Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #61

Day 61 equals Now! #61, which came out on 25th July 2005.

July 2005
This is the way the world looked in July 2005. I had apparently got to that stage in my life and in world history where all photos were either selfies (or ‘MySpace photos’ as they were called in the ’00s), pictures of my cat sleeping in unlikely places, or drunken pub pictures. I’m sure my friends will thank me if I stick to the selfies and cat pictures.

Hoping for some festival rock anthems here and not too much saccharine pop!  Fingers crossed.

Now! That's What I Call Music #61
Track 1: James Blunt – You’re Beautiful

Overplayed and ludicrously saccharine, but it’s been parodied so much and become so infamous that I actually find it quite funny now.

Track 2: 2Pac and Elton John – Ghetto Gospel

Track from 2Pac’s posthumous 2004 album.  It samples Indian Sunset, hence the Elton John credit.  The sample is beautifully used, and works really well with the rap here.

Track 3: Coldplay – Speed Of Sound

Nice tune, nice piano, nice atmosphere.  Quite like this one.

Track 4: Gorillaz and De La Soul – Feel Good Inc

Great beat, great danceable track.  Good stuff.

Track 5: The Black Eyed Peas – Don’t Phunk With My Heart

There’s a bit too much going on here for me, but the sung vocal is quite nice.

Track 6: Audio Bullys and Nancy Sinatra – Shot You Down

Yes, their grammatically correct name should be ‘Audio Bullies’.  Urgh.

The track is basically a remix of Nancy Sinatra’s version of Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).  The sample is great, but the rest of the track is pretty dull.

Track 7: Jem – They

Oh, it’s this one!  Really like the vocal harmony hook that runs throughout the track.

Track 8: Natalie Imbruglia – Shiver

It’s quite a nice atmosphere, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 9: KT Tunstall – Other Side Of The World

Boring tune, and it’s too acoustic-y for me.

Track 10: Oasis – Lyla

Bland Oasis-by-numbers track.  Nothing interesting here at all.

Track 11: Razorlight – Somewhere Else

Nice anthemic festival rock, really like this one.

Track 12: Bodyrockers – I Like The Way

Love the guitar riff, but it takes until the chorus for the track to get going properly.

Track 13: Kaiser Chiefs – Everyday I Love You Less And Less

It should be ‘every day’, not ‘everyday’.

It’s a great song though – that first Kaiser Chiefs album was really good.  I remember seeing them play an awesome set at T in the Park 2005.

Track 14: Caesars – Jerk It Out

Oh, it’s this one!  Great hook, great tune – really like this track.

Track 15: The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It

Not the most exciting track off the Hot Fuss album, but it’s still a really nice song.

Track 16: Hard-Fi – Hard To Beat

Really like this track – interesting tune, good beat.

Track 17: Weezer – Beverly Hills

Good rock beat, but the tune’s a bit lacking for me.

Track 18: Rob Thomas – Lonely No More

I quite like the tune until it gets to the uninspired chorus.

Track 19: The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost

At the time, I was really not keen on the Magic Numbers as I found their stuff very twee.  I’m still not the biggest fan, but I don’t hate this track as much as I used to.  The tune’s okay.

Track 20: Jack Johnson – Good People

Not my kind of thing – it’s too acoustic-y and I’m not keen on the tune.

Track 21: U2 – Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own

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

Track 22: Akon – Lonely

The sample of the sped-up chipmunk version of Bobby Vinton’s Mr Lonely is inspired, and the rest of the track’s okay to listen to.

Track 23: Mario – Let Me Love You

Boring, generic tune.  Not my kind of thing.

Track 24: Gwen Stefani and Eve – Rich Girl

Interesting vocals, great take on If I Were A Rich Man.  It’s actually a cover of the Louchie Lou and Michie One song from 1993, but I’m not familiar with that version.

Track 25: Will Smith – Switch

Great beat, but the song’s a bit dull.

Track 26: MVP – Roc Ya Body (Mic Check 1 2)

Really like the sung vocals on the chorus, and it’s got a good beat.

Track 27: Mariah Carey – It’s Like That

Generic tune, not keen on this one.

Track 28: Nelly – N Dey Say

Love the sample of Spandau Ballet’s True, but the rap over the top just annoys me.

Track 29: Bobby Valentino – Slow Down

Boring tune, nothing redeeming here.

Track 30: Faith Evans – Again

Not keen on the tune – just find it very bland.

Track 31: Joss Stone – Don’t Cha Wanna Ride

Good beat, but again the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 32: Roll Deep – The Avenue

I like the sample of ’80s hit Heartache Avenue, though I’m not too keen on the rap over the top.  This seems to be a theme today.

Track 33: Charlotte Church – Crazy Chick

This was the album where Charlotte Church basically rebelled against her wholesome opera-voiced kid image and went pop instead.  The song’s a bit twee, and the tune’s nothing special.

Track 34: Rachel Stevens – So Good

Great instrumentals, great atmosphere, but the vocals are pretty generic.

