Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #66

Day 66 brings us to Now! #66, which came out on 2nd April 2007.

April 2007
This is how the world looked in April 2007, or at least it did if you were drinking with me, Sharpy and Kieran in the pub. I like to think that none of us look any older eleven years later, though I have thankfully stopped dyeing my hair and doing the lazy roots thing.

I seem to remember that 2007 was not a bad year for chart music.  Let’s see if my memory is correct.

Now! That's What I Call Music #66
Track 1: Mika – Grace Kelly

Great tune, very danceable, interesting vocals.  I’ve always really liked this one, especially the classic-sounding epic atmosphere.

Track 2: Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby

Great rock track – another one that I loved playing on Lego Rock Band.  The Wurzels’ live cover, which I saw at Beautiful Days 2010, is also something to behold.

Track 3: Sugababes and Girls Aloud – Walk This Way

Weak cover of the classic Aerosmith vs. Run DMC version.  It doesn’t really work when you have two artists from the same genre, i.e. girl groups who sing pop.  It was released as the official Comic Relief single for 2007, so hopefully it kept the charity money rolling in.

Track 4: Take That – Patience

This one marks the arrival of what I always considered ‘Fake That’ (the Robbie Williams-less lineup).  Gorgeous song though.

Track 5: Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around…Comes Around

Great instrumentals, good atmosphere, but the vocals are a bit dull in my book.

Track 6: Nelly Furtado – Say It Right

Another great atmosphere and a nice tune.  Quite like this one.

Track 7: Beyoncé – Irreplaceable

Nice, powerful song – you can really hear the disdain coming through the vocals.  Good tune too.

Track 8: Kelis and Cee Lo Green – Lil’ Star

Repetitive intro, takes ages to get going.  Once it does, the tune is okay but the vocals are a bit twee for my liking.

Track 9: Akon and Eminem – Smack That

Great brooding atmosphere – quite like this one.

Track 10: Just Jack – Starz In Their Eyes

Nice retro-tinged guitar and bassline, interesting vocals.  Good stuff.

Track 11: Calvin Harris – Acceptable In The ’80s

One of my favourites, obviously, and something I will always dance to no matter my mood.  The whole ‘I got love for you if you were born in the ’80s, the ’80s‘ section is just a classic dance hook and a great lyric.  Love it to bits.

Track 12: Mason and Princess Superstar – Perfect (Exceeder)

Great beat, great rhythmic vocals, very danceable track.

Track 13: Booty Luv – Boogie 2Nite

Another good beat, and the ’70s disco tinge is also much appreciated.  It’s actually a cover of a song by Tweet, but I’m not familiar with the original.

Track 14: Eric Prydz and Pink Floyd – Proper Education

Dance remix of Another Brick In The Wall.  The samples from the original provide a great atmosphere, but it’s one of those examples where I just want to go and listen to the original song afterwards.

Track 15: Sharam – Party All The Time

Dance cover of Eddie Murphy’s 1985 hit.  Other than the dance beat, not much is added here.  They’ve just sampled the chorus over and over and made it really repetitive.

Track 16: Cascada – Truly Madly Deeply

Eurodance cover of the Savage Garden song.  The original is gorgeous and didn’t deserve to be ruined like this.  Awful.

Track 17: Girls Aloud – I Think We’re Alone Now

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Girls Aloud on track 3.

Interesting cover of the Tiffany classic – there’s some edgy instrumentals added and a really good beat.  It’s quite refreshing to have a cover that’s not entirely pointless, but the vocals are still pretty much identical to the original version.

Track 18: Seamus Haji and KayJay – Last Night A DJ Saved My Life

Dance cover of the Indeep song from 1982.  Is it karaoke night or something?  That’s six covers in a row.  Let’s have some original songs, please.

Track 19: Camille Jones and Fedde Le Grand – The Creeps

Great beat, nice eerie instrumentals.  Really like this one.

Track 20: Jamelia – Beware Of The Dog

I love the Personal Jesus sample, and there’s a nice rhythm to the vocals.  Good track.

Track 21: Gwen Stefani – Wind It Up

That yodeling at the start is just awful!  Once the song gets going, though, it’s quite interesting.

Track 22: JoJo – Too Little, Too Late

Slow, bland ballad, with a depressing tune.  Not my thing.

