at eleven.

Track 10: Pianoman – Blurred

Nice piano lines, as you might expect – the rest of the track is a bit messy, especially the misplaced sample from Blur’s Girls And Boys.

Track 11: Livin’ Joy – Don’t Stop Movin’

Oh, it’s this one.  The vocals are at least interesting, but I find the style irritating and a bit generic.

Track 12: Louise – Naked

Finally a decent one from Louise – great solid pop track.

Track 13: Mark Morrison – Return Of The Mack

Classic tune, quite like this one.  It’s been sample-covered horribly by at least two different ’10s artists, but I’m sure we’ll get to those later.

Track 14: 2Pac and Dr Dre – California Love

Really like this one!  Great song, love that chorus.

Track 15: Pato Banton – Groovin’

Dull tune, dull vocals, not keen.

Track 16: Reel 2 Real – Jazz It Up

Quite a funky danceable beat, but it’s a bit of a dull tune.

Track 17: Maxi Priest and Shaggy – That Girl

Nice jaunty vocals, but that sample of Booker T & The MGs’ Green Onions is super repetitive.

Track 18: Los Del Mar – Macarena

No, that’s not a typo.  Los Del Mar were basically a tribute band that only existed in order to cover Macarena by Los Del Rio (who were themselves little more than a one-hit wonder).  Maybe the Now! compilers couldn’t get the rights to the original.

The cover is pretty pointless – it’s pretty much note for note the River Fe-Mix version of the original.

Track 19: Umboza – Sunshine

Another misplaced sample, this time Bamboléo by the Gipsy Kings.  The rest of the track is fairly generic.

Track 20: Josh Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness

We’ve had this already, on Now! #32, which was only a couple of compilations ago!  That’s just lazy.

Urgh.  See the link for my review.

Track 21: Todd Terry, Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown – Keep On Jumpin’

Messy semi-cover of the ’70s hit, with samples and random lines all over the place.  It’s pretty awful.

Track 22: Robert Miles – Children

I’ve always loved this one!  Gorgeous electro tune.

Track 23: George Michael – Jesus To A Child

Lovely, melancholy song from George Michael.  Beautiful tune.

Track 24: Oasis – Wonderwall

A little late to the party for the Now! compilers, as this was more of a late 1995 hit, but it’s a classic, probably the best song Oasis did in my opinion, and so still very welcome.

Track 25: The Bluetones – Slight Return

Oh, it’s this one!  Pleasant tune, happily nodding along right now.

Track 26: Paul Weller – Peacock Suit

Dull tune, very dad-rock.  Not keen.

Track 27: Bon Jovi – Hey God

I normally like Bon Jovi, but I find this one a bit uninspired.

Track 28: Bryan Adams – The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You

Found it annoying at the time, just find it a bit so-so now.

Track 29: Belinda Carlisle – In Too Deep

Nice instrumentals, but the vocal is pretty dull.

Track 30: Suggs – Cecelia

Loved this reggae-tinged cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic at the time, still love it now!  Great track.

Track 31: Blur – Charmless Man

I’ve always found the tune to this one a bit annoying.  Not my favourite Blur track.

Track 32: Suede – Trash

Good head-nodder from Suede – really like this one.  Great singalong chorus too.

Track 33: Joan Osborne – One Of Us

That old-timey American traditional rhyme at the start is super annoying, but the song itself is an absolute classic – great tune.

Track 34: Crowded House – Instinct

Nice tune, really like this one.

Track 35: Lighthouse Family – Ocean Drive

Feelgood track with an awesome singalong chorus.  Lovely.

Track 36: Tina Turner – On Silent Wings

Dull tune, dull ballad.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 37: Everything But The Girl – Wrong

Good beat, but I’m not keen on the tune.

Track 38: OMC – How Bizarre

I’d forgotten about this one!  Pleasant, jaunty track, really like it.

Track 39: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Walking On The Milky Way

Lovely tune, really interesting track.

