Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #103

It’s the annual summer Now! release – Now! 103 has been released today, 19th July 2019.

July 2019
This is how the world looks in July 2019, with me and Geth out racing again.

Let’s see which recent tracks have been included.

Now! That's What I Call Music #103

Track 1: Lil’ Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus – Old Town Road [Remix]

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

I’ve still got a real soft spot for this comedy cowboy rap track, especially since Billy Ray Cyrus showed up on the chorus for this new version.

Track 2: Ed Sheeran, Chance The Rapper and PnB Rock – Cross Me

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

This one’s a bit of a grower and a fairly frequent earworm.

Track 3: Billie Eilish – Bad Guy

New Hits Friday review.

This one, conversely, has got more annoying. I quite liked it when I first heard it, but I find it overplayed now.

Track 4: Avicii and Aloe Blacc – SOS

New Hits Friday review.

I’ve always quite liked these EDM-bluegrass tracks that Avicii did, and it’s nice if bittersweet that we’re getting the posthumous releases now.

Track 5: Katy Perry – Never Really Over

New Hits Friday review.

This is another one that I’m starting to find irritating after hearing it so often!

Track 6: Ariana Grande – Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored

New Hits Friday review.

This was released back in February and was a fairly frequent earworm for me in the early spring, but I’ve not heard it in months so I’m a bit surprised the Now! compilers have held it over for this compilation. It’s another one that annoys me now.

Track 7: Meduza and Goodboys – Piece Of Your Heart

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

It’s a very catchy chorus, so I can understand why it was such a big hit, but again I just find it really irritating now after months of radio play!

Track 8: Stormzy – Vossi Bop

New Hits Friday review.

I wasn’t sure at first, but I’ve really grown to like this atmospheric track!

Track 9: Shawn Mendes – If I Can’t Have You

New Hits Friday review.

I still quite like this tune! (I’m also endlessly confused by the lyric ‘I’m in Toronto and I got this view/But I might as well be in a hotel room’ – if he’s visiting Toronto, and he’s not in a hotel room, then where is he? Staying with a friend who has a really good view? Why is this not explained in the song?)

Track 10: Mark Ronson and Camila Cabello – Find U Again

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

Still very fond of this pop track!

Track 11: Mabel – Mad Love

New Hits Friday review.

This is another song that has really grown on me.

Track 12: Sigala and Becky Hill – Wish You Well

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

Again, I’m starting to get a bit weary of this one due to radio overplay.

Track 13: Pink and Cash Cash – Can We Pretend

Not a hit – it only got to number 88. The album got to number one, though.

It’s a good pop tune, if a little cheesy for my liking.

Track 14: Jess Glynne and Jax Jones – One Touch

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

This one is really, really grating after a few listens! Not a fan at all.

Track 15: Zara Larsson – Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me

New Hits Friday review.

I quite like the upbeat backing track, but on the whole I find this one a bit forgettable.

Track 16: CamelPhat and Jake Bugg – Be Someone

Not a hit – it only got to number 59.

I’m a bit surprised to hear indie singer-songwriter Jake Bugg on one of CamelPhat’s dance tracks, but his voice actually works quite well here.

Track 17: Jax Jones, Martin Solveig and Madison Beer – All Day And Night

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Jax Jones on track 14.

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

The hook is a bit annoying, but I still find this one very danceable.

Track 18: Martin Garrix, Macklemore and Patrick Stump – Summer Days

New Hits Friday review.

Another track that has really grown on me – great beat and great funk bassline.

Track 19: Little Mix – Bounce Back

New Hits Friday review.

It’s okay pop, but I find it a bit uninspired, and the Back To Life (However Do You Want Me) interpolation is slightly insipid.

Track 20: Jonas Blue and Theresa Rex – What I Like About You

New Hits Friday review.

This one is too cheesy for me and very forgettable.

Track 21: The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds Of Summer – Who Do You Love?

New Hits Friday review.

I’m not keen on the tune, and that chorus is super annoying.

Track 22: Miley Cyrus – Mother’s Daughter

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

I said when I first heard this that I thought it would become a frequent earworm, and it certainly has. It’s also become one of my favourite tracks in the chart at the moment.

Track 23: Jonas Brothers – Cool

New Hits Friday review.

It’s not really my thing, but at least it’s got a tune.

Track 24: 5 Seconds Of Summer – Easier

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had 5 Seconds Of Summer on track 21.

New Hits Friday review.

I’ve not changed my opinion on this one – it’s still squeaky and annoying. It’s also a terrible earworm, which makes it even more irritating.

Track 25: Steel Banglez, AJ Tracey and Mostack – Fashion Week

New Hits Friday review.

I still find this one a bit repetitive.

Track 26: Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – Señorita

Double repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Shawn Mendes on track 9 and Camila Cabello on track 10.

New Hits Friday review.

I’ve not been to dance class for a few weeks but I fully expect to hear this slow Latin-tinged track as cooldown music when I go back.

Track 27: Lewis Capaldi – Hold Me While You Wait

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

Pretty tune as ever from Lewis Capaldi. Nice chillout music.

Track 28: Ariana Grande and Victoria Monét – Monopoly

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Ariana Grande on track 6.

New Hits Friday review.

I still find this one pretty dull.

Track 29: Avicii – Heaven

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Avicii on track 4.

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

This one’s a nice feelgood summery tune.

Track 30: David Guetta and Raye – Stay (Don’t Go Away)

Not a hit – it only got to number 41.

Nice atmospheric dance track with a slightly retro feel.

Track 31: Bastille – Joy

Not a hit – it only got to number 46. The album got to number four, though.

I find this tune a bit depressing, which I don’t think is the intention!

Track 32: Elton John and Taron Egerton – (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again

Not actually released as a single – this is from the Rocketman soundtrack album, which got to number five.

I’ve not seen the film, but this is a fairly straightforward semi-cover (I would call it pointless if it weren’t meant to be a close replica!).

Track 33: Kylie Minogue – New York City

Not actually released as a single – this is a bonus track from her recent compilation album Step Back In Time: The Definitive Collection, which got to number one.