Track 23: Leona Lewis – A Moment Like This

Pointless cover of the Kelly Clarkson song.  This was the X Factor winner’s single for 2006 and also the Christmas number one, so it still shows up on all the music channels every Christmas time.

Track 24: The Fray – How To Save A Life

The tune’s very depressing-sounding, but at least it builds nicely.

Track 25: The View – Same Jeans

Twee theme, but the tune’s okay, and I quite like the chorus.

Track 26: Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control

Great bassline, great beat, great vocals.  Really like this track.

Track 27: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Catch You

Nice edgy instrumentals, more great bass, interesting vocals.  Another great song.

Track 28: Klaxons – Golden Skans

Interesting track, nice vocals.  Quite like this one.

Track 29: Fall Out Boy – This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race

Great beat, good epic atmosphere, interesting vocals, brilliant rock chorus.  Another awesome song.

Track 30: The Killers – Read My Mind

Like the atmosphere, and the tune is nice.  Disc two of this Now! compilation is really delivering so far!

Track 31: U2 – Window In The Skies

I like the way this one builds, and the chorus is really interesting.

Track 32: Robbie Williams and Pet Shop Boys – She’s Madonna

Great synth line, great tune – really like this collaboration.

Track 33: The Fratellis – Whistle For The Choir

Too acoustic-y for me, and I find the tune pretty generic.

Track 34: The Ordinary Boys – I Luv U

This one’s a little too cheesy and slow for my liking.

Track 35: Snow Patrol – Open Your Eyes

Slow, bland vocals, and those repetitive one-note guitar chords really irritate me.

Track 36: Razorlight – Before I Fall To Pieces

Nice upbeat tempo and feelgood guitar lines.  Quite like this one.

Track 37: Scissor Sisters – She’s My Man

Great guitar riff, great bassline.  Highly danceable track.

Track 38: The Feeling – Love It When You Call

I like the beepy instrumental at the start, and the guitar riff’s quite nice, but the vocals are not edgy enough for my liking.

Track 39: McFly – Sorry’s Not Good Enough

The theme is a bit cheesy, but the instrumentals are interesting.

Track 40: Lily Allen – Alfie

Love the old-timey carnival/big band sound of this one.  Great song, really different to everything else that was going on at the time.

Track 41: Jamie T – Calm Down Dearest

Irritating theme and faux ‘drunk’ vocals.  Not a big fan of this.

Track 42: Sugababes – Easy

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Sugababes on track 3.  This and the Girls Aloud repetition would have been best avoided by leaving off Walk This Way so that we could all have happily forgotten about that one.

This track’s got some very repetitive vocals, but the retro-tinged atmosphere and bassline are great.

Track 43: Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good

Lovely, melancholy track.  Really nice tune.

Track 44: The Proclaimers, Brian Potter and Andy Pipkin – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

Daft semi-cover featuring the comedy characters Brian Potter (Peter Kay) from Phoenix Nights and Andy Pipkin (Matt Lucas) from Little Britain.  We’ve already had the original on Now! #13, so see the link for my review of that utter classic.

This recording, which was another song released for Comic Relief 2007, got to number one and outsold the original.  Go figure.

We’ve avoided any ‘Not on Spotify’ moments for a fourth time!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #64

Day 64 takes us to Now! #64, which came out on 24th July 2006.

July 2006
This is how the world looked in July 2006, or at least it did if you were at T in the Park, with me and my mate Gemma looking suitably terrified in front of the ‘Maze of Terror’. I already told you she loved the Thrills.

Let’s see what bands might have been playing the festival circuit that year.

Now! That's What I Call Music #64
Track 1: Gnarls Barkley – Crazy

Great vocals from Cee Lo Green, but there’s something about the tune I’ve always found a bit depressing.

Track 2: Nelly Furtado – Maneater

This one has always been said to be inspired by the Hall & Oates track of the same name.  I’ve never been able to hear any similarities, but this is still a great song – it’s just not as good as Hall & Oates.  But then, few things are.

Track 3: Infernal – From Paris To Berlin

Nice bassline, nice ’80s-sounding dance track.  Really like this one.

Track 4: Rogue Traders – Voodoo Child

I’ve always loved this one, mainly ’cause it was used brilliantly in the Doctor Who episode ‘The Sound Of Drums’ when the Master wreaks havoc on the Earth.  Great dance track.

