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 #26

Day 26, and we’ve reached 15th November 1993, which marks a full decade of Now! compilations!

November 1993
This was how the world looked in November 1993 (actually December, obviously. We don’t have any photos of autumn 1993 at all, which is a bit alarming!). My outfit here is cute, although my bob is still unfortunate, and the wee bro is still wearing that rugby shirt that he’s apparently not taken off all year.

Now! 26 is a bit of a classic one – loads of the kids at school had it, so it always got played at parties.  Let’s have a listen.

Now! That's What I Call Music #26
Track 1: UB40 – (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You

Cover of the Elvis classic in standard UB40 style.  I quite like this one – it’s got a nice epic atmosphere.

Track 2: Pet Shop Boys – Go West

Fabulous synthpop cover of the Village People song!  I’ve always loved this one, even if it does bring back embarrassing memories of doing a dodgy dance performance (choreographed by two friends who did tap, jazz and modern classes and thus thought they could choreograph) to it for the rest of my primary school class.

Track 3: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax

We’ve had this one already, on Now! #2!  The prevalence of this nonsense at the moment just shows how many great ’80s tracks were returning to the chart in the early ’90s.

You know the drill, click the link for my review.

Track 4: M People – One Night In Heaven

I usually quite like M People, but this one is a bit dull.

Track 5: Eternal – Stay

Dull tune, annoying vocals.  I’m sure Eternal did better tracks.

Track 6: SWV – Right Here [Human Nature Radio Mix]

Oh, it’s this one…and I’m back in the backseat of our Volvo 340 with the radio on, endless Scottish country roadsides zooming past.  It’s not that great a track, but it certainly brings back some memories.

Track 7: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Boom! Shake The Room

An absolute classic, played at every birthday party I went to in the early ’90s.  I’m aware I’ve said that about a few songs, which makes me think I should compile some sort of ‘kids’ birthday nostalgia’ playlist.  Anyway, you can’t not sing along to this one.

Track 8: The Shamen – Comin’ On

A bit repetitive, not enough melody for me.

Track 9: Stakka Bo – Here We Go

Another repetitive, dull track – not keen on this at all.

Track 10: Chaka Demus & Pliers – She Don’t Let Nobody

The tune annoys me, and I find the vocals a bit saccharine.

Track 11: Tina Turner – Disco Inferno

Nice rock-tinged cover of the Trammps classic.  Like this one.

Track 12: Belinda Carlisle – Big Scary Animal

Belinda Carlisle’s gone all ’90s and guitar-edged.  Not hugely keen.

Track 13: Spin Doctors – Two Princes

Adore this one!  Absolutely stunning tune, great singalong track.

Track 14: REM – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite

Lovely tune from REM – and I always appreciate that little The Lion Sleeps Tonight reference in the opening vocals.  Great song.

Track 15: Levellers – This Garden

Lovely song from the Levellers – beautiful tune, never gets old (and because Geth and I used to go to Beautiful Days all the time I’ve seen this one played live many times).

Speaking of seeing stuff live at Beautiful Days…

Track 16: James – Laid

This was probably my highlight of James’ set at Beautiful Days 2009, and is probably my favourite track of theirs.  Great tune.

Track 17: Crowded House – Distant Sun

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

Track 18: Radiohead – Creep

Classic track, although it’s a bit overplayed these days.

Track 19: Meat Loaf – I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)

I’ve always loved this one (and it’s gotta be the full twelve-minute version!) – it’s an absolutely beautiful track.

Track 20: Cappella – U Got 2 Let The Music

Great uptempo dance tune – happily chair-dancing away here.

Track 21: Haddaway – What Is Love

Absolute stunner, one of my favourite songs of this era.  Beautiful dance tune.

Track 22: 2 Unlimited – Maximum Overdrive

This one’s a bit of a dull tune, but the beat’s good and danceable.

Track 23: Culture Beat – Mr Vain

Another absolute dance classic with a great tune and wonderful singalong vocals – love this one.

