Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #75

Day 75 brings us to Now! #75, which came out on 29th March 2010.

March 2010
This is the way the world looked in March 2010…if you were attending a ceilidh in a slightly darkened room. I’m so glad I’ve lost the weight and don’t have to wear those shapeless black dresses anymore.

Can you believe we’re three quarters of the way through this Now! marathon?  That’s like being 19.65 miles of the way into an actual marathon.  Only 6.55 miles to go – that’s easy!  I will remember this moment when I’m 19.65 miles of the way through the London Marathon next April (spoiler: I almost certainly will not).

Also, we’re finally into the 2010s, the fourth and final decade of the Now! compilations so far (and also my life so far).  Having followed the charts very closely this decade, I can say with certainty that the remaining Now! compilations will definitely be better than the ’00s ones.  The ’00s was a real low for music.  (Except 2009, when it picked up.)  Thankfully I don’t have to listen to those again!

Now! That's What I Call Music #75
Track 1: Lady Gaga – Bad Romance

Stunning, classic electropop track – brilliant right from the a cappella intro.  Great stuff.

Track 2: 3OH!3 and Katy Perry – Starstrukk

I love this track, even with the silly whistling bit during the verse.  Awesome party song.

Track 3: The Black Eyed Peas – Meet Me Halfway

Beautiful tune!  The video‘s gorgeous too.

Track 4: JLS – Everybody In Love

Far too cheesy for me, I’m afraid!

Track 5: Iyaz – Replay

Another great tune – really like this one.

Track 6: Tinie Tempah and Labrinth – Pass Out

Love the daft lyrics, and it’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 7: Kesha – Tik Tok

Another good party song – and the vocal style was refreshingly different at this point.

Track 8: Timbaland and Katy Perry – If We Ever Meet Again

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

Love the chorus though – good track.

Track 9: Jason Derulo – In My Head

The tune’s a bit generic, but it’s still a good danceable song.

Track 10: Rihanna – Rude Boy

Nice atmosphere, interesting vocals.  Another great track.

Track 11: Chipmunk and Talay Riley – Look For Me

This one’s a bit bland and forgettable, and the chorus is annoying.

Track 12: Glee Cast – Don’t Stop Believin’

Cover of the ’80s Journey classic by the cast of hit TV show Glee.  This cover resulted in the original version – which had never actually been a hit in the UK when it was released in the ’80s – becoming a huge song during 2010 and staying prominent for the rest of the decade so far (I hear it played at every half marathon I run).  I’m not complaining – both versions are awesome and epic.

Track 13: Gabriella Cilmi – On A Mission

Great ’70s disco throwback track!  Love it.

Track 14: Alexandra Burke – Broken Heels

Another great party tune – very danceable.

Track 15: Sugababes – About A Girl

Great dance beat, but the tune’s pretty generic.

Track 16: The Saturdays – Ego

There’s something about the tune that’s a little irritating, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 17: Jedward and Vanilla Ice – Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby)

So we had Vanilla Ice sampling Queen and David Bowie’s 1981 song Under Pressure in 1989 for Ice Ice Baby, which was already considered fairly sacreligious, and then in 2010 we had Jedward doing a medley of both tracks and getting Vanilla Ice to help out with vocals.  It’s as awful as you might expect, but it somehow got to number two in the charts.

Track 18: Justin Bieber – One Time

Bieber in his early ‘fifteen and squeaky’ era.  It’s sort of half laughable and half headache-inducing.

Track 19: Jay Sean, Sean Paul and Lil’ Jon – Do You Remember

Good tune, but I can’t listen to it without hearing Sean Paul’s opening vocals as ‘got dirty egg‘, thanks to presenter Reggie Yates pointing it out on the Radio 1 chart show at the time.

Track 20: Pixie Lott – Cry Me Out

Too ballad-y and slow for me.