Track 35: Inaya Day – Nasty Girl

Cover of the ’80s Vanity 6 song.  Good beat, but it’s another dull, generic tune.

Track 36: Deep Dish – Say Hello

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

Quite like the tune on the instrumentals, but the vocals annoy me.

Track 37: Freeloaders and The Real Thing – So Much Love To Give

The Real Thing’s contribution here is the sample.  Great tune as a result, but it’s a little repetitive.

Track 38: Kylie Minogue – Giving You Up

Good tune, interesting vocals – quite like this one.

Track 39: Girls Aloud – Wake Me Up

Good atmosphere, but I just don’t find the tune interesting enough.

Track 40: Crazy Frog – Axel F

I mentioned my disdain for this awful ringtone-advert cover of the Harold Faltermeyer track way back in my review of the original on Now! #5.  Why anybody spent money on this stuff is beyond me.

Track 41: Tony Christie – Avenues And Alleyways

Tony Christie still riding his wave of resurgence post-Amarillo.  This is a nice tune and the classic style is a refreshing change from regular chart music.

Track 42: McFly – You’ve Got A Friend

Cover of the Carole King classic.  It’s very uninspired and far too acoustic-y for me.

Track 43: Heather Small – Proud

Re-release of the 2000 hit in honour of 2005’s successful London 2012 Olympics bid.  I literally last heard this two days ago, over the PA while waiting in the start pen for the Blaydon Race – it’s still used a lot for sporting events and things like that.  It’s quite a nice, uplifting song.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #60

Day 60 brings us to Now! #60, which was released on 21st March 2005.

March 2005
This was how the world looked in March 2005. MySpace was a huge thing, which meant that surprised-looking bathroom selfies with headphones draped around one’s neck were also a huge thing.

Let’s see what music sounded like now that I was in my twenties.

Now! That's What I Call Music #60
Track 1: Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For?

Great tune, great atmosphere, interesting vocals – I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 2: Sunset Strippers – Falling Stars

Remix of Waiting For A Star To Fall by Boy Meets Girl.  Love the song, obviously prefer the original version, but this is still nice to hear.

Track 3: Kylie Minogue – I Believe In You

Great synth instrumentals at the start, and I quite like the vocals.  Good track.

Track 4: McFly – All About You

The tune’s irritating, and the song’s far too cheesy for me.

Track 5: Nelly and Tim McGraw – Over And Over

This one’s not interesting enough for me – it’s pretty forgettable.

Track 6: Lemar – If There’s Any Justice

Good atmosphere, good tune – quite like this one.

Track 7: Girls Aloud – I’ll Stand By You

Utterly pointless cover of the Pretenders classic.  As ever, I feel obliged to point out that this was the official Children In Need single for 2004, and therefore the ‘point’ was to raise money for charity, but it would still have been better if they’d actually done something new and interesting with the song.

Track 8: Uniting Nations – Out Of Touch

Dance cover of the Hall & Oates classic.  It doesn’t quite have the wonderful atmosphere of the original, but I do quite like it.

Track 9: Scissor Sisters – Filthy/Gorgeous

Great song – awesome tune, highly danceable.

Track 10: The Chemical Brothers – Galvanise

I’ve always really liked the tune on this one, and it’s good to nod along to.

Track 11: LL Cool J and 7 Aurelius – Hush

Quite like the backing vocals, but the track’s pretty generic otherwise.

Track 12: Ashanti – Only U

Don’t like the muddiness of the backing track, and the tune is very bland.  The atmosphere’s okay though.

Track 13: Ciara and Petey Pablo – Goodies

Painful whistling on the backing track, terrible rap, awful theme, no melody.  Actively dislike this one.

Track 14: Akon – Locked Up

Boring tune, very repetitive.  Nothing special here.

Track 15: Joss Stone – Spoiled

The tune’s okay, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 16: Verbalicious – Don’t Play Nice

Good beat, great head-nodder.  It’s a bit repetitive and tuneless though.

Track 17: The Shapeshifters – Back To Basics

Another great beat, but the lines are a bit messy and there’s not much to the tune.

Track 18: Geri Halliwell – Ride It

Great atmosphere, really interesting intro, good tune.  Really like this one.

Track 19: Lovefreekz – Shine

Like the retro disco tinge on this dance track.

Track 20: Reflekt and Delline Bass – Need To Feel Loved

Some nice, atmospheric lines going on here – good piece of chillout.

Track 21: Soul Central and Kathy Brown – Strings Of Life (Stronger On My Own)

The instrumentals give this track a decidedly early ’90s dance vibe, which is no bad thing.

Track 22: Styles & Breeze – Heartbeatz

Generic, repetitive dance track with saccharine vocals.  Not my thing at all.

Track 23: U2 – Vertigo

Great guitar riff, great singalong chorus.  Really like this track.

Track 24: The Killers – Somebody Told Me

A classic!  Great track – I remember seeing this live at T in the Park 2005.  Brilliant lyrics, brilliant tune.

