Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #102

Now! #102 has been released today, 12th April 2019! EDIT: I only just realised that it’s been a whole year today since I started my marathon of the first 100 Now! compilations with Now! #1. Great timing!

April 2019
This is the way the world looks in April 2019, with me and my ‘absolute beginner ukuleles’ classmates doing our thing up on stage. Fun fact: one of the songs we performed appeared on Now! #54, while the other has never been on a Now! compilation.

Let’s have a look at the Now! compilers’ roundup of what’s been going on in the chart recently.

Now! That's What I Call Music #102

Track 1: Ariana Grande – 7 Rings

New Hits Friday review.

Still think this is a bit of a daft interpolation, but I don’t hate it as much as I used to.

Track 2: Ava Max – Sweet But Psycho

New Hits Friday review.

Pretty much loved this bit of synthy pop from the start, and I’m still a big fan. Should have been Christmas number one!

Track 3: Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart

New Hits Friday review.

Another great pop track. At first I wasn’t keen on the country edge, but I’ve really grown to love this one.

Track 4: Calvin Harris and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Giant

New Hits Friday review.

I’m still not a huge fan of this one – it just doesn’t hook me.

Track 5: Pink – Walk Me Home

New Hits Friday review.

Still too acoustic-y for me, but I have grown to like the epic feel on the chorus.

Track 6: Sam Smith and Normani – Dancing With A Stranger

New Hits Friday review.

I originally felt this one was a bit generic, but it’s become a fairly regular earworm for me, and I find I quite like it now.

Track 7: Tom Walker – Just You And I

New Hits Friday review.

It’s a little cheesy, but it’s a pleasant upbeat tune.

Track 8: Jonas Brothers – Sucker

New Hits Friday review.

A decade ago, I would not have believed you if you’d told me I would ever grow to like a Jonas Brothers song. They’ve grown up now, though, and they make much better music. This is a fairly decent pop song, and I always nod along when it’s on the radio.

Track 9: George Ezra – Pretty Shining People

New Hits Friday review.

I still can’t get over the blatant REM title ripoff. Urgh.

This one’s a little bland (can’t win ’em all, George), but it’s an okay tune.

Track 10: James Arthur – Empty Space

New Hits Friday review.

This one’s not been in the charts since last year, so I’m a bit surprised they’ve held it back for this Now! instalment. As is usually the case with James Arthur’s stuff, it’s too saccharine for me, but I’ll grant you it’s got a good atmosphere on the chorus.

Track 11: Lewis Capaldi – Grace

New Hits Friday review.

I first heard this one on the BBC over Christmas, and at first I thought it was a bit too wistful/singer-songwriter/acoustic-y etc. for me. But I’ve really come to like it – it’s a gorgeous tune.

Track 12: Jason Derulo, David Guetta, Nicki Minaj and Willy William – Goodbye

New Hits Friday review.

I could have told you that my feelings would not have changed about this ridiculous bastardisation of Andrea Bocelli’s Time To Say Goodbye. Awful interpolation that has me running screaming for the comfort of the original every single time.

Track 13: Little Mix and Ty Dolla Sign – Think About Us

New Hits Friday review.

Another frequent earworm. I quite like the staccato on the verse.

Track 14: Marshmello and Chvrches – Here With Me

New Hits Friday review.

I find this one a bit forgettable, though the tune is very pleasant when I do remember how it goes.

Track 15: Cardi B and Bruno Mars – Please Me

New Hits Friday review.

Still love the retro feel on this track. Straight out of 1988! Well, apart from the NSFW lyrical content.

Track 16: Khalid – Talk

New Hits Friday review.

I really like the soft bubbly synth effects on this one.

Track 17: Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up

New Hits Friday review.

I wasn’t keen at first, but it’s been a grower and I quite like this solid pop track now.

Track 18: Charli XCX and Troye Sivan – 1999

New Hits Friday review.

Liked it when it came out, love it now! Shamelessly retro, actually sounds like the year it’s celebrating. Great stuff.

Track 19: Sigrid – Don’t Feel Like Crying

New Hits Friday review.

Another good danceable pop track, probably my favourite of Sigrid’s output so far.

Track 20: CamelPhat, Cristoph and Jem Cooke – Breathe

New Hits Friday review.

It’s kind of nice to have a dance track on here now that dance tracks are becoming a bit rarer in the charts. Nice tune, too.

Track 21: Jax Jones and Years & Years – Play

New Hits Friday review.

Good tune – I always nod along to this one.

Track 22: Zedd and Katy Perry – 365

New Hits Friday review.

I do like the Spanish-tinged opening, and the atmosphere is great when it gets to the chorus.

Track 23: Zara Larsson – Ruin My Life

New Hits Friday review.

This one makes me really uncomfortable! I can’t get past the awful message in the lyrics, which is basically ‘go back to someone who’s really bad for you’.

Track 24: Dua Lipa – Swan Song

New Hits Friday review.

There’s some great stuff going on with the instrumentals, but I find the vocal line pretty bland.

Track 25: Ariana Grande – Thank You Next

New Hits Friday review.

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Ariana Grande on track 1.

The tinkly instrumentals are quite nice, but I’m not sure how I feel about the ex-dissing lyrical content.

Track 26: Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved

New Hits Friday review. (LOL I said it was too slow for me and now it’s my favourite song in the chart!)

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Lewis Capaldi on track 11.

Not complaining though, because this is an absolutely beautiful tune that has deservedly just scored a seventh week at number one. Song of the year, whatever happens in the next eight months.

Track 27: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – Shallow

New Hits Friday review.

One of those tracks that I found a bit slow to begin with and have grown to appreciate. Lovely acoustic track from the A Star Is Born soundtrack (no interest in seeing the film, but the song is gorgeous).

Track 28: Keala Settle and The Greatest Showman Cast – This Is Me

Another one where the Now! compilers have been a bit tardy – this track first entered the charts well over a year ago – but it’s a great feelgood musical number, and probably the best song on the soundtrack.

Track 29: Jess Glynne – Thursday

New Hits Friday review.

I’m still not particularly keen on this one – I just find the theme a bit awkward.

Track 30: Freya Ridings – Lost Without You

New Hits Friday review.

I do appreciate the simplicity of the song, but it’s just a bit too slow for me.

Track 31: James Arthur and Anne-Marie – Rewrite The Stars

New Hits Friday review.

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had James Arthur on track 10.

One of the tracks from the Greatest Showman Reimagined album, where pop stars do karaoke versions of the songs from the musical. It’s okay, but not a patch on the original.

Track 32: Jack Savoretti – Candlelight

This wasn’t a hit – it only got to number 70. As I’ve been discussing since Now! #99, the Now! compilers have recently started to include songs that haven’t actually made the Top 40, but have been featured on hit albums – there’s less crossover than there used to be between the album and singles chart (mainly because the former is for older people like me who prefer classic pop and rock, and the latter is for the kids who like these strange new songs I’m always ranting about on here after listening to the chart on Fridays!). I wasn’t sure about this at first, but I think I’m okay about it now. After all, it’s probably an older demographic who actually still buys Now! albums. The Radio 2 demographic, if you like. This album got to number one, so I think it’s allowed.

Anyway, this track’s got a great atmosphere – lovely eerie instrumentals, lots of piano. Love this kind of epic tune!

Track 33: The 1975 – It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)

Again not a hit on the singles chart – it only got to number 46 – but this was also a number one album.

Wonderfully retro-sounding as ever from the 1975. Great tune, great beat.

Track 34: Westlife – Hello My Love

New Hits Friday review.

This one’s still a bit too cheesy for me.

Track 35: Take That – Everlasting

This track wasn’t even released as a single, but again the album got to number one.

As I understand it, this is one of the few new tracks on Take That’s recent remastered retrospective. It’s a bit dull until the second chorus kicks in. Also, the self-referential spoken word bit at the end is a bit odd.

Track 36: Hozier – Almost (Sweet Music)

The single only got to number 82, but the album went top ten, getting to number six.

Great bit of soft rock – really like this one.

Track 37: Bryan Adams – Shine A Light

No single release for this song, but the album got to number two.

Great beat, but it’s a little too acoustic-y for me. Nice to see Bryan Adams still rockin’ up Now! compilations though.

Track 38: Michael Bublé – Love You Anymore

Again no single release, but it was a number one album.

As usual for Bublé, it’s far too saccharine for me, but it is nice and feelgood.

Track 39: Rod Stewart – Look In Her Eyes

Yet another one that wasn’t released as a single, but the album went to number one.

