Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #70

Day 70,and we’ve reached Now! #70, which came out on 21st July 2008.

July 2008
This is what the world looked like in July 2008. My hair was still longer than Geth’s (it’s been a good few years since that was the case) and we sort of both had ill-conceived hair dye going on (dudes just don’t get highlights done any more – I wonder why that particular trend remained firmly in the ’00s?), but pubs, as I’ve mentioned before, never really change.

Let’s see what those summer hits were that year.

Now! That's What I Call Music #70
Track 1: Estelle and Kanye West – American Boy

Great tune.  There were a couple of good dances to this on Strictly at the time, so I mainly associate it with that.

Track 2: Dizzee Rascal, Calvin Harris and Chrome – Dance Wiv Me

Great track – love the rhythm, love the chorus.  Highly danceable.

Track 3: Mint Royale – Singin’ In The Rain

Cover of the musical classic with weird messy remix-y bits.  There’s about three good tracks here all mashed together into one bad one.

Track 4: Sam Sparro – Black And Gold

Great atmosphere, quite like this one.

Track 5: Duffy – Warwick Avenue

Nice tune, but it’s too slow for me.

Track 6: Sara Bareilles – Love Song

I like the piano, but the vocals are pretty generic.

Track 7: Gabriella Cilmi – Sweet About Me

Great tune, awesome theme.  Big fan of this track.

Track 8: Ne-Yo – Closer

Lovely tune – I really like the instrumentals, and the chorus is gorgeous.

Track 9: Girls Aloud – Can’t Speak French

Good rhythm, but there’s something that’s always annoyed me about the theme of this one.

Track 10: Kylie Minogue – In My Arms

Not massively keen on this track – it’s a bit messy for me and I don’t think much of the tune.

Track 11: Sugababes – Denial

Quite like the beat on this one, and it’s not a bad tune either – good to nod along to.

Track 12: Jonas Brothers – SOS

Awful cheesy kiddie-sounding vocals, dodgy faux pop-pop-punk sound.  Not a fan.

Track 13: Alphabeat – 10,000 Nights

Quite like the retro-tinged piano, but the tune annoys me.

Track 14: The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name

Great chant-along track, but I prefer the other two big Ting Tings hits from that year – fingers crossed they’re on future Now! editions!

Track 15: The Kooks – Always Where I Need To Be

I like the guitar on the intro, but in general this one sounds a bit uninspired and forgettable to me.

Track 16: Pendulum – Propane Nightmares

Great atmosphere, love the instrumentals – and that electro hook is great.

Track 17: Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You

Quite like the backing track, but the tune’s pretty dull.

Track 18: Scouting For Girls – Heartbeat

Interesting instrumentals, but again I’m not keen on the main tune.

Track 19: The Feeling – Turn It Up

Nice tune, interesting piano bit.  Quite like this one.

Track 20: The Hoosiers – Cops And Robbers

Great theme, awesome atmosphere to go with it.  Brilliant track.

Track 21: Paul Weller – Have You Made Up Your Mind

Nice classic sound, but I find the tune a bit bland.

Track 22: Coldplay – Violet Hill

Takes ages to get going.  When it does, though, it’s a nice tune with a classic rock feel and a good atmosphere.

Track 23: Rihanna – Take A Bow

Lovely tune, quite like this one.

Track 24: Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown – No Air

It’s a nice tune, but I find the vocals really overblown.

Track 25: will.i.am and Cheryl – Heartbreaker

It’s an okay tune, but 3 Words was a much better collaboration between these two.

Track 26: Usher and Young Jeezy – Love In This Club

Quite like the tune on the backing track, but the vocal’s pretty boring.

Track 27: Mariah Carey – Touch My Body

Daft, awkward theme, and the song’s just not my thing – I find it a bit irritating.

Track 28: Leona Lewis – Better In Time

Nice piano, but the tune is pretty dull, and it’s too slow for me.

Track 29: Chris Brown – With You

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Chris Brown on track 24.

Boring and cheesy song – not my thing.