The track has a great disco feel, and I love the spoken word intro.

Track 34: Ellie Goulding – Sixteen

New Hits Friday review.

I still find this one saccharine and irritating.

Track 35: OneRepublic – Rescue Me

Not a hit – it only got to number 52.

I really like the guitar on this one.

Track 36: Dominic Fike – 3 Nights

New Hits Friday review.

I do still like this, but I’m finding it to be a bit overplayed at the moment.

Track 37: Lighthouse Family – My Salvation

Not actually released as a single – this is from their recent album Blue Sky In My Head, which got to number three.

Great atmosphere on this track – I’m tempted to check out the album now!

Track 38: Emeli Sandé – Sparrow

Not a hit, and not released properly as a single, though it did get to number 53 on the official download charts.

It’s a pretty tune with nice tinkly instrumentals, but it’s a little slow for me.

Track 39: Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles

Not a hit – it only got to number 65.

I find the song a bit dull, but it’s good to see indie-ish stuff on here alongside the pop and rap tracks.

Track 40: Liam Gallagher – Shockwave

New Hits Friday review.

I’m still gutted that, other than this track and a brief appearance by Catfish & The Bottlemen, there has been absolutely no rock music in the charts in 2019. I’m really hoping this trend reverses itself at some point during the 2020s!

Track 41: James Arthur – Falling Like The Stars

New Hits Friday review, plus video review.

I can’t stand this one. It’s way too saccharine for me, and the lyrics contain James Arthur’s favourite ‘romantic trope’ about holding girls’ hair back while they vomit due to overconsumption of alcohol. I have very little patience for that kind of message.

Track 42: Westlife – Better Man

New Hits Friday review.

This one’s still too cheesy for me.

Track 43: Taron Egerton – Rocketman

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Taron Egerton on track 32.

Again, this one is from the Rocketman soundtrack and hasn’t been released as an actual single.

It’s another straightforward cover – Taron Egerton’s voice is sort of similar but not identical to Elton’s, which gives it a slight uncanny valley feel.

Track 44: Himesh Patel – Yesterday

Here’s another soundtrack song – this one is from the soundtrack to Yesterday, which got to number 40 in the album chart.

Like the Elton covers, this is arranged pretty identically to the Beatles original, which, as I understand it from reading about the film’s plot, is to be expected.

Track 45: Grandmaster Flash and Grandmaster Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It)

We’ve already had this track on Now! #3…because the Now! compilers are doing exactly the same thing as they did on the last compilation, and so the last few tracks are all bonus tracks that originally appeared on the third release back in 1984! Now! #3 is also being re-released today, on CD for the first time. I really need to start picking up these re-releases again – I got Now! #1 on CD last summer but haven’t bought Now! #2 yet.

Because the Now! company was posting Duran Duran pictures in order to tease the re-release on social media, I was hopeful that they’d include The Reflex as a bonus track, but sadly there was no love for it this time round – I’ll just have to enjoy the original White Lines (famously a DD cover a decade later) instead!

See my review on Now! #3 – track 10.

Track 46: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Locomotion

Love OMD and I’m gutted I missed out on tickets for their upcoming tour!

See my review on Now! #3 – track 4.

Track 47: The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men

Still a party classic!

See my review on Now! #3 – track 26.

Track 48: Nik Kershaw – I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Not my favourite Nik Kershaw track, but still a good tune.

See my review on Now! #3 – track 2.

We’ll return to the world of Now! in the autumn for Now! #104 (and presumably a re-release of Now! #4!).

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #102

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!

April 2019
This is the way the world looks in April 2019, with me and my ‘absolute beginner ukuleles’ classmates doing our thing up on stage. Fun fact: one of the songs we performed appeared on Now! #54, while the other has never been on a Now! compilation.

Let’s have a look at the Now! compilers’ roundup of what’s been going on in the chart recently.

Now! That's What I Call Music #102

Track 1: Ariana Grande – 7 Rings

New Hits Friday review.

Still think this is a bit of a daft interpolation, but I don’t hate it as much as I used to.

Track 2: Ava Max – Sweet But Psycho

New Hits Friday review.

Pretty much loved this bit of synthy pop from the start, and I’m still a big fan. Should have been Christmas number one!

Track 3: Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart

New Hits Friday review.

Another great pop track. At first I wasn’t keen on the country edge, but I’ve really grown to love this one.

Track 4: Calvin Harris and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Giant

New Hits Friday review.

I’m still not a huge fan of this one – it just doesn’t hook me.

Track 5: Pink – Walk Me Home

New Hits Friday review.

Still too acoustic-y for me, but I have grown to like the epic feel on the chorus.

Track 6: Sam Smith and Normani – Dancing With A Stranger

New Hits Friday review.

I originally felt this one was a bit generic, but it’s become a fairly regular earworm for me, and I find I quite like it now.

Track 7: Tom Walker – Just You And I

New Hits Friday review.

It’s a little cheesy, but it’s a pleasant upbeat tune.

Track 8: Jonas Brothers – Sucker

New Hits Friday review.

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.

Track 9: George Ezra – Pretty Shining People

New Hits Friday review.

I still can’t get over the blatant REM title ripoff. Urgh.

This one’s a little bland (can’t win ’em all, George), but it’s an okay tune.

Track 10: James Arthur – Empty Space

New Hits Friday review.

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.

Track 11: Lewis Capaldi – Grace

New Hits Friday review.

I first heard this one on the BBC over Christmas, and at first I thought it was a bit too wistful/singer-songwriter/acoustic-y etc. for me. But I’ve really come to like it – it’s a gorgeous tune.

Track 12: Jason Derulo, David Guetta, Nicki Minaj and Willy William – Goodbye

New Hits Friday review.

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

New Hits Friday review.

Another frequent earworm. I quite like the staccato on the verse.

Track 14: Marshmello and Chvrches – Here With Me

New Hits Friday review.

I find this one a bit forgettable, though the tune is very pleasant when I do remember how it goes.

Track 15: Cardi B and Bruno Mars – Please Me

New Hits Friday review.