Track 40: Space – Female Of The Species

Loved it at the time, love it now.  I remember endless arguments in the back of the car about whether the lyric was ‘more deadlier‘, which was what it sounded like, or the grammatically correct ‘more deadly‘.  I think I argued for the latter position, just because I couldn’t believe a professional band would write such a horrendously wrong sentence (ah, childhood innocence).  A quick google just now tells me it was indeed the latter, but it really does sound like the former.

Track 41: Cast – Walkaway

Nice tune, but a bit slow for me.

Track 42: Boyzone – Coming Home Now

Liked it at the time, find the tune pretty irritating now.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #33

Day 33’s Now! compilation was released on 18th March 1996.

March 1996
This is how the world looked in March 1996 (actually April), or at least it did if you were skiing. I hated the feel of cagoules and have never worn them as an adult.

On with the music!

Now! That's What I Call Music #33
Track 1: Queen – Too Much Love Will Kill You

We’ve already had the Brian May solo version on Now! #23, but as I said in that review, I marginally prefer the version with the full band.  Beautiful track.

Track 2: Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger

Classic Britpop anthem.  At the time, my brother made up a full set of comedy actions to go with the lyrics that he would perform every time this song came on, and so I can’t unsee that whenever I hear it.  Like most Oasis tracks, it hasn’t aged that well, but it’s still a nice tune.

Track 3: Babylon Zoo – Spaceman

Loved this at the time, still quite like it now.  Really interesting rock song, played at every school disco circa 1995-1996.

Track 4: Supergrass – Going Out

Quite like the instrumental hook, but the vocals are pretty annoying.

Track 5: Pulp – Disco 2000

Another classic from Pulp.  The lyrics are just brilliant, although I do wonder how dated the concept of ‘let’s all meet up in the year 2000‘ must seem nowadays to those unfortunate souls who are too young to remember the 20th century.

Track 6: Cher – One By One

Nice epic guitar on the intro, nice tune.  Quite like this one.  Still rocking the sax solo too!

Track 7: Meat Loaf – Not A Dry Eye In The House

Not my favourite Meat Loaf track, but still a solid rock ballad.

Track 8: Enya – Anywhere Is

Great tune from Enya – loved it then, love it now.

Track 9: The Connells – ’74-’75

I’ve always adored this one – it’s another track that we had on a Top Gear compilation.  Gorgeous, wistful tune.

Track 10: Boyzone – Father And Son

I’ve never been hugely keen on this cover of the Cat Stevens classic.  At the time, it was just too slow for me; nowadays, I find it inferior to the original.

Track 11: Blur – The Universal

Love the way the track builds to that epic anthemic chorus.  Great stuff.

Track 12: Paul Weller – Out Of The Sinking

Another one off Stanley Road that I hated at the time.  It still annoys me purely due to to bringing back memories of being stuck in a backseat with no escape, but I can appreciate the musicality now.  Sort of.

Track 13: Cast – Sandstorm

Oh, it’s this one!  Great tune, love the vocal line on the verses.

Track 14: Mike & The Mechanics – All I Need Is A Miracle

Great tune – there’s something a bit ’80s throwback about it, which is no bad thing.

Track 15: Status Quo and Beach Boys – Fun, Fun, Fun

Semi-cover of the ’60s classic.  Not sure that Status Quo’s signature guitar lines were really needed on this song, but it’s at least different.

Track 16: Terrorvision – Perseverance

Another one I’d sort of forgotten about.  I like the upbeat vocals on the verses, and that singalong chorus is great.

Track 17: Lush – Ladykillers

Great song – great vocals, nice guitar line, really danceable.

Track 18: Levellers – Just The One

Great singalong tune, great theme, reminds me of hearing this played live at every Beautiful Days festival I went to between 2009 and 2013.

Track 19: Radiohead – Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Gorgeous, melancholy track.  Beautiful.

Track 20: Oasis – Live Forever

We have a repeated artist on the same Now! compilation, which as I’ve explained before is a DJing/compiling no-no!  Not impressed.

I’ve always found the tune on this one a bit annoying.