Track 30: Ironik – Stay With Me

Lovely tune on the backing track, but then there’s a lot of clashing sung vocals (which are a hideous chipmunk-tuned sample of Westlife’s Written In The Stars) and rapping and it all gets far too messy.

Track 31: Taio Cruz – I Can Be

Some interesting instrumentals, but again the vocals are not doing it for me.

Track 32: The Script – We Cry

Nice atmosphere, with a slight eerie-ness about it.  The vocals are really uninspired though.

Track 33: Britney Spears – Break The Ice

Another great backing track with so-so vocals over the top.

Track 34: Timbaland, Nicole Scherzinger and Keri Hilson – Scream

Good atmosphere, but there’s too much going on in this track for my liking.

Track 35: Flo Rida and T-Pain – Low

This one’s a favourite of mine, largely for the lyric ‘the baggy sweatpants and the Reeboks with the straps‘.  This is referring to the Reebok Freestyle Hi, which is my favourite trainer of all time (I have them in seven different colours), though I never wear them with sweatpants unless I need a warm layer for walking to exercise classes in the winter – leggings or jeans all the way otherwise!  The epic atmosphere is just a bonus.

Track 36: Wiley – Wearing My Rolex

Good dance beat, daft theme, good bit of grime.  I find this one quite endearing.

Track 37: DJ Q and MC Bonez – You Wot!

It’s a bit messy, but it’s very danceable.

Track 38: Basshunter – All I Ever Wanted

Classic dance tune.  I should find the vocal hook irritating, but I actually quite like it.

Track 39: Scooter – Jumping All Over The World

Daft theme as ever from Scooter.  Irritatingly messy, but I LOVE that sample from Sailor’s A Glass Of Champagne, one of my favourite ’70s glam rock tracks.

Track 40: Ultrabeat and Darren Styles – Discolights

Another great atmosphere, but again the vocals are letting it down.

Track 41: Alex Gaudino and Shena – Watch Out

The Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag sample is obviously awesome, but it jars pretty badly with the vocals, which themselves are kind of a rip-off of Mousse T’s Horny.

Track 42: September – Cry For You

I really like the electro hooks, but yet again the vocals are bland and uninspired.

Track 43: Fragma – Toca’s Miracle 2008

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).  (Urgh, and we were doing so well today!)

We’ve already had the original on Now! #45, and as usual, the new-version-with-a-year-added-to-the-title is not different enough from the first version to justify including it again!

See the link for my review.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #57

Day 57 brings us to Now! #57, which came out on 5th April 2004.

April 2004
This is the way the world looked in April 2004, or at least the bit that was me and the wee bro (clearly not quite as wee as he once was) silhouetted against central Manhattan. I am very behind on furnishing trends and that lampshade looks pretty futuristic to me even now, fourteen years later.

We’re really getting into the mid-’00s now.  Bring on the pop-punk and anthemic festival rock!

Now! That's What I Call Music #57
Track 1: Britney Spears – Toxic

Great danceable song – really good piece of pop.

Track 2: Kelis – Milkshake

Good atmosphere, good beat.  I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 3: Jamelia – Thank You

The tune’s a bit generic and forgettable for me.

Track 4: Kylie Minogue – Red Blooded Woman

Good atmosphere, love the instrumentals on this.  Great tune too.

Track 5: Justin Timberlake – I’m Lovin’ It

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

Irritating hooks, messy lines, jarring beat.  Not keen on this one.

Track 6: Enrique Iglesias and Kelis – Not In Love

Repeated artist alert!  We already had Kelis, only four tracks ago.

The track’s got a good beat, and I like the Spanish-tinged guitar and the way the vocals blend together.  Nice tune, although the chorus does slightly rip off Night Games by Graham Bonnet.

Track 7: The Black Eyed Peas – Shut Up

I love this one – probably my all-time favourite Black Eyed Peas track (and there’s some stiff competition from their 2009-2010 era).  In my second year at uni, there was someone in the flat next door who played this on a loop for several weeks, and I still never got sick of it.  Just a gorgeous piece of music.