Track 24: The Goodmen – Give It Up

Lots of upbeat drumming, nothing much else until it breaks into the slightly messy melody.  Not one for the playlist, I’m afraid.

Track 25: Leftfield and John Lydon – Open Up

Nice upbeat head-nodder – quite like this one.

Track 26: Apache Indian – Boom Shack-A-Lak

Good jaunty retro-tinged reggae – great stuff.

Track 27: Urban Cookie Collective – Feels Like Heaven

Nice dance-pop tune – big fan of this.

Track 28: Captain Hollywood Project – More And More

Great electro instrumentals, but the vocals let it down.

Track 29: Juliet Roberts – Free Love

Interesting instrumentals, good uptempo beat.

Track 30: Jamiroquai – Too Young To Die

Nice funky track, a little slow, but it is absolutely standard Jamiroquai even this early on, so I do like it.

Track 31: Dina Carroll – Don’t Be A Stranger

The most overblown of all the overblown Dina Carroll ballads.  Nice tune, but the style is just too much for me.

Track 32: Take That – Pray

I’ve mentioned that I was a big Take That fan during this era, and this is another solid pop song.  Great stuff.

Track 33: Gabrielle – Going Nowhere

Nice upbeat tune, but I find the vocals a bit dull.

Track 34: Lena Fiagbe – Gotta Get It Right

Annoying tune, annoying cheesy lyrics.  Vocals are interesting, but generally not a fan.

Track 35: Soul II Soul – Wish

Too slow and dull for me.

Track 36: Lisa Stansfield – So Natural

Urgh, saccharine ballad!  Not a fan of this at all.

Track 37: Björk and David Arnold – Play Dead

Great, interesting duet with a wonderfully epic atmosphere.  A classic.

Track 38: Lenny Kravitz – Heaven Help

Another dull ballad.  Not keen.

Track 39: Go West – The Tracks Of My Tears

Slow guitar cover of the Smokey Robinson classic.  I shouldn’t like it, but it’s such a great song however it’s done that I can’t help it.

Track 40: Janet Jackson – That’s The Way Love Goes

Dull, repetitive track – not enough melody for me.

…Do my eyes deceive me?  Have we really reached the end of a Now! compilation without a single ‘Not on Spotify’ moment?  We really must be approaching the modern age!

It’s also the first Now! compilation to stretch to 40 tracks.  No wonder it’s taking longer and longer to listen to these every day!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #22

Day 22, and we’ve arrived at 27th July 1992.

July 1992
This was the way the world (Germany, to be precise) looked in July 1992. We went touring all around Europe that month so we’ve got oodles of pictures showing how the world looked, but I’ve chosen our car in front of a building, ’cause I like pictures of cars.

Let’s see what might have been on the car stereo while we were exploring!

Now! That's What I Call Music #22
Track 1: Erasure – Take A Chance On Me

Erasure get to their ‘Abba covers’ phase.  I’m generally a fan of synth covers of classic songs, and I do like this one, apart from the random rap towards the end.

Track 2: CeCe Peniston – Finally

I’ve always found the chorus on this one annoying.  Sorry!

Track 3: KWS – Please Don’t Go

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

Track 4: Take That – It Only Takes A Minute

Take That make their first Now! appearance!  I adored them so much as a little girl.  Robbie was my favourite, and I was so gutted when he left the group.  To this day, I don’t consider them proper Take That (‘Fake That’, I used to say derisively when they first reappeared in the ’00s) unless Robbie’s involved.

Ahem.  Anyway.

This is a nice solid pop cover of the Tavares classic – good, danceable stuff.

Track 5: Nick Berry – Heartbeat

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

Urgh, Nick Berry‘s back.  I thought after Every Loser Wins, we had all suffered enough.  This one is a pointless ’90s cover of the Buddy Holly classic, presumably to tie in with the TV show Heartbeat.

Track 6: Snap – Rhythm Is A Dancer

Absolute classic, epic dance track – I love this one!  One of my favourites.