Track 21: Lighthouse Family – Lifted

Found the tune irritating at the time, still find it irritating now.  There are much better Lighthouse Family songs.

Track 22: Eternal – Good Thing

Dull tune, dull beat.  Not keen on this one.

Track 23: Etta James – I Just Want To Make Love To You

Classic ’60s cover of the Muddy Waters track, back in the chart for 1996 due to the infamous Diet Coke advert.  Great tune.

Track 24: Simply Red – Never Never Love

Oh, it’s this one.  Found it annoying at the time, find it dull now.

Track 25: Gabrielle – Give Me A Little More Time

Never been hugely keen on this one as I find the tune a bit generic.

Track 26: East 17 – Thunder

Great piano intro, great atmosphere.  The verses are a bit saccharine, but in general I really like this one.

Track 27: Luniz – I Got 5 On It

Always quite liked this one – it’s got a good atmosphere.

Track 28: Kaliphz and Prince Naseem – Walk Like A Champion

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

Found this annoying at the time, find it more annoying now.  Not a fan of this at all.

Track 29: Shaggy and Grand Puba – Why You Treat Me So Bad

Really don’t like the tune, and the track is pretty messy.  Not keen.

Track 30: Baby D – So Pure

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

Fairly generic dance track, irritating vocals.

Track 31: Gat Decor – Passion (Do You Want It Right Now)

Another dull dance track – nothing special at all.

Track 32: Gusto – Disco’s Revenge

Quite like the instrumental hook, but the vocals are pretty irritating and messy.

Track 33: Ken Doh – I Need A Lover Tonight

Not enough melody for me – just uninteresting and repetitive.  Not keen.

Track 34: Ace Of Base – Beautiful Life

Lovely piano intro, great atmosphere.  Really nice track.

Track 35: Louise – In Walked Love

Revoltingly saccharine.  Don’t like this at all.

Track 36: Dubstar – Not So Manic Now

Really like this one – lovely tune, lovely vocals.

Track 37: Saint Etienne – He’s On The Phone

Another one that we had on a Top Gear compilation.  I absolutely love this one – it’s a great tune with a gorgeous atmosphere.

Track 38: Dreadzone – Little Britain

Dreadzone were a favourite at Beautiful Days around the time that Geth and I were going regularly, as they played there so often.  This one’s a great, upbeat danceable track with interesting orchestral-tinged hooks.

Track 39: Goldbug – Whole Lotta Love

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

Female-vocal-led cover of the Led Zeppelin classic – other than the incorporation of the Pearl & Dean theme, it’s fairly uninspired.

Track 40: Technohead – I Wanna Be A Hippy

Loved it at the time, fairly irritated by it now.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #32

Day 32, and Now! #32, which was released on 13th November 1995.

November 1995
This is how the world looked in November 1995 (actually October, yadda yadda), or at least the small bit of the world that was me looking sulky next to a piano. I made those earrings myself out of a kit, and only got round to chucking them out a couple of months ago.

Let’s listen to some songs by people who probably didn’t have to make their own earrings.

Now! That's What I Call Music #32
Track 1: Queen – Heaven For Everyone

Lovely track, gorgeous tune.

Track 2: Meat Loaf – I’d Lie For You (And That’s The Truth)

Another great rock ballad from Meat Loaf.  Really like this one!  I remember him promoting it on Blue Peter.

Track 3: Simply Red – Fairground

Didn’t like this one at the time, but I do now.  Great tune.

Track 4: U2 – Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

Really like this offering from the Batman Forever soundtrack – it’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 5: Tina Turner – Goldeneye

I do love a James Bond theme song, and this one is really solid.  Awesome tune.

Track 6: Cher – Walking In Memphis

I mentioned in my review of the Marc Cohn original on Now! #20 that the Cher version was entirely pointless (unless you think the sole change of having vocals by Cher makes it worthwhile), and I stand by that, but it’s still a great track.

Track 7: The Beautiful South – Pretenders To The Throne

Lovely tune, like the piano.