Track 21: Joe McElderry – The Climb

The annual inclusion of the previous year’s X Factor winner.  This is the one from 2009 that didn’t get the Christmas number one thanks to the much-publicised campaign to get Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name to number one instead.  That campaign reinvigorated my interest in the music charts after a few years of being Too Busy Being Goth, and led to my decision to follow the charts for the entirety of the 2010s to see how the decade would pan out musically.  Halfway through 2018, that particular habit is still going, and I expect it will last into the 2020s and beyond.

Anyway, the track.  It’s a pointless cover of the Miley Cyrus song, and there’s nothing else to say about it.

Track 22: Helping Haiti – Everybody Hurts

Charity cover of the REM classic by too many artists to mention.  There’s some interesting voice-spotting to be done, but the point of this cover, as ever with these things, was fundraising to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Track 23: Alicia Keys – Empire State Of Mind [Part II]

It’s Part II because this is the slow piano version.  Part I was a more upbeat song with Jay-Z rapping the main verses.  I prefer Part I, but that’s mainly ’cause I’m not into slow songs – this is still a great tune.

Track 24: Owl City – Fireflies

It’s a bit twee, but it’s a gorgeous tune – love that chorus.

Track 25: Jay-Z and Mr Hudson – Young Forever

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

The track is mainly a cover of the chorus and first verse from Alphaville’s Forever Young, which is fairly pointless but still great, ’cause it’s a great song.  The rest is filled in by rapping from Jay-Z, which is okay, but I’m definitely lining up the original to play later on.

Track 26: Cheryl and will.i.am – 3 Words

Lovely melancholy tune, quite like this one.

Track 27: Robbie Williams – You Know Me

Nice tune, but for some reason the music channels always put this on their Christmas playlists, so it’s got festive associations for me now.

Track 28: Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’

Well, we often have repeated artists on these Now! compilations, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a repeated song!  We already had the Glee Cast doing this song on track 12.

As I explained up-page, the Glee cover made this one a big hit too, and deservedly so, seeing as how it was overlooked by the UK music-buying public in the ’80s.  The piano intro is just beautiful, the lyrics are immense, and the tune is epic.

Track 29: Florence & The Machine – Dog Days Are Over

I find Florence & The Machine’s stuff a bit samey, and this is no exception.  There’s not really anything interesting about the tune, though the vocals are nice.

Track 30: Marina & The Diamonds – Hollywood

Gorgeous, unique track!  Great lyrics, awesomely different vocals.  Love this one.

Track 31: Ellie Goulding – Starry Eyed

Beautiful tune.  It was Ellie Goulding’s debut and, as far as I’m concerned, one of her best ever songs.

Track 32: Biffy Clyro – Many Of Horror

Wonderful rock track – I love the tune, and the way it builds is stunning!  I’m almost certain we’ll hear the X Factor cover version in three days’ time so I’ll skip ranting about that for now.

Track 33: Plan B – Stay Too Long

Nice retro-sounding rock track, quite like this one.  If I weren’t the queen of misheard lyrics, I’d make an effort to listen to the concept album of which it was part.  As it is, I’d probably be better off just reading the lyrics to all the songs in order to understand the story.

Track 34: Naughty Boy, Wiley and Emeli Sandé – Never Be Your Woman

Fairly pointless cover of the White Town classic with added rapping.  Always a great tune, but the original is obviously better.

Track 35: Example – Won’t Go Quietly

Great, atmospheric dance track.  Really like this one.

Track 36: Sidney Samson and Wizard Sleeve – Riverside (Let’s Go!)

Another highly danceable track – I really like the rap style.

Track 37: Gramophonedzie – Why Don’t You

Interesting track based around a sample of Peggy Lee’s Why Don’t You Do Right? from 1947.  Quite like this.

Track 38: Lemar – The Way Love Goes

I find this one a bit saccharine, but it’s got a good beat and the piano is nice.

Track 39: N-Dubz and Mr Hudson – Playing With Fire

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

Nice epic atmosphere on the chorus, but the rest of the tune’s fairly generic.

