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!
Let’s have a look at the Now! compilers’ roundup of what’s been going on in the chart recently.
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!
It’s been a while since I actually did a New Hits Friday post. August, I think? Anyway, here’s a giant catchup of all the hits that have entered the UK Top 40 for the first time in the intervening period. I’ll try not to leave it so long in the future!
Hardy Caprio and One Acen – Best Life
I reviewed this one for Now! #101. Still a highly annoying earworm, made worse by the fact that I’ve really grown to hate the idiom ‘living one’s best life’ this year.
The video is the typical tasteless ‘look at how rich I am’ video beloved of R&B stars, all poolsides and girls in bikinis and helicopters and wasting champagne by pouring it everywhere. It matches the smug lyrics in that respect.
Travis Scott and Frank Ocean – Carousel
No melody whatsoever; incredibly, frustratingly dull. Can’t even be called music in my opinion.
There’s no video for this one yet.
Travis Scott – Stargazing
A bit slow, and the tune’s very dull. Lots of jarring noise in the background too. I guess the plus point is that the lyrics are quite nice.
Again, there’s no video yet. I don’t think Travis Scott is keen on making them!
The video is full of glitter and fabulousness – I highly approve.
Pinkfong – Baby Shark
Daft viral video that’s in the charts because of the new video rules. It’s ridiculous, and also the best thing in the Top 40 at the moment.
The video has small kids in, obviously, and so I find it to be of little interest – it’s the song that makes it.
Freya Ridings – Lost Without You
Pretty voice, but the tune’s very generic and it’s far too slow for me. Advert music, basically.
The video is very floaty and ethereal, with lots of shots of the singer’s hair blowing about all over the place. Quite relaxing to watch.
BTS and Nicki Minaj – Idol
Good upbeat bit of K-Pop – nice to hear something different in the charts! Almost beats Baby Shark. Almost, but NOT QUITE. And for once, the rap (courtesy of Nicki Minaj) actually works quite well with this song.
The video is super colourful and manic! Good stuff.
AJ Tracey – Lo(v/s)er
Lots of out-of-key clanging noises, and an uninspired rap over the top. Bad Spanish too – if you’re talking about a girl, it’s ‘I love a pretty Latina’, not ‘I love a pretty Latino’. (The lyrics online say ‘Latina’ but it definitely sounds like ‘Latino’!) Very repetitive, not keen.
The video is another smug, tasteless montage of bikini-clad girls, poolsides, and ostentatious jewellery, with some guns ‘n’ drugs for good measure.
Bazzi and Camila Cabello – Beautiful
I like the swirly instrumentals, but it’s very cheesy and too slow for my liking.
The video starts off very literally with Camila showing up to a party in an angel costume, and then turns into a full-blown Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet homage.
Dean Lewis – Be Alright
Again, see Now! #101, though I’ll point out additionally that this is a very annoying and incessant earworm!
The video is lots of badly lit shots of a very artfully decorated house that makes me feel bad about my own house.
LSD – Thunderclouds
Another one on Now! #101!
The video is daft and colourful with a flying campervan. Big fan of this one!
Eminem – Fall
Good beat, and I quite like the atmosphere.
The video is all about Eminem getting mardy about bad online reviews, so there’s a lot of arty shots of phones and tablets emitting black smoke monsters, which proceed to chase him around a deserted building like in a horror film. I like the beard, though, it suits him.
Eminem and Joyner Lucas – Lucky You
Another great, epic atmosphere – nice and eerie and looming.
The video is grim-looking and apocalyptic, but considerably enlivened by a comedic interlude halfway through.
Eminem – The Ringer
This one, on the other hand, is really dull. No tune in the background, super repetitive. It also charted the highest. I will never understand people in this century.
There’s no video yet.
Machine Gun Kelly – Rap Devil
Apparently a diss track about Eminem – Scott Mills could only play eight seconds of it on the Official Chart Show. Dull, repetitive, and I’m not into the drama. It goes on for so long that it just gets a bit awkward.