Still love the retro feel on this track. Straight out of 1988! Well, apart from the NSFW lyrical content.

Track 16: Khalid – Talk

New Hits Friday review.

I really like the soft bubbly synth effects on this one.

Track 17: Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up

New Hits Friday review.

I wasn’t keen at first, but it’s been a grower and I quite like this solid pop track now.

Track 18: Charli XCX and Troye Sivan – 1999

New Hits Friday review.

Liked it when it came out, love it now! Shamelessly retro, actually sounds like the year it’s celebrating. Great stuff.

Track 19: Sigrid – Don’t Feel Like Crying

New Hits Friday review.

Another good danceable pop track, probably my favourite of Sigrid’s output so far.

Track 20: CamelPhat, Cristoph and Jem Cooke – Breathe

New Hits Friday review.

It’s kind of nice to have a dance track on here now that dance tracks are becoming a bit rarer in the charts. Nice tune, too.

Track 21: Jax Jones and Years & Years – Play

New Hits Friday review.

Good tune – I always nod along to this one.

Track 22: Zedd and Katy Perry – 365

New Hits Friday review.

I do like the Spanish-tinged opening, and the atmosphere is great when it gets to the chorus.

Track 23: Zara Larsson – Ruin My Life

New Hits Friday review.

This one makes me really uncomfortable! I can’t get past the awful message in the lyrics, which is basically ‘go back to someone who’s really bad for you’.

Track 24: Dua Lipa – Swan Song

New Hits Friday review.

There’s some great stuff going on with the instrumentals, but I find the vocal line pretty bland.

Track 25: Ariana Grande – Thank You Next

New Hits Friday review.

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Ariana Grande on track 1.

The tinkly instrumentals are quite nice, but I’m not sure how I feel about the ex-dissing lyrical content.

Track 26: Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved

New Hits Friday review. (LOL I said it was too slow for me and now it’s my favourite song in the chart!)

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Lewis Capaldi on track 11.

Not complaining though, because this is an absolutely beautiful tune that has deservedly just scored a seventh week at number one. Song of the year, whatever happens in the next eight months.

Track 27: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – Shallow

New Hits Friday review.

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.

Track 29: Jess Glynne – Thursday

New Hits Friday review.

I’m still not particularly keen on this one – I just find the theme a bit awkward.

Track 30: Freya Ridings – Lost Without You

New Hits Friday review.

I do appreciate the simplicity of the song, but it’s just a bit too slow for me.

Track 31: James Arthur and Anne-Marie – Rewrite The Stars

New Hits Friday review.

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)

Again not a hit on the singles chart – it only got to number 46 – but this was also a number one album.

Wonderfully retro-sounding as ever from the 1975. Great tune, great beat.

Track 34: Westlife – Hello My Love

New Hits Friday review.

This one’s still a bit too cheesy for me.

Track 35: Take That – Everlasting

This track wasn’t even released as a single, but again the album got to number one.

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.

Great bit of soft rock – really like this one.

Track 37: Bryan Adams – Shine A Light

No single release for this song, but the album got to number two.

Great beat, but it’s a little too acoustic-y for me. Nice to see Bryan Adams still rockin’ up Now! compilations though.

Track 38: Michael Bublé – Love You Anymore

Again no single release, but it was a number one album.

As usual for Bublé, it’s far too saccharine for me, but it is nice and feelgood.

Track 39: Rod Stewart – Look In Her Eyes

Yet another one that wasn’t released as a single, but the album went to number one.

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.

Track 42: Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t It Be Good

Still a classic from Nik Kershaw.

See my review on Now! #2 – track 2.

Track 43: Matthew Wilder – Break My Stride

I have this one on my running playlist these days!

See my review on Now! #2 – track 11.

Track 44: Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Want To Have Fun

One of my earliest ’80s favourites.

See my review on Now! #2 – track 9.

Track 45: Culture Club – It’s A Miracle

Still love that daft boardgaming video!

See my review on Now! #2 – track 25.

Track 46: Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now

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.

See my review on Now! #2 – track 3.

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!

New Hits Friday: 5th April 2019

Five new hits in the chart today.

Ariana Grande and Victoria Monét – Monopoly

It’s fairly generic and there’s not much of a tune or hook to speak of. I like the Monopoly reference though.

The video is all Snapchat filters and old-school home video effects, with some bonus massive shoulders on Ariana’s outfit.

Lil’ Nas X – Old Town Road

Rap meets country ‘n’ western? That’s a new one on me. I have to say I quite like it, if only for the novelty value. (I laughed out loud at the line ‘cowboy hat from Gucci’ – possibly the only ‘Gucci’ line in a song that has ever not made me roll my eyes!)

The video takes the form of a trailer for a cowboy videogame with graphics from circa 2006. Good stuff!

Westlife – Better Man

Starts off sounding like every other Westlife ballad ever released over the last twenty years, then the chorus reveals hints of its Ed-Sheeran-written nature. I was all about this kind of cheese back in 1999, but it’s not my thing nowadays really.

The video is the group singing in the studio, interspersed with a ’90s teenage love story. These two plot threads come together at the end when the teenage characters are revealed to be the studio’s sound engineer and her husband, promptly making everyone feel old.

Jay1 – Your Mrs

There’s a nice ominous feel on the backing track, but it’s not tuneful enough for me. I do like it when the robot-sounding voice joins in on the last verse though!

Best parts of the slightly NSFW video: the funky artwork on the walls of Jay1’s fancy house, and the comedy bit with the guy outside whose Mrs is apparently the subject of the track.

Billie Eilish – Bad Guy

Another nice creepy atmospheric track from Billie Eilish – there’s a bit of a classic lounge-y feel to this one as well. I’m really enjoying her stuff at the moment!

Lots of trippy imagery going on in the video, which is fairly standard for the artist.

More new hits next week.

New Hits Friday: 18th January 2019

Lots of new entries in today’s chart!

Khalid – Saturday Nights

I quite like the acoustic guitar, and it’s a pretty tune, but it’s a bit too sedate for my liking.

There’s no video for this one yet.