Track 8: 2 Play and Raghav – So Confused

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

Quite like this tune, and the Latin-tinged instrumentals are nice.

Track 9: Beenie Man and Ms Thing – Dude

I shouldn’t like it, ’cause it’s really repetitive, but there’s something I find quite feelgood and endearing about it.

Track 10: Peter Andre and Bubbler Ranx – Mysterious Girl

We’ve already had this one, on Now! #34!  This must have been around the time Peter Andre got famous again by going on I’m A Celebrity.  It’s still no excuse!

As ever, see the link for my review.

Track 11: DJ Casper – Cha Cha Slide

Slow to get going, not enough melody.  It’s basically spoken dance instructions with some repetitive instrumentals in the background.

Track 12: Girls Aloud – Jump

Utterly pointless cover of the Pointer Sisters classic.  There’s nothing new here at all.

Track 13: Boogie Pimps – Somebody To Love

Electro cover of the Jefferson Airplane song.  It’s quite nice and atmospheric.

Track 14: Atomic Kitten and Kool & The Gang – Ladies’ Night

Semi-cover of the 1979 classic.  Apparently Kool & The Gang asked Atomic Kitten to ‘update’ the song, but this is a pretty pointless cover, as it doesn’t do anything different.

Track 15: Emma Bunton – I’ll Be There

Pretty ballad – quite like this tune.

Track 16: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – I Won’t Change You

Irritating theme, bland tune.  Not a fan of this.

Track 17: Scissor Sisters – Comfortably Numb

Danceable cover of the Pink Floyd track.  Quite like this one.

Track 18: Deepest Blue – Give It Away

Dull tune, dull beat.  It’s so boring I can’t even concentrate on it.

Track 19: LMC and U2 – Take Me To The Clouds Above

Dance cover of Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know? that also samples With Or Without You, hence the U2 involvement.  Proof that no matter how many classic songs you bastardise in your terrible ’00s dance track, it will still be terrible.

Track 20: Special D – Come With Me

Dance track with a pleasant bleepy tune and interesting vocals.  Very danceable.

Track 21: Ultrabeat – Feelin’ Fine

It’s a bit saccharine, but there’s something slightly retro about the vocals that I quite like.

Track 22: Motorcycle – As The Rush Comes

Great beat, great atmosphere.  The vocals are a bit lacking, but it’s otherwise a good track.

Track 23: Ferry Corsten – Rock Your Body Rock

Not sure about the vocoder on the vocals, but I quite like the backing track – it sounds a bit like video game music.

Track 24: Will Young – Leave Right Now

I’ve always found the tune on this one really irritating.

Track 25: Katie Melua – The Closest Thing To Crazy

Actively disliked it at the time, still actively dislike it now.  Annoying and depressing.

Track 26: Norah Jones – Sunrise

Nice tune, but it’s a bit slow and acoustic-y for me.

Track 27: Blue – Breathe Easy

It’s got a nice epic feeling about it, though the tune’s a bit boring.

Track 28: Ozzy Osbourne and Kelly Osbourne – Changes

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

Appallingly cheesy semi-cover of the ’70s Black Sabbath song, with the lyrics altered to reflect the Osbournes’ father-daughter relationship.  I still laugh every time I remember this song coming on in big Bennets*, Edinburgh, and the consequent furious pub ranting of a mate of a mate who was a Black Sabbath fan.

*Not to be confused with wee Bennets, Edinburgh.  Big Bennets is in Tollcross, wee Bennets is in Morningside.

Track 29: Blink-182 – I Miss You

It’s the lead track off the infamous album where Blink-182 grew up and went serious.  This one’s okay, but my favourite track from that album is All Of This, a duet with the Cure’s Robert Smith.  Worth checking out.

Track 30: Busted – Who’s David

Generic tune, offputting jealousy theme in the lyrics.  Not keen.

Track 31: Fountains Of Wayne – Stacy’s Mom

I adore this hilarious track.  It’s not even a guilty pleasure, I just love it.  Brilliant stuff.

Track 32: Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out

Great, classic piece of ’00s rock.  Love the intro, love the way the main song kicks in.