Love this danceable, atmospheric song! So yeah, this is the point where I’m officially on board with the Now! compilers including songs-from-hit-albums that didn’t make the singles chart, because the notion of Rod Stewart still managing to get his new songs onto Now! compilations is the BESTEST THING.

Track 40: Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Zac Efron, Zendaya and The Greatest Showman Cast – The Greatest Show

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had the Greatest Showman cast on track 28.

Great stompalong number though. Fab track.

Track 41: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax

We’ve already had this track on Now! #2! How dare they be so lazy…wait. I can’t really start ranting in this case, because what’s going on here is that the Now! compilers have chosen to include six tracks from Now! #2 in order to advertise the fact that it’s had a re-release on CD today, the same release day as Now! #102. I’m hopeful that this pattern will continue, and will be scouting out the re-release for my collection this weekend!

Anyway, see the link for my review – it was track 16 on Now! #2.

Track 42: Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t It Be Good

Still a classic from Nik Kershaw.

See my review on Now! #2 – track 2.

Track 43: Matthew Wilder – Break My Stride

I have this one on my running playlist these days!

See my review on Now! #2 – track 11.

Track 44: Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Want To Have Fun

One of my earliest ’80s favourites.

See my review on Now! #2 – track 9.

Track 45: Culture Club – It’s A Miracle

Still love that daft boardgaming video!

See my review on Now! #2 – track 25.

Track 46: Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now

If you spend any time watching the Now! ’80s channel, which often replays the classic TV adverts for the classic ’80s Now! compilations, you will be familiar with this song as the centrepiece for the Now! #2 advert due to it’s ‘hold me now‘ (geddit?) refrain on the chorus. Still a great track, and it was a highlight when I saw Tom Bailey supporting Culture Club in November.

See my review on Now! #2 – track 3.

Great choices for those bonus tracks. Could have done with a bit of love for Duran Duran’s New Moon On Monday (track 29) but I’m hopeful for The Reflex if they do this again when they re-release Now! #3!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #101

Today, 23rd November 2018, is the release of Now! #101!  It’s also mine and Geth’s sixth wedding anniversary 🙂

November 2018
This is the way the world looks in November 2018, with pretty anniversary cards on our dresser.

We’re now entering a new exciting era of Now! compilations where I only have to review them every four months!  The first hundred compilations were characterised by a gradually worsening quality of music.  I pray this trend will not continue.  Pop music can’t get any worse than it currently is.  Right?

Track 1: Little Mix and Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me

Great reggae-style rhythm, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 2: Calvin Harris and Sam Smith – Promises

Sam Smith’s voice is great as ever, but the tune is pretty forgettable.  Somehow got to number one for weeks on end.

Track 3: Ariana Grande – God Is A Woman

I really like the tune on this one – nice and epic.

Track 4: George Ezra – Hold My Girl

A little slow for me, but it’s a nice tune.  Only entered the charts today, so it was definitely not a hit when chosen for this Now! compilation!

Track 5: Rita Ora – Let You Love Me

Great atmosphere on the chorus – tune’s a bit generic, but it’s an okay pop track.

Track 6: Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid – Eastside

I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday.  It’s grown on me a bit since then!

Track 7: Jess Glynne – All I Am

I’ve never been much of a Jess Glynne fan – I find her stuff very boring and the lyrical content very saccharine, and this track is no exception.

Track 8: Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin – I Like It

Not super keen on the rap (except the enjoyable nonsense in the first verse about Balenciaga et al.!), but I do love the Latin tinge, and it’s very danceable.

Track 9: The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar – Pray For Me

Black Panther soundtrack song – really like this epic track.

Track 10: Silk City, Dua Lipa, Diplo and Mark Ronson – Electricity

Bored of these ’90s dance-inspired beats now.  The tune is very generic too.

Track 11: Dynoro and Gigi D’Agostino – In My Mind

I really like the eerie atmosphere – there’s some great instrumentals here.  Not keen on the dance beat though.

Track 12: Loud Luxury and Brando – Body

I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday.  I’m still not hugely keen, but it’s a really irritatingly catchy track that’s constantly ending up on my daily earworm playlists.

Track 13: Maroon 5 and Cardi B – Girls Like You

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Cardi B on track 8.

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

Track 14: Marshmello and Bastille – Happier

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

Track 15: Clean Bandit, Marina & The Diamonds and Luis Fonsi – Baby

The vocalist on this is calling herself Marina now, but she was formerly known as Marina & The Diamonds (not a band, just a solo artist with a band name, kind of like Florence & The Machine – this was a bizarre 2009/2010 micro trend).  I’ve missed her vocal style and way with a tune.  This is very Latin-inspired, especially due to the involvement of Luis Fonsi.  Great party pop tune.

Track 16: Ellie Goulding, Diplo and Swae Lee – Close To Me

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Diplo on track 10.

Not exciting or original enough for me, but at least it’s got some semblance of a melody, and it’s starting to grow on me with time.

Track 17: Cheryl – Love Made Me Do It

The lyrics are okay if kind of cheesy, but the tune is terrible.

Track 18: Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes

I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday.  It’s become one of my songs of the year – really like this track.

Track 19: The 1975 – Too Time Too Time Too Time

Yes, I know the title’s supposed to be written in all caps with no spaces, but I won’t be having any of that nonsense here.  This is a dignified blog.

Lovely upbeat tune, though – really like this one.  One of my favourites of 2018.

Track 20: Mabel – One Shot

Not a hit – only got to number 44.

It’s a pretty tune, but it’s very generic.

Track 21: Take That – Out Of Our Heads

Not a hit yet (as of 23rd November 2018)!  They did perform it on Strictly last weekend, so maybe it’s not even out yet.

There’s a nice old-fashioned big-band feel about this one – it’s very jaunty.

Track 22: Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Alexa Davies and Celia Imrie – When I Kissed The Teacher

Taken from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.  Songs from musicals have been a bit of a chart trend this year.  It’s a fairly bog-standard cover of the Abba song, as is normally the case with jukebox musicals.

Track 23: Andrea Bocelli and Dua Lipa – If Only

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Dua Lipa on track 10.

Not a hit yet (as of 23rd November 2018).

Standard pretty, slow romantic song from Andrea Bocelli – I never get sick of his voice.  Dua Lipa does fine, but she can’t hold a candle to Bocelli.

Track 24: DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Chance The Rapper and Quavo – No Brainer

I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday.  I still find it really dull.

Track 25: Dave and Fredo – Funky Friday

This track is:

  1. The second number one this year to get to number one after exhortation from the previous number one artist (in this case Sam Smith with Promises – the previous example was George Ezra (Shotgun) telling people to stream Baddiel & Skinner and the Lightning Seeds’ Three Lions).
  2. The second number one this year to feature the word ‘Friday’ in the title (after Lil’ Dicky and Chris Brown with Freaky Friday).

Nothing much else interesting about this song.  It’s very dull and unmelodious and repetitive – no idea why enough people were listening to it to get it to number one.  Oh, wait, there’s a good instrumental electro bit for three seconds – then it goes back to the boring rap.

Track 26: DJ Snake, Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B – Taki Taki

Repeated artist mega alert!  We’ve already had Cardi B on both track 8 and track 13.  That is far too much of one artist for one Now! compilation!

I do like the background instrumentals, especially the atmospheric whistling, and the Latin vocals are nice, but the rap is very dull.

Track 27: French Montana and Drake – No Stylist

I quite like the atmosphere, but it’s very repetitive.  Are they trying to win a competition to see who can say ‘Gucci’ the most times in a song?

Track 28: Dennis Lloyd – Nevermind

Great rhythm, very noddable.

Track 29: Khalid – Better

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

The track is so boring that I couldn’t even concentrate on writing this sentence.

Track 30: Martin Garrix feat. Khalid – Ocean

Repeated artist mega alert!  We’ve already had Khalid on track 6 and track 29.  That’s two mega alerts on one compilation, which is not an auspicious start for the second century of Now! entries!

It’s a pretty tune with a gorgeous atmosphere – I really quite like this one.

Track 31: Halsey – Without Me

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

Urgh, this track is so slow!  I do like the synthy background instrumentals though.

Track 32: B Young – 079ME

I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday.  I still think it’s too similar to Jumanji.

Track 33: Stay Flee Get Lizzy, Fredo, Young T and Bugsey – Ay Caramba

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Fredo on track 25.

I reviewed this one for New Hits Friday.  I’m still not keen on it at all.

Track 34: Travis Scott – Sicko Mode

There’s no tune, and the rap is extremely generic, but I quite like the eerie quality of the backing track.

Track 35: Shawn Mendes and Zedd – Lost In Japan [Remix]

Good atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit dull.

