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 #50

Day 50 takes us to Now! #50, which came out on 19th November 2001.

November 2001
This is the way the world looked in November 2001 (actually October). Venice is timeless, but my neon shirt and flared jeans were most definitely not. I’ve been thinking a lot about 2001 lately as I’ve been seeing a lot of old friends who were my closest people at the time. I always used to think of it as the best year of my life, and it was indeed special in a way that can’t be matched (you’re only sixteen once), but I wonder if I should perhaps be a little more forward-looking. Maybe the best year is still to come.

50 Now! compilations down!  We’re halfway through this marathon!

Now! That's What I Call Music #50
Track 1: Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

Loved it at the time, love it now.  Stunning piece of pop that gives me warm nostalgic feels for autumn 2001.

Track 2: Westlife – Uptown Girl

Pointless cover of the Billy Joel classic that was the Comic Relief single for 2001 (so it raised a lot of money, but it’s otherwise pointless as it doesn’t change anything from the original).

Track 3: DJ Ötzi – Hey Baby

Dance cover of the ’60s classic.  This was played at pretty much every pub and nightclub I went to in late 2001, and then sung drunkenly by people on the bus on the way home.  Why, no, that never became infuriating at all.

Track 4: Bob The Builder – Mambo No. 5

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

Daft cover of the Lou Bega song where all the lyrics have been changed to be construction-themed.  I’m sure the kids loved it.

Track 5: Steps – Chain Reaction

Utterly pointless cover of the Diana Ross classic.  Seriously, it’s pretty much identical to the original.

Track 6: Five – Let’s Dance

Fairly standard pop fare from Five.  It’s a good head-nodder, but not very inspiring.

Track 7: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Take Me Home

Nice tune, good chillout vibe.

Track 8: Wyclef Jean – Perfect Gentleman

Good upbeat tune on the backing track, but the theme is a bit hamfisted.

Track 9: City High – What Would You Do?

Good head-nodder, but the track is fairly messy and switches gears a lot.

Track 10: Blue – If You Come Back

Boring, saccharine ballad.  Not my thing.

Track 11: Nelly Furtado – Turn Off The Light

Pretty, tinkly instrumentals on the intro, but I’m not keen on the vocals.

Track 12: OPM – Heaven Is A Halfpipe

Daft skater song that was everywhere at the time.  I’ve always quite liked it.

Track 13: The Dandy Warhols – Bohemian Like You

Great, anthemic singalong rock track.  Love that energetic chorus.

Track 14: Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal

Pop-punk cover of the Michael Jackson song.  I loved it at the time and bought the single, but I far prefer the original these days.

Track 15: Sum 41 – Fat Lip

Another pop-punk anthem – love this one.

Track 16: Wheatus – A Little Respect

Dodgy guitar cover of the Erasure classic.  I suppose it’s at least different.

Track 17: Travis – Sing

I was a huge Travis fan back in the day, and I still really like their stuff.  This is a great track that builds beautifully to an epic chorus.

Track 18: Jennifer Lopez – Ain’t It Funny

Nice Latin tinge – love that dramatic flamenco bit at the start.  Good stuff.

Track 19: Emma Bunton – Take My Breath Away

Fairly generic slow song, nothing interesting here.

Track 20: Gabrielle – Don’t Need The Sun To Shine (To Make Me Smile)

Boring tune, very forgettable.

Track 21: Lighthouse Family – (I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be) Free/One

Pretty song, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 22: Kate Winslet – What If

Pretty ballad released to tie in with the animated film of A Christmas Carol.  This is most definitely a Christmas song nowadays, though it also reminds me of friends singing it at me at the time, ’cause it was a thing that they all thought I looked like Kate Winslet.  Not sure about that!

Track 23: iiO – Rapture

Oh, it’s this one!  Love the hook – good classic dance track.

Track 24: Supermen Lovers – Starlight

Great epic intro, good beat, nice retro tinge.  Big fan of this.

Track 25: Jamiroquai – Little L

Like the funk instrumentals, but the tune’s not as memorable as other Jamiroquai tracks.

Track 26: Destiny’s Child – Bootylicious

Great danceable pop track – I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 27: D12 – Purple Hills

Quite like the backing track, and the chorus is quite good to nod along to, but the multi-rapper stuff doesn’t really do anything for me.

Track 28: Eve and Gwen Stefani – Let Me Blow Ya Mind

Another good danceable singalong track – big fan of this!

Track 29: Britney Spears – I’m A Slave 4 U

Good beat, but the chorus has always annoyed me.

Track 30: Mis-Teeq – One Night Stand

Good epic atmosphere, good singalong chorus.  Quite like this one.

Track 31: Mary J Blige – Family Affair

Another atmospheric track – good stuff.

Track 32: Samantha Mumba – Baby Come On Over

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

Track 33: Liberty X – Thinking It Over

I always like a bit of Spanish guitar, but the rest of the track’s pretty dull and messy.

Track 34: Victoria Beckham – Not Such An Innocent Girl

I’ve always found this song very so-so, but the video‘s great.

Track 35: Louise – Stuck In The Middle With You

Fairly uninspired cover of the Stealers Wheel classic.  It needs more edge.

Track 36: Geri Halliwell – Scream If You Wanna Go Faster

I’ve always found this track pretty irritating – the tune is dull and the lyrics are just random, jarring and awkward.  Not a fan.

Track 37: Allstars – Things That Go Bump In The Night

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

Good spooky atmosphere – I’ll be putting this on my Hallowe’en playlist.