Track 33: Alistair Griffin – Bring It On

Bland, uninspired tune, boring acoustic-y instrumentals.  Not my thing at all.

Track 34: Sugababes – Too Lost In You

Gorgeous track.  It’s one of those ones that’s been turned into a Christmas song in recent years – it was on the Love Actually soundtrack and the film features heavily in the video, hence the music channels always adding it to their Christmas playlists – but the song’s lovely to listen to any time of year.

Track 35: VS – Love You Like Mad

Twee instrumentals, annoying vocals.  Not for me.

Track 36: Joss Stone – Fell In Love With A Boy

Quite like this soul track – it’s a bit different to what was generally going on in the charts at the time.

Track 37: FYA and Smujji – Must Be Love

Quite like the atmosphere on the intro, but I’m not keen on the rap, and the sung sections are very generic-sounding.

Track 38: NERD – She Wants To Move

Good head-nodder – I’ve always quite liked this one.

Track 39: Jamie Cullum – Frontin’ [Live]

I’m not hugely keen on most of Jamie Cullum’s laid-back lounge-y jazz stuff – it’s not exciting enough for me.  I don’t like live versions either.

Track 40: Keane – Somewhere Only We Know

Overplayed, irritatingly twee tune.  I actually prefer the Lily Allen cover that was done for the John Lewis Christmas advert a few years back.

Track 41: Snow Patrol – Run

Classic lighters-in-the-air anthem – gorgeous tune.

Track 42: Alex Parks – Maybe That’s What It Takes

Boring, slow ballad.  Not my kind of thing.

Track 43: Ronan Keating – She Believes (In Me)

An even slower ballad, with ‘bonus’ saccharine lyrics.  The tune’s awful too.

Track 44: Michelle McManus – All This Time

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

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #56

Day 56 equals Now! #56, which was released on 17th November 2003.

November 2003
This is how the world looked in November 2003 (actually October). The champagne was to celebrate finally passing my driving test on the sixth attempt. I had about five pairs of those ridiculously baggy jeans in various colours – I am so glad they disappeared with the ’00s. Probably should have bleached my roots before putting on that red dye, too.

Let’s see what would have been played at the club I went out to later that night (spoiler: none of the following, ’cause I’m pretty sure I went to Opium rock club, which didn’t play a lot of chart music).

Now! That's What I Call Music #56
Track 1: The Black Eyed Peas – Where Is The Love?

I quite like the Black Eyed Peas, but I’ve always found the chorus on this one a bit irritating.

Track 2: Rachel Stevens – Sweet Dreams My LA Ex

Good head-nodder, good atmosphere.  Quite like this track.

Track 3: Kylie Minogue – Slow

Great synth instrumentals, good atmosphere, though the tune’s a little repetitive.

Track 4: Blue – Guilty

Slow, cheesy, boring ballad.  Not my thing.

Track 5: Fatman Scoop and The Crooklyn Clan – Be Faithful

Good bit of chant-along hip-hop.  Could do without the generic sung vocals though.

Track 6: Beyoncé and Jay-Z – Crazy In Love

This one was everywhere in 2003, especially on holiday in Zante that summer.  I still quite like the tune, but that’s probably more nostalgia than anything else.

Track 7: Sugababes – Hole In The Head

Great pop tune – really like this one.

Track 8: Liberty X – Jumpin’

Good beat, but the vocals are annoying.

Track 9: Jamelia – Superstar

It did get a bit overplayed at the time, but it’s a good tune.

Track 10: Lumidee – Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)

Irritating vocals, irritating tune, irritating drum beat in the background.  Not a fan of this.

Track 11: Stacie Orrico – Stuck

Nice guitar in the background, but the vocals give me a headache.

Track 12: Lemar – Dance (With U)

Like the retro tinge, and it’s got a nice beat.

Track 13: Javine – Surrender (Your Love)

Great instrumentals – love that trumpet – but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 14: Emma Bunton – Maybe

Good uptempo song, interesting vocals – good track.