Track 36: MK, Jonas Blue and Becky Hill – Back And Forth

More ’90s-inspired instrumentals.  Very generic tune.

Track 37: Jonas Blue, Liam Payne and Lennon Stella – Polaroid

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve only just had Jonas Blue on track 36.

Okay tune with a good pop beat, but it’s not super exciting.

Track 38: Au/Ra and CamelPhat – Panic Room

I quite like the atmosphere, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 39: Sigala, Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor and French Montana – Just Got Paid

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had French Montana on track 27.

Daft song about payday.  The tune’s pretty uninspired, but it’s got a good beat and it’s quite fun – it’s a good danceable party track.

Track 40: David Guetta and Anne-Marie – Don’t Leave Me Alone

The tune is very generic and forgettable. I quite like the electro instrumentals, but on the whole there’s nothing interesting going on here.

Track 41: Hardy Caprio and One Acen – Best Life

Very repetitive, not very inspired, highly boring tune, dull rap.

Track 42: ZieZie – Fine Girl

I quite like the tune, but there’s some very irritating stuff with the vocals going on here.

Track 43: Sigrid – Sucker Punch

Not a hit yet (as of 23rd November 2018).

Nice bit of classic pop with a good atmosphere.

Track 44: Selena Gomez – Back To You

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Selena Gomez on track 26.

The verse is nice, but the tune on the chorus irritates me.

Track 45: LSD – Thunderclouds

LSD are a collaborative project between Labrinth, Sia, and Diplo, hence the name.

It’s the mobile phone advert music.  I actually had it stuck in my head before it got into the charts – it’s a really incessant earworm.  It’s a bit of a messy track, but quite a good tune.

Track 46: Dean Lewis – Be Alright

Dull, acoustic-y ballad.  I never thought I’d type this sentence, but the Streets did this theme much better in Dry Your Eyes back in the ’00s.

Bizarro world Fake That lineup

Those of you keeping score during my interminable Now! marathon will remember that when Take That reformed in the mid-’00s, I dubbed them ‘Fake That’ in a fit of pique because they’d had the temerity to reform without my childhood favourite, Robbie Williams.

Fake That became Take That again in 2010 when Robbie Williams rejoined them for an anniversary album, and then became ‘Fake That version II’ in 2015 when they relaunched as a three-piece with just Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, and Howard Donald, though I didn’t mind that lineup as much as the first Fake That lineup.

In Edinburgh last week, I saw this advert on the side of a bus:

Take That: The Band advert
Well, not this exact advert – it was the same advert except it was side-of-a-bus shaped, and the picture of the group was full-length. You know what I mean.

…and now I’m a bit confused and unnerved.  It’s Take That with original members missing (in this case Jason Orange), but Robbie Williams is not one of them.  Is it still Fake That, given that I started using that term to express my annoyance at the lack of Robbie?  I am not sure I will ever be able to answer this question.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #100

So.  Three and a half months, ten and a half solid days of music listening, and 4,020 tracks later, here we are at Day 100, the final day of this Now! compilation marathon.  Day 100 means that we have finally reached Now! #100, which has just been released today, 20th July 2018.

July 2018
Finally, this is the way the world – and my family – looks now, in July 2018. We’re all a bit older, and music is definitely not what it was when the Now! compilations began, but we’re all still here, all together again this week, and all talking about building our collections of houseplants once again.

Here they are, then – the very last summer hits.

Now! That's What I Call Music #100

(Let’s take a minute to appreciate this awesome celebratory cover. On the top left, we have the pig that featured on the covers of Now! #3 to Now! #5 – well, it’s actually a much cuter version! On the top right, we have an airship with the logo that was used on the covers of Now! #3 to Now! #16. Love the fireworks too! Perfect cover for this special occasion.)

Track 1: Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss

This was number one for quite a few weeks, but it’s not my thing.  I find the tune really irritating and a bit repetitive.

Track 2: George Ezra – Shotgun

I like the rhythm on this one.

Track 3: Clean Bandit and Demi Lovato – Solo

Good bit of pop – I quite like the tune.  There’s some annoying vocal stuff going on in the chorus though.

Track 4: Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry

Absolutely gorgeous pop tune – I really like this one.

Track 5: Anne-Marie – 2002

Hmm.  I do like the clever interpolation on the chorus of a single line – ‘oops, I got 99 problems singing “bye, bye, bye”/hold up, if you wanna go and take a ride wit me/better hit me, baby, one more time‘ – that mixes up the hooks from Britney Spears’ …Baby One More Time, Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye, Dr Dre’s The Next Episode, Nelly’s Ride Wit Me and Britney Spears’ Oops!… I Did It Again.  If you remember the turn of the millennium, it’s very evocative.

I can’t stand the theme, though – and the tune on the verses really annoys me!

Track 6: Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There

Extremely irritating, cloying tune.  I don’t know why I always find Jess Glynne’s stuff so grating, but I do.

Track 7: Years & Years – If You’re Over Me

Great bouncy rhythm – this one’s quite fun.

Track 8: David Guetta and Sia – Flames

Annoying tune on the vocals – not keen.

Track 9: Post Malone – Better Now

Another irritating tune.

Track 10: Jonas Blue and Jack & Jack – Rise

I get this one stuck in my head a lot at the moment.  I’m not sure why, ’cause the tune’s very uninspired.

Track 11: Liam Payne and J Balvin – Familiar

I really like this one – it’s got a great Latin feel to it.

Track 12: Banx & Ranx, Ella Eyre and Yxng Bane – Answerphone

Good solid pop tune – I love that singalong chorus.

Track 13: MO, Lotto Boyzz and Mr Eazi – Bad Vibe

Nice summery song – quite like this one.

Track 14: Tiësto, Dzeko, Preme and Post Malone – Jackie Chan

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Post Malone on track 9.

Ridiculous lyrics, annoying tune on the chorus.  It’s got a good beat, though.

Track 15: M-22 and Medina – First Time

Another annoying tune, and the EDM backing track is painfully generic.

Track 16: 5 Seconds of Summer – Youngblood

Great epic rock track – the chorus is awesome.  Really like this one.

Track 17: Bebe Rexha and Florida-Georgia Line – Meant To Be

Too country-tinged for me, and I really hate that chorus.

Track 18: Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey – The Middle

Yet another very irritating tune.

Track 19: Khalid and Normani – Love Lies

Beautiful tune – lovely and melancholy.

Track 20: Jax Jones, Mabel and Rich The Kid – Ring Ring

Great atmosphere – quite like this tune.

Track 21: Cheat Codes and Little Mix – Only You

Bit of a dull tune – not a fan of this one.

Track 22: Shawn Mendes – In My Blood

Again, I find the tune really annoying, and I don’t like the theme either.

Track 23: MU4 – You Can’t Hurry Love

Now, this is an interesting way to end the first disc!  MU4 won a competition on Good Morning Britain to appear on this Now! compilation.  The competition winners were asked to cover the Phil Collins classic, which was the very first song on a Now! compilation – track 1 on Now! #1 back in 1983.

I do like the harmonies on this cover, and the retro feel remains intact, which is great.  Obviously I’ll always prefer the original, but this version is not bad.

Track 24: UB40 – Red Red Wine

Okay.

Disc two of this special Now! compilation is not full of new hits, like it usually would be.  Instead, it features favourite pop songs that have appeared on Now! compilations throughout the years.  As you know if you’re one of the intrepid souls who have been following my Now! marathon right from the start, I don’t usually like it when songs are included that have already been featured on previous entries in the series.  However, seeing as this is a special celebration album, I’ll let it slide today!

Red Red Wine first appeared as track 3 on Now! #1 in November 1983.  See the link for my review.

Incidentally, seeing as both track 1 and track 3 of Now! #1 have been honoured on this compilation, I wouldn’t have minded a wee shout-out to track 2!  The second half of my Now! marathon has not had any Duran Duran for me to love.

Track 25: Phil Collins – Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)

Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) first appeared as track 8 on Now! #3 in July 1984.  See the link for my review.

Phil Collins is getting a good look-in on this celebratory Now! entry!

Track 26: Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer

Livin’ On A Prayer first appeared as track 25 on Now! #9 in March 1987.  See the link for my review.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ’80s being represented on this disc by a reggae track, a ballad and a hairmetal song.  Just one synthpop or New Romantic track would have made me a very happy girl.

Track 27: Wet Wet Wet – Love Is All Around

Love Is All Around first appeared as track 1 on Now! #28 in August 1994.  See the link for my review.

Interesting to see this one again after recent discussion of Drake equalling the second-place number one longevity record!