Track 8: Louise – Light Of My Life

Louise Redknapp (or Nurding, as she was then) starting her post-Eternal solo career.  Unfortunately this is a super dull ballad, although the tune on the chorus is alright.

Track 9: Jimmy Nail – Big River

Found it boring at the time, find it boring now.

Track 10: Sacred Spirit – Yeha-Noha (Wishes Of Happiness And Prosperity)

I’m not a huge chillout fan, but this one is quite nice.

Track 11: Radiohead – Lucky

Loathed it at the time, mixed on it now.  Pretty, melancholy tune on the verses, but the chorus ruins it a bit.

Track 12: Pulp – Sorted For Es And Wizz

Love this one!  Great tune, great lyrics.  This was a favourite among friends when we lived in Southampton, due to the ‘in a field in Hampshire’ bit.

Track 13: Blur – Country House

Loved it at the time, love it now.  Absolute classic, great singalong track.

Track 14: Cast – Alright

Found the tune annoying at the time, kind of so-so about it now.  It’s just sort of…okay.

Track 15: Oasis – Roll With It

I can’t actually remember whether I wanted this one or Blur’s Country House to be number one during that particular chart battle, ’cause I liked them both.  With hindsight, though, the best song definitely won – this offering from Oasis is a bit uninspired.

Track 16: McAlmont & Butler – Yes

I’ve always adored this one – we had it on a Top Gear compilation.  Beautiful tune.

Track 17: Paul Weller – Broken Stones

Mum and Dad had the Stanley Road album, so this was a regular feature of car journeys, and I absolutely loathed it at the time – it was far too serious and boring.  I’m still not a huge fan, but I can appreciate the tune a bit more nowadays.

Track 18: Suggs – I’m Only Sleeping

I always liked this cover of the Beatles song – lovely tune, great atmosphere.

Speaking of Beatles covers…

Track 19: The Smokin’ Mojo Filters – Come Together

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

This one’s actually a semi-cover, ’cause Paul McCartney was involved in this supergroup.  Fairly uninspired cover, turning the song into dull ’90s soft rock.

Track 20: Coolio and LV – Gangsta’s Paradise

Loved it then, love it now!  Absolutely brilliant atmosphere, great tune.

Track 21: Shaggy – Boombastic

Annoying chorus alert!  Never been that keen on this one.

Track 22: N-Trance and Ricardo Da Force – Stayin’ Alive

‘Cover’ of the Bee Gees classic that basically takes the original backing track and adds rapping over the top.  I shouldn’t like it, but I do.

Track 23: Donna Summer – I Feel Love [Rollo and Sister Bliss Monster Mix]

Remix of the classic 1978 hit, turning it into a ’90s-standard dance track.  It’s a bit messy, and I’m not hugely keen, especially since I like the original so much.

Track 24: Berri – Sunshine After The Rain

Really liked this one at the time, but I find it pretty irritating now.

Track 25: Corona – Try Me Out

I’d forgotten about this one.  Super irritating chorus!

Track 26: The Original – I Luv U Baby

Oh, it’s this one!  Really quite like this tune.

Track 27: Everything But The Girl – Missing

I’ve never been keen on this one – there’s something nauseatingly depressing about it.

Track 28: Eternal – Power Of A Woman

The vocals on the chorus give me a headache, and the tune is super generic.  Not a fan at all.

Track 29: Soul II Soul – I Care

Most of the tune is quite dull, but the chorus is nice.

Track 30: Outhere Brothers – La La La Hey Hey

Dull, forgettable, unmelodic track – nothing good here at all.

Track 31: Whigfield – Big Time

Daft yodeling hook throughout, but at least this one is interesting.

Track 32: Alex Party – Wrap Me Up

Dull, repetitive dance track, not keen.  I think 1995 is probably around the point at which I should leave the imaginary ’90s nightclub.

Track 33: Josh Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness

Messy track, not enough melody.  Getting my coat, going home for an early night.