Track 7: Utah Saints – Something Good

Brilliant track with epic-level sampling of Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting.  Now, THIS is how you sample appropriately.  Wonderful stuff.

Track 8: The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

One of my favourite tracks from my favourite band – lovely feelgood song with beautiful instrumentals.

Track 9: Marc Almond – The Days Of Pearly Spencer

I’m going to see Marc Almond later this year!  I’m very excited.

Sadly, it won’t be at the one-off Soft Cell reunion gig, which is one of my big gig disappointments this year – I really wanted to go, but due to a miscommunication I missed the ten-minute ticket window.  However, I will be seeing him solo at the Electric Dreams festival, so that sort-of makes up for it.

This track has a lovely epic atmosphere and beautiful instrumentals – really like this one.

Track 10: The Beautiful South – Bell Bottomed Tear

Pretty tune and nice vocals, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 11: Prince – Thunder

I like the epic intro and chorus, and the instrumentals are interesting.  Good track.

Track 12: U2 – Even Better Than The Real Thing

Repetitive instrumentals, dull tune.  Not keen on this one.

Track 13: The Shamen – LSI (Love Sex Intelligence)

Good upbeat dance track – happily nodding along here.

Track 14: Electronic – Disappointed

Nice bit of synth electro from Electronic.  Solid stuff.

Track 15: Shakespear’s Sister – I Don’t Care

Nice upbeat track with a rockier edge.  Vocals not as impressive as usual for Shakespear’s Sister, but still solid.

Track 16: Carter USM – Do Re Me, So Far So Good

So, after me going on for weeks about various great Carter USM covers of various tracks, they finally show up on a Now! compilation with one of their original songs!

Great upbeat rock song, typically brilliant Carter lyrics and singalong chorus.

Track 17: Ugly Kid Joe – Everything About You

Could do without the spoken word on the intro, but it’s a classic track and a good head-nodder.

Track 18: SL2 – On A Ragga Tip

The reggae bit’s good, but the track in general is a bit haphazard.

Track 19: The Orb – Blue Room

Nice bit of chillout, though I could do without the siren noises.

Track 20: Richard Marx – Hazard

Epic atmosphere, great solid track.

Track 21: Elton John – The One

Nice tune, but it’s fairly generic for Elton John.  Not a favourite.

Track 22: Roy Orbison – I Drove All Night

This one was apparently written for Orbison, but I prefer the Cyndi Lauper version, which came out first (I’m not sure which one counts as the ‘cover’ in this case).  Still a great song, though, whoever’s singing it.

Track 23: Jimmy Nail – Ain’t No Doubt

More upbeat than usual for Jimmy Nail – I quite like this one.

Track 24: Joe Cocker – Unchain My Heart

A bit overblown in the vocals at the start, but once the beat gets going it’s quite good – great funk bassline.

Track 25: Curtis Stigers – You’re All That Matters To Me

Another too-slow too-saccharine one from Curtis Stigers, and this time there’s no sax to save it.  Not keen.

Track 26: Wilson Phillips – You Won’t See Me Cry

Nice feelgood tune, nice atmosphere, great sax solo.  Still a little slow for me though.

Track 27: Crowded House – Four Seasons In One Day

Lovely tune, great lyrics – really like this one.

Track 28: Annie Lennox – Why

Nice introspective track from Annie Lennox – I really like her stuff from this period.

Track 29: George Michael and Elton John – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Classic duet, epic track – lovely song.

Track 30: Diana Ross – One Shining Moment

Lovely tune, but again it’s a bit of a slow ballad for me.

Track 31: Vanessa Williams – Save The Best For Last

This is another one of those feelgood ballads that I always heard on the radio on ferries during family holidays around this time.  It was also used in an advert for Bisto or Oxo (I think?  I’m sure it was stock cubes or soup or something ‘comforting’), so I kind of associate it with that vibe.