Track 28: Spice Girls – Wannabe

Wannabe first appeared as track 1 on Now! #34 in August 1996.  See the link for my review.

I think eleven-year-old me would have been thrilled to find out the Spice Girls would be featuring on Now! #100, so thirty-three-year-old me will try not to roll her eyes too much!

Track 29: Oasis – Wonderwall

Wonderwall first appeared as track 24 on Now! #34 in August 1996.  See the link for my review.

That’s two tracks for Now! #34, which is interesting!  Really, though, Wonderwall should have appeared on a Now! compilation earlier, as it had been released about a year before it made its appearance.

Track 30: Robbie Williams – Angels

Angels first appeared as track 7 on Now! #39 in April 1998.  See the link for my review.

Another favourite childhood artist that I would thoroughly have wanted to receive this honour back in the day!

Track 31: Cher – Believe

Believe first appeared as track 3 on Now! #42 in March 1999.  See the link for my review.

Good to see Cher on here, though I’ll always prefer her ’80s stuff.  (Yes, I know that’s the case with most decade-spanning artists.)

Track 32: Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time

…Baby One More Time first appeared as track 1 on Now! #44 in November 1999.  See the link for my review.

Well, it would have been wrong if we hadn’t had at least one of the songs featured in Anne-Marie’s 2002 interpolation on track 5!

In my opinion, the ’90s selection on this disc has been a little more representative than the ’80s selection (it helps that twice as many were included), but it’s a shame that there was absolutely nothing from the early ’90s – a bit of classic dance like 2 Unlimited or Snap! wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Track 33: S Club 7 – Reach

Reach first appeared as track 2 on Now! #46 in July 2000.  See the link for my review.

Track 34: Destiny’s Child – Survivor

Survivor first appeared as track 13 on Now! #49 in July 2001.  See the link for my review.

Track 35: Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

Can’t Get You Out Of My Head first appeared as track 1 on Now! #50 in November 2001.  See the link for my review.

Track 36: Justin Timberlake – Cry Me A River

Cry Me A River first appeared as track 3 on Now! #55 in July 2003.  See the link for my review.

Track 37: James Blunt – You’re Beautiful

You’re Beautiful first appeared as track 1 on Now! #61 in July 2005.  See the link for my review.

Track 38: Shakira and Wyclef Jean – Hips Don’t Lie

Hips Don’t Lie first appeared as track 2 on Now! #65 in November 2006.  See the link for my review.

Another one we’ve been recently discussing due to its interpolation in Dimelo!

Track 39: Take That – Rule The World

Rule The World first appeared as track 2 on Now! #68 in November 2007.  See the link for my review.

Track 40: Coldplay – Viva La Vida

Viva La Vida first appeared as track 24 on Now! #71 in November 2008.  See the link for my review.

Track 41: Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl

I Kissed A Girl first appeared as track 2 on Now! #71 in November 2008.  See the link for my review.

Now! #71 getting a double look-in as well!

Very representative selection from the ’00s overall – songs from every part of the decade and lots of different genres.

Track 42: Ed Sheeran – Sing

Sing first appeared as track 2 on Now! #88 in July 2014.  See the link for my review.

Mind the six-year jump there, Now! compilers!  Could have done with fewer ’00s tracks to make room for some more from the ’10s!

Track 43: Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

Uptown Funk first appeared as track 1 on Now! #90 in March 2015.  See the link for my review.

My favourite track on this celebratory disc – absolutely deserves to be on here.

Track 44: Justin Bieber – Love Yourself

Love Yourself first appeared as track 2 on Now! #93 in March 2016.  See the link for my review.

I’m not sure how I feel about a celebration of thirty-five years and a hundred compilation albums worth of pop music being ended on a Justin Bieber track.  They could at least have gone with Sorry, his one good track, which was released around the same time.

Short and sweet from the ’10s, but at least it was more representative than the ’80s selection.

Final note: So, that’s it from me and my Now! marathon, then – well, until Now! #101 comes out in the autumn.  I’ll post some stats from the whole thing at some point over the weekend as well, ’cause I love my stats – but other than that, I’m looking forward to having my music listening time back to myself again!

It’s been an interesting few months, and as a pop music geek, it’s really consolidated for me what I already felt about the way chart music has evolved during the course of my lifetime.  I’ll always prefer the ’80s stuff, I’ll always cringe when the ’90s stuff reminds me of my childhood, I’ll always think most of the ’00s stuff is really tacky, and I’ll always wish most of the ’10s stuff weren’t such poor quality and so generic.

On many days – especially days when the music was especially terrible and boring – it’s the daily picture feature that has been the most fun.  It’s been fascinating and terrifying at the same time to watch my life flash by, season by season.

Finally, surprisingly, after all that, I appreciate the institution of Now! That’s What I Call Music more than ever.  I’m actually already looking forward to the next one.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #97

Day 97 equals Now! #97, which was released on 21st July 2017.

July 2017
This is how the world looked in July 2017, the morning of the day Jodie Whittaker was announced as the new Doctor and hence the last day I was able to wear that T-shirt without it being out of date. I was planning to get some iron-on stickers for it, but then it got far too big for me anyway!

Last year’s summer hits were pretty good from what I remember.  Let’s have a listen.

Now! That's What I Call Music #97
Track 1: Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber – Despacito

Gorgeous Latin summer tune, deservedly one of the biggest hits of the year.

Track 2: DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper and Lil’ Wayne – I’m The One

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve only just had Justin Bieber on track 1.

This is an extremely irritating track with too many rappers on it, none of whom contribute anything good.

Track 3: Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean – Feels

Great funk rhythm, great tune.  Really like this one.

Track 4: Jonas Blue and William Singe – Mama

This tune really irritates me.

Track 5: Clean Bandit and Zara Larsson – Symphony

Gorgeous instrumentals – quite like this track.

Track 6: Little Mix and Stormzy – Power

This is one that was used in Zumba class last year – I love the vocals.

Track 7: Liam Payne and Quavo – Strip That Down

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Quavo on track 2.

I really like the rhythm on this one – it’s very danceable.

Track 8: The Chainsmokers and Coldplay – Something Just Like This

I find this tune insanely irritating, and the theme’s horribly twee.

Track 9: David Guetta and Justin Bieber – 2U

Repeated artist mega alert!  We’ve already had Justin Bieber on both track 1 and track 2.  Nobody needs that much Bieber on a Now! compilation!

This one’s a dull, forgettable tune.

Track 10: Harry Styles – Sign Of The Times

I really like the classic feel to this – there’s something about it that reminds me of the slower dramatic examples of glam rock.

Track 11: Shawn Mendes – There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back

Cheesy and annoying.

Track 12: Rita Ora – Your Song

I really like this one – great tune, great electro lines.

Track 13: Olly Murs and Louisa Johnson – Unpredictable

Excruciatingly boring tune.

Track 14: Bruno Mars – That’s What I Like

Great rhythm, great lyrics.  Good stuff.

Track 15: Jason Derulo, Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla Sign – Swalla

I love this one!  It’s really danceable, and the vocals are awesome.

Track 16: Katy Perry and Migos – Bon Appétit

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Katy Perry on track 3.

This tune is highly dull and generic.  I’m starting to wonder how all these half-arsed attempts at tunes are becoming hits.

Track 17: Nick Jonas, Anne-Marie and Mike Posner – Remember I Told You

Another track that’s so boring I can’t concentrate on it.

Track 18: Lady Gaga – The Cure

A slower track from Lady Gaga, but I like the dramatic feel.  Would have been even better if the lyrics had been about the Cure as in the band though!

Track 19: Camila Cabello – Crying In The Club

Love the atmosphere of this one, and the interpolation of the melody from Christina Aguilera’s Genie In A Bottle is done really well.

Track 20: Niall Horan – Slow Hands

The theme irritates me, and I can’t get on with the rhythm.

Track 21: Miley Cyrus – Malibu

Pretty tune – I find some of the lyrics a bit grating, but it’s got a nice summery feel.

Track 22: Ariana Grande – One Last Time

Originally released in 2014, back in the charts to raise money after the Manchester Arena attack.  It’s a gorgeous tune, but I find the theme uncomfortable.

Track 23: French Montana and Swae Lee – Unforgettable

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

Track 24: Sigala and Ella Eyre – Came Here For Love

Another tune that I find really irritating.

Track 25: Maggie Lindemann – Pretty Girl [Cheat Codes X Cade Remix]

Annoying tune, but the theme is the real issue here – cloying and vomit-inducingly smug.

Track 26: The Weeknd – Rockin’

Forgettable and dull.

Track 27: Little Mix and Machine Gun Kelly – No More Sad Songs

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

Another annoying tune.