The video is just Machine Gun Kelly rapping the track and looking all tough with a shovel. Nothing interesting here.
Silk City, Diplo, Mark Ronson and Dua Lipa – Electricity
The video is all about Dua Lipa dancing around a New York apartment block with her neighbours during a heatwave, which doesn’t seem like the most efficient way to keep cool. I like the cameos from the other artists though.
Kanye West, Lil’ Pump and Adele Givens – I Love It
Scott could only play seven seconds of this one. People today listen to the most disgusting music. #getoffmylawn
Update after listening to the clean version: boring, repetitive, nothing interesting going on.
The video features a lot of bizarre costumes, but the song is so gross that it’s best listened to on mute.
Sigala, Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor and French Montana – Just Got Paid
Another one on Now! #101. Just want to add a seasonal note that I love those cash register noises – they’re very I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day!
The video is a nice colourful pop affair with lots of dancing in launderettes. Good stuff.
David Guetta, Jason Derulo, Nicki Minaj and Willy William – Goodbye
Utterly appalling interpolation of Andrea Bocelli’s Time To Say Goodbye. The rest of the track is just a jarring, crackly and awful mishmash of styles, like three different songs layered on top of each other.
The video tells a slightly confusing story in which Jason Derulo appears to be sneaking off after a one-night stand in a London hotel room, though not before pausing to sing a song to the camera. Charming!
Mumford & Sons – Guiding Light
I’m not the biggest fan of Mumford & Sons’ brand of soft-folk-rock, and I find this one pretty dull.
The video is equally boring – just black and white performance footage. Not a fan!
I like the colours and costumes in the video – it’s very pretty.
Lil’ Wayne and XXXTentacion – Don’t Cry
Not enough melody for me.
There’s no video yet, and again there probably won’t be due to XXXTentacion’s death earlier this year.
Lil’ Wayne and Kendrick Lamar – Mona Lisa
I quite like the atmosphere on the piano intro, but I’m not keen on the rap at all (Scott couldn’t play it on the chart show, which tells you everything you need to know). Except for the Milli Vanilli reference, which is just beautifully random!
Again, there’s no video yet.
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – Shallow
Acoustic song from the A Star Is Born remake. It’s not my kind of thing, but I’m so relieved to hear something different on the chart – it has melody! Actual melody!
The video is just lots of clips from the film, which is perfectly adequate.
Lady Gaga – Always Remember Us This Way
Another slow piano ballad from the A Star Is Born soundtrack. It’s pretty dull.
Again, the video is just clips from the film.
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – I’ll Never Love Again
Yet another ballad that’s too slow and dull for my liking…
…and yet more clips from the film in the video.
6ix9ine and Bobby Shmurda – Stoopid
Generic unmelodious rap with gross lyrics that Scott couldn’t play on the radio.
The video is a pretty low-tech affair (and given that 6ix9ine is wearing a ridiculously blinged-out expensive watch on each wrist, you’d think they could have afforded a better camera), but I do like the colourful car.
Lil’ Baby and Gunna – Drip Too Hard
Boring song, no melody, not my thing.
‘This video may be inappropriate for some users,’ says YouTube, so I’m not looking forward to this. Turns out it’s because it’s a ‘girls in bikinis plus wasted champagne’ theme on acid. Not recommended.
The video starts off with a nice botanical gardens sequence with lots of flowers, but quickly degenerates into ‘showing off my wealth’ cars ‘n’ mansions. Boring.
Cadet and Deno – Advice
Nice funky reggae backing track, but that rap is awful and dull. I do like the comedic theme though!
The video is about a boring night-time petrol station with lots of tacky watch and car product placement.
Jess Glynne – Thursday
Cheesy and boring song.
The video is black and white and equally dull. Also, despite the lyrics, she does wear makeup in every scene.
Bad Bunny and Drake – Mia
Nice upbeat Latin track – quite like this one.