Track 38: N-Trance – Set You Free

We’ve had this one already, on Now! #30!  I thought the Now! compilers were getting better at not doing that.

See the link for my review.

Track 39: The Ones – Flawless

Oh, it’s this one.  Good head-nodder, but the tune’s not exciting enough for me.

Track 40: Daft Punk – Digital Love

Nice feelgood tune, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 41: Groove Armada – Superstylin’

Irritating mishmash of sounds, very messy, and not enough melody for my liking.

Track 42: Jean-Jacques Smoothie – 2 People

Annoying noise on the intro, then it launches into a fairly generic dance tune.  The vocals are quite nice though, and I appreciate the hint of saxophone later in the track.

Track 43: So Solid Crew – 21 Seconds

Interesting vocals, and it’s good to nod along to, but it does get pretty dull after a while.

Track 44: Afroman – Because I Got High

It’s quite a funny song, but because my stoner friend had it on constantly at the time, I got a bit sick of it.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #49

Day 49, and Now! #49, which was released on 30th July 2001.

July 2001
This is the way the world looked in July 2001. Those unflattering midriff-baring shirts with the American football style numbers on the front were all the rage, and I was taking full advantage of the Spanish weather to slob about in sarongs. Not the greatest look in my repertoire.

Time for some summer hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #49
Track 1: Robbie Williams – Eternity

This was a double A-side with The Road To Mandalay, which is a much better song, so I wish they’d included that one instead.  This track is a slow ballad, so it’s a bit dull for my liking.

Track 2: Gabrielle – Out Of Reach

I’ve always found the tune on this really annoying.  Not keen.

Track 3: Atomic Kitten – Eternal Flame

Fairly pointless cover of the Bangles classic, with upbeat instrumentals in the background, which are just generic and don’t improve anything.

Track 4: Blue – All Rise

One of those ubiquitous teenage party tracks.  Loved it at the time, still quite like it now – the lyrics are quite cute.

Track 5: S Club 7 – Don’t Stop Movin’

More irritating cheese from S Club 7.  There’s just no edge to it at all – not my thing.

Track 6: Geri Halliwell – It’s Raining Men

Utterly pointless cover of the Weather Girls song, released as part of the Bridget Jones’ Diary soundtrack.  There’s nothing different from the original at all.

Track 7: Ronan Keating – Lovin’ Each Day

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

Track 8: Stereophonics – Have A Nice Day

Another dull, drone-y one from Stereophonics.  Not a fan.

Track 9: Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag

Absolutely loved it as an awkward teenager, obviously.  Still have a soft spot for this one.

Track 10: Blink-182 – The Rock Show

Another bit of pop-punk that I loved as a teenager – happily singing along right now!

Track 11: U2 – Elevation

Loved it at the time, loved the Tomb Raider tie-in video, loved the performance on Top of the Pops.  Still quite like the track.

Track 12: Outkast – Ms Jackson

Always really liked this odd song!  Great tune.

Track 13: Destiny’s Child – Survivor

Classic pop track with a great singalong chorus – good stuff.

Track 14: Hear’Say – The Way To Your Love

Nauseatingly saccharine, uninspired pop tune.  Nothing special here.

Track 15: Backstreet Boys – More Than That

More cheesy, generic pop.  Utterly dull and forgettable.

Track 16: Britney Spears – Don’t Let Me Be The Last To Know

Boring ballad with irritating jarring melodies between vocals and instrumentals – not my thing at all.

Track 17: Marti Pellow – Close To You

Another dull ballad.  Can we get an upbeat track soon?

Track 18: Dido – Thank You

The beautiful, melancholy verses (sampled so brilliantly on Eminem’s Stan) are a stunning piece of music.  When the chorus shows up and switches to major key and an irritating tune, it ruins the song completely.  This has always really annoyed me.

Track 19: Zero 7 – Destiny

Chillout track with a boring tune.  Not a fan.

Track 20: Radiohead – Pyramid Song

Pretty tune, great melancholy atmosphere, but it’s a little slow for me.

Track 21: Eddy Grant – Electric Avenue [Ringbang Remix]

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

‘Remix’ of the 1982 classic with some drum ‘n’ bass beats at the start and some motorbike noises over the top.  Other than that, it’s pretty much identical to the original version, which is a classic ’80s record, so I won’t moan.

Track 22: Gorillaz – 19-2000

Oh, it’s this one!  Quite like the beepy instrumentals and the tune – good stuff.

Track 23: DJ Pied Piper and The Masters Of Ceremonies – Do You Really Like It?

Unbearably irritating chorus, probably one of the worst so far on this Now! marathon.

Track 24: Mis-Teeq – All I Want

Good atmosphere, great chorus, but the track is a little frantic and messy.

Track 25: Roger Sanchez – Another Chance

I’ve always found this tune a bit annoying, but the beat is quite danceable.

Track 26: Basement Jaxx – Romeo

Good head-nodder – quite like this one.

Track 27: Da Hool – Meet Her At The Love Parade

Irritating squeaky hook on the intro, then it launches into some generic drum lines before bringing back the squeaky hook and getting very repetitive.  Not my thing.

Track 28: Ian Van Dahl – Castles In The Sky

Highly annoying trance track – never been keen on this one.

Track 29: Fragma – You Are Alive

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

Good atmosphere, but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 30: Steps – Here And Now

Cheesy, annoying tune – not one of Steps’ best.