Track 28: Jax Jones, Demi Lovato and Stefflon Don – Instruction

I really like this one – great beat, great theme.

Track 29: Cheat Codes and Demi Lovato – No Promises

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve only just had Demi Lovato on track 28.

Again, I don’t like the tune.

Track 30: Disciples – On My Mind

Great track – good tune, very danceable.

Track 31: J Hus – Did You See

Interesting track – I like the lyrics.

Track 32: Kendrick Lamar – Humble

Another interesting song – there’s some great lines here.  I quite like this one.

Track 33: Future – Mask Off

I really like the melancholy tune on the backing track – it’s gorgeous.

Track 34: Kygo and Ellie Goulding – First Time

Twee, saccharine and bland.

Track 35: Martin Garrix and Troye Sivan – There For You

Another tune I just can’t get into.

Track 36: Rudimental and James Arthur – Sun Comes Up

Generic, annoying tune.

Track 37: Hailee Steinfeld – Most Girls

It’s a bit cheesy, but I quite like this one.

Track 38: Selena Gomez – Bad Liar

Good retro sound, even better retro video.

Track 39: Neiked and Mimi – Call Me

Nice feelgood tune, but the vocals are really irritating.

Track 40: Raye – The Line

Nothing exciting about this one.

Track 41: Fifth Harmony and Gucci Mane – Down

Repetitive and dull.

Track 42: Haim – Want You Back

Again, I just can’t get excited about this tune.  I do like the retro tinge on the instrumentals though.

Track 43: JP Cooper – Passport Home

Too slow for me, and the theme’s very cheesy.

Track 44: Take That – Giants

Another boring tune.

Track 45: Artists For Grenfell – Bridge Over Troubled Water

Charity cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic to raise money for the victims of the Grenfell fire.  There’s some interesting stuff in this version, especially the added rap by Stormzy at the start.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #94

Day 94, and Now! #94, which came out on 22nd July 2016.

July 2016
This is the way the world looked in July 2016. Geth and I were in Bents Park, South Shields, to see Lindisfarne and the Proclaimers doing an open-air gig, and it was a very typical British summer’s day of the type that required both suncream and an umbrella.

Sadly, I don’t think we’ll hear either Lindisfarne or the Proclaimers on this particular Now! compilation, though the latter have appeared twice in the past.

Now! That's What I Call Music #94
Track 1: Calvin Harris and Rihanna – This Is What You Came For

Lovely tune, good solid dance track.

Track 2: Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling

Geth adores this upbeat party song.  I find it a little irritating.

Track 3: Kungs and Cookin’ On 3 Burners – This Girl

I find this perky summer tune really grating.

Track 4: Sia and Sean Paul – Cheap Thrills

Much as I like Sean Paul’s vocal style, I prefer the Sia solo version of this song, which is one of my favourite pop tracks of the decade.  This version’s still fantastic though.

Track 5: Fifth Harmony and Ty Dolla Sign – Work From Home

The tune’s a bit generic, but it’s nice and danceable.

Track 6: DNCE – Cake By The Ocean

I love this one!  They were playing it in the pub after my first Great North Run in 2016, and I’ll always associate it with that day.  Wonderful tune.

Track 7: Clean Bandit and Louisa Johnson – Tears

Another lovely tune, and it builds beautifully.  Great stuff.

Track 8: Little Mix and Sean Paul – Hair

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Sean Paul on track 4.

Great beat – it’s a bit of a messy track otherwise, though.

Track 9: The Chainsmokers and Daya – Don’t Let Me Down

The tune’s a bit irritating, but it’s got a good atmosphere.

Track 10: Justin Bieber – Company

It’s got a nice beat, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 11: Calum Scott – Dancing On My Own

Utterly depressing.

Track 12: Pink – Just Like Fire

I like the tune, but it’s a little too acoustic-y for me.

Track 13: Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman

Great atmosphere – I just wish it were a bit more upbeat.  Love the rock guitar though.

Track 14: Nick Jonas and Tove Lo – Close

I really like those steel drums on the intro, but the vocals are a bit bland.

Track 15: Meghan Trainor – No

I like the theme on this one, even if it’s a bit more serious than I personally like my pop to be.  Good rhythm too.

Track 16: Shawn Mendes – Treat You Better

Urgh, I can’t stand this ‘nice guy’ anthem!  Irritating tune, appalling theme.

Track 17: Years & Years and Tove Lo – Desire

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Tove Lo on track 14.

Good beat, forgettable tune.

Track 18: Sigma and Take That – Cry

I find the tune a bit generic, which I wouldn’t normally expect from Take That in any incarnation.

Track 19: Bastille – Good Grief

Really like the bassline at the start, and the tune on the vocals is great too.

Track 20: Viola Beach – Boys That Sing

Nice jaunty instrumentals on the intro, then it launches into some cheesy rhyming I can’t get behind.  The tune’s okay on the whole.

Track 21: Coldplay – Up And Up

Slow and boring.

Track 22: Gnash and Olivia O’Brien – I Hate U, I Love U

Annoying chorus, annoying rap verses, annoying theme.

Track 23: Drake – Hotline Bling

At my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding, my sister-in-law’s bridesmaids all sang a version of this with altered lyrics about the wedding couple, so it tends to be that version I think of when I hear this song.

Track 24: Galantis – No Money

I find this one insanely irritating – awful tune, appalling kiddie-sounding vocals.

Track 25: DJ Snake and Bipolar Sunshine – Middle

Slow and depressing.

Track 26: Desiigner – Panda

Great brooding atmosphere, but I could do with a bit more melody.

Track 27: Kent Jones – Don’t Mind

Irritating theme, irritating tune, irritating lyrics.  Not keen on this one at all.

Track 28: Cheat Codes and Kris Kross Amsterdam – Sex

Dodgy dance cover of Salt-N-Pepa’s ’90s hit Let’s Talk About Sex, with new verses in order to bastardise the original safe sex theme into one about general horniness.  Have I mentioned before that I hate this century?

Track 29: Sigala, Imani Williams and DJ Fresh – Say You Do

Boring tune on the vocals, but I quite like the instrumentals (steel drums again!).

Track 30: Blonde and Craig David – Nothing Like This

Nice beat, and the vocals are quite interesting, but the tune’s a bit repetitive.

Track 31: Charlie Puth and Selena Gomez – We Don’t Talk Anymore

Beautiful tune – really like this one.

Track 32: Ariana Grande – Into You

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Ariana Grande on track 13.

I’m a big fan of this song though – it’s probably my favourite Ariana Grande track.  Great solid piece of pop.

Track 33: David Guetta and Zara Larsson – This One’s For You

Not keen on this tune, but the track builds quite well.

Track 34: Jonas Blue and JP Cooper – Perfect Strangers

I’ve always found this tune really grating.

Track 35: Dua Lipa – Hotter Than Hell

Good beat, very danceable.

Track 36: Kygo and Kodaline – Raging

I quite like the guitar on this one, but it’s not upbeat enough for me.

Track 37: Selena Gomez – Kill ‘Em With Kindness

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Selena Gomez on track 31.

I quite like this tune though, even if the chorus is a bit repetitive.

Track 38: will.i.am and Pia Mia – Boys And Girls

Great beat on this one – happily nodding along right now.

Track 39: Reggie ‘N’ Bollie – New Girl

Daft theme and lyrics that I’m not wholly keen on.  The tune’s nice and feelgood, though, and I like the beat.

Track 40: Tinie Tempah and Wizkid – Mamacita

Love the Latin tinge on this one!  Great stuff.

Track 41: Craig David – One More Time

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Craig David on track 30.

I really like the rhythm and the vocal style, but the tune’s fairly bland.

Track 42: Sigala, John Newman, Nile Rodgers, Cedric Gervais and Laurent Simeca – Give Me Your Love

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Sigala on track 29.

That is a long list of artists for a not-especially-inspiring song.  The tune’s okay, but it’s nothing special.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #90

Day 90!  This means Now! #90, which came out on 30th March 2015.

March 2015
This is how the world looked in March 2015 – or more specifically, how Southampton looked on our very last night there. We moved to Newcastle the next day. I’ve blogged about these phone boxes before. Fun fact: I got my hair cut into that blunt bob in the hope of looking like the girl in the video for Last Christmas by Wham! but it didn’t really work out for me, unsurprisingly.

Nine-tenths of the way through this Now! marathon!  Let’s see (or hear, rather) what music sounded like as we entered the second half of the decade.