Track 34: Wildchild – Renegade Master

Oh, wait, I’ll hang about for one more!  I really like this one – classic track.  A few years ago, Geth had a student who wrote a hilariously bad essay with an intro about a ‘renegade cyclist’, so ever since then I’ve switched the lyrics in my head, which makes it even better.

Track 35: Goldie – Inner City Life

And we’re back to dull chillout dance.  Not keen at all.

Track 36: The Human League – Don’t You Want Me [Red Jerry 7 Inch Remix]

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

Remix of the classic 1981 song.  I love the original and this is really taking a sledgehammer to everything that’s good about it.  Just awful.

Track 37: Candy Girls – Fee Fi Fo Fum

This starts off as an okay dance track, but the vocals are terrible.

Track 38: Happy Clappers – I Believe

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

Super annoying vocal ticks at the start.  I’ve downed my pint of Strongbow and am definitely leaving the club this time.

Track 39: Wild Colour – Dreams

Interesting clangy bit and a good electro line, but jarred together the track just becomes a mess.  I’m doing up the buttons on my vintage ’80s trenchcoat.

Track 40: E’Voke – Runaway

The irritating vocals start up on this track just as I sweep through the door of the imaginary ’90s nightclub.  I’m in the taxi.  I’m done.

Let’s hope 1996 is an improvement.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #31

Day 31 takes us to 31st July 1995 with the Now! compilations.

July 1995
This is how the world looked in July 1995. It was a long hot summer in France for us that year, and so the world looked like a pretty Breton holiday home, and we looked like mid-’90s holidaymakers, surprisingly enough.  Check out the plastic dummy around my neck – this was the ultimate accessory in 1995.  You wore it to class and annoyed the teachers by sucking it all through the lesson.  And yes, I still have it.

Let’s have a listen to the summer hits of that year.

Now! That's What I Call Music #31
Track 1: Wet Wet Wet – Don’t Want To Forgive Me Now

Quite like this tune, until it gets to the annoying chorus.

Track 2: Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You

Loved it at the time, love it now.  Absolutely classic track with a great atmosphere.

Track 3: Pulp – Common People

The other kids in my primary school class considered this to be ‘my’ song ’cause I was always singing along to it.  Great tune, brilliant lyrics, still love it after all these years.

Track 4: Supergrass – Alright

I’ve always found this one pretty annoying – annoying tune, annoying lyrics, annoying theme, annoying video.  Not a fan.

Track 5: Shaggy – In The Summertime

Reggae-tinged cover of the Mungo Jerry classic with Shaggy rapping over the top.  It’s an interesting cover, and I quite like it.

Track 6: Ini Kamoze – Here Comes The Hotstepper

Oh, it’s this one!  Bit of a sample mishmash, but it’s a classic track – happily nodding along here.

Track 7: Dana Dawson – 3 Is Family

Fairly generic pop track – nothing special here.

Track 8: Jam & Spoon and Plavka – Right In The Night (Fall In Love With Music)

Fantastic Russian-tinged atmospheric dance track.  Really like this one.

Track 9: East 17 – Hold My Body Tight

Irritating chorus – wasn’t keen then, not keen now.  I remember I had a tween girl magazine at the time that showed you how to play this on recorder, which must have been wonderful for parents everywhere.

Track 10: Boyzone – Key To My Life

Loved it then, find it nauseatingly saccharine now.  Strange how that happens!

Track 11: Seal – Kiss From A Rose

This one, on the other hand, I’ve not lost any love for – it’s an absolutely beautiful track.  Gorgeous tune, lovely vocals, just stunning.

Track 12: Kirsty MacColl – Days

We’ve had this already, on Now! 15!  I’m still irritated about this kind of track repetition.

See the link for my review.

Track 13: The Human League – One Man In My Heart

The synth is nice, but the vocals are a little irritating (I’ve never found Susan Sulley and Joanne Catherall to be particularly great singers, and so this female-vocal-led track is a little weak because of it).

Track 14: Portishead – Sour Times

Great atmosphere on this track – really like this one.