The video is set at a beers ‘n’ bongs garden party and gets pretty dull in places, although I do like the random old people on the porch at the party.
Kodak Black, Travis Scott and Offset – Zeze
Boring, unmelodious, sounds like everything else.
The video is meant to be a comedy story about making a music video, but it’s pretty gross and tasteless due to all the bling and twerking girls. Not my cup of tea.
Little Mix and Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
One from Now! #101, and another that’s become an incessant earworm for me recently!
The video is a lot of fun with all the pretty costumes.
Rak-Su – I Want You To Freak
That interpolation of Adina Howard’s Freak Like Me! Which has spawned so many cover versions, including most notably the Sugababes version with THAT interpolation of Are Friends Electric! There’s some good guitar going on here, even though it’s fairly generic and the cover/interpolation chain means there’s nothing original about it at all. Great to have an opportunity to ramble on about pop history though, and I never take songs with melody for granted nowadays!
The video is Caribbean-set and a bit generic, but I do like the dancing.
Dua Lipa and Blackpink – Kiss And Make Up
One of the welcome trends of 2018 has been K-Pop acts getting popular enough to enter the UK charts. This isn’t quite as good as BTS’ Idol – it’s a bit generic, and I’m not a huge fan of Dua Lipa’s vocals, but it’s decent enough pop, and any kind of melodious pop is a good thing at the moment, even when it’s as uninspired as this.
There’s no video yet.
D Block Europe, Young Adz, Lil’ Pino and Dirtbike LB – Nassty
Aaaaand we’re back to the offensive lyrics, depressing generic rapping, and dreary unmelodious drone. Awful.
The video is all the usual gross cliches like drugs and expensive cars. Not recommended.
Zara Larsson – Ruin My Life
Too slow and dull for me, and the tune is really generic. Awful message too.
The video has lots of pretty costumes, though, so I quite like it.
Post Malone and Swae Lee – Sunflower
Dull and repetitive song.
The animated video, which ties in with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, is fab though.
The Budapest-set video is gorgeous – so much stunning architecture, so many pretty costumes!
Billie Eilish – When The Party’s Over
Too slow for me, but I like the harmonisation – it’s a bit different.
Lots of weird stuff going on with a glass of ink in the video.
XXXTentacion, Lil’ Pump, Maluma and Swae Lee – Arms Around You
There’s some actual melody in this one! I was not expecting that at all! I really quite like it.
The video is kind of arty and dreamlike, very suited to the song.
Pink – A Million Dreams
Cover of the Greatest Showman number. Apparently doing Greatest Showman covers is a hot new trend (there’s a whole compilation album full of them), which is highly alarming! There’s nothing different about this at all, which I guess makes it a pointless ’10s cover. And the ’10s were doing so well at avoiding that if you don’t count the X Factor!
There’s no video for this yet.
Benny Blanco and Calvin Harris – I Found You
Boring and repetitive tune! People have been really bigging up this track, but it’s very disappointing. Nothing interesting here at all.
The video is a good laugh though, with various people trying to show Benny how to dance.
Clean Bandit, Marina & The Diamonds and Luis Fonsi – Baby
The video is fairly literal, with a cute story about a love triangle and all the characters portrayed by the artists (plus so-far one-hit wonder Starley, whom I wasn’t expecting to see here!)
James Arthur – Empty Space
Extremely dull. Also, I’ve just remembered how much I am NOT a fan of James Arthur’s vocals.
The video is really interesting though (in a slightly depressing way) – it appears to be about a troubled alcoholic (played by Tom Felton) stalking his ex-girlfriend, but all is not as it seems. Also, judging by the gadgets, set dressing, and costumes, it’s set in the early ’00s, which is also interesting!
Jonas Blue, Liam Payne and Lennon Stella – Polaroid
The video’s a bit dull and involves a lot of wandering round New York. I do like that Polaroid technology is having one of those retro moments though.