Now! That's What I Call Music #90
Track 1: Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

This is hands down my favourite song of the ’10s.  The ’80s-tinged funk sound, the beat, the lyrics – just wonderful.  I love it.

Track 2: Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud

It’s a slow ballad, so it’s not the kind of thing I’d usually be a fan of, but I do actually really like this.

Track 3: Years & Years – King

Good tune – big fan of this one.

Track 4: Maroon 5 – Sugar

Another good, danceable tune.

Track 5: James Bay – Hold Back The River

It’s the kind of thing that would normally be too acoustic-y for me, but the rhythm is great, so I quite like it.

Track 6: Sam Smith – Like I Can

Sam Smith finally releases something a bit upbeat!  Another good track.

Track 7: Olly Murs and Demi Lovato – Up

I really like this duet – it’s got a great rhythm and a lovely tune.  Good stuff.

Track 8: Meghan Trainor – Lips Are Movin’

I find this one to be a bit of a disappointing follow-up to All About That Bass, but I suppose it’s got a good beat.

Track 9: Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand

This tune really irritates me.

Track 10: Sia – Elastic Heart

Good rhythm, and the tune’s quite interesting.

Track 11: Ben Haenow – Something I Need

The X Factor winner for 2014, this year doing a cover of a OneRepublic song.  As usual, it’s pretty uninspiring.  At the time of writing, this was the last X Factor winner’s single to get the Christmas number one, and hopefully – due to the combination of the X Factor finishing earlier in December nowadays and the continued increase in streaming and related decline in downloads in chart figures – it will remain that way forever.

Track 12: Take That – These Days

It’s Fake That version II, now only featuring Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald!  Mind you, after the happy reunion of all five members for the Progress album, I’m actually okay with the lineup swapping about a bit.  I’ve made my peace with that.  Only took me twenty years.

This song is quite good, actually.  Great beat, nice tune.

Track 13: One Direction – Night Changes

It’s a saccharine ballad, but I don’t hate the tune.

Track 14: Alesso and Tove Lo – Heroes (We Could Be)

This tune, on the other hand, is incredibly irritating.  It’s nothing to do with the David Bowie classic, but Bowie and Brian Eno were apparently credited anyway due to the identical title.  Nice to see some actual acknowledgment there – most artists releasing songs with identical titles to classics don’t bother.

Track 15: Kelly Clarkson – Heartbeat Song

Another highly annoying tune.

Track 16: Calvin Harris and Haim – Pray To God

I really like this one – the tune’s lovely and it builds really nicely.

Track 17: David Guetta and Emeli Sandé – What I Did For Love

I quite like the tune on the chorus, and it’s got a good atmosphere.

Track 18: Usher and Juicy J – I Don’t Mind

It’s got a nice smooth soulful feel to it, but the tune’s fairly uninspired and the theme is kind of creepy.

Track 19: Marlon Roudette – When The Beat Drops Out

Love those steel drums, and the tune is quite nice.

Track 20: Chris Brown and Tyga – Ayo

The tune’s okay, but on the whole the song’s pretty uninspired.

Track 21: Fergie – LA Love (La La)

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

Good atmosphere, but the vocals are extremely annoying.

Track 22: Tough Love – So Freakin’ Tight

Repetitive and irritating, and the theme’s very awkward.

Track 23: Philip George – Wish You Were Mine

I like the My Cherie Amour sample, but the rest of the track’s pretty forgettable.

Track 24: Avicii – The Nights

Good chant-along song – quite like this one.

Track 25: Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding – Outside

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Calvin Harris on track 16.

Dull, forgettable tune, though the atmosphere on the chorus is quite good.

Track 26: David Guetta and Sam Martin – Dangerous

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had David Guetta on track 17.

Great tune, wonderful atmosphere – some really interesting lines going on here.

Track 27: Flo Rida, Sage The Gemini and Lookas – GDFR

Good rhythm, but there’s not enough melody for me.

Track 28: DJ Fresh and Ella Eyre – Gravity

Boring tune, uninspired beat.

Track 29: Sigma and Labrinth – Higher

The atmosphere’s okay, but again the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 30: Tchami and Kaleem Taylor – Promesses

Nothing exciting going on with this track except for the bizarre spelling of ‘promises’ in the title, which is just irritating.

Track 31: Blonde and Melissa Steel – I Loved You

Good beat, but it’s another bland tune.

Track 32: Oliver Heldens and KStewart – Last All Night (Koala)

Really interesting electro lines going on in this track, and it’s very danceable.

Track 33: Wretch 32 – 6 Words

Slow and boring, with a slightly jarring beat.

Track 34: Charli XCX and Rita Ora – Doing It

Extremely bland and uninspired tune.  It actually depresses me how terrible it is.

Track 35: Ne-Yo – Coming With You

Another boring tune, and repetitive to boot.

Track 36: Cheryl – I Don’t Care

Great beat, good solid pop song.

Track 37: Karen Harding – Say Something

Irritating tune, not my cup of tea.

Track 38: Gorgon City and Jennifer Hudson – Go All Night

Yet another dull, forgettable tune.

Track 39: Alex Adair – Make Me Feel Better

Dance track that sounds like every other dance track of the era.

Track 40: Labrinth – Jealous

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Labrinth on track 29.

This one is notoriously depressing.  I’m going to have to line up about twenty ’80s party tracks to cheer myself up after this compilation is done.

Track 41: Ella Henderson – Yours

Yet another depressing ballad.

Track 42: Rixton – Wait On Me

Finally, something upbeat!  I like the rhythm on this one.

Track 43: McBusted – Air Guitar

Unholy cross between the two biggest British pop-pop-punk bands of the ’00s, Busted and McFly.  It’s as cringeworthy as you’d expect, but at least it’s not another slow ballad.

Track 44: Florence & The Machine – What Kind Of Man

Good atmosphere, and I like the rock guitar once the track gets going.

Track 45: Sam Smith – Lay Me Down

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

Back to the depressing slow ballads.  What was making people so miserable in early 2015?  Time to line up I’m Still Standing and get out of here.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #79

Day 79 equals Now! #79, which came out on 25th July 2011.

July 2011
This is how the world looked in July 2011. That summer, Geth and I were living with Mum and Dad, as we’d had to give up our flat in May when Geth’s last University of Edinburgh fellowship salary came to an end, and we wouldn’t be moving for him to start his new job in Southampton until September. When I wasn’t doing my volunteer shop job at Oxfam or attending the many weddings we were invited to that year, I spent most of the summer (which was characterised by a lot of thunderstorms) on my old childhood bed with my laptop. Geth did the same on the spare bed with his laptop, which meant we were often visited by José – like most cats, he loved laptops, as they were cosy and warm to lie on. We kept having to move him off. If I’d known he would only live for a couple more months, I’d have let him lie on my laptop for as long as he liked 🙁

The thunderstorms weren’t really conducive to summer songs, but from what I remember there were an awful lot of them that year.  Let’s have a listen.

Now! That's What I Call Music #79
Track 1: Adele – Someone Like You

Beautiful tune, but I’m not really into slow ballads.

Track 2: Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar

Great track!  Love the atmosphere on this one.

Track 3: Bruno Mars – The Lazy Song

A welcome break from Bruno Mars’ saccharine ballads.  This one’s very funny, and the video is great.

Track 4: Jason Derulo – Don’t Wanna Go Home

It’s the one with the sample of Show Me Love that I mentioned in my Now! #24 review.  Good beat, happily nodding along here.

Track 5: Lady Gaga – Born This Way

Great beat, very danceable.

Track 6: Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull – On The Floor

Another great dance track – really like this one.  The Lambada sample is immense!

Track 7: Alexandra Stan – Mr Saxobeat

An all-time favourite!  I love this track, especially the jaunty saxophone hooks throughout.

Track 8: Katy Perry – Last Friday Night (TGIF)

The song’s a solid pop track, but it’s the hilarious video that really makes this one (Hanson!  Rebecca Black!  Just Dance!).  Also, I REALLY appreciate the sax solo, ’cause you hardly ever hear them in 2010s pop.

Track 9: The Wanted – Glad You Came

Great summer dance track – this was another favourite of mine that year.

Track 10: Nicole Scherzinger – Don’t Hold Your Breath

Gorgeous tune – yet another favourite!

Track 11: The Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough

Thankfully/sadly (?) not a cover of the Depeche Mode song.  I’m not really a fan of songs copying classic song titles unless they’ve got some link to the original – it causes confusion apart from anything else.

It’s a nice tune though – quite like this one.

Track 12: Take That – Love Love

Nice feelgood tune – quite like this track.  Love that bassline!

Track 13: Jessie J – Nobody’s Perfect

Irritating tune, and I’m not keen on the theme.