Track 25: Stereophonics – Dakota

Nice interesting spiky instrumentals, and the vocals are a lot more upbeat than most Stereophonics tracks.  Quite like this.

Track 26: Keane – This Is The Last Time

Dull and saccharine, not keen on this one.

Track 27: Bloc Party – So Here We Are

Very repetitive instrumentals, boring vocals.  Not for me.

Track 28: Athlete – Wires

I like the piano, and the atmosphere’s nice, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 29: Robbie Williams – Misunderstood

Dull tune, and again it’s too slow.

Track 30: Ronan Keating and Yusuf Islam – Father And Son

We’ve sort of already had this on Now! #33, in that we’ve already had the Boyzone version (with Ronan Keating on lead vocals) and this is the Ronan Keating solo version.  The instrumentals are a bit different on this version.  It’s also got guest vocals from Yusuf Islam, who used to be known as Cat Stevens and did the original song, thus making this a semi-cover.

Track 31: Darius – Live Twice

Boring and saccharine.  Not my thing.

Track 32: Daniel Bedingfield – Wrap My Words Around You

Good beat, like the guitar, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 33: Lucie Silvas – Breathe In

Good instrumentals, but the vocals are dull and uninspired.

Track 34: Doves – Black And White Town

Repetitive, droning tune.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 35: The Bravery – An Honest Mistake

I remember seeing this lot at T in the Park 2005 – they had a lot of bottles thrown at them and were really pissed off about it!  This was their only real hit from what I remember.  I quite like the song, to be honest.

Track 36: Freefaller – Do This! Do That!

Quite like this pop-punk track – it’s got a good tune.

Track 37: Thirteen Senses – Thru The Glass

Great eerie atmosphere on the intro, then it launches into a solid rock track.  Good stuff.

Track 38: Feeder – Tumble And Fall

I normally like Feeder, but this one’s too slow and drone-y for me.

Track 39: Raghav, Frankey Maxx and Jucxi D – Angel Eyes

I’m not keen on the rap, but otherwise it’s an okay song.

Track 40: JoJo – Baby It’s You

Highly irritating vocals, bad rap, generic tune.  Not my cup of tea.

Track 41: Atomic Kitten – Cradle

Super saccharine and too slow, and the tune is bland.  Utterly forgettable.

Track 42: Brian McFadden and Delta Goodrem – Almost Here

Great atmosphere on this one.  It’s slow and cheesy so I shouldn’t like it, but I do.

Track 43: Tony Christie and Peter Kay – (Is This The Way To) Amarillo

The Comic Relief song for 2005, which was just a re-release of the original (Tony Christie didn’t re-record it or anything).  Peter Kay is credited despite not contributing to the song – his contribution was of course the legendary video.  (I have linked to the original complete video, so I should probably include a warning that it contains Jimmy Savile.  The fascinating media practice of performing damnatio memoriae on anything involving Savile since his crimes became public knowledge is briefly covered here.)

For only the second time in sixty Now! compilations, we have avoided any ‘Not on Spotify’ incidents!  This makes me very happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track 2: Steps – Better Best Forgotten

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

Track 3: Cher – Believe

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

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

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

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

Track 5: Spice Girls – Goodbye

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

Track 6: Honeyz – End Of The Line

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

Track 7: Billie Piper – Honey To The Bee

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

Track 8: The Corrs – What Can I Do

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

Track 9: Emilia – Big Big World

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

Track 10: Tina Cousins – Killin’ Time

Epic-sounding dance track – really like this one.

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

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

Track 12: Cartoons – Witch Doctor

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

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

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

Track 14: Blockster – You Should Be

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

Track 15: A+ – Enjoy Yourself

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

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

Track 16: Deetah – El Paradiso Rico

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

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

Track 17: Emmie – More Than This

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

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

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

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

Track 19: Fool Boona – Popped

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

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

Track 20: Sash! – Colour The World

Nice tune, but it’s pretty repetitive.

Track 21: Justin – Over You

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

Track 22: Robbie Williams – Strong

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

Track 23: Lenny Kravitz – Fly Away

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

Track 24: Fatboy Slim – Praise You

A classic!  Great dance track, love this one.

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

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

Track 26: Mr Oizo – Flat Beat

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

Track 27: The Cardigans – Erase/Rewind

Another great rock track from the Cardigans.  Awesome tune.

Track 28: Stereophonics – Just Looking

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

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

I’ve always liked this track – great tune.

Track 30: The Divine Comedy – National Express

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

Track 31: Terrorvision – Tequila [Mint Royale Shot]

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

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

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

Track 33: Roxette – Wish I Could Fly

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

Track 34: 911 – A Little Bit More

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

Track 35: Dru Hill – These Are The Times

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

Track 36: Kele Le Roc – My Love

Another dull ballad.  Not keen on this at all.

Track 37: All Saints – War Of Nerves

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

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

Nice a cappella track – lovely tune.

Track 39: Blur – Tender

Gorgeous tune, great lyrics – really like this one.

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

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