Ariana Grande – Thank You Next
Straight in at number one, which is unusual these days. I like the ’70s-esque synth sound on the instrumentals – it’s very pretty. The tune could be a bit more exciting, but on the whole it’s a nice bit of proper pop, and is much appreciated.
The video is a daft comedy sequence with lots of celebrity cameos and homages to ’90s and ’00s teen movies. Lots to like here.
Ava Max – Sweet But Psycho
Really like this piece of classic-sounding pop. Good stuff!
The video features Ava as the eponymous psycho, and there’s a cute shout-out to the Hitchcock film at the start. Lovely colours, great costumes (and the dude in this video is actually attractive, which is extremely rare for ’10s media).
Fredo – BMT
Great atmospheric instrumentals but awful rap, which seems to be a theme.
The video is a depressing medley of mansions, cigars, champagne, and the obligatory bikini-clad girl in a swimming pool, with the slightly alarming implication at one point that Fredo and his mates have burnt a girl to death for keying his car. At least, that’s what it looks like. I really hope I’m wrong.
XXXTentacion – Bad
Well, at least there is melody…sort of? It’s a real dirge though.
There’s no video yet, and again there probably won’t be now.
I really like the dancing in the video, but she’s wearing the ugliest pair of boots!
Charli XCX and Troye Sivan – 1999
Song paying tribute to 1999, which was the worst year of the twentieth century in my opinion, because it meant that the century was nearly over. Still, I really do appreciate the sentiment of the song, which is generally that last century was great and this century sucks. I can heartily get behind that message. The song is…of the same quality that pop songs were in 1999, which is a lot better than average pop songs from today, but nowhere near as good as in the ’80s.
I do also want to point out quickly that the Saturdays did this theme better with Disco Love.
The video, as you might expect, is a glorious mishmash of homages to pop culture from around the turn of the millennium!
Panic! At The Disco – The Greatest Show
Another one from the Greatest Showman tribute album, and it’s the first one I actually like. Great epic rock cover!
There’s no video for this yet.
The Plug, Nafe Smallz, M Huncho and Gunna – Broken Homes
Generic hip-hop. Nothing memorable here.
Another one with no video so far.
Sheck Wes – Mo Bamba
Awful and off-key. How can a song that’s unmelodious in the first place be off-key? It’s so dire I don’t know what to say. The vocals are worse than some appalling unsigned local bands I’ve seen, and that’s saying something.
I quite like the comedic video though. Just make sure to watch it on mute.
The video is a slightly depressing story about George being trapped in a rapidly flooding house and drowning at the end!
Little Mix and Sharaya J – Strip
Interesting spoken word intro, leads into a fairly R&B influenced pop song. On the whole, could do with a bit more melody in this one, but it’s got a good beat, and I do like the harmonies on the vocals!
The video is a nice black and white piece with a body positivity theme, featuring an homage to the Dixie Chicks’ ‘critical words written on nude bodies’ photoshoot (and hence starting a Twitter feud with Piers Morgan, which I’m not linking to because it’s depressing).
James Arthur and Anne-Marie – Rewrite The Stars
URGH this is saccharine. It’s another Greatest Showman cover, and I’m not keen.
This one actually has a video, though! It predictably goes with the film’s circus theme, but it’s very pretty and I quite like it.
6ix9ine – Kika
Scott could only play three seconds, so I couldn’t hear anything yet. Listening to it online, the lyrics are as gross as expected, but I quite like the steel drums in the background.
There’s no video yet.
Digdat, K Trap and Krept & Konan – Air Force
No melody, very repetitive. Atmosphere’s okay but it’s generally very dull.
The London-set video is all gritty and urban with lots of balaclavas and gang signs. Not really my cup of tea.
Meek Mill and Drake – Going Bad
Awful! So dull and generic and unmelodious.
There’s no video for this yet.
Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart
Great atmosphere on the intro, though I’m not hugely keen on the main bit where it goes a bit country.
