Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #69

Day 69 brings us to Now! #69, which came out on 17th March 2008.

March 2008
This is the way the world looked in March 2008. Yup, it’s another car picture, this time of Dad’s Saab in the snow. It didn’t actually cope very well with snow, hence why he now has a Land Rover.

On with the hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #69
Track 1: Duffy – Mercy

I’ve always really liked this track – classic, danceable tune.

Track 2: Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music

Great dance track!  Happily nodding along here.

Track 3: Basshunter and DJ Mental Theo’s Bazzheadz – Now You’re Gone

Great tune, love the atmosphere – and that bass is awesome.

Track 4: Girls Aloud – Call The Shots

I don’t find this tune very interesting, but the atmosphere’s quite good.

Track 5: Nickelback – Rockstar

I mentioned in the Now! #56 review that there are only two Nickelback tracks worth listening to, and neither is for reasons to do with the song itself.  How You Remind Me is the first (see Now! #51 review for why) and this is the second, because of the video with all the celebrities and random fans miming along.

Track 6: OneRepublic – Stop And Stare

A bit slow and depressing for my liking.

Track 7: David Jordan – Sun Goes Down

Interesting track, great harmonies, epic guitar.  Quite like this one.

Track 8: Kelly Rowland – Work [Freemasons Remix]

Upbeat and danceable, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 9: Soulja Boy – Crank That (Soulja Boy)

Good atmosphere, but there’s not enough melody for me, and I find the rap style irritating.

Track 10: Britney Spears – Piece Of Me

Slightly awkward theme, and it could do with being a bit more uptempo.

Track 11: T2 and Jodie Aysha – Heartbroken

Too messy on the intro, and then the tune’s irritating once it gets going.

Track 12: H ‘Two’ O and Platnum – What’s It Gonna Be

Another annoying tune with headache-inducing high-pitched vocals.

Track 13: Taio Cruz – Come On Girl

Good head-nodder, but the tune’s pretty generic.

Track 14: Kylie Minogue – Wow

Another solid pop track from Kylie Minogue.  Great tune.

Track 15: Robyn – Be Mine!

Irritating vocals, boring tune.  Not keen on this one.

Track 16: Cascada – What Hurts The Most

Slow ballad intro before it launches into the usual Eurodance.  The tune’s fairly uninspired, but it’s quite danceable.

Track 17: Booty Luv – Some Kinda Rush

More ’70s-tinged dance from Booty Luv.  Good stuff.

Track 18: Samim – Heater

Repetitive, messy and irritating – not my thing at all.

Track 19: Mary J Blige – Just Fine

Jarring electro instrumentals that don’t really go with the soul-tinged vocals.  Also, the tune’s pretty forgettable.

Track 20: Jay Sean – Ride It

Great tune and atmosphere – lovely track.

Track 21: Shayne Ward – Breathless

Slow ballad, too saccharine for me.

Track 22: Leon Jackson – When You Believe

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

Pointless cover of the Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston soundtrack song for The Prince Of Egypt.  This was the X Factor winner’s single for 2007 and also the Christmas number one, as was standard for the late ’00s and early ’10s (otherwise known as the era when Simon Cowell ruined everything that was fun about the Christmas number one race).  Leon Jackson was one of those X Factor winners who immediately faded into obscurity and never released anything else, hence why his stuff’s not even on Spotify.

Track 23: Adele – Chasing Pavements

It’s an okay tune, but a bit slow for me.  I’ve never been that keen on the stuff off Adele’s 19 album – 21, for me, was her real masterpiece.

Track 24: Timbaland and OneRepublic – Apologise

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

This one’s nice and atmospheric – love the piano at the start.  Great tune.

Track 25: Alicia Keys – No One

Nice tune, but the vocals are too saccharine and overblown for my liking.

Track 26: Mika – Happy Ending

Not keen on the tune, and it’s too slow for me.

Track 27: Kanye West and Chris Martin – Homecoming

Interesting instrumentals, great tune on the sung vocals – quite like this one.

Track 28: The Hoosiers – Goodbye Mr A

Quite like the circus-y instrumentals at the start – good upbeat track.