Track 5: McFly – Don’t Stop Me Now

Terrible pointless cover of the Queen song.  Actually, I shouldn’t say pointless, because the vocals are so poor compared to Freddie Mercury that it’s really obviously different.  Another good ‘point’ of this song is that it illustrates that there is a very good reason why nobody ever covers Queen songs, and that is because nobody has a hope of getting close to the brilliance of the originals.  I have no idea why McFly thought they could get away with this one.

Track 6: Pink – Who Knew

Dull tune that has none of the edge you usually get with Pink.  It sounds more like the kind of cheesy soft-rock you’d get from Kelly Clarkson or somebody like that.

Track 7: Sandi Thom – I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)

ARGH.  I almost don’t have the words to describe how awful I’ve always found this song.  It was the first notable example of a teenage singer discovered on YouTube.  The song, completely unironically, manages to conflate the late ’70s punk movement with the late ’60s hippy movement – hey, those alternative types are all the same, right?  If she really meant what she was singing about, the whole ‘born too late into a world that doesn’t care‘, she would at least have done enough research to know the difference.  ARGH.  Also, when I was at T in the Park 2006, she was given a five-minute slot on the main stage, because SHE ONLY HAD ONE SONG.

Sandi Thom, you are a totally fake 20th century girl.  Everything about this song is utterly cringeworthy.

ARGH.

And breathe.

Track 8: The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way

Too twee, acoustic-y, and cheesy for me.

Track 9: The Feeling – Fill My Little World

I’ve always found this one revoltingly twee, and worse, horrendously catchy.  I’ve got a horrible feeling it’s going to be stuck in my head again now after years of blissfully forgetting about it.

Track 10: Keane – Is It Any Wonder?

Quite like the guitar riff – it’s a bit edgier than I’d usually expect from Keane.  The vocals are still pretty bland though.

Track 11: Snow Patrol – You’re All I Have

Boring tune, very forgettable.

Track 12: Razorlight – In The Morning

Some nice interesting lines going on here, quite like this one.

Track 13: Orson – Bright Idea

The beat’s interesting, but the tune is a bit depressing.

Track 14: The Zutons – Valerie

Great tune, love that chord progression.  I know the Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse cover became more well-known, but I’ve got a real soft spot for the original.

Track 15: Dirty Pretty Things – Bang Bang You’re Dead

Good rock track, but the lines are a bit messy, and the tune on the vocals is kind of generic.

Track 16: The Automatic – Monster

Great track – it’s featured on Lego Rock Band, so I had a lot of fun drumming along to it back in the day.

Track 17: Paul Oakenfold and Brittany Murphy – Faster Kill Pussycat

Nice bassline, nice interesting vocals – good stuff.

Track 18: Chicane and Tom Jones – Stoned In Love

Good dance beat, but the tune’s pretty bland.  Not even Tom Jones’ vocals can make this one interesting.

Track 19: Primal Scream – Country Girl

Unfortunately, due to the theme, this one’s a bit country-inspired, and country music is not my thing at all.

Track 20: Bon Jovi – Who Says You Can’t Go Home

Bon Jovi starting to sound a bit dad-rock.  Not hugely keen on this one.

Track 21: Matt Willis – Up All Night

Matt Willis going solo from Busted and thankfully sounding a little more grown-up.  It’s not a bad rock song.

Track 22: Fall Out Boy – Dance, Dance

Great beat, interesting vocals.  Really like this one.

Track 23: Lily Allen – Smile

It’s a nice tune, but Lily Allen’s best stuff would appear later on.

Track 24: Rihanna – SOS

Good atmosphere, good solid pop track.

Track 25: The Black Eyed Peas – Pump It

The Latin tinge from the Misirlou sample (better known as the Pulp Fiction music) is great.  Happily nodding along here.

Track 26: The Pussycat Dolls and Snoop Dogg – Buttons

Great atmosphere, nice Eastern-tinged instrumentals.

Track 27: Ne-Yo – So Sick

Pretty tune on the instrumentals at the beginning, but the vocal line’s pretty boring.

Track 28: Busta Rhymes – Touch It

Messy rap, no melody, not my thing.

Track 29: Christina Milian and Young Jeezy – Say I

I like the retro ’70s-sounding backing track, and the vocals are quite interesting.

Track 30: Sérgio Mendes and The Black Eyed Peas – Mas Que Nada

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had the Black Eyed Peas, just five tracks ago.

Great Latin track – still a favourite for warm-ups and cool-downs in Zumba classes everywhere.