Track 40: Chiddy Bang – Opposite Of Adults

Love the electro hook, which is a sample from Kids by MDMT.  Nothing much else interesting here, though.

Track 41: Young Money and Lloyd – BedRock

Irritatingly daft track based around the infamously appalling Fred Flintstone pick-up line.  If you ignore the lyrics, it’s actually okay.

Track 42: McLean – My Name

I find the tune on this one pretty uninspired.

Track 43: Rihanna – Russian Roulette

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

I find both the lyrics and tune on this one a bit depressing.  Not the best way to end what has been an excellent Now! compilation!

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #19

Day 19, and we’ve reached 25th March 1991.

March 1991
This is the way the world looked in March 1991 (actually April, as March was photo-less – we seem to be having that issue a lot at the moment). Rocks and trees are some of those lovely timeless things that haven’t changed since before humans were around and will still be here long after we’ve gone, so I imagine these ones still look the same. I don’t think little girls wear hair ribbons as much as they used to, though (and coats are definitely not as stylish nowadays).

Let’s see what was on the radio at the time!

Now! That's What I Call Music #19

Track 1: The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go

No idea why this early ’80s classic was back in the charts, but I love it – one of my favourite Clash songs – and as chart music quality was rapidly declining at this point, I’ll take what I can get!

Track 2: Scritti Politti and Shabba Ranks – She’s A Woman

Nice tune, but there’s a bit too much going on throughout the track, so it sounds a bit messy.

Track 3: The Source and Candi Staton – You Got The Love

…and my heart just sank as I realised that the Florence & The Machine song from 2009, which I always quite liked, is a pointless ’00s cover of this track.  The lesson: never become complacent about your level of music knowledge.

(This is why I hate pointless covers so much, incidentally – I’ve always felt really aggrieved to learn that chart songs I adored when I was growing up in the ’90s were actually bland, unimaginative, nothing-new, cash-in covers of ’70s and ’80s songs.  While I typically transfer my affection to the original in such cases, I still feel pretty cheated.)

Track 4: The KLF and The Children Of The Revolution – 3AM Eternal

Nice stormy-atmosphere intro, nice vocals, nice chillout track.  Good stuff.

The version I found on Spotify has some random sampling of The Blue Danube in, for some bonus relaxation points.

Track 5: C&C Music Factory and Freedom Williams – Gonna Make You Sweat

One of those ‘ohh, it’s this one!’ moments.  I always just assumed this track was called Everybody Dance Now.  Classic dance tune, anyway, and I’ll be up on the wedding dancefloor for this.

Track 6: Nomad and MC Mikee Freedom – (I Wanna Give You) Devotion

Dull and repetitive dance song with boring sung vocals and uninspired rapping.  Not for me.

Track 7: EMF – I Believe

I really like EMF, and this is a great guitar-driven dance track.  Happily nodding along here.

Track 8: 808 State – In Yer Face

Nice electro track, love the instrumentals on this.

Track 9: Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy

Massive Attack were really killing it during this period – really like this one.  The way it builds is beautiful.

Track 10: MC Hammer – Pray

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

This one’s not bad – I quite like the melody on the sung vocals and it’s nice and upbeat.  Could do without the sampling of When Doves Cry, though (I do NOT like it when brilliant classic pop tunes are sampled as backing music in newer songs).

Track 11: Kim Appleby – GLAD

Nice piece of solid pop, a welcome breather from all the dance and hip-hop.  Lovely.

Track 12: Kylie Minogue – What Do I Have To Do?

Another great upbeat pop track from the ever-reliable Kylie (who’s still having chart hits in 2018, incidentally, but we won’t talk about that just yet).

Incidentally, I’m sure most people realise that Kylie Minogue guest starred in an episode of Doctor Who (Voyage of The Damned, 2007), but the only reason I’m pointing that out…

Track 13: Hale & Pace and The Stonkers – The Stonk

…is that Hale & Pace did too (Survival, 1989).  Nice bit of prophetic track-listing there, Now! compilers!