Track 29: The Feeling – I Thought It Was Over

Retro feel, good beat, nice tune.  Really like this one!

Track 30: Alphabeat – Fascination

Another nice upbeat song with a retro tinge – happily chair-dancing again.

Track 31: Scouting For Girls – Elvis Ain’t Dead

Classic tune, but I have to be in the right mood for it, as I sometimes find the style annoying.

Track 32: One Night Only – Just For Tonight

Love the instrumentals, but I find the vocals a bit dull.

Track 33: Hot Chip – Ready For The Floor

Nice to hear some electropop, but this one’s a bit repetitive.

Track 34: Bloc Party – Flux

Good beat, good electro lines – very danceable.

Track 35: Utah Saints – Something Good ’08

Shaking my head a bit here, ’cause we already had the original on Now! #22, and this redone version is not different enough to the original, in my book, to justify its inclusion.

See the link for my review of the song.

Track 36: Mark Brown and Sarah Cracknell – The Journey Continues

Dull tune, and I don’t like the way the operatic vocals clash with the pop ones.

Track 37: Amy MacDonald – This Is The Life

Another nice folk-rock song from Amy MacDonald – great tune on the vocals.

Track 38: Kate Nash – Pumpkin Soup

There are some interesting lines here, but in general the track’s a bit messy with too much going on.

Track 39: Sugababes – Change

Slow, dull ballad.  There’s always one.

Track 40: Goldfrapp – A&E

Again, this one’s too slow for my liking.

Track 41: Amy Winehouse – Love Is A Losing Game

Lovely tune, gorgeous vocals as ever from Amy Winehouse.

Track 42: Eva Cassidy and Katie Melua – What A Wonderful World

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

So Eva Cassidy did a slow, acoustic-y cover of the ’60s classic, and then when she became posthumously famous, Katie Melua decided to do one of those creepy duets from beyond the grave by replacing half the vocals with her own.  It’s not at all inspired or fun to listen to.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #68

Day 68 takes us to Now! #68, which was released on 19th November 2007.

November 2007
This is how the world looked in November 2007. Well, it did if you were in a smoky neon synthpop club with your boyfriend, which is frankly the best place to be when you’re twenty-two.

It’s the time of year for party tracks.  Don’t disappoint me, Now! compilers!

Now! That's What I Call Music #68
Track 1: Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

Lovely tune, quite like this one.

Track 2: Take That – Rule The World

I’ve always found this one a bit jarring, because the verse and chorus are two beautiful tunes that don’t really work with each other.  Just when you’re enjoying one, it breaks the mood by switching to the other.  Should have been two separate songs.

Track 3: Kylie Minogue – 2 Hearts

I like the stripped-back instrumentals at the start – it gives the track lots of edge and atmosphere.  The vocals are great too.

Track 4: Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse – Valerie

I mentioned this cover four days ago in my review of the Zutons original on Now! #64.  It’s a great, bombastic big band version, and I really like it, but the classic-rock-tinged original still has the slight edge for me.

Track 5: Sugababes – About You Now

Quite like this tune – nice solid pop song.

Track 6: Kanye West – Stronger

Really like this atmospheric electro-infused track – it’s probably the best song Kanye West ever did.

Track 7: Craig David – Hot Stuff (Let’s Dance)

It’s based around a sample of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, which is obviously appreciated, but the rest of the track is very generic and just makes me want to go listen to Let’s Dance instead.

Track 8: Sean Kingston – Beautiful Girls

Pretty tune, quite like this one.  At the time, because I wasn’t following chart music very closely, I kept getting it mixed up with Mika’s Big Girls (You Are Beautiful).  The songs are very different, but that’s the power of a title.

Track 9: Shayne Ward – No U Hang Up

I like the electro-tinged instrumentals – it’s getting into that late ’00s era when that was in vogue, yay! – but the vocals are too cheesy for me.

Track 10: Timbaland, DOE and Keri Hilson – The Way I Are

Oh, it’s this one!  That electro hook is absolutely classic.  Great atmospheric track.