Track 31: A*Teens – Upside Down

Formerly just an Abba tribute band, this lot started doing original tracks with an Abba-sounding tinge on their second album.  This song is pretty awful – very generic pop with no edge.

Track 32: Bellefire – Perfect Bliss

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

Track 33: Texas – I Don’t Want A Lover [2001 Mix]

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

‘Remix’ of the 1989 track, which is basically the original track with some annoying ‘wub’ bits over the top.  As with Electric Avenue, I’m not going to complain (but give me the original version any day).

Track 34: Boris Dlugosch and Róisín Murphy – Never Enough

Once it actually gets out of the drum intro, it’s quite a good tune with some interesting instrumentals.

Track 35: Janet Jackson – All For You

Good beat, good tune – quite like this one.

Track 36: Eve – Who’s That Girl

Good singalong chorus, happily nodding along.

Track 37: Nelly and City Spud – Ride Wit Me

Classic tune, always liked this one – great chorus.

Track 38: Sisqó – Dance For Me

Spanish guitar on the intro, which is always a plus in my book.  The rest of the track’s got a good atmosphere, but the vocals are pretty irritating.

Track 39: Aaron Soul – Ring, Ring, Ring

Good vocals, okay tune, but there’s not really anything interesting going on here.

Track 40: Damage – So What If I…?

Fairly uninspired tune, very forgettable.

Track 41: Melanie B – Lullaby

Cheesy track about Melanie B’s then-baby daughter.  It’s far too saccharine for me.

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 #47

Day 47 takes us to Now! #47, which was released on 20th November 2000.

November 2000
This is how the world looked in November 2000 (actually October). Italy probably still has nice weather in the autumn, and I most definitely still wear that hoodie (it’s my favourite hoodie for keeping warm pre and post running).

Let’s see what the hits were going into the winter.

Now! That's What I Call Music #47
Track 1: Robbie Williams – Rock DJ

Great, danceable, singalong track – loved it at the time, love it now.

Track 2: Modjo – Lady (Hear Me Tonight)

I don’t normally like this kind of repetitive turn-of-the-millennium house music, but I quite like the tune on this one.

Track 3: Ronan Keating – Life Is A Rollercoaster

Super annoying chorus, cheesy theme.  Not a fan.

Track 4: Texas – In Demand

Really like this track – great tune.  Love the video with Alan Rickman too.

Track 5: Bon Jovi – It’s My Life

Loved it at the time, still really like it now.  Always had a soft spot for Bon Jovi.

Track 6: U2 – Beautiful Day

The perceived wisdom is that U2 took a nosedive in quality sometime in the mid-’90s, but to be honest I’ve always really liked the stuff off the All That You Can’t Leave Behind album.  This is a nice epic track – I don’t like it as much as I did at the time, but it’s still solid.

Track 7: David Gray – Babylon

Nice chillout track, quite like this one.  I don’t know why I’ve always liked David Gray’s White Ladder album, ’cause it’s not the sort of thing I’d normally be keen on, but I do enjoy most of the tunes.

Track 8: All Saints – Pure Shores

The soundtrack song for the film The Beach.  I really like the tune on the chorus.

Track 9: Spice Girls – Holler

The now-Geri-less Spice Girls with a fairly bland tune.  The end was clearly nigh, especially as they were all launching solo careers.

Incidentally, it always annoys me when British artists sing songs written in American vernacular.  ‘Holler’ is not a word over here!

Track 10: Architechs and Nana – Body Groove

Quite like the hook, but the vocals are irritating.

Track 11: Craig David – 7 Days

Always had a soft spot for this one – really like the theme!  I was really annoyed when it was sampled by Kojo Funds and Raye for Check earlier this year.

Track 12: Samantha Mumba – Body II Body

Love the Ashes To Ashes sample, but the rest of the track is pretty generic.

Track 13: Britney Spears – Lucky

This is a highly cheesy, irritating song.  Thankfully, at the time, some of my mates at school livened it up by coming up with alternative German history themed lyrics:

He’s so lucky
He’s Bismarck
And he tries so hard at this union lark, thinking:
If there’s nothing missing in my reich
Then why won’t the states unify?

As a result, I think of nineteenth-century Germany whenever I hear it.  Good effort, friends!

Track 14: LeAnn Rimes – Can’t Fight The Moonlight

Soundtrack song for the film Coyote Ugly.  It’s okay, but the chorus is a little annoying.

Track 15: S Club 7 – Natural

Quite like the interesting instrumentals on this one, but the vocals are pretty irritating.

Track 16: NSYNC – It’s Gonna Be Me

Timely, as the meme related to this this track actually went viral again about a month ago when NSYNC received their Hollywood Walk Of Fame star.  The track is a great solid pop tune with an awesome atmosphere – good stuff.

Track 17: Anastacia – I’m Outta Love

Great, classic singalong song.  Really like this one!

Track 18: Tom Jones and Heather Small – You Need Love Like I Do

Two great voices on this duet, but I find the song a bit so-so.

Track 19: Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue – Kids

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Robbie Williams.  This duet with Kylie is great, though, so I won’t complain too much.  Nice upbeat track, awesome tune.

Track 20: Coldplay – Trouble

I like the piano intro, but one it launches into the vocals it gets very depressing.

Track 21: Martine McCutcheon – I’m Over You

Nice tune, but the vocals are super saccharine, which puts me right off.

Track 22: Kylie Minogue – On A Night Like This

Repeated artist alert…again.  We already had Kylie on the Kids duet – give some other artists a chance!