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

Daft novelty track from the comedy duo, which, judging by the lyrics and video, I’m guessing was for Comic Relief.  I actually quite like those guitar instrumentals.

Track 14: 2 In A Room – Wiggle It

Quite like the backing track and the chorus, but the verse is a bit repetitive.

Track 15: Vanilla Ice – Play That Funky Music

I wasn’t aware that Vanilla Ice did an awful cover of the Wild Cherry classic, but I’m not exactly surprised.  It’s very different to the original, so not a pointless cover, but there’s nothing good about all the stuff that’s different, especially not the typically bad rapping.

Track 16: Jesus Loves You – Bow Down Mister

Not a fan of the all-over-the-place vocals in the intro, or the folky guitar bit that follows.  Apparently this was Boy George’s project post-Culture Club.  It’s very different to his previous stuff, and not my cup of tea, unfortunately.

Track 17: Enigma – Sadness [Part 1]

Always love that monastic chanting.  Great classic chillout track.

Track 18: Praise – Only You

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

Another nice chillout track – lovely vocals.

Track 19: Oleta Adams – Get Here

For some reason, they always played this one on the radio on ferries in the early ’90s when I was travelling with my family, so I strongly associate it with cabin bunk beds and pristine white sheets.  Classic ballad, lovely tune.

Track 20: Rick Astley – Cry For Help

Who knew Rick Astley was still having hits into the ’90s?  Wow.

The track’s got a nice tune and a good atmospheric chorus – quite like this one.

Track 21: Robert Palmer – Mercy Mercy Me/I Want You

Good, interesting track from Robert Palmer – great vocals, nice tune.

Track 22: Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes – (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life

The Dirty Dancing soundtrack classic, back in the charts for some reason (I’d like to think that reason was that none of the new stuff being released was anywhere near as good, but I know that music taste is subjective, blah blah boring blah, and so others will disagree.  They’re wrong though – this feelgood singalong number complete with epic sax solo is worth a million repetitive house tracks).

Track 23: The Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

Another old track back in the charts, this time from the ’60s.  A bit saccharine for me, but it’s such a classic I’ll forgive it.

Track 24: Seal – Crazy

Great epic atmosphere, brilliant tune.  A classic in my book.

Track 25: Banderas – This Is Your Life

Bit of a repetitive dance number, though the vocal melody is quite interesting.

Track 26: Stevie B – Because I Love You (The Postman Song)

Slow track, but it’s got a great atmosphere – I really quite like this.

Track 27: Chris Rea – Auberge

Could do without the ‘music video’ whistling and car noises on the intro.  Just start the track, please.

Once it gets going, it’s quite interesting, if a bit slow.

Track 28: Chris Isaak – Blue Hotel

Typical dramatic atmosphere from Chris Isaak, with some great Spanish-tinged guitar.  Great tune.

Track 29: Free – All Right Now

Slightly annoying chorus, but it is a good chant-along track, especially after a few pints.

Incidentally, an old uni mate whose surname is Allwright once told me that her dad had declared this their official family song.  I did do some googling to see if I could find a good equivalent for mine, but in all honesty I don’t think I’m into the family song thing.

Track 30: INXS – Disappear

Great solid pop song, nice tune, good rockier chorus.  I like this one.

Track 31: Belinda Carlisle – Summer Rain

Really interesting tune with a great atmosphere on the verses – big fan of this.

Track 32: The Railway Children – Every Beat Of The Heart

A little saccharine for me, but the tune is quite nice.

Track 33: Thunder – Love Walked In

Bit more acoustic-y than I usually go for, but I really like the tune and the atmosphere, especially when it goes full-on rock ballad a couple of minutes in.

Track 34: Queen – Innuendo

You can always rely on Queen for a nice dramatic tune.  Good track to end today’s compilation.