Track 32: En Vogue – My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)

Great upbeat head-nodder from En Vogue – really like this one, especially the a cappella bit towards the end.

Track 33: Soul II Soul – Joy

This one’s a bit dull in my view – nothing special going on here.

Track 34: Incognito – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing

Great upbeat track to finish on today – love those instrumentals!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #18

Day 18, and today’s Now! compilation takes us to 19th November 1990.

November 1990
This is the way the world looked in November 1990 (actually December, but November was another one of those months we didn’t take any photos). Pirate Lego, thankfully, hasn’t changed (or at least it hasn’t if you keep all your stuff from childhood! The new larger pirate minifigures are just wrong). Also, those twentieth century carpets are still a regular sight in British pubs, who obviously all got a job lot circa 1980.

Here’s some music from some people who may have grown out of Lego by 1990, ’cause apparently it’s only millennials who keep playing with that stuff into adulthood.

Now! That's What I Call Music #18
Track 1: The Beautiful South – A Little Time

Nice tune, vocals and atmosphere, but this track’s a bit slow for me.

Track 2: Steve Miller Band – The Joker

This one was later a Modos classic when I hung about there in 2008-2011 – it was always on DJ Mantash’s playlist.  Good times.

Good tune, great lyrics, solid head-nodder.

Track 3: Elton John –  Sacrifice

Quite a nice ballad – lovely tune, nice tinkly synth hooks.

Track 4: Roxette – It Must Have Been Love

Really like this Roxette ballad – lovely vocals, great atmosphere.  Awesome track.

Track 5: Phil Collins – Something Happened On The Way To Heaven

Epic intro, epic tune.  Like this one.

Track 6: Wilson Phillips – Hold On

Great rock ballad!  Love the tune and the vocals.

Track 7: Sinéad O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U

Classic, beautiful song.  Perfect lyrics, stunning melody.

Track 8: The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody

No idea why this was back in the charts, but it’s a ’60s favourite for me, so I’m not complaining!

Track 9: Belinda Carlisle – (We Want) The Same Thing

Probably my favourite Belinda Carlisle track – brilliant, epic rock ballad.

Track 10: Status Quo – The Anniversary Waltz [Part 1]

Irritating retro-tinged dad-rock medley of all of Status Quo’s worst tracks.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 11: INXS – Suicide Blonde

Great instrumentals, nice upbeat atmospheric pop-rock.  Really like this one.

Track 12: Public Image Ltd – Don’t Ask Me

Good tune, like the guitar intro, interesting vocals (well, it is John Lydon).  Great track.

Track 13: Talk Talk – It’s My Life

I’m a little surprised to find this featuring so late, ’cause I had it in my head as being late ’80s.  Great synth line, great tune.

Track 14: The LAs – There She Goes

The LAs crack the definitive ’90s sound early on.  Super acoustic and plaid-sounding.

Track 15: Tina Turner – Be Tender With Me Baby

Pretty dull ballad, but some of the instrumentals are quite interesting.

Track 16: Robert Palmer and UB40 – I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight

Standard reggae tune from UB40, with Robert Palmer’s vocals giving it plus points.

Track 17: Pet Shop Boys – So Hard

Pet Shop Boys enter the ’90s with some slightly harder electro.  The usual great synth lines are still intact though.

Track 18: Bass-O-Matic – Fascinating Rhythm

Nice bassline (as you might expect) but everything else is a bit generic.

Track 19: Soul II Soul and Kym Mazelle – Missing You

Boring soul track with standard early ’90s beat, nothing special.

Track 20: DNA and Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner

Love that jaunty singalong hook!  Fantastic track.

Track 21: Sting – Englishman In New York

An all-time favourite – lovely, melancholy song with beautiful lyrics and a gorgeous sax solo.  Love this one.

Track 22: The Cure – Close To Me ’90

Really like this 1990 reworking of the 1985 classic.  Great track from the Cure.