Track 14: The Saturdays – Notorious

Another track that borrows a classic title (see track 11 above).  Not a cover of the Duran Duran song.

I actually really like this track, though – I just wish they’d used a more original title!

Track 15: Rihanna – California King Bed

It’s the kind of ballad that would normally be too slow for me, but the tune’s so gorgeous that I really like it.  Also, that rock guitar solo is retro and epic!

Track 16: Scouting For Girls – Love How It Hurts

Too saccharine for me.

Track 17: Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall

I find this tune a bit irritating.

Track 18: Cee Lo Green – I Want You (Hold Onto Love)

Nice retro disco feel, but the tune’s a bit forgettable.

Track 19: Yasmin – Finish Line

Dull and uninspired, and that As sample is just ill-fitting.

Track 20: Ed Sheeran – The A Team

Lovely tune, but I find the theme a bit on-the-nose.

Track 21: Birdy – Skinny Love

Highly irritating whiny ballad.  Not a fan.

Track 22: Templecloud – One Big Family

I like the vocals, and it’s a good atmosphere, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 23: Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer – Give Me Everything

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

This is a great track though – I love the tune on the chorus.

Track 24: LMFAO, Lauren Bennett and GoonRock – Party Rock Anthem

I’ve always really liked this daft dance track – it was played at every wedding I went to in 2011 (and there were a lot of them!)

Track 25: DJ Fresh and Sian Evans – Louder

’90s-tinged dubstep, which was a big thing at the time and which I had kind of forgotten about until now.  Good beat, but the tune’s a bit generic.

Track 26: Example – Changed The Way You Kiss Me

An absolute classic!  Wonderful track – love the tune, the way it builds, everything.

Track 27: David Guetta, Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj – Where Them Girls At

I like that chant-along chorus, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the video.

Track 28: Chris Brown and Benny Benassi – Beautiful People

Annoying chorus, and the rest of the tune’s just uninspired.

Track 29: Calvin Harris and Kelis – Bounce

Great feelgood dance tune!  Gorgeous stuff.

Track 30: Loick Essien and Tanya Lacey – How We Roll

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

Great atmosphere, good beat.  Quite like this one.

Track 31: Nicki Minaj – Super Bass

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Nicki Minaj on track 27.

This tune’s okay, but it’s a bit generic.

Track 32: Tinchy Stryder and Dappy – Spaceship

Daft track that always makes me laugh with its ridiculous lyrics.  I’m not sure if that was intentional or not.

Track 33: Wretch 32 and Example – Unorthodox

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Example on track 26.

This is another great track though – love that chorus.  The Fools’ Gold sample is awesome too.

Track 34: Vato Gonzalez and Foreign Beggars – Badman Riddim (Jump)

Some good lines on this dance track, but it’s a little messy.

Track 35: Snoop Dogg and David Guetta – Sweat

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had David Guetta on track 27.

Good beat, good atmosphere – very danceable.

Track 36: Swedish House Mafia and John Martin – Save The World

Repetitive, irritating tune, and in general I just find this one a bit bland.

Track 37: Dev, The Cataracs and Tinie Tempah – Bass Down Low

Daft theme, but I really like this one!

Track 38: Mann and 50 Cent – Buzzin’

Another pleasingly daft song, but I find the tune a bit annoying.

Track 39: Chase & Status and Tinie Tempah – Hitz

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Tinie Tempah on track 37.

This one’s too messy for my liking, although Tinie Tempah’s whimsical rapping is always appreciated.

Track 40: Katy B – Broken Record

I find the tune very irritating, but the beat’s okay.

Track 41: Nero – Guilt

This one’s pretty boring, but I quite like the dubstep bass once it gets going.

Track 42: Alex Gaudino and Kelly Rowland – What A Feeling

The tune’s too cheesy for me, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 43: Wynter Gordon – Dirty Talk

Another solid pop track – really like this one.

Track 44: Inna – Sun Is Up

The tune’s a bit dull, but it’s fairly danceable.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #78

Day 78 takes us to Now! #78, which was released on 11th April 2011.

April 2011
This is how the world looked in April 2011. Geth and I would have been midway through one of our walks along the Union Canal, which was our favourite thing to do on a sunny day in Edinburgh.

Let’s see what I would have been listening to during the last few months in our Tollcross flat.

Now! That's What I Call Music #78
Track 1: Bruno Mars – Grenade

Too saccharine for me, but the tune’s okay.

Track 2: Adele – Rolling In The Deep

Great atmosphere – love the chorus on this one.

Track 3: Jessie J – Do It Like A Dude

The theme’s a bit daft, but there are some nice instrumental lines here.

Track 4: Rihanna – S&M

Great piece of electropop – really like this tune.

Track 5: Kesha – We R Who We R

Irritating tune, very uninspired.

Track 6: The Wanted – Gold Forever

Released as the official Comic Relief single for 2011.  Sadly the song’s really bland.

Track 7: Matt Cardle – When We Collide

What was it I was saying three days ago?

Right on schedule, here’s X Factor winner Matt Cardle’s pointless cover of Biffy Clyro’s Many Of Horror.  Rather offensively, they changed the title of the song, because it clearly wasn’t bland enough for the kind of people who buy X Factor winners’ singles.  What’s hilarious is that the cover is SO pointless that on occasion, Cardle even apes Simon Neil’s Scottish accent.

Track 8: Take That – The Flood

Yay!  Take That are no longer Fake That!  Well, for one album at least.  Robbie Williams returned for the Progress album, and all was finally right with the world again.  This song is a gorgeous, epic, atmospheric tune – lovely stuff.

Track 9: Ellie Goulding – Your Song

Interesting folky cover of the Elton John classic (which was performed by Ellie Goulding for the first dance of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at their wedding reception, fact fans).  The operatic Moulin Rouge! version from 2001 had cast a long shadow over the ’00s in terms of other people copying that take on the song when they did cover versions, so it was refreshing that this cover was so different again.

Track 10: JLS and Tinie Tempah – Eyes Wide Shut

Far too cheesy for my tastes, and the electro line sounds the same as every other dance track of this era.

Track 11: David Guetta and Rihanna – Who’s That Chick?

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

This is a great piece of bouncy pop, though – awesome tune.

Track 12: Taio Cruz and Travie McCoy – Higher

Taio Cruz did two versions of this song, one with Travie McCoy and one with Kylie Minogue.  I prefer the Kylie version, I have to say.  It’s still a good tune though.

Track 13: Chris Brown – Yeah 3x

Another dance track where the instrumentals sound the same as every other dance track released around this time.

Track 14: Britney Spears – Hold It Against Me

Daft theme, as the lyrics are based around that terrible pun of a pick-up line, but the tune’s okay.

Track 15: Alexis Jordan – Happiness

I’ve always quite liked the video for this one.  Do you remember how in the late ’00s/early ’10s, women’s fashion shoes were all ludicrously high six-inch-stiletto affairs with round covered platforms?  (As with most things, I only got rid of (most of) mine in my cull earlier this year.)  Like every other female pop artist of the era, Alexis Jordan wears them in the video here, but there’s a weird bit that makes it look like she can’t walk in them.

Anyway, the song’s kind of forgettable, but it’s got a nice feelgood atmosphere.

Track 16: Parade – Louder

Good beat, but the chorus is annoying.

Track 17: Olly Murs – Thinking Of Me

Nice jaunty track, quite like this tune.

Track 18: Avril Lavigne – What The Hell

Great bit of pop-rock – love that singalong chorus.

Track 19: McFly and Taio Cruz – Shine A Light

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Taio Cruz on track 12.

I’ve always found this tune pretty irritating.

Track 20: Noah & The Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.

Great folk-rock track – awesome lyrics, lovely tune.

Track 21: Susan Boyle and Geraldine McQueen – I Know Him So Well

Cover (complete with hilarious parody video) of the classic ’80s duet by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson.  It’s the kind of cover I would normally decry as pointless, but the point here is comedy, and they absolutely nailed it.  The charity fundraising for Comic Relief doesn’t hurt either.

Track 22: Jessie J and B.o.B – Price Tag

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Jessie J on track 3.

This is a very nice feelgood tune though – good stuff.

Track 23: Chipmunk and Chris Brown – Champion

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Chris Brown on track 13.

I like the intro – lovely piano, nice choral bit, great atmosphere.  The tune on the chorus is nice as well.

Track 24: Wiz Khalifa – Black And Yellow

Great tune, awesome atmosphere.

Track 25: Rihanna and Drake – What’s My Name?

Repeated artist mega alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on both track 4 and track 11!  I am not impressed, Now! compilers.