The video is a slightly daft story about Miley driving a car on the run from the police while wearing a pretty silver outfit, but it’s aesthetically pleasing so I’m all about it.
Dalton Harris and James Arthur – The Power Of Love
A real step back for the X Factor winner’s single, as they’ve gone back to covers. It’s horribly soulless and the singer just admitted on the chart show that he only first heard the original Frankie Goes To Hollywood song about a week ago (WTF? HOW do you go through twentyish Christmases without ever hearing The Power Of Love?). Far worse than the Gabrielle Aplin cover (HOW has he managed to make the ‘hooded claw’ line sound so EMPTY?). I am actually offended by this, even more so than I was by Alexandra Burke’s Hallelujah (covered in similar circumstances in that Alexandra Burke had no personal love for the song). Just terrible.
There’s no video yet – time will tell if they do what they did with Rak-Su last year and just release the X Factor performance clip as the video.
Whew! All caught up. I’ll do this week’s New Hits on Saturday, as I won’t have time to listen to the chart tomorrow evening!
Today, 23rd November 2018, is the release of Now! #101! It’s also mine and Geth’s sixth wedding anniversary 🙂
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.
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.
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).
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.
A new feature today! As I’m finally done with the Now! compilations, I thought I’d continue with my chart geekery by discussing my initial reaction to the new entries in the UK Top 40 every Friday. I warn you in advance: I’ve not been hugely impressed by chart music recently. Still, let’s give it a go.
Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid – Eastside
It’s a pretty tune, but it’s a bit generic.
The video tells an interesting story, but it’s not much to look at.
B Young – 079ME
I do like the rhythm, but for me it’s too similar to Jumanji, his previous hit.
The video is typically HD and summery, and as such very forgettable.
Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes
I really like the orchestral-sounding instrumentals on this one, and it’s got a nice epic feel. Great to hear this kind of pop in the charts, too – it’s refreshingly different.
They’re being tardy with releasing the video though. Sort it out!
6ix9ine, Nicki Minaj and Murda Beats – Fefe
So awful and offensive they didn’t play this one on the radio…
…and the video’s equally appalling. (NSFW, just to warn you.)
The 1975 – Love It If We Made It
I really, really like the 1975 and their retro-sounding pop-rock. This track has great synthy instrumentals and thoughtful lyrics. My favourite of this week’s new hits.
No video though! I was looking forward to something that would mitigate the visual offensiveness of the last one.
Loud Luxury and Brando – Body
Great atmosphere on the chorus, but again it’s a very uninspired tune.
The video is a boring ‘in da club’ video with lots of strippers and drinking. Yawn.
Day 93 equals Now! #93, which came out on 18th March 2016.
On with the hits!
Track 1: Lukas Graham – 7 Years
It’s a nice tune, but I find the theme a bit irritating.
Track 2: Justin Bieber – Love Yourself
Another nice tune with an awkward theme. It’s also too slow for me.
Track 3: Zayn – Pillowtalk
Zayn Malik’s first solo release since becoming the Robbie Williams/Geri Halliwell of One Direction and leaving the group about a year before they split ‘went on hiatus’. It’s too slow for me, and the tune is pretty forgettable.
Track 4: Coldplay and Beyoncé – Hymn For The Weekend
Gorgeous tune – really like this one.
Track 5: Mike Posner – I Took A Pill In Ibiza [SeeB Remix]
Mike Posner returning to the charts with this surprise number one hit. It’s a lovely chillout tune with a wistful theme.
Track 6: Zara Larsson – Lush Life
Solid danceable pop tune – big fan of this.
Track 7: Jonas Blue and Dakota – Fast Car
Dodgy house cover of the Tracy Chapman classic. Should have left well alone.
Track 8: Shawn Mendes – Stitches
Pretty tune – quite like this one.
Track 9: Major Lazer, Nyla and Fuse ODG – Light It Up [Remix]
Boring tune, and it’s too slow for my liking.