This is a great track, though – lovely tune, good atmosphere.

Track 23: Steps – Stomp

Disco-tinged track, very Abba-inspired.  Good solid pop song.

Track 24: Vanessa Amorosi – Absolutely Everybody

Found it highly irritating at the time, still do now.  Twee, annoying theme.

Track 25: Billie Piper – Walk Of Life

Not my favourite Billie Piper track – it’s a bit generic.

Track 26: True Steppers, Dane Bowers and Victoria Beckham – Out Of Your Mind

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

Quite like this one, mainly due to the tune on the chorus.

Track 27: Melanie C – I Turn To You

Gorgeous dance-infused track from Melanie C – beautiful tune.

Track 28: Delerium and Sarah McLachlan – Silence

Classic tune, lovely vocals.

Track 29: Sonique – Sky

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

Slightly messy lines, but the vocal is nice.

Track 30: Zombie Nation – Kernkraft 400

There’s a common misconception that ‘Zombie Nation’ is the name of the song and ‘Kernkraft 400’ is the name of the band, but it’s actually the other way round.  This misconception is especially prevalent in the goth/industrial scene, largely due to Grendel calling the track ‘Zombie Nation’ when they covered it.  Great tune, either way.

Track 31: Storm – Time To Burn

Highly irritating squawky/scratchy instrumentals, uninspired vocal sample, generic electro hook.  Not keen.

Track 32: Darude – Feel The Beat

Generic dance track for about two minutes, then it switches gears into a more chilled out version of itself, which is a bit jarring.  After that, there’s some washing machine noise and it goes back to where it was at the start.  Also, I’m pretty sure that’s a sample from 9PM (Till I Come), which is highly uninspired if so.

Track 33: Aurora – Ordinary World

Fairly pointless cover of the Duran Duran song with a dance beat over the top.  I love Duran Duran (as you might be aware by now) so I’m always going to side-eye a bit when somebody attempts a cover.  It’s still a great song, but nothing can touch the original.

Track 34: SuReal – You Take My Breath Away

Boring, uninspired, forgettable dance track.  Not a fan.

Track 35: Madison Avenue – Who The Hell Are You

Too similar to Don’t Call Me Baby – guess they only really had one song in them.

Track 36: Azzido Da Bass – Doom’s Night

Irritating ‘wub wub’ bit at the start, then the rest of the track is fairly tuneless.  Not my thing.

Track 37: Baha Men – Who Let The Dogs Out?

I’ve always quite liked this song and its comedy tone – it soundtracked quite a few summer holidays in the early ’00s for me.  Great chant-along chorus.

Track 38: Nelly – Country Grammar (Hot…)

Generic, messy track.  Too much going on and not enough melody for me.

Track 39: Sisqó – Unleash The Dragon

Nice instrumentals, but the rap is fairly generic.

Track 40: Melanie B – Tell Me

The squeaky intro is annoying, though there’s some interesting stuff going on with the vocals.

Track 41: Louise – Beautiful Inside

Good beat, but the vocal is boring.

Track 42: Gabrielle – Should I Stay

And we return to a dull ballad as the last track of a Now! compilation.  Nothing interesting about this track.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #46

Day 46 means Now! #46, which takes us to 24th July 2000.

July 2000
This is how the world looked in July 2000, though I think that bit of Ireland has looked that way for some time! I wore that orange Miss Selfridge shirt to death – I had a lime green one as well.

Let’s see what the hits were that summer.

Now! That's What I Call Music #46
Track 1: Britney Spears – Oops! I Did It Again

I thought it was okay at the time, but find it insanely annoying now after hearing it intermittently for eighteen years.

Track 2: S Club 7 – Reach

Thought it was insufferably awful then, still think that now.  Cheesy and twee.

Track 3: Sonique – It Feels So Good

Nice tune – quite like this one.

Track 4: Mary Mary – Shackles (Praise You)

Great atmosphere, good tune.  Happily nodding along.

Track 5: Samantha Mumba – Gotta Tell You

Loved this at the time and bought the single.  I still quite like the tune.

Track 6: Gabrielle – When A Woman

Upbeat, head-noddable track, but the feelgood vocals are a bit irritating for me.

Track 7: Kylie Minogue – Spinning Around

Classic tune, classic video.  Always really liked this track – it’s very danceable.

Track 8: Tom Jones and Mousse T – Sex Bomb

Another great danceable track that was everywhere at the time.  Good stuff.

Track 9: Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch

Generally known as ‘the Discovery Channel song’, this one is an absolute classic – I’ve always loved that instrumental, and the theme is hilarious.

Track 10: Shania Twain – Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)

Quite like the folky instrumentals, but the vocals on this one annoy me.

Track 11: Billie Piper – Day And Night

Billie Piper going for a more grown-up sound on her second album meant that her stuff was no longer squeaky and irritating but was instead nice solid pop.  This one is a great tune with a good atmosphere.

Track 12: Louise – 2 Faced

Generic, dull tune – not keen on this one.

Track 13: Aaliyah – Try Again

Great atmosphere, interesting lines.  Really like this one.

Track 14: NSYNC – Bye Bye Bye

I don’t remember NSYNC being that huge generally in the UK, but this track was a fairly big hit.  It’s got a good atmosphere – solid piece of pop.

Track 15: Damage – Ghetto Romance

You know it’s the noughties when lyrics like ‘body like a racecar‘ start to show up in the charts.  Generic, irritating track.