Flipp Dinero – Leave Me Alone

It’s got a good rhythm, but there’s not enough melody for me, and it’s very repetitive.

The video is all about smoking weed and dancing in supermarkets. Dancing in supermarkets is a bit of a trend in hip-hop videos at the moment.

Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved

It’s got a pretty tune and a lovely atmosphere, but it’s too slow and saccharine for me.

The video is just Lewis Capaldi playing guitar in what looks like a train station waiting room, but the surroundings are quite nice.

Catfish & The Bottlemen – Longshot

*blink* Is this…is this actual rock music in the chart? In 2019? Are my ears deceiving me?

I can’t tell you how refreshing this is. It’s not exactly the most original rock song ever, but OMG IT’S A ROCK SONG.

The video is black and white and there’s some stuff with an old truck, but it’s mostly a performance in a marquee, which is fine.

Westlife – Hello My Love

It’s a bit more upbeat and atmospheric than Westlife’s stuff usually is, but it’s still very cheesy.

There’s a lot of pretty stuff in the video like pink lights and rocks and colourful hot air balloons. It does have that awkwardness inherent in ‘manband’ videos though. Pick up some guitars or something, lads, the earnest singing poses aren’t really cutting it now you’ve been going for twenty-plus years.

Gesaffelstein and The Weeknd – Lost In The Fire

It’s got a great atmosphere and lovely retro synths. I really like this one.

The video is very arty and image-heavy, most of which is quite pretty.

Calvin Harris and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Giant

It’s got an okay tune, and I like the soul feel and the trumpets.

The video’s not been released yet.

Sam Smith and Normani – Dancing With A Stranger

It’s a nice tune, but it’s a bit generic.

Again, there’s no video at the moment.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #80

Day 80 brings us to Now! #80, which came out on 21st November 2011.

November 2011
This is how the world looked in November 2011 (actually October). This was a pub somewhere near Southampton, but I have no idea exactly where. I’m actually wearing that hoodie right now, but it is getting a bit worse for wear.

Let’s see what was soundtracking my first few months living in Southampton.

Now! That's What I Call Music #80
Track 1: Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger

This one reminds me of unpacking all the stuff in our new flat when we first moved to Southampton.  I’ve always really liked this one – great tune, and the theme is awesome.

Track 2: Rihanna and Calvin Harris – We Found Love

Nice tune, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 3: One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

Revoltingly saccharine!  Everything about this track is just irritating.

Track 4: Bruno Mars – Marry You

It’s a bit cheesy, but I quite like the tune.

Track 5: JLS – Take A Chance On Me

I like the piano at the start, but again, the song in general is too saccharine for me.

Track 6: Christina Perri – Jar Of Hearts

It would be a good song if she could actually sing.  Seriously, it’s so off-key!  Why was this even allowed to be released?

Track 7: Kelly Clarkson – Mr Know It All

Highly irritating tune, and I’m not keen on the theme.

Track 8: Olly Murs and Rizzle Kicks – Heart Skips A Beat

Great track – I love this one!  Upbeat, feelgood, awesome tune.

Track 9: The Wanted – Lightning

I like the instrumentals, but the vocals are kind of annoying.

Track 10: Pixie Lott – All About Tonight

Good solid danceable pop, and lyrical references to shoes are always a winner with me.

Track 11: The Saturdays – All Fired Up

Fairly generic dance track, but the tune’s okay, and it’s quite danceable.

Track 12: Lady Gaga – The Edge Of Glory

Great pop tune!  Love the sax solo too, obviously.

Track 13: Will Young – Jealousy

Irritatingly whiny and insipid.

Track 14: James Morrison – I Won’t Let You Go

Painfully boring and depressing ballad.

Track 15: Ed Sheeran – You Need Me, I Don’t Need You

Great upbeat track, and I’m sorry, but I still find the elevator lyric hilarious.

Track 16: Damien Rice – Cannonball

Too slow and earnest for me.

Track 17: Lana Del Rey – Video Games

Gorgeous tune!  An all-time favourite.

Track 18: Charlene Soraia – Wherever You Will Go

Slow, dull ‘TV advert’ cover of the Calling song.  It’s a good tune, but the original beats this hands down.

Track 19: Goo Goo Dolls – Iris

Absolutely beautiful tune – a classic rock track from the ’90s, back in the charts due to somebody performing it on Britain’s Got Talent.

Track 20: Matt Cardle – Run For Your Life

Achingly boring.

Track 21: Westlife – Lighthouse

Jarring lines, saccharine vocals.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 22: Adele – Set Fire To The Rain

Gorgeous tune – love the atmosphere on this.

Track 23: Professor Green and Emeli Sandé – Read All About It

I find this one a bit depressing.

Track 24: Gym Class Heroes and Adam Levine – Stereo Hearts

The tune’s okay, but the rap’s really uninspired.

Track 25: Labrinth and Tinie Tempah – Earthquake

Great, danceable track – really like this one!  That monastic bit is wild.

Track 26: Jason Derulo – It Girl

Cheesy and forgettable.  Not a great song.

Track 27: Dappy – No Regrets

Again, there’s something very depressing about the tune on this one.

Track 28: David Guetta and Usher – Without You

Boring tune, uninspired lines.

Track 29: Calvin Harris – Feel So Close

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Calvin Harris on track 2.

I find this tune pretty dull.

Track 30: Leona Lewis and Avicii – Collide

I remember there was a bit of upset at the time, according to the Radio 1 DJs, because Avicii hadn’t originally been credited despite the fact that it was his track and Leona Lewis was just singing over the top.  Anyway, the tune’s a bit repetitive and bland.

Track 31: Example – Stay Awake

Slightly awkward theme, but the vocals are good.

Track 32: Sean Kingston – Party All Night (Sleep All Day)

Daft theme, but it’s a pleasant enough tune, if a bit bland.

Track 33: Tinchy Stryder, Calvin Harris and Matthew Burns – Off The Record

Repeated artist mega alert!  We’ve already had Calvin Harris on both track 2 and track 29.

Boring electro hook, generic rap.  Not a fan.