Track 10: Snakehips, Tinashe and Chance The Rapper – All My Friends
Good singalong chorus, but it’s too slow for me.
Track 11: Little Mix and Jason Derulo – Secret Love Song
Horrendously saccharine and slow! Not my kind of thing at all.
Track 12: Jess Glynne – Take Me Home
Irritating tune, and again it’s too slow.
Track 13: Ellie Goulding – Army
The tune’s quite interesting, but it’s a little too cheesy for me.
Track 14: One Direction – History
Too acoustic-y for me, but the tune’s okay.
Track 15: Selena Gomez – Hands To Myself
This tune doesn’t really do it for me, although there’s some interesting stuff going on with the backing track, and it’s got a good atmosphere. The theme’s awful, though.
Track 16: Jason Derulo – Get Ugly
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Jason Derulo on track 11.
This one’s got a good rhythm and a slight retro tinge – I quite like it.
Track 17: Sigma and Rita Ora – Coming Home
I find this tune pretty uninspired.
Track 18: Elle King – Exes and Ohs
Great classic-sounding blues-tinged rock. Really like this.
Track 19: Olly Murs – Stevie Knows
Love that retro-sounding funk. Good stuff.
Track 20: Jack Garratt – Worry
Slow and boring, with some odd instrumentals that are very distracting.
Track 21: James Bay – If You Ever Want To Be In Love
Pretty tune, and it’s got quite a good rhythm. I like the rock-edged guitar too.
Track 22: Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir – A Bridge Over You
This was the 2015 Christmas number one – a charity choral offering. It was the first time, due to streaming becoming more popular than downloading, that the X Factor winner’s single didn’t really get a look in for the Christmas number one – in fact, Louisa Johnson’s Forever Young is not even included on this Now! compilation, which marks the first time since Steve Brookstein’s Against All Odds from 2005 that the X Factor song has been left out by the Now! compilers.
Anyway, this song is a dodgy mash-up of Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and Coldplay’s Fix You, but I’m sure it raised a lot of money for charity.
Track 23: Justin Bieber – Sorry
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Justin Bieber on track 2.
I love this song, though. It’s the only Justin Bieber song I actually like, and it’s a cracker.
Track 24: The Weeknd – The Hills
Great atmosphere, but I’m not keen on the theme.
Track 25: Coldplay – Adventure Of A Lifetime
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Coldplay on track 4.
I find the warbly instrumentals on this one a bit irritating, but I do like the retro-tinged beat.
Track 26: 99 Souls, Destiny’s Child and Brandy – The Girl Is Mine
Mash-up of Destiny’s Child’s Girl and Brandy and Monica’s The Boy Is Mine (which was itself based on Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s The Girl Is Mine). Brandy re-recorded her vocals, Monica didn’t, which I guess explains the credit. I do quite like the electro lines on this track, and it’s not as messy as you would expect from a mash-up.
Track 27: Tinie Tempah and Zara Larsson – Girls Like
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Zara Larsson on track 6.
I quite like this one – it’s very danceable.
Track 28: Fleur East – Sax
I’m a big fan of this one, but you expected that, didn’t you? Saxophone a-go-go. I highly approve.
Track 29: Craig David and Big Narstie – When The Bassline Drops
The start of Craig David’s inexplicable but strangely welcome comeback! This one’s got a good beat, and, as should probably be expected, a bit of an early ’00s tinge.
Track 30: David Guetta, Sia and Fetty Wap – Bang My Head
I find the beat on this one a bit jarring, and the tune’s pretty bland.
Track 31: Sigala and Bryn Christopher – Sweet Lovin’
Another forgettable tune, and I’m actually starting to get a bit fed up of the ’90s-inspired dance tracks now.
Track 32: Kygo and Maty Noyes – Stay
Again, this tune doesn’t do anything for me.