Track 16: Steps – When I Said Goodbye

This was released as a double A-side with Summer Of Love, which is a much, much better song, so I can’t help wishing the Now! compilers had chosen that one instead for this summer release.  If previous patterns are anything to go by, though, it’ll probably show up on the November one.

This track is a slow, boring ballad, and I’m not keen on those.

Track 17: Stephen Gately – New Beginning

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

Nice atmosphere on this one, nice epic chorus.  Quite like this track.

Track 18: Backstreet Boys – The One

Good beat, interesting instrumentals, but the vocals are pretty generic and dull.

Track 19: Moby – Porcelain

Oh, it’s this one!  Nice chillout track, like the tinkly piano.

Track 20: Coldplay – Yellow

Another indicator it’s now the noughties: Coldplay show up for the first time.  Yellow has quite a good intro, but it all goes downhill when Chris Martin opens his mouth, which may become a bit of a theme, as I’ve got a feeling this is not the last time they’ll feature on these Now! compilations.

Track 21: Richard Ashcroft – A Song For The Lovers

The Verve frontman goes solo.  Unfortunately this track’s just as depressing as the stuff he was doing with the Verve, although I do quite like the sax on the intro.

Track 22: Black Legend – You See The Trouble With Me

Irritating house cover of the Barry White classic that gets rid of most of the melody.  Not keen at all.

Track 23: Spiller and Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)

Great tune, great atmosphere, great danceable beat – love this track.

Track 24: Darude – Sandstorm

Oh, it’s this one!  Classic dance track, great hook.

Track 25: York – On The Beach

Another dance track with a memorable hook that I’m guessing most people would recognise but couldn’t name.  Quite like this one.

Track 26: Marc et Claude – I Need Your Lovin’ (Like The Sunshine)

Good atmosphere on the intro, segueing into a great dance track.  Really like this.

Track 27: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – The Power Of Love [Rob Searle Club Mix]

Remix of the 1984 classic, which is very definitely considered a Christmas song nowadays and hence feels out of place both in May 2018 as I write this and in July 2000 when this compilation was released.  It is nice to see some love for old ’80s tracks, although this remix only really uses one instrumental line from the track to begin with, and as such the first four minutes are fairly unrecognisable before it launches into the well-known first verse.  After that, it gets a bit messy and super trance-y.

Track 28: Different Gear and The Police – When The World Is Running Down (You Can’t Go Wrong)

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

Irritating sample on the intro, before it launches into the remix of the 1980 Police track.  It’s pretty dull and repetitive.

Track 29: Southside Spinners – Luvstruck

Boring, generic dance track with irritating orgasm noises over the top.

Track 30: Alice Deejay – Will I Ever

Annoying tune, not keen.  I’m starting to fear that the imaginary ’00s nightclub (the setting for these Now! disc 2s full of dance tracks that started to become the pattern in the mid-’90s) will be even worse than the ’90s one.

Track 31: Angelic – It’s My Turn

Quite like the instrumentals and the atmosphere, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 32: Rank 1 – Airwave

Generic dance tune, very dull.  Not a fan.

Track 33: B-15 Project, Crissy D and Lady G – Girls Like Us

Quite like the chorus, but otherwise it’s a bit messy for my liking.

Track 34: Lonyo – Summer Of Love

Quite like the Latin-tinged backing vocals, but the main tune is a bit cheesy.

Track 35: MJ Cole – Crazy Love

Really like the tune on the intro…then it launches into the world’s most annoying vocals.  Urgh.

Track 36: DJ Luck & MC Neat and JJ – Masterblaster 2000

Cover of the 1980 Stevie Wonder track, with ‘bonus’ No Diggity sample.  It’s upbeat and danceable, but I’m not sure about the tune.

Track 37: Tru Faith and Dub Conspiracy – Freak Like Me

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

Great atmosphere on this cover of the Adina Howard track, later made more famous by the Sugababes.  Love those instrumentals.

Track 38: Jamelia – Call Me

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

Track 39: Vengaboys – Uncle John From Jamaica

More lively Eurodance from the Vengaboys.  The tune on this one’s a little irritating.

Track 40: Fe-M@il – Flee Fly Flo

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

I’d forgotten about this daft call-and-response track.  It’s at least different, but it’s pretty cheesy and annoying.

Track 41: Scooch – For Sure

Twee and irritating tune – not keen on this one.

Track 42: Atomic Kitten – I Want Your Love

I quite liked this retro-tinged atmospheric track at the time, but I find it a bit headache-inducing nowadays.

Track 43: Steps – Deeper Shade Of Blue

Repeated artist alert!  Now I’m even more annoyed that they didn’t include Summer Of Love.

This dance-infused track’s got a good beat and atmosphere, but the tune on the vocals irritates me a bit nowadays.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #45

Day 45 brings us to Now! #45, released on 17th April 2000.

April 2000
This is the way the world looked in April 2000. You can tell it’s the year 2000, because I was right at the start of my two-year ‘dress shirt over combat trousers’ phase. I’m guessing Gran Canaria still looks similar, but I’d have to revisit it to confirm. Anyone want to buy me a plane ticket?

Let’s see how chart music sounded now that we’d entered a new millennium.

Now! That's What I Call Music #45
Track 1: Gabrielle – Rise

The tune’s too boring for me – not keen on this one.

Track 2: Melanie C and Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes – Never Be The Same Again

Another gorgeous track from Melanie C – lovely tune, great atmosphere.  This was a real favourite of mine at the time.