Track 34: Sak Noel – Loca People

Another daft theme, and the track itself is pretty repetitive and dull.

Track 35: Rizzle Kicks – Down With The Trumpets

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rizzle Kicks on track 8.

This song is great though – wonderful atmosphere.  I absolutely love the vocal style, and the lyrics are brilliant.

Track 36: Cher Lloyd and Mike Posner – With Ur Love

Extremely generic and forgettable.

Track 37: Jessie J – Who’s Laughing Now

Very irritating hooks and vocals, and I’m not keen on the theme.

Track 38: Rihanna – Cheers (Drink To That)

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

Nice feelgood tune, quite like this one.

Track 39: Sean Paul and Alexis Jordan – Got 2 Luv U

Good beat, and I quite like the vocal hook.

Track 40: Emeli Sandé – Heaven

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Emeli Sandé on track 23.

This track’s awesome, though – very Massive Attack-esque.

Track 41: Maverick Sabre – I Need

Boring, forgettable tune.

Track 42: Wretch 32 and Josh Kumra – Don’t Go

Gorgeous tune, even if it is a little depressing.

Track 43: The Collective – Teardrop

Too many artists to mention collaborating on the Children In Need single for 2011 – a cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop.  There’s a lot of misplaced rap; it’s not horrible but it’s pretty uninspired.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #68

Day 68 takes us to Now! #68, which was released on 19th November 2007.

November 2007
This is how the world looked in November 2007. Well, it did if you were in a smoky neon synthpop club with your boyfriend, which is frankly the best place to be when you’re twenty-two.

It’s the time of year for party tracks.  Don’t disappoint me, Now! compilers!

Now! That's What I Call Music #68
Track 1: Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

Lovely tune, quite like this one.

Track 2: Take That – Rule The World

I’ve always found this one a bit jarring, because the verse and chorus are two beautiful tunes that don’t really work with each other.  Just when you’re enjoying one, it breaks the mood by switching to the other.  Should have been two separate songs.

Track 3: Kylie Minogue – 2 Hearts

I like the stripped-back instrumentals at the start – it gives the track lots of edge and atmosphere.  The vocals are great too.

Track 4: Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse – Valerie

I mentioned this cover four days ago in my review of the Zutons original on Now! #64.  It’s a great, bombastic big band version, and I really like it, but the classic-rock-tinged original still has the slight edge for me.

Track 5: Sugababes – About You Now

Quite like this tune – nice solid pop song.

Track 6: Kanye West – Stronger

Really like this atmospheric electro-infused track – it’s probably the best song Kanye West ever did.

Track 7: Craig David – Hot Stuff (Let’s Dance)

It’s based around a sample of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, which is obviously appreciated, but the rest of the track is very generic and just makes me want to go listen to Let’s Dance instead.

Track 8: Sean Kingston – Beautiful Girls

Pretty tune, quite like this one.  At the time, because I wasn’t following chart music very closely, I kept getting it mixed up with Mika’s Big Girls (You Are Beautiful).  The songs are very different, but that’s the power of a title.

Track 9: Shayne Ward – No U Hang Up

I like the electro-tinged instrumentals – it’s getting into that late ’00s era when that was in vogue, yay! – but the vocals are too cheesy for me.

Track 10: Timbaland, DOE and Keri Hilson – The Way I Are

Oh, it’s this one!  That electro hook is absolutely classic.  Great atmospheric track.

Track 11: Britney Spears – Gimme More

It’s Britney, bitch‘.  I remember everyone found this comeback a bit laughable at the time, but it was sampled brilliantly a few years later when she did Scream And Shout with will.i.am.  I really like the electro bassline on this one, too.

Track 12: Rihanna – Shut Up And Drive

Great guitar on this one – it’s an unusual style for Rihanna, but I really like it.

Track 13: Girls Aloud – Sexy! No No No…

Awesome epic atmosphere – it builds really nicely at the start and then launches into a brilliantly frenetic rock-tinged song.  Big fan of this one.

Track 14: Robyn and Kleerup – With Every Heartbeat

Quite like the chilled-out backing track, but the vocals are too high-pitched for me.

Track 15: Enrique Iglesias – Tired Of Being Sorry

Nice Latin tinge, though it jars slightly with the electro instrumentals.

Track 16: Groove Armada and Mutya Buena – Song 4 Mutya (Out Of Control)

Nice retro ’80s-sounding backing track, but I’m not hugely keen on the vocal style constantly veering between sung and spoken.

Track 17: Se:Sa and Sharon Phillips – Like This Like That

Nice upbeat track, with more retro instrumentals.  Very danceable.

Track 18: Ida Corr and Fedde Le Grand – Let Me Think About It

There’s a bit too much going on in this dance track, and it doesn’t all work together.

Track 19: Axwell and Max C – I Found U

Bit of a throwback to early ’90s dance, with some added ’70s retro instrumentals for good measure.  The tune’s boring though.

Track 20: Freaks – The Creeps (Get On The Dancefloor)

Another dull tune, with a very repetitive backing track.

Track 21: Peter Gelderblom – Waiting 4

House remix of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ By The Way.  It’s okay, but it’s one of those ones where I just want to listen to the original instead.

Track 22: David Guetta and Chris Willis – Love Is Gone

Some very irritating siren-sounding instrumentals in the middle of this one, but otherwise it’s quite a good upbeat electro track.

Track 23: Plain White Ts – Hey There Delilah

Pretty tune, but it’s a bit too acoustic-y and twee for my liking.

Track 24: James Blunt – 1973

Always love a 20th-century-inspired title!  Unfortunately the tune is not 20th-century-inspired – I was hoping it would be four-on-the-floor glam rock.  Instead, it’s a fairly standard melancholy one from James Blunt – pretty tune, but not really my style.

Track 25: Newton Faulkner – Dream Catch Me

Boring tune, irritating twangy guitar.  Not keen.

Track 26: The Hoosiers – Worried About Ray

Interesting instrumentals, good atmosphere, but the vocals irritate me.