Track 33: Mount and Nicholas Haelg – Something Good
Not a cover of the Utah Saints track, which is probably for the best, given how many versions of that one have shown up on Now! compilations. This one’s a dance track with some interesting instrumentals, but yet another generic, unmemorable tune.
Track 34: The Chainsmokers and Rozes – Roses
There’s a good atmosphere buried in there somewhere, but the track’s too messy to feel it, really.
Track 35: Alessia Cara – Here
Really don’t like this tune at all – I find it very grating.
Track 36: Alan Walker – Faded
Another slow, boring track. The beat does pick up, but it doesn’t get any more interesting.
Track 37: G-Eazy and Bebe Rexha – Me, Myself And I
I quite like the rhythm on the vocals, but I’m not keen on the tune.
Track 38: Robin Schulz and Francesco Yates – Sugar
I like the guitar at the start, and it’s got a good beat.
Track 39: Dawin and Silentó – Dessert [Remix]
The lines on this are pretty jarring, and the tune’s nothing special.
Track 40: AlunaGeorge and Popcaan – I’m In Control
Irritating vocals, dull song.
Track 41: Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out
I like the reggae-tinged beat, and the chorus is great – it gives the song an awesome eerie atmosphere. Brilliant lyrics too.
Track 42: The 1975 – The Sound
Love that classic pop feel – big fan of this track.
Track 43: Charlie Puth – One Call Away
Pretty tune, but it’s too slow and saccharine for me.
Track 44: David Bowie – Heroes
1977 classic back in the charts after David Bowie’s passing. I’m still sad about Bowie being gone even two and a half years later, and I wish I didn’t now associate this one with it being everywhere in early 2016. The song is as beautiful as everything else he did.
Day 85 takes us to Now! #85, which was released on 22nd July 2013.
I believe this was a good year for summer hits. Let’s see if I’m remembering correctly.
Track 1: Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers – Get Lucky
Great feelgood funk track – love this tune.
Track 2: Robin Thicke, TI and Pharrell Williams – Blurred Lines
Repeated artist alert! We’ve only just had Pharrell Williams on track 1.
This track…urgh. Infamously and rightly banned by the University of Edinburgh student union, among various other music-playing organisations, because the lyrics are really rapey and gross. The sad thing is that it would be a really great track if it weren’t for the lyrics, ’cause the tune is great and it’s really danceable.
Track 3: Passenger – Let Her Go
Gorgeous, introspective tune – really like this one.
Track 4: Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
Nice epic atmosphere, great track.
Track 5: Naughty Boy and Sam Smith – La La La
The theme is slightly irritating, but overall it’s an interesting song, which is unusual for an era where most things are really samey.
Track 6: Icona Pop and Charli XCX – I Love It
Great chant-along track – I’ve always really liked this one!
Track 7: John Newman – Love Me Again
Another song that I really like. The instrumentals are great.
Track 8: Jason Derulo – The Other Side
Forgettable tune, but the chorus is nice and epic.
Track 9: Pink and Lily Allen – True Love
I find this one a bit cheesy and annoying.
Track 10: Taylor Swift – 22
Good solid pop track – very danceable.
Track 11: The Wanted – Walks Like Rihanna
Every time I run the Great North Run, I find that because it’s the biggest race in the UK and the biggest half marathon in the world – nearly 60,000 runners these days – there’s no shortage of characters to keep me entertained (and believe me, you need that when running along miles and miles of identical-looking motorway). One guy runs the race with a portable karaoke machine, and last year, when I encountered him, he was doing this song – except he’d changed the lyrics to ‘I can’t sing, I can’t dance, but who cares, I run like Mo Farah‘. It’s possible you had to be there, but I found it hilarious, and it really got me through the rest of the race. Thanks for that, portable karaoke guy!
Anyway, it’s another solid pop song.
Track 12: Bruno Mars – Treasure
Bruno Mars still doing his 1980 pastiches – today he’s aping Michael Jackson. Good stuff.