Track 23: Neneh Cherry – I’ve Got You Under My Skin

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

Not enough melody here for me, although there’s quite a nice bassline that starts up mid-track.

Track 24: Blue Pearl – Little Brother

Dull tune, annoying vocals.  Not keen on this one.

Track 25: Kylie Minogue – Step Back In Time

Annoying chorus alert!  It would be a solid pop song, but that chorus makes it the kind of unwanted earworm that I need to cleanse with OMG ANYTHING OTHER THAN THIS.

Track 26: Kim Appleby – Don’t Worry

Nice ’70s-retro-tinged pop tune.  Quite like this one.

Track 27: Technotronic – Megamix

Largely enjoyable medley of dance tracks, some better than others.

Track 29: Bombalurina – Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

This silly novelty track was played at every birthday party I went to in the early ’90s.  It’s not high art, let’s face it, but I still find myself happily nodding along.

Track 30: Betty Boo – Where Are You Baby?

For some reason, I’ve got a vague, distant memory of Betty Boo being a figure of derision in Smash Hits in the early ’90s.  But then, lots of artists were, so I could be getting confused.

The track’s not much to write home about either way – bad rap verse, mid-century-retro-tinged chorus.  Not my thing.

Track 31: The Adventures Of Stevie V – Dirty Cash (Money Talks)

Like the atmosphere on this one – good solid pop, with a bit of sax in there for good measure.

Track 32: MC Hammer – Have You Seen Her?

Irritating slow track from MC Hammer with slightly creepy vocals.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 33: Jimmy Somerville – To Love Somebody

Odd, slow reggae cover of the Bee Gees classic.  Still, better than the saccharine ballads that usually end these compilations.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #15

Day 15’s Now! compilation was released on 14th August 1989.

August 1989
This is what the world looked like in August 1989. Beautiful sunshine, beautiful view, and I’m clearly complaining about something, ’cause I’m four. At least I’m complaining while wearing an awesome ’80s coat though.

On with the tracks!

Now! That's What I Call Music #15
Track 1: Queen – I Want It All

Brilliant track, one of my favourites from Queen.  Wonderful guitar solo from Brian May, of course, but the best bit is when it goes quiet for a drums ‘n’ chanting singalong.  Great stuff.

Track 2: Simple Minds – Kick It In

After an uninspiring slow intro, this track does what it says on the tin, thankfully.  Vocals a bit experimental for my liking, though.

Track 3: Fine Young Cannibals – Good Thing

Bit of a retro-sounding track from Fine Young Cannibals.  Nice tune, but a bit repetitive for me.

Track 4: Holly Johnson – Americanos

I’m not hugely keen on Holly Johnson’s post-FGTH solo stuff.  There’s something irritating about the tune and instrumentals on this one.

Track 5: Transvision Vamp – Baby I Don’t Care

Great pop-rock track from Transvision Vamp.  Nice singalong chorus, great guitar.

Track 6: INXS – Mystify

Nice bouncy instrumentals, nice vocals, lovely epic quiet chorus.  Really like this one.

Track 7: Roxette – The Look

Love this track!  Great guitar, great vocals, awesome tune.  Roxette are one of those bands where I like pretty much all of their stuff, but this is a real standout.

Track 8: Stevie Nicks – Rooms On Fire

Slight aside for a minute while I bemoan the fact that I am no longer going to try and get tickets to see Fleetwood Mac this year because they’ve had drama again, with Lindsey Buckingham quitting, and I WANTED TO SEE ALL FIVE OF THEM BECAUSE THAT’S THE CLASSIC LINEUP DAMMIT.  This is the only gig disappointment of 2018 that I have not been able to mitigate somehow.

Anyway, this Stevie Nicks solo track is lovely and epic, absolutely holding its own against the Fleetwood Mac back catalogue.  Cracking song.

Track 9: Paul McCartney – My Brave Face

Nice upbeat track, nice tune.  Good head-nodder.