Track 27: Scouting For Girls – She’s So Lovely

This one has always annoyed me – I find the tune and theme very twee.

Track 28: Feist – 1234

Too acoustic-y for me, and again I find the vocals irritating.

Track 29: Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight

We’ve already had this one on Now! #12!  I don’t care how awesome that 2007 Dairy Milk ad with the gorilla was – there’s no excuse for repeating songs!

As ever, see the link for my review.

Track 30: Avril Lavigne – When You’re Gone

Lovely piano at the start, but the vocals are too high-pitched and hurt my head.

Track 31: McFly – The Heart Never Lies

Horribly saccharine and repetitive.  Not my kind of thing at all.

Track 32: Amy MacDonald – Mr Rock And Roll

Nice tune – if I were in a folk-rock mood I would absolutely love it, but I’ve not been that way inclined lately.

Track 33: KT Tunstall – Hold On

Not keen on the jarring guitar lines at the start, but it’s got quite a good atmosphere.

Track 34: The Killers and Lou Reed – Tranquilise

I shouldn’t like this, as the lines are sort of messy and jarring, but it actually works really well to create an awesome epic atmosphere.

Track 35: Stereophonics – It Means Nothing

Dull and drone-y, not a fan of this one.

Track 36: Peter, Björn & John and Victoria Bergsman – Young Folks

Oh, it’s this one.  I’ve always found that whistling really annoying, especially due to its use in the Homebase adverts!

Track 37: Freemasons and Bailey Tzuke – Uninvited

Great atmosphere, but the vocals are irritatingly generic.

Track 38: Mika – Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)

Daft theme, but it’s quite nice and feelgood.  At the time, because I wasn’t following chart music very closely, I kept getting it mixed up with Sean Kingston’s Beautiful Girls…oh, wait, I’ve done that anecdote.  Great bassline and retro feel, anyway.

Track 39: Amy Winehouse – Tears Dry On Their Own

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Amy Winehouse on track 4.

Great tune though, quite like this one.

Track 40: Jennifer Lopez – Do It Well

Some great, epic instrumentals going on here – good stuff.

Track 41: Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry

Slow and cheesy – not keen on this track.

Track 42: Akon – Don’t Matter

Nice tune, but the vocals are a bit too saccharine for me.  Also, it kind of rips off R Kelly’s Ignition.

Track 43: Nicole Scherzinger and will.i.am – Baby Love

Super irritating tune on the vocals!  Don’t like this at all.

Track 44: Westlife – Home

The usual nauseatingly saccharine guff from Westlife.  Time to line up that original version of Let’s Dance.

Three days in a row without a ‘Not on Spotify’ incident!  It would be nice if we’d seen the last of them, but I suspect there will still be a few lurking about.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #65

Day 65 equals Now! #65, which was released on 20th November 2006.

November 2006
This is what the world looked like in November 2006. This is embarrassing levels of hoarding, but I still have that pack of sparklers – I’ve just not finished the packet yet (mainly because I can rarely be bothered to drag Geth outside to light sparklers on Bonfire Night these days). Maybe now we have a proper garden, I’ll make an effort to finish them off this November. Apart from anything else, if the incense sticks I’ve been burning this week are anything to go by, the sparklers are probably well past their best-before-end date by now.

As it’s still the mid-’00s, let’s hope for more rock and less pop, as the former was definitely better at the time.

Now! That's What I Call Music #65
Track 1: Scissor Sisters – I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’

Despite the name, this is a highly danceable track.  Great tune.

Track 2: Shakira and Wyclef Jean – Hips Don’t Lie

A classic – love that trumpet intro.

Track 3: Girls Aloud – Something Kinda Ooooh

The tune’s a little generic, but it’s a good solid upbeat pop song.

Track 4: The Fratellis – Chelsea Dagger

Oh, it’s this one!  Classic chant-along hook, but it can get super irritating.

Track 5: Amy Winehouse – Rehab

I always found the theme of this one really annoying, but it is a good tune.

Track 6: James Morrison – Wonderful World

Nothing special about this tune – it’s very forgettable.

Track 7: Robbie Williams – Lovelight

Good beat, but I could do with a bit more melody on this one.

Track 8: Christina Aguilera – Ain’t No Other Man

Nice soul tinge, but I find the tune dull.

Track 9: Justin Timberlake – SexyBack

Great beat, great atmosphere.  Really like this one.

Track 10: Nelly Furtado and Timbaland – Promiscuous

Repetitive verse, not enough melody.  The chorus is nice and atmospheric though – they should have just had that bit.

Track 11: Beyoncé – Déjà Vu

Very generic-sounding – not keen on this one.

Track 12: Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone – Ridin’

Great atmosphere, quite like this track..

Track 13: Bob Sinclar, Cutee B, Dollarman, Big Ali and Makedah – Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)

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

Basically a cover of C&C Music Factory’s Gonna Make You Sweat with added rapping over the top.  It’s okay, actually.

Track 14: Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit

I couldn’t find a radio edit of this, so I’m having to listen to the whole six minutes.  Repetitive hi-hat intro, annoying repetitive videogame-music hooks, very boring.  It’s probably very danceable if you’ve consumed the right substances.

Track 15: Fergie – London Bridge

Way too messy at the start, and there’s not enough melody for my liking.  Also, the theme is terrible.

Track 16: The Pussycat Dolls – I Don’t Need A Man

Nice tune on the vocals, but in general the track’s not really that interesting.

Track 17: Ne-Yo – Sexy Love

Boring, saccharine, with jarring lines.  Not keen on this at all.

Track 18: Cassie – Me & U

Great atmosphere on the intro, but it’s very generic once it launches into the vocals.

Track 19: Lemar – It’s Not That Easy

I like the mid-century retro tinge, but the tune’s a bit bland.

Track 20: Rihanna – Unfaithful

Love the piano at the beginning – this one’s got a great atmosphere.

Track 21: Westlife – The Rose

Cover of the Bette Midler song.  It’s very typically Westlife, i.e. far too slow and saccharine for me.

Track 22: High School Musical Cast – Breaking Free

It’s a boring tune, and the female vocals are horribly grating and high-pitched!  I’ve had a headache since about thirty seconds in.