Track 3: Craig David – Fill Me In

Great upbeat danceable track, but I do find the chorus a bit annoying.

Track 4: Britney Spears – Born To Make You Happy

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

Track 5: Backstreet Boys – Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely

I shouldn’t like it, ’cause it’s a slow, saccharine ballad, but the instrumentals and atmosphere are great.

Track 6: Lene Marlin – Sitting Down Here

Too high-pitched and cheesy for me – no edge to it.

Track 7: Tom Jones and Stereophonics – Mama Told Me Not To Come

Great, energetic cover of the ’60s classic.  Really like this one.

Track 8: Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

Anthemic song – it did get a bit overplayed at the time, but I’ve always had a soft spot for it.  Awesome singalong chorus.

Track 9: Geri Halliwell – Bag It Up

It’s a bit of a daft track, but I really like it.  Another fabulous singalong song.

Track 10: S Club 7 – You’re My Number One

Nice retro-tinged tune, but the vocals are pretty annoying.

Track 11: Aqua – Cartoon Heroes

Good atmosphere to the track – this one’s sort of interesting, and I find I quite like it.

Track 12: Vengaboys – Shalala Lala

Originally a Danish glam rock track from the early ’70s, fact fans!  Love that slightly chilled-out electro hook.

Track 13: Daphne & Celeste – Ooh Stick You

Hilariously awful then, hilariously awful now!  Classic Pop magazine tells me these two are making a comeback as well, if you can believe that!

Track 14: Atomic Kitten – See Ya

Generic, squeaky pop – pretty boring track.

Track 15: Madison Avenue – Don’t Call Me Baby

I’ve always quite liked this one – it’s got a nice edge and is very danceable.

Track 16: Martine McCutcheon – Love Me

Quite a nice tune, but it’s pretty forgettable.

Track 17: Steps – Say You’ll Be Mine

Solid pop track from Steps – there’s a nice atmosphere to this one.

Track 18: Honeyz – Won’t Take It Lying Down

Bit more interesting and edgy than previous Honeyz songs on these compilations – quite like this track.

Track 19: Precious – Rewind

Another atmospheric track with great instrumentals.  Good stuff.

Track 20: Montell Jordan – Get It On Tonite

Dull tune, but it’s got an okay beat.

Track 21: Fierce – Sweet Love 2K

Fairly pointless cover of the Anita Baker track.  Too slow for me, though the tune’s quite pretty.

Track 22: Boyzone – Every Day I Love You

Slow, saccharine, generic ballad.  Not keen on this one.

Track 23: Chicane and Bryan Adams – Don’t Give Up

Dance track, which sounds a bit odd with Bryan Adams’ vocals.  It’s not very interesting otherwise.

Track 24: Fragma – Toca’s Miracle

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

Quite liked it at the time, find the chorus annoying now.

Track 25: Moloko – The Time Is Now

I’ve always liked this one – great atmosphere.

Track 26: Artful Dodger and Craig David – Re-Rewind (The Crowd Say Bo Selecta)

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Craig David.  This track’s a bit of a legendary one though, inspiring the Bo Selecta! TV series, so they couldn’t really have left it out.  It’s a bit repetitive for me, but it is a classic.

Track 27: DJ Luck & MC Neat – A Little Bit Of Luck

Interesting vocals, but it’s pretty repetitive.

Track 28: Sisqó – Thong Song

Awkward then, awkward and dated now.  Let’s gloss over this one.

Track 29: Jamelia and Beenie Man – Money

Nice epic operatic-style intro, good atmosphere.  Great track.

Track 30: Kelis – Caught Out There

Oh, it’s this one!  I always assumed it was called I Hate You So Much Right Now.  The verses are pretty dull, but it is nice and danceable.

Track 31: Artful Dodger and Romina Johnson – Movin’ Too Fast

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Artful Dodger.  Really, the Now! compilers should just have gone with Re-Rewind for Artful Dodger and Craig David and saved themselves a couple of slots (especially as the number of tracks on these compilations is starting to get a bit bloated now).

I like the nice tinkly instrumentals, but the vocals are fairly boring.

Track 32: Nu Generation – In Your Arms (Rescue Me)

I like the Rescue Me sample, but the rest of the stuff in this track is pretty poor – it’s largely a lot of strange special effects.

Track 33: Basement Jaxx – Bingo Bango

Oh, it’s this one!  Great Latin-tinged instrumental hook, quite like this track – very danceable.

Track 34: ATB – Killer 2000

Cover of the Adamski and Seal classic that samples bits of the original.  Utterly pointless – there’s nothing new here.

Track 35: Sash! – Adelante

Pretty tune on this dance track, but it’s fairly repetitive, and some of the instrumentals are a bit headache-inducing.

Track 36: Watergate – Heart Of Asia

Quite like the Eastern-inspired synthy bits – nice tune.

Track 37: Progress and The Boy Wunda – Everybody

Love that Papa Don’t Preach sample – the rest of the track is pretty uninspired though.

Track 38: Lock ‘N’ Load – Blow Ya Mind

No melody, irritating screechy noise-based lines.  Not keen.

Track 39: Precocious Brats and Kevin & Perry – Big Girl

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

Bit of a messy mishmash of ’60s-inspired instrumentals and irritating vocal samples from Harry Enfield and Kathy Burke’s comedy characters.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 40: The Tamperer and Maya – Hammer To The Heart

Quite like the electro line on this one – shame the vocals are irritating and generic.