Track 15: Oasis – Some Might Say

Great lyrics, though I don’t love the tune as much as I did at the time.

Track 16: Weezer – Buddy Holly

Great track!  This was a favourite in rock clubs a few years later in the early ’00s.

Track 17: Del Amitri – Roll To Me

I find the vocals a bit irritating and cheesy – not a fan of this one.

Track 18: EMF and Reeves & Mortimer – I’m A Believer

Fun, raucous cover of the Monkees song.  Great track.

Track 19: Duran Duran, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five – White Lines (Don’t Do It)

Semi-cover of the ’80s original (see Now! #3 post for review of original), featuring the original artists.  Slightly sacreligiously, I prefer it to the original, but then I do love Duran Duran.  Great tune.

Track 20: Jimmy Somerville – Hurt So Good

Reggae-tinged cover of the ’70s song.  Nice feelgood track, quite like this one.

Track 21: Outhere Brothers – Boom Boom Boom

Classic song, great danceable track.  Good stuff.

Track 22: MN8 – I’ve Got A Little Something For You

Oh, it’s this one!  I’ve not heard or thought about this track in a long time.  I do like that vocal hook.

Track 23: Montell Jordan – This Is How We Do It

I’m getting a bit of déja vu here, ’cause the ‘this is how we do it‘ vocal hook is actually really similar to the ‘I’ve got a little something for you‘ hook from the previous song.  I never noticed that at the time, but maybe I would have done if I’d owned Now! #31.

Track 24: D:Ream – Shoot Me With Your Love

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

This one’s a bit too repetitive for me.

Track 25: Baby D – (Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime) I Need Your Loving

Chillout dance cover of the Korgis classic.  I’m not hugely keen on this.

Track 26: Jinny – Keep Warm

Generic dance track – nothing exciting about this one.

Track 27: Livin’ Joy – Dreamer

Another one I’ve not thought about in a long time.  Good tune.

Track 28: Whigfield – Think Of You

The tune is a bit repetitive, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 29: Clock – Whoomph! (There It Is)

Liked it at the time, find the vocals pretty irritating now, though that synth line is great.

Track 30: Bobby Brown – Humpin’ Around

Nice intro, but the rest of the track is pretty generic.

Track 31: PJ & Duncan – Stuck On U

Around this time I had a mate who was utterly obsessed with PJ & Duncan (or Ant & Dec, as they became when the Byker Grove producers threatened to sue or whatever it was), so we constantly ended up watching their afternoon TV show (imaginatively titled The Ant & Dec Show) and listening to their album.  Amazingly, I’ve still got a soft spot for their daft songs.  This one actually has quite a good atmosphere.

Track 32: Love City Groove – Love City Groove

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

It always annoyed me at the time that the artist title was the same as the song.  I mean, that’s just asking to end up as a one-hit wonder.

Appropriately for today, this was the UK’s Eurovision entry for 1995.  The track itself is not my thing at all – the rap verses are super irritating, and the chorus annoys me just as much as it did at the time.

Track 33: Ladysmith Black Mambazo and China Black – Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Irritatingly, there is what sounds like a sports stadium crowd in the background throughout the track, so I’m guessing this was recorded as the England rugby team song for the Rugby World Cup ’95.  Not keen at all.

Track 34: Soul II Soul – Love Enuff

Pleasant tune, but it’s a bit dull.

Track 35: Junior Vasquez – Get Your Hands Off My Man

Not enough melody for me, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 36: Shiva – Freedom

Overblown vocals, boring tune.  Not keen.

Track 37: Billie Ray Martin – Your Loving Arms

Great electro instrumentals, annoying vocals.  Might try and track down an instrumental version.

Track 38: Deuce – I Need You

Great dance beat, but the tune is a bit dull.

Track 39: JX – Son Of A Gun

Oh, it’s this one!  I like the vocal hook, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 40: Hyperlogic – Only Me

That sample of U2’s New Year’s Day is great, and as a dance tune it’s fab, but I could do without those vocals, and the track does get a bit messy in the middle.

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.