Track 13: Olly Murs – Dear Darlin’
This one’s a bit of a dull ballad, so I’m not keen.
Track 14: Demi Lovato – Heart Attack
Great song with an awesome epic chorus. Love it.
Track 15: Selena Gomez – Come And Get It
Great tune – love the rhythm on this one.
Track 16: PJ & Duncan – Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble
’90s classic, back in the charts to raise money for Childline. It actually got to number one this time round, probably because Ant & Dec had promised to perform it on Saturday Night Takeaway. It’s still as enjoyably daft as it was in 1994.
Track 17: Iggy Azalea – Bounce
Good beat, but there’s not enough melody for me.
Track 18: Fuse ODG – Antenna
Love the rhythm on this one – very danceable.
Track 19: Nelly – Hey Porsche
The theme really irritates me, and the tune’s very uninspired.
Track 20: Paramore – Still Into You
Great tune, though the theme is a bit cheesy.
Track 21: Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
I was talking about this one yesterday when reviewing the identically-titled Rita Ora song. On the whole it’s a bit dull, but it’s got a great chorus.
Track 22: Gabz – Lighters (The One)
Cringeworthy kiddie vocals, appallingly cheesy theme. Just awful.
Track 23: Rudimental and Ella Eyre – Waiting All Night
Great beat, okay tune, but it’s pretty repetitive.
Track 24: Jessie J, Big Sean and Dizzee Rascal – Wild
Bland tune on the verses, but the chorus is okay.
Track 25: Duke Dumont and A*M*E – Need U (100%)
I find the vocals really irritating on this one.
Track 26: will.i.am and Justin Bieber – #thatPOWER
Very generic electro lines, boring tune.
Track 27: David Guetta, Ne-Yo and Akon – Play Hard
Great rhythm, great bassline, great Better Off Alone sample. Annoying video, but you can’t have everything.
Track 28: Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love
I’ve always found the tune on this one very irritating.
Track 29: Pitbull and Christina Aguilera – Feel This Moment
Annoying, repetitive track, but the Take On Me interpolation is quite fun.
Track 30: Sebastian Ingrosso, Tommy Trash and John Martin – Reload
Boring dance track, very forgettable tune.
Track 31: Armin van Buuren and Trevor Guthrie – This Is What It Feels Like
Fairly bland dance song with an annoying chorus.
Track 32: Chase & Status and Louis Mattrs – Lost And Not Found
Nice atmosphere, but the vocals are really dull.
Track 33: Chris Malinchak – So Good To Me
Another boring tune, one of those ‘summer chillout’ tracks that were all the rage at the time.
Track 34: Disclosure and Eliza Doolittle – You And Me
Dull and forgettable.
Track 35: Breach – Jack
Very little melody in this – just drum machine, spoken word and fairly tuneless bassline – but at least it’s something different.
Track 36: Wiley, Angel and Tinchy Stryder – Lights On
Bland tune, but at least this one’s actually got a tune. Very forgettable though.
Track 37: Dizzee Rascal and Robbie Williams – Goin’ Crazy
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Dizzee Rascal on track 24.
Interesting rhythm, but again the tune’s very uninspired.
Track 38: Psy – Gentleman
Follow-up to Gangnam Style that obviously wasn’t anywhere near as memorable as the original.
Track 39: The 1975 – Chocolate
Love this tune – great instrumentals, great lyrics.
Track 40: Union J – Carry You
Saccharine and bland.
Track 41: The Saturdays – Gentleman
A slightly more standard song about a ‘gentleman‘ than Psy’s attempt above. It’s actually quite edgy for the Saturdays, and I like the retro references in the lyrics. Good stuff.
Track 42: Charlie Brown – On My Way
Slow ballad, not my thing.
Track 43: Tom Odell – Another Love
Lovely piano at the start, and it’s got a nice atmosphere – quite like this tune.
Track 44: Michael Bublé – It’s A Beautiful Day
Nice and upbeat, but the song’s a bit too cheesy for me.