Track 41: Cuban Boys – C vs I

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

Oh, it’s this one.  I hadn’t thought about this track for a long time, but the yodeling bit is still just as annoying as it was back in the day, even if it did spawn the singing hamster toy craze and provide great hilarity via novelty Christmas gifts for a couple of years.

Track 42: Robbie Williams – It’s Only Us

Nice tune, still sort of hanging off the back of Britpop.  Great singalong chorus too.

Track 43: Blink-182 – All The Small Things

Absolute classic piece of pop-punk.  I remember dancing to this on Millennium Eve – great times.

Track 44: Moby – Natural Blues

Great tune, but it’s a little repetitive for me.

Track 45: John Lennon – Imagine

This track periodically re-enters the charts, and has probably done so a good dozen times since Lennon’s death in 1980.  Surprisingly, this is the first time the Now! compilers have picked it up though.  It’s a classic tune – there’s not much else to say about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track 4: Eiffel 65 – Blue (Da Ba Dee)

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

Track 5: Steps – Tragedy

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

Track 6: Geri Halliwell – Mi Chico Latino

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

Track 7: Robbie Williams – She’s The One

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

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

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

Track 9: Melanie C – Northern Star

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

Track 10: Sixpence None The Richer – Kiss Me

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

Track 11: Texas – Summer Son

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

Track 12: Moloko – Sing It Back

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

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

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

Track 14: Diana Ross – Not Over You Yet

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

Track 15: Tina Turner – When The Heartache Is Over

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

Track 16: Jamiroquai – Canned Heat

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

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

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

Track 18: Bran Van 3000 – Drinking In LA

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

Track 19: Supergrass – Moving

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

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

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

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

Slow, irritating ballad.  Not my thing.

Track 22: Geri Halliwell – Lift Me Up

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

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

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

Track 24: Martine McCutcheon – I’ve Got You

Boring ballad, depressing tune.  Not keen.

Track 25: Backstreet Boys – Larger Than Life

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

Track 26: Jordan Knight – Give It To You

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

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

Track 27: Gabrielle – Sunshine

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

Track 28: Honeyz – Never Let You Down

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

Track 29: S Club 7 – S Club Party

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

Track 30: Lolly – Mickey

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

Track 31: Ann Lee – 2 Times

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

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

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

Track 33: Enrique Iglesias – Bailamos

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

Track 34: Shaft – (Mucho Mambo) Sway

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

Track 35: ATB – Don’t Stop!

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

Track 36: DJ Jean – The Launch

Annoying, repetitive hook.  Not keen.

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

Classic dance track, great vocal hook.

Track 38: Wamdue Project – King Of My Castle

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

Track 39: Alice Deejay – Back In My Life

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

Track 40: Alena – Turn It Around

Boring dance track, nothing good about it.

Track 41: Tina Cousins – Angel

Pretty vocals, but the track is otherwise very uninspired.

Track 42: Liquid Child – Diving Faces

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

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #42

Day 42, and here we are on 29th March 1999, when Now! #42 was released.

March 1999
This is how the world looked in March 1999…well, sort of. Again, we sucked at taking pictures that spring, so here’s one from later in the summer. The South of France never really changes, but I don’t wear tacky fake Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts from tourist stalls anymore *cringe*

Let’s see what the hits were as we went into the final year of the ’90s.

Now! That's What I Call Music #42
Track 1: Boyzone – When The Going Gets Tough

I mentioned this in my review of Now! #7, when discussing the Billy Ocean original.  As I said there, the cover doesn’t do anything different, but it was the Comic Relief single for 1999, so it probably raised a lot of money.  Including mine, ’cause I bought the single.

Obligatory ‘I hate pointless ’90s covers’ rant: And the reason I bought the single is because I thought ‘hey, that’s a great song!’ without realising there was a much better original version.  Sigh.

Track 2: Steps – Better Best Forgotten

Quite liked it at the time, find it super irritating now.

Track 3: Cher – Believe

I don’t hate this as much as some people do – in fact, I quite like the tune – but it was really overplayed at the time, so I don’t think there was anybody who wasn’t sick of it.

Track 4: Steps, Tina Cousins, Cleopatra, B*Witched and Billie Piper – Thank Abba For The Music

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

Medley of Abba songs performed at the Brit Awards 1999 by contemporary pop artists in tribute to Abba.  It was pretty cringeworthy at the time, and is even more so nineteen years later.

Track 5: Spice Girls – Goodbye

The Christmas number one from 1998, so it’s one of those ones that feels like it’s the wrong time of year for it.  Pretty track, though.

Track 6: Honeyz – End Of The Line

Like this tune, but the vocals aren’t really to my taste.

Track 7: Billie Piper – Honey To The Bee

Found it a bit dull at the time, but I quite like the tune nowadays.

Track 8: The Corrs – What Can I Do

Lovely tune, great instrumentals.  Big fan of this one.

Track 9: Emilia – Big Big World

Really liked it at the time, find it a bit saccharine now.  Still a nice tune.

Track 10: Tina Cousins – Killin’ Time

Epic-sounding dance track – really like this one.

Track 11: Vengaboys – We Like To Party! (The Vengabus)

Bit of a guilty pleasure, this one, ’cause I do love that singalong chorus (and I have a soft spot for anything with a daft bus theme).

Track 12: Cartoons – Witch Doctor

Dance cover of the ’50s classic.  Always quite liked this one.

Track 13: Ace Of Base – Always Have, Always Will

Jaunty track with a mid-century retro tinge.  Happily nodding along.