Track 31: The Ordinary Boys and Lady Sovereign – Nine2Five

Great uptempo song with that Ordinary Boys ska tinge – and somehow Lady Sovereign’s rap style melds really well with it.

Track 32: Sugababes – Red Dress

Great bassline, good beat, good pop track.

Track 33: Beatfreakz – Somebody’s Watching Me

Pointless ‘cover’ (actually a remix that doesn’t give proper credit to the original artist) of the Rockwell classic that leaves out the verses and just samples the chorus.  Definitely need to go listen to the original after this.

Track 34: Sunblock and Robin Beck – First Time

Another remix masquerading as a cover, this time of Robin Beck’s 1988 hit.  Yet another ’80s classic where I will be listening to the original after this Now! compilation is done!

Track 35: Bob Sinclar and Steve Edwards – World, Hold On (Children Of The Sky)

Great atmosphere, great beat – quite like this track.

Track 36: Supermode – Tell Me Why

Cover of a nonexistent mash-up of the Bronski Beat songs Smalltown Boy and Why?  When we used to run our Electrolicious Sundays night at Mr Modos, Geth would always mix the original Smalltown Boy into this, which really emphasised the shortcomings of this cover.  More originals to listen to when I’m done here!

Track 37: Mousse T and The Dandy Warhols – Horny As A Dandy

Mash-up of Horny and Bohemian Like You.  I’ve mentioned before how much I hate mash-ups.  This just makes me want to go and listen to the two originals to scrub this mess from my brain.  I think it’s going to be a long night on Spotify.

Track 38: The Shapeshifters and Chic – Sensitivity

Love that classic funk – great retro sound.  Also, apparently it was only Nile Rodgers representing Chic on this track, but I suppose he basically is Chic now.

Track 39: Beverley Knight – Piece Of My Heart

Fairly pointless cover of the ’60s classic, but it’s a great song whoever does it.

Track 40: James Morrison – You Give Me Something

Oh, it’s this one.  Boring tune, and it’s too slow for me.

Track 41: Will Young – Who Am I

Interesting backing track, but the vocal’s very repetitive.

Track 42: Ronan Keating and Kate Rusby – All Over Again

Bit of an odd pairing that I would never have guessed did a song together.  It’s slow and sappy and not my kind of thing, but I suppose the vocals are quite nice.

Track 43: Girls Aloud – Whole Lotta History

Nice tune, nice atmosphere, but I find the vocal lines a bit messy and jarring.

We’ve avoided any ‘Not on Spotify’ moments again!  Hopefully this will become more and more regular.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track 3: The Black Eyed Peas – My Humps

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

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

Track 4: Orson – No Tomorrow

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

Track 5: The Ordinary Boys – Boys Will Be Boys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track 9: Chico – It’s Chico Time

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

Track 10: Shayne Ward – That’s My Goal

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

Track 11: Sugababes – Ugly

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

Track 12: Simon Webbe – No Worries

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

Track 13: Will Young – All Time Love

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

Track 14: Kelly Clarkson – Because Of You

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

Track 15: Westlife – Amazing

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

Track 16: Andy Abraham – Hang Up

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

Track 17: McFly – I Wanna Hold You

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

Track 18: Son Of Dork – Ticket Outta Loserville

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

Track 19: Friday Hill – One More Night Alone

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

Good head-nodder, nice tune.

Track 20: Liberty X – A Night To Remember

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

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

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

Track 22: Liz McClarnon – Woman In Love

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

Track 23: Girls Aloud – See The Day

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

Track 24: Nizlopi – JCB Song

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

Track 25: Embrace – Nature’s Law

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

Track 26: Robbie Williams – Advertising Space

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

Track 27: Coldplay – Talk

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

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

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

Track 29: The Feeling – Sewn

Boring tune, too slow.

Track 30: Richard Ashcroft – Break The Night With Colour

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

Track 31: Texas – Sleep

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

Track 32: Kaiser Chiefs – Modern Way

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

Track 33: U2 – All Because Of You

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

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

Love the guitar, but the vocals are pretty irritating.

Track 35: Goldfrapp – Ride A White Horse

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

Track 36: Gorillaz – Dirty Harry

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

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

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

Track 38: Sunblock – I’ll Be Ready

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

Track 39: The Shapeshifters – Incredible

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

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

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

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

Track 41: Kubb – Grow

Boring, slow and depressing.

Track 42: José González – Heartbeats

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