Track 11: Britney Spears – Gimme More

It’s Britney, bitch‘.  I remember everyone found this comeback a bit laughable at the time, but it was sampled brilliantly a few years later when she did Scream And Shout with will.i.am.  I really like the electro bassline on this one, too.

Track 12: Rihanna – Shut Up And Drive

Great guitar on this one – it’s an unusual style for Rihanna, but I really like it.

Track 13: Girls Aloud – Sexy! No No No…

Awesome epic atmosphere – it builds really nicely at the start and then launches into a brilliantly frenetic rock-tinged song.  Big fan of this one.

Track 14: Robyn and Kleerup – With Every Heartbeat

Quite like the chilled-out backing track, but the vocals are too high-pitched for me.

Track 15: Enrique Iglesias – Tired Of Being Sorry

Nice Latin tinge, though it jars slightly with the electro instrumentals.

Track 16: Groove Armada and Mutya Buena – Song 4 Mutya (Out Of Control)

Nice retro ’80s-sounding backing track, but I’m not hugely keen on the vocal style constantly veering between sung and spoken.

Track 17: Se:Sa and Sharon Phillips – Like This Like That

Nice upbeat track, with more retro instrumentals.  Very danceable.

Track 18: Ida Corr and Fedde Le Grand – Let Me Think About It

There’s a bit too much going on in this dance track, and it doesn’t all work together.

Track 19: Axwell and Max C – I Found U

Bit of a throwback to early ’90s dance, with some added ’70s retro instrumentals for good measure.  The tune’s boring though.

Track 20: Freaks – The Creeps (Get On The Dancefloor)

Another dull tune, with a very repetitive backing track.

Track 21: Peter Gelderblom – Waiting 4

House remix of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ By The Way.  It’s okay, but it’s one of those ones where I just want to listen to the original instead.

Track 22: David Guetta and Chris Willis – Love Is Gone

Some very irritating siren-sounding instrumentals in the middle of this one, but otherwise it’s quite a good upbeat electro track.

Track 23: Plain White Ts – Hey There Delilah

Pretty tune, but it’s a bit too acoustic-y and twee for my liking.

Track 24: James Blunt – 1973

Always love a 20th-century-inspired title!  Unfortunately the tune is not 20th-century-inspired – I was hoping it would be four-on-the-floor glam rock.  Instead, it’s a fairly standard melancholy one from James Blunt – pretty tune, but not really my style.

Track 25: Newton Faulkner – Dream Catch Me

Boring tune, irritating twangy guitar.  Not keen.

Track 26: The Hoosiers – Worried About Ray

Interesting instrumentals, good atmosphere, but the vocals irritate me.

Track 27: Scouting For Girls – She’s So Lovely

This one has always annoyed me – I find the tune and theme very twee.

Track 28: Feist – 1234

Too acoustic-y for me, and again I find the vocals irritating.

Track 29: Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight

We’ve already had this one on Now! #12!  I don’t care how awesome that 2007 Dairy Milk ad with the gorilla was – there’s no excuse for repeating songs!

As ever, see the link for my review.

Track 30: Avril Lavigne – When You’re Gone

Lovely piano at the start, but the vocals are too high-pitched and hurt my head.

Track 31: McFly – The Heart Never Lies

Horribly saccharine and repetitive.  Not my kind of thing at all.

Track 32: Amy MacDonald – Mr Rock And Roll

Nice tune – if I were in a folk-rock mood I would absolutely love it, but I’ve not been that way inclined lately.

Track 33: KT Tunstall – Hold On

Not keen on the jarring guitar lines at the start, but it’s got quite a good atmosphere.

Track 34: The Killers and Lou Reed – Tranquilise

I shouldn’t like this, as the lines are sort of messy and jarring, but it actually works really well to create an awesome epic atmosphere.

Track 35: Stereophonics – It Means Nothing

Dull and drone-y, not a fan of this one.

Track 36: Peter, Björn & John and Victoria Bergsman – Young Folks

Oh, it’s this one.  I’ve always found that whistling really annoying, especially due to its use in the Homebase adverts!