Track 23: Razorlight – America

Lovely tune, great chorus – really like this one.

Track 24: Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

Another great festival anthem from Snow Patrol, though it’s kind of slow so I have to be in the right mood for it.

Track 25: Paolo Nutini – Last Request

Boring tune, too slow, cheesy lyrics.  Not my thing.

Track 26: Keane – Nothing In My Way

I quite like the atmosphere, but again it’s too slow for me.

Track 27: The Feeling – Never Be Lonely

The tune’s okay, but it’s too cheesy – there’s not enough edge for me.

Track 28: Kasabian – Empire

Finally, something a bit more upbeat!  Great track, really like this one.

Track 29: The Killers – When You Were Young

Really like the riff and the atmosphere – good stuff.

Track 30: Pink – U + Ur Hand

It’s a bit repetitive, until it gets to the singalong chorus, which is great.

Track 31: Lily Allen – LDN

Great feelgood track – I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 32: All Saints – Rock Steady

All Saints making a comeback.  It feels like that came around fast.  This song’s actually better than most of their old stuff – I really like the beat and the atmosphere.

Track 33: Simon Webbe – Coming Around Again

Good beat, but the tune’s pretty bland.

Track 34: Jamelia – Something About You

Great atmosphere, but again the tune on the vocals is just not interesting enough for me.

Track 35: Bodyrox and Luciana – Yeah Yeah

Irritating backing track, irritating vocals, no melody.  Not to my liking at all.

Track 36: David Guetta and The Egg – Love Don’t Let Me Go (Walking Away)

Mash-up of The Egg’s Walking Away and David Guetta’s Love Don’t Let Me Go.  It’s pretty messy, and the original tracks aren’t exciting enough in my book to provide any interest.

Track 37: Cascada – Everytime We Touch

Another reminder from your friendly local proofreader that ‘every time’ should be two words – there’s no such word as ‘everytime’.

Cheesy vocals, generic trance backing track.  The chorus is a cover of the Maggie Reilly track of the same name (which was thus responsible for the grammatical error) from 1992, but thankfully I’m not familiar enough with the original to be as offended as I usually am by trance covers.

Track 38: Michael Gray and Shelly Poole – Borderline

The sample of ’70s hit Ready For Your Love gives this track a nice retro tinge, but it’s otherwise pretty bland.

Track 39: Beatfreakz – Superfreak

Pointless cover of the Rick James classic, Super Freak (not sure why Beatfreakz made it all one word).  This sounds more like a remix than a cover, but I can’t find enough information on it to be sure.

Track 40: El Chombo – Chacarrón

Daft novelty song made famous through internet memes and such.  Nothing redeeming here.

Track 41: Gnarls Barkley – Smiley Faces

Great atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit dull in my book.

Track 42: McFly – Star Girl

Extremely bland tune, very forgettable.

Track 43: Matt Willis – Hey Kid

I like the instrumentals, but it’s too slow and I find the vocals boring.

Track 44: David Hasselhoff – Jump In My Car

Daft cover of the ’70s rock classic from the Hoff.  I’m not familiar with the original, but I’m guessing this cover’s probably pointless.  I actually quite like it, so I should definitely make sure to check out the original.

Track 45: Meat Loaf – It’s All Coming Back To Me Now

Super dramatic cover of the song made famous by Céline Dion (for all the drama about how Meat Loaf always saw it as his song, see the Wikipedia page).  It’s the kind of epic, atmospheric power ballad that Meat Loaf does best, and this version is fantastic, although I do really like the Céline Dion one as well.

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.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #62

Day 62 takes us to Now! #62, which came out on 21st November 2005.

November 2005
This is how the world looked in November 2005. One of the many things I learnt from José, who was not the most passive of cats, was the art of cat-wrangling. I applied that particular skill just this afternoon, when Guinness, the cat from next door, successfully breached our house’s defences due to Geth leaving the patio door open and I had to put him out again.

Let’s have another go with these mid-’00s hits.

Now! That's What I Call Music #62
Track 1: Sugababes – Push The Button

The tune’s a little repetitive, but it’s a good solid pop song.

Track 2: Robbie Williams – Tripping

Really like the beat on this – lots of interesting stuff going on.  Good track.

Track 3: The Pussycat Dolls and Busta Rhymes – Don’t Cha

I shouldn’t like this, but it’s got a good rhythm and I’ve always been quite fond of it.

Track 4: Daniel Powter – Bad Day

Awful and whiny.  The complete opposite of my kind of thing.

Track 5: David Gray – The One I Love

I find this one really dull and kind of annoying.

Track 6: Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone

I like the rock-tinged guitar, but the vocals are too generic for me.

Track 7: Will Young – Switch It On

Good beat, but the tune’s not interesting enough.

Track 8: Girls Aloud – Biology

It’s an okay pop song, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 9: McFly – I’ll Be OK

The tune’s annoying, and the vocals are really not my thing.

Track 10: Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict A Riot

Absolute classic.  This one was great to see live at T in the Park 2005 – the energy in the crowd was immense.

Track 11: Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To

Interesting as ever from Franz Ferdinand – great tune.

Track 12: KT Tunstall – Suddenly I See

I’ve always found this tune incredibly irritating.

Track 13: t.A.T.u – All About Us

I wasn’t aware that t.A.T.u made a brief comeback in 2005.  Good atmosphere, quite like this one.

Track 14: Hilary Duff – Wake Up

Irritating high-pitched vocals, boring tune.

Track 15: Rachel Stevens – I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)

The attempt at a rock edge is a bit cringeworthy, but the tune is quite good.

Track 16: Liberty X – Song 4 Lovers

Starts off as a slow piano ballad with a nice atmosphere, then somebody starts rapping all over everything.  Dreadful.

Track 17: Friday Hill – Baby Goodbye

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

The instrumentals are nice, but the vocals are a bit too cheesy for me.

Track 18: Simon Webbe – Lay Your Hands

Everything about this is extremely dull.  Not my thing at all.