Track 15: S Club 8 – Sundown

If you ignore the kiddie vocals, it’s quite a good danceable tune.

Track 16: Ultrabeat – Pretty Green Eyes

Love the backing track on this dance hit, but the vocals are a bit cheesy (even if they do have good taste in eye colour!).

Track 17: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Mixed Up World

Great danceable beat, but it’s a bit messy in general, and the tune’s pretty generic.

Track 18: Phixx – Hold On Me

Quite like the electro lines, but the vocals are pretty cheesy.

Track 19: D-Side – Invisible

Bland tune, saccharine vocals and really creepy lyrics.  Not keen.

Track 20: Louise – Pandora’s Kiss

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

Repetitive tune, irritating backing track.  When the guitar kicks in on the chorus, though, it gets a bit better.

Track 21: Girls Aloud – Life Got Cold

Some more nice guitar – lovely tune.

Track 22: Atomic Kitten – If You Come To Me

Not keen on the vocals, and the tune’s pretty bland.

Track 23: Elton John – Are You Ready For Love

’70s classic back in the charts due to a re-release and TV advert.  Not complaining – it’s a welcome break from all the poor quality early ’00s pop!

Track 24: Justin Timberlake – Rock Your Body

It’s fairly standard Justin Timberlake, with a danceable beat and irritating falsetto all over the place.  It’s okay, sort of.

Track 25: Robbie Williams – Something Beautiful

Like the backing instrumentals, but the tune’s not interesting enough for me.

Track 26: Nickelback – Someday

There are only two Nickelback tracks that are in any way listenable, and both of those are due to reasons outwith the song.  This is not one of these two.

Track 27: Busted – Sleeping With The Light On

Irritating and cheesy – not keen on this one.

Track 28: Mark Owen – Four Minute Warning

Mark Owen coming back out of nowhere about eight years after Take That split up.  This is a great track and I wish he’d done more solo stuff.

Track 29: Amy Studt – Under The Thumb

Irritating vocals, bland tune.  At least it’s got some good guitar in the background though.

Track 30: Texas and Kardinal Offishall – Carnival Girl

Quite like the carnival-music-themed intro, but then it just launches into boring soft rock with misplaced rapping over the top.

Track 31: 50 Cent and Nate Dogg – 21 Questions

Don’t really like the way the lines mix together on this one, and it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 32: Ashanti – Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)

Boring, generic song, very forgettable.

Track 33: Joe Budden – Pump It Up

Quite like the backing track, and it’s got a good beat.  This one’s okay.

Track 34: Jaimeson – Complete

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

Very bland tune, nothing interesting going on here at all.

Track 35: Lisa Scott-Lee – Too Far Gone

Annoying messy lines, dull vocals.  Highly generic.

Track 36: Angel City and Lara McAllen – Love Me Right (Oh Sheila)

Extremely ’90s dance sounding cover of the ’80s song.  It’s not bad, actually.

Track 37: Richard X and Kelis – Finest Dreams

Good atmosphere, good beat – happily nodding along.

Track 38: Rishi Rich Project, Jay Sean and Juggy D – Dance With You

Some interesting lines, but the main vocal is very dull.

Track 39: UB40 and The United Colours Of Sound – Swing Low

You know it’s a Rugby World Cup year when somebody does a dodgy cover of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.  At least UB40’s reggae stylings sort of suit the song.

Track 40: Starsailor – Silence Is Easy

Boring, forgettable soft rock.  Not a fan.

Track 41: Stereophonics – Maybe Tomorrow

Interesting instrumentals, but the vocals are as drone-y and boring as ever.

Track 42: Daniel Bedingfield – Never Gonna Leave Your Side

Super saccharine, slow and bland.  Not my kind of thing.

Track 43: Michael Andrews and Gary Jules – Mad World

Slow, melancholy cover of the Tears For Fears classic, and the Christmas number one for 2003 (BUT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE DARKNESS AND I’M STILL ANGRY ABOUT THAT ahem).  It’s beautiful, because the Tears For Fears original is also beautiful.  I’ll always prefer the original version, but this one is lovely too.