Track 37: Freemasons and Bailey Tzuke – Uninvited

Great atmosphere, but the vocals are irritatingly generic.

Track 38: Mika – Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)

Daft theme, but it’s quite nice and feelgood.  At the time, because I wasn’t following chart music very closely, I kept getting it mixed up with Sean Kingston’s Beautiful Girls…oh, wait, I’ve done that anecdote.  Great bassline and retro feel, anyway.

Track 39: Amy Winehouse – Tears Dry On Their Own

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Amy Winehouse on track 4.

Great tune though, quite like this one.

Track 40: Jennifer Lopez – Do It Well

Some great, epic instrumentals going on here – good stuff.

Track 41: Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry

Slow and cheesy – not keen on this track.

Track 42: Akon – Don’t Matter

Nice tune, but the vocals are a bit too saccharine for me.  Also, it kind of rips off R Kelly’s Ignition.

Track 43: Nicole Scherzinger and will.i.am – Baby Love

Super irritating tune on the vocals!  Don’t like this at all.

Track 44: Westlife – Home

The usual nauseatingly saccharine guff from Westlife.  Time to line up that original version of Let’s Dance.

Three days in a row without a ‘Not on Spotify’ incident!  It would be nice if we’d seen the last of them, but I suspect there will still be a few lurking about.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #63

Day 63 means Now! #63, which takes us to 10th April 2006.

April 2006
This is how the world looked in April 2006. To save you all from yet another MySpace selfie, I’ve selected a picture of a road that Mum and Dad took on their travels. Enjoy!

I’m as interested as anyone to know what the hits were in 2006, as I was listening pretty much exclusively to goth and industrial by this point and so I don’t remember the chart stuff.

Now! That's What I Call Music #63
Track 1: Corrine Bailey Rae – Put Your Records On

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

It’s a nice tune, but it’s not really my style – I find this kind of thing pretty dull.

Track 2: The Pussycat Dolls and will.i.am – Beep

Great atmosphere, great beat, but it could do with some more melody.

Track 3: The Black Eyed Peas – My Humps

Semi-repeated artist alert!  We only just had the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am on the last track.

Awful then, still awful now.  The lyrics are just terrible.

Track 4: Orson – No Tomorrow

Interesting guitar lines, but I find the tune pretty boring.

Track 5: The Ordinary Boys – Boys Will Be Boys

Great ska-tinged track – I’ve always really liked this tune.

Track 6: Meck and Leo Sayer – Thunder In My Heart Again

Remix of Leo Sayer’s 1977 track Thunder In My Heart. It’s highly danceable and uses the original song very nicely.

Track 7: Hi Tack – Say Say Say (Waiting 4 U)

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

I appreciate the sample from Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson’s Say Say Say, and the rest of the track’s actually okay – it’s another one where the sample is used very well.

Track 8: Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)

The 1985 classic, back in the charts due to Pete Burns’ appearance on Celebrity Big Brother.  It’s one of my favourite songs – I’ve loved it ever since hearing it as the theme to the Sounds Of The ’80s TV show in the early ’90s.  Stunning track.

Track 9: Chico – It’s Chico Time

Awful novelty song that still troubles the music channels as part of their ‘Christmas party’ playlists.

Track 10: Shayne Ward – That’s My Goal

The second X Factor winner’s single and the first to get the Christmas number one.  I’ve got a bad feeling that we’re going to be seeing X Factor winners on every spring Now! compilation for a good few years.  The only good thing about this saccharine ballad is that it’s Shayne Ward’s original song, in contrast to the pointless karaoke you normally get with X Factor contestants.

Track 11: Sugababes – Ugly

Generic tune, and I find the theme on this one very hamfisted.

Track 12: Simon Webbe – No Worries

The beat’s a bit jarring, and in general the track is pretty messy – too much going on.

Track 13: Will Young – All Time Love

The tune’s nice, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 14: Kelly Clarkson – Because Of You

Another slow ballad, and those have to be super atmospheric or interesting for me not to find them bland.  This one is not super atmospheric or interesting.

Track 15: Westlife – Amazing

Nice tune, nice atmosphere, but the chorus is a bit cheesy for me.