Track 10: Gerry Marsden, Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson and The Christians – Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey

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

Never been keen on any version of this track, ’cause the chorus annoys me.  I do appreciate the instrumental treatment of this one, though.

Track 11: The Beautiful South – Song For Whoever

So, back on Saturday when I was listening to Now! #10, Geth went on this big ominous ramble during Build by the Housemartins that that was the point when the Housemartins were starting to sound like the Beautiful South, and that it would only be a matter of time before the former went bang and the latter rose from the ashes.  That did of course happen in the late ’80s, but as much as I do prefer the Housemartins, I don’t think the Beautiful South are a bad thing.  This song is lovely and has just the right level of whimsy for my liking.

Track 12: Kirsty MacColl – Days

Beautiful cover of the Kinks track.  There’s enough interesting things done with the instrumentals here (not to mention MacColl’s gorgeous vocals) to make the cover non-pointless, and the result is lovely and sweeping.

Track 13: Danny Wilson – The Second Summer Of Love

Not sure about this folk-rock track – I quite like the bridge, but the chorus is a bit cheesy.

Track 14: Waterfront – Cry

Good instrumentals on the intro, but the track is a bit generic.  Sax solo does save it a bit.

Track 15: Hue & Cry – Violently

Another slow one from Hue & Cry – again, a bit dull for me.  They just never matched Labour Of Love as far as I’m concerned.

Track 16: Cliff Richard – The Best Of Me

1989: the year everyone decided Cliff Richard was a thing again for some reason.  This one is mouldy cheddar, but what do you expect?

Track 17: Soul II Soul and Caron Wheeler – Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)

I’ve always liked that ‘back to life/back to reality‘ hook.  Nice head-nodder as well.

Track 18: Neneh Cherry – Manchild

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

Track 19: Bobby Brown – Every Little Step

Dull tune, but the beat’s all right.

Track 20: Inner City – Do You Love What You Feel

Nice intro – then the dull vocal kicks in.  Not a fan.

Track 21: D-Mob and LRS – It’s Time To Get Funky

Good dance track, quite like this one.

Track 22: Donna Allen – Joy And Pain

Love that sax!  Nice tuneful ballad, even if the vocals are a bit repetitive.

Track 23: Gladys Knight – Licence To Kill

Love a James Bond soundtrack song!  (We’ll gloss over the missed opportunity of A View To A Kill for now.)  Epic almost-orchestral instrumentals, building atmosphere, great vocals – this is what you want.

Track 24: Natalie Cole – Miss You Like Crazy

Super saccharine ballad, annoying chorus.  Not my thing.

Track 25: Pet Shop Boys – It’s Alright

More classic synthpop from Pet Shop Boys.  Love those synth hooks.

Track 26: Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers – Swing The Mood

Novelty cartoon rabbit that I quite liked at the time, being four.  The mix of classic swing and rock ‘n’ roll tracks leaves a little to be desired, though.

Track 27: Swing Out Sister – You On My Mind

Nice upbeat track, lovely tune, good vocals – I quite like this one.

Track 28: Bananarama – Cruel Summer ’89

I don’t know whose idea this 1989 remix was, but it’s a good excuse to hear some classic Bananarama again!  Great track when it’s not the weird remix bit.

Track 29: De La Soul – Say No Go

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 1: lazy tribute version substitute.

Finally, some rap that’s actually interesting!  Great instrumentals too.

Track 30: Norman Cook and MC Wildski – Blame It On The Bassline

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

Here’s another phoenix from the ashes of the Housemartins’ split, back in the days before he was going by Fatboy Slim.  This was actually the Beats International project, although I guess they hadn’t come up with the name yet.

Really quite like this mishmash of samples, especially the Blame It On The Boogie hooks.

Track 31: Double Trouble and The Rebel MC – Just Keep Rockin’

Nice upbeat dance track – happily nodding along here.

Track 32: The Cure – Lullaby

My favourite song from my favourite band!  Now THIS is a good way to end a compilation.  Indescribably beautiful mournful track – I will adore it forever.