This one’s an okay tune, but it’s a little repetitive.

Track 26: The Black Eyed Peas – The Time (Dirty Bit)

Messy cover of ’80s classic (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, with lots of…well…dirty bits (i.e. squeaky, tuneless feedback).  I shouldn’t like it, but it’s actually very danceable.

Track 27: Nicole Scherzinger – Poison

Nice solid pop track, really like this tune.

Track 28: Enrique Iglesias, Ludacris and DJ Frank E – Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You)

Daft theme (don’t get me started on the explicit version), but it’s got a good beat.

Track 29: Cee Lo Green and Wiz Khalifa – Bright Lights Bigger City

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Wiz Khalifa on track 24.

This one’s a bit slow for my liking, but it’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 30: Katy Perry and Kanye West – ET

Awesome epic atmosphere, lovely tune, and the video is beautiful.

Track 31: Pink – Perfect

I find the theme of this one a bit awkward and the tune a bit dull.  Not a fan.

Track 32: Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding – Wonderman

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Tinie Tempah on track 10 and Ellie Goulding on track 9.

This song is lovely, though – that chorus is just gorgeous.

Track 33: Willow Smith – Whip My Hair

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

The theme is a little cheesy, but then she was about nine at the time.  Good song otherwise.

Track 34: Katy B and Ms Dynamite – Lights On

I’m not hugely keen on the tune, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 35: Martin Solveig and Dragonette – Hello

Great dance track!  Really like this feelgood tune.

Track 36: Flo Rida and Akon – Who Dat Girl

Dull tune, boring rap.  Not keen.

Track 37: Far East Movement, The Cataracs and Dev – Like A G6

Daft lyrics, but it’s a good head-nodder.

Track 38: Wretch 32 and L Marshall – Traktor

Great beat – happily chair-dancing here.  Awesome lyrics too.

Track 39: Aggro Santos and Kimberley Walsh – Like U Like

Love this tune, and the verses have an awesome rhythm.

Track 40: Devlin and Yasmin – Runaway

This one’s a bit generic – nothing special here.

Track 41: Tinchy Stryder and Melanie Fiona – Let It Rain

Boring and forgettable.

Track 42: Chase & Status and Liam Bailey – Blind Faith

I like the ’90s tinge, but on the whole the track’s far too messy for my liking.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #73

Day 73 means Now! #73, which was released on 20th July 2009.

July 2009
This is how the world looked in July 2009. I seem to have fallen into a theme for these summer releases where the picture is ‘photo of me and Geth out for Kieran’s birthday’ (Kieran’s birthday always being an epic pub crawl around Edinburgh back in those days). I still wear that jacket ALL THE TIME in the summer – it’s sort of both lightweight and rock-chick-looking. I got it in a vintage shop (The Rusty Zip on Teviot Place, now taken over by W Armstrong & Son, the biggest vintage brand in the city) in the early ’00s, and from the fabric I would guess it’s from the ’90s originally.

Time for some summer hits!  With bonus electropop, because 2009.

Now! That's What I Call Music #73
Track 1: Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Great electropop tune, very danceable.  It’s become a bit of a classic.

Track 2: Cascada – Evacuate The Dancefloor

Good atmosphere on this one, with some great electro hooks.

Track 3: David Guetta and Kelly Rowland – When Love Takes Over

Great beat, but I find the tune on the chorus pretty irritating.

Track 4: Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone

Dull tune, and the acoustic-y intro is jarring with the main electro dance bit.

Track 5: La Roux – In For The Kill

Wonderful, atmospheric electro track.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 6: Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz – Number 1

Fittingly, this did get to number one in the charts at the time.  Good beat, good tune.

Track 7: AR Rahman and The Pussycat Dolls – Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)

Love that Eastern tinge – great chant-along track.

Track 8: Chipmunk and Emeli Sandé – Diamond Rings

Good rhythm on this one – I like the jazz-tinged backing track.

Track 9: Lily Allen – Not Fair

Awesome tune, love the lyrics.

Track 10: Pixie Lott – Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)

Great, classic big band sound – really like this tune.

Track 11: Pink – Please Don’t Leave Me

Love the guitar riff, but the vocals are a bit cheesy for my liking.

Track 12: The Veronicas – Untouched

Lovely instrumentals, great ’80s tinge.  Good track, only spoilt by the irritating vocals.

Track 13: Katy Perry – Waking Up In Vegas

Good rock edge, great lyrics.  Quite like this one.

Track 14: Girls Aloud – Untouchable

Lovely atmospheric ’80s-tinged guitar intro, pretty tune on the vocals.  Very nice.

Track 15: Agnes – Release Me

I find the tune on this pretty irritating, and the instrumentals very generic.  Not keen.

Track 16: Freemasons and Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)

Great atmospheric track – yet more ’80s-tinged electropop!  I’d forgotten how much I liked 2009 for music.

Track 17: Alesha Dixon – Let’s Get Excited

Good beat, good solid bit of pop.  Happily nodding along.

Track 18: The Saturdays – Work

Love the electro instrumentals – another awesome pop track.

Track 19: Take That – Up All Night

It’s a little too acoustic-y for my liking, but I do appreciate the ’60s tinge.

Track 20: Britney Spears – If U Seek Amy

Let’s gloss over the juvenile title.  The instrumentals are great and the atmosphere is nice and epic.

Track 21: Jordin Sparks – Battlefield

Irritating vocals, but I suppose the tune is quite nice.

Track 22: Shontelle and Akon – Stuck With Each Other

Uninspired tune, boring vocals.  Not a fan of this track.

Track 23: Beyoncé – Halo

Gorgeous tune, great atmosphere.  This is the kind of ballad I can get behind.

Track 24: Daniel Merriweather – Red

This one, meanwhile, is a boring, slow ballad.  Not for me.

Track 25: Keri Hilson, Kanye West and Ne-Yo – Knock You Down

There’s some nice electro lines here, but I find the vocals pretty dull.

Track 26: Ciara and Justin Timberlake – Love Sex Magic

Love that ’70s-style funk.  Great beat, very danceable.

Track 27: The Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow

Another great chant-along track – happily chair-dancing here again!

Track 28: Soulja Boy and Sammie – Kiss Me Thru The Phone

Some very irritating and jarring electro hooks and vocals going on here, but the atmosphere’s quite good.

Track 29: Akon, Kardinal Offishall and Colby O’Donis – Beautiful

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Akon on track 22.

Very generic dance tune, boring vocals that sound like everything else released at the time.

Track 30: Flo Rida and Wynter Gordon – Sugar

Obviously I love the daft sampling of Eiffel 65’s Blue (Da Ba Dee).  The rest of the track is pretty messy and uninspired though!

Track 31: Ironik, Chipmunk and Elton John – Tiny Dancer (Hold Me Closer)

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Chipmunk on track 8.

The track’s based around a sample of the 1972 original, hence the Elton John credit.  It sounds fairly terrible with all that rapping over the top.

Track 32: Pitbull – I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)

Bonus points for the sample from The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind), and I do like the Latin tinge, even if the rap is a bit generic.

Track 33: Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden – Bonkers

Great dance tune, brilliant vocal hook – big fan of this one.

Track 34: The Prodigy – Warrior’s Dance

Gorgeous, atmospheric tune on the intro – then it launches into a highly danceable bass-driven track.  Great stuff.

Track 35: 3OH!3 – Don’t Trust Me

Another very danceable track, and a good tune.

Track 36: Kasabian – Fire

Iconic guitar riff, builds wonderfully.  Love this tune.

Track 37: Florence & The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Lovely atmosphere, gorgeous vocals.  Very nice track.

Track 38: Noisettes – Never Forget You

Great mid-century retro feel, with a nice reggae beat mixed in there as well.

Track 39: Little Boots – New In Town

Not keen on the stop-start intro, and the tune’s not very interesting.

Track 40: James Morrison – Please Don’t Stop The Rain

I quite like the piano and the atmosphere, but the vocals are too saccharine for me.

Track 41: Paolo Nutini – Candy

It’s the kind of instrumentals that would normally be too acoustic-y for me, but I quite like them.  The vocals, on the other hand, are just annoying.

Track 42: Empire Of The Sun – We Are The People

More acoustic guitar, but again I quite like it – it’s very atmospheric.  Lovely tune.

Track 43: Deadmau5 and Kaskade – I Remember

Fairly uninspired dance tune, but it’s another track that’s got quite a nice atmosphere.

Track 44: Chicane – Poppiholla

Instrumental cover of the Sigur Rós classic Hoppípolla.  It’s a lovely tune, and this reworking is very nice.