Track 16: Andy Abraham – Hang Up

The X Factor runner-up to Shayne Ward, fact fans.  This track has a nice retro feel and could have come from the ’70s or ’80s, which is a great thing in my book.

Track 17: McFly – I Wanna Hold You

Good beat, interesting lines, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 18: Son Of Dork – Ticket Outta Loserville

Nice bit of daft pop-punk – quite like this tune.

Track 19: Friday Hill – One More Night Alone

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

Good head-nodder, nice tune.

Track 20: Liberty X – A Night To Remember

Utterly pointless cover of the Shalamar classic, released as the official Children In Need single for 2005 (so insert usual disclaimer about the ‘point’ being charity fundraising).  It’s pretty much identical to the original.

Track 21: Rihanna – If It’s Lovin’ That You Want

Interesting lines that come together to create quite a good atmosphere for this song.  Quite like this one.

Track 22: Liz McClarnon – Woman In Love

Pointless cover of the Barbra Streisand classic.  It’s a great song whoever does it, but there’s nothing new added here.

Track 23: Girls Aloud – See The Day

Pointless cover of the Dee C Lee classic.  Also now a Christmas song, due to its ubiquity on the music channels’ Christmas playlists because of its wintry video.  Again, I love the song whoever does it, but I just don’t see the point of releasing such a near-identical version.

Track 24: Nizlopi – JCB Song

Great song – gorgeous tune, brilliant lyrics, awesome theme, great chant-along section.  A classic.

Track 25: Embrace – Nature’s Law

Nice piano instrumentals, lovely atmosphere.  I normally find Embrace’s stuff really dull, but this is a nice tune, even with the slightly drone-y vocals.

Track 26: Robbie Williams – Advertising Space

Nice atmosphere, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 27: Coldplay – Talk

Great riff, but the vocals are depressing as ever from Coldplay.

Track 28: A-ha – Analogue (All I Want)

A welcome return to the charts for A-ha!  This track has a suitably epic atmosphere, a great bassline, really nice piano and a lovely tune on the vocals.

Track 29: The Feeling – Sewn

Boring tune, too slow.

Track 30: Richard Ashcroft – Break The Night With Colour

Another tune that I just can’t get interested in.

Track 31: Texas – Sleep

Nice tune, but again it’s not uptempo enough for me.

Track 32: Kaiser Chiefs – Modern Way

Not the most interesting track off the Employment album, but I still really like the tune.

Track 33: U2 – All Because Of You

Great riff, but the tune’s a bit dull and repetitive.

Track 34: Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down

Love the guitar, but the vocals are pretty irritating.

Track 35: Goldfrapp – Ride A White Horse

I’m always disappointed that this isn’t a cover of T.Rex’s Ride A White Swan with alternative lyrics.  Still, it’s a great electropop tune.

Track 36: Gorillaz – Dirty Harry

Some interesting lines and hooks, but it’s very repetitive.

Track 37: MVP – Bounce, Shake, Move, Stop!

Daft theme, and I’d prefer a bit more melody, but it is a good head-nodder.

Track 38: Sunblock – I’ll Be Ready

Bit of a repetitive sample mishmash, but it’s got a good beat.  The sample is Jimi Jamison’s Baywatch theme from 1994, but I had to look that up – I never watched enough of the show (I always found the premise really daft) to remember the theme!

Track 39: The Shapeshifters – Incredible

Quite like the instrumentals, but the main tune is very bland.

Track 40: The Source and Candi Staton – You Got The Love [New Voyager Radio Edit]

We’ve already had this song TWICE, if you can believe that, on Now! #19 and Now! #36!  The New Voyager mix is definitely not different enough to justify including it a third time!

See the first link for my review (including the Florence & The Machine annoyance that I keep being reminded of whenever another Now! compilation features this song) and the second link for the first time I got angry about this repetition!

Track 41: Kubb – Grow

Boring, slow and depressing.

Track 42: José González – Heartbeats

Oh, it’s this one.  Again, it’s too slow for my taste, though the guitar lines are quite interesting.