Track 14: Blockster – You Should Be

Dull dance track based around a sample of You Should Be Dancing.  It’s pretty uninspired.

Track 15: A+ – Enjoy Yourself

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

I quite like the take on Beethoven’s Fifth, but the rap is a bit generic.

Track 16: Deetah – El Paradiso Rico

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

I like the La Isla Bonita bit, but the rest of the track is pretty awful.

Track 17: Emmie – More Than This

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

Fairly dull dance track.  The vocal is quite nice, but the rest of the track’s pretty uninspired.

Track 18: DJ Sakin – Protect Your Mind (For The Love Of A Princess)

Dance cover of James Horner’s For The Love Of A Princess from the Braveheart soundtrack.  It’s as awful as it sounds.

Track 19: Fool Boona – Popped

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

There’s a nice sample from Iggy Pop’s The Passenger in there somewhere, but it gets lost among a ridiculous amount of other stuff going on.  It’s just a big mess, unfortunately.

Track 20: Sash! – Colour The World

Nice tune, but it’s pretty repetitive.

Track 21: Justin – Over You

Slow and dull, and I find the vocal too high-pitched and annoying.

Track 22: Robbie Williams – Strong

Never been a fan of this one – I find the tune super irritating.

Track 23: Lenny Kravitz – Fly Away

Classic rock track, really like this.  Love that singalong chorus.

Track 24: Fatboy Slim – Praise You

A classic!  Great dance track, love this one.

Track 25: Armand Van Helden and Duane Harden – U Don’t Know Me

Highly irritating intro.  Once the hook gets going, it’s sort of okay.

Track 26: Mr Oizo – Flat Beat

I had (in fact, I think I still have) the single of this one.  I don’t like it as much as I used to – it’s fairly tuneless.

Track 27: The Cardigans – Erase/Rewind

Another great rock track from the Cardigans.  Awesome tune.

Track 28: Stereophonics – Just Looking

Urgh, incredibly annoying and depressing chorus.  Don’t like this one at all.

Track 29: The All Seeing I and Tony Christie – Walk Like A Panther

I’ve always liked this track – great tune.

Track 30: The Divine Comedy – National Express

I normally like the Divine Comedy, but this is another one with an annoying chorus.  The verse is great though!

Track 31: Terrorvision – Tequila [Mint Royale Shot]

A classic, and it was a bit of an anthem for me and my friends at the time.  True fact: I drank my first shot of tequila while this song was playing, on Hogmanay 1999, Millennium Eve.  Good times.

Track 32: The Beautiful South – How Long’s A Tear Take To Dry?

It’s a nice tune, but as often happens with the Beautiful South, I find the theme a little awkward.

Track 33: Roxette – Wish I Could Fly

Lovely tune, solid as ever from Roxette – great atmosphere too.

Track 34: 911 – A Little Bit More

It was too cheesy for me at fourteen, so you can imagine what I think of it at thirty-three.  Just no.

Track 35: Dru Hill – These Are The Times

Slow, boring ballad with a forgettable tune, and you know what I think about those.

Track 36: Kele Le Roc – My Love

Another dull ballad.  Not keen on this at all.

Track 37: All Saints – War Of Nerves

Great atmosphere, but there’s a slight disharmony between the vocal and instrumental that gets on my nerves.

Track 38: Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Inkanyezi Nezazi (The Star And The Wiseman)

Nice a cappella track – lovely tune.

Track 39: Blur – Tender

Gorgeous tune, great lyrics – really like this one.

Track 40: Dusty Springfield – You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me

Classic ’60s track, re-released in tribute to Dusty Springfield, who had just passed away in March 1999.  Great song.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track 2: Robbie Williams – Millennium

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

Track 3: The Beautiful South – Perfect 10

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

Track 4: U2 – Sweetest Thing

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

Track 5: Culture Club – I Just Wanna Be Loved

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

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

Track 6: Ace Of Base – Life Is A Flower

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

Track 7: Jennifer Paige – Crush

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

Track 8: Steps – Heartbeat

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

Track 9: Honeyz – Finally Found

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

Track 10: East 17 – Each Time

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

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

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

Track 12: Sweetbox – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

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

Track 13: UB40 – Come Back Darling

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

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

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

Track 15: All Saints – Bootie Call

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

Track 16: Aqua – Turn Back Time

Gorgeous tune, love this one.  Great song.

Track 17: Spice Girls – Too Much

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

Track 18: Lutricia McNeal – Someone Loves You Honey

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

Track 19: Lighthouse Family – Question Of Faith

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

Track 20: Phil Collins – True Colours

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

Track 21: Janet Jackson – Every Time

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

Track 22: Billie Piper – Girlfriend

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

Track 23: 911 – More Than A Woman

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

Track 24: T-Spoon – Sex On The Beach

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

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

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

Track 26: Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You

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

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

Track 27: Vengaboys – Up And Down

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

Track 28: Sash! and Shannon – Move Mania

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

Track 29: Touch & Go – Would You…?

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

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

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

Track 31: The Cardigans – My Favourite Game

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

Track 32: James – Sit Down ’98

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

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

Track 33: Fatboy Slim – Gangster Trippin’

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

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

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

Track 35: Sheryl Crow – My Favourite Mistake

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

Track 36: Robbie Williams – No Regrets

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track 39: Alisha’s Attic – The Incidentals

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

Track 40: Deetah – Relax

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

Track 41: R Kelly and Keith Murray – Home Alone

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

Track 42: Sham Rock – Tell Me Ma

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