Track 19: Mariah Carey – We Belong Together

Another slow ballad with a bland tune.

Track 20: Elton John – Electricity

Lovely piano line, but it’s a little slow for me.

Track 21: Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles

Nice Celtic-inspired instrumentals, but I don’t like the vocal line.

Track 22: Westlife – You Raise Me Up

One of the most saccharine ballads from the most saccharine of bands.  It’s almost unbearable.

Track 23: Gorillaz – DARE

Great tune, brilliant hooks.  Love this one.

Track 24: Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl

Good chant-along chorus, good beat.  Really like this.

Track 25: Kanye West – Diamonds From Sierra Leone

The Shirley Bassey Diamonds Are Forever sample is cracking, and I do like the ‘forever ever‘ nod to Ms Jackson by Outkast.  Great atmosphere on this one.

Track 26: Coldplay – Fix You

This was everywhere during summer 2005 as Coldplay headlined Glastonbury.  The tune is nice and anthemic, if extremely overplayed, but the theme and lyrics are really problematic.

Track 27: Oasis – The Importance Of Being Idle

Nice interesting tune from Oasis, much better than the generic stuff they’d been putting out for a few years at this point.  Love the instrumentals.

Track 28: The Black Eyed Peas – Don’t Lie

Interesting intro, but once it gets into the main part of the track it’s a bit dull.

Track 29: Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani – Can I Have It Like That

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Gwen Stefani on this compilation.

Good beat, but there’s not enough melody for my liking.

Track 30: Goldfrapp – Ooh La La

Nice piece of chilled-out pop – I’ve always quite liked this one.

Track 31: Mylo and Miami Sound Machine – Doctor Pressure

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

Mash-up of Mylo’s Drop The Pressure and Miami Sound Machine’s Doctor Beat.  I hate mash-ups, as they usually ruin both songs.  This one’s not horrible, but I’d still far rather listen to the original version of Doctor Beat.

Track 32: Bob Sinclar and Gary Pine – Love Generation

The spoken word intro is pretty uninspired, but the guitar line is nice, if a bit repetitive.

Track 33: Daddy Yankee – Gasolina

Who knew Daddy Yankee (of Despacito fame in 2017) actually had a hit back in 2005?  Every day’s a learning experience.

This track’s got a great atmosphere and some interesting lines, but it could do with some more melody.

Track 34: Rihanna – Pon De Replay

Good beat, very danceable.

Track 35: Amerie – 1 Thing

The instrumentals are okay, but the vocals are too high-pitched for me and give me a bit of a headache.

Track 36: Akon – Bananza (Belly Dancer)

It’s got a good beat, but the tune’s pretty boring.

Track 37: Mattafix – Big City Life

Some interesting lines going on here, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 38: Damian Marley – Welcome To Jamrock

Nice reggae beat, but there’s not enough going on with the tune.

Track 39: Depeche Mode – Precious

The lead single off the beautiful Playing The Angel album.  This track is absolutely stunning, with a haunting atmosphere and gorgeous instrumentals.

Track 40: U2 – City Of Blinding Lights

Not hugely keen on this one – the tune is a bit uninspired.

Track 41: The Magic Numbers – Love Me Like You

I still find this tune a bit twee, but there’s a kind of mid-’00s summery nostalgia about it now.  Maybe because the Magic Numbers seemed to be constantly on Jools Holland and BBC festival footage and the like in 2005.

Track 42: Texas – Getaway

Really like this track – lovely tune, great instrumentals.

Track 43: Bon Jovi – Have A Nice Day

Nice classic rock sound – I love that Bon Jovi never really change.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #50

Day 50 takes us to Now! #50, which came out on 19th November 2001.

November 2001
This is the way the world looked in November 2001 (actually October). Venice is timeless, but my neon shirt and flared jeans were most definitely not. I’ve been thinking a lot about 2001 lately as I’ve been seeing a lot of old friends who were my closest people at the time. I always used to think of it as the best year of my life, and it was indeed special in a way that can’t be matched (you’re only sixteen once), but I wonder if I should perhaps be a little more forward-looking. Maybe the best year is still to come.

50 Now! compilations down!  We’re halfway through this marathon!

Now! That's What I Call Music #50
Track 1: Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

Loved it at the time, love it now.  Stunning piece of pop that gives me warm nostalgic feels for autumn 2001.

Track 2: Westlife – Uptown Girl

Pointless cover of the Billy Joel classic that was the Comic Relief single for 2001 (so it raised a lot of money, but it’s otherwise pointless as it doesn’t change anything from the original).

Track 3: DJ Ötzi – Hey Baby

Dance cover of the ’60s classic.  This was played at pretty much every pub and nightclub I went to in late 2001, and then sung drunkenly by people on the bus on the way home.  Why, no, that never became infuriating at all.

Track 4: Bob The Builder – Mambo No. 5

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

Daft cover of the Lou Bega song where all the lyrics have been changed to be construction-themed.  I’m sure the kids loved it.

Track 5: Steps – Chain Reaction

Utterly pointless cover of the Diana Ross classic.  Seriously, it’s pretty much identical to the original.

Track 6: Five – Let’s Dance

Fairly standard pop fare from Five.  It’s a good head-nodder, but not very inspiring.

Track 7: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Take Me Home

Nice tune, good chillout vibe.

Track 8: Wyclef Jean – Perfect Gentleman

Good upbeat tune on the backing track, but the theme is a bit hamfisted.

Track 9: City High – What Would You Do?

Good head-nodder, but the track is fairly messy and switches gears a lot.

Track 10: Blue – If You Come Back

Boring, saccharine ballad.  Not my thing.

Track 11: Nelly Furtado – Turn Off The Light

Pretty, tinkly instrumentals on the intro, but I’m not keen on the vocals.

Track 12: OPM – Heaven Is A Halfpipe

Daft skater song that was everywhere at the time.  I’ve always quite liked it.

Track 13: The Dandy Warhols – Bohemian Like You

Great, anthemic singalong rock track.  Love that energetic chorus.

Track 14: Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal

Pop-punk cover of the Michael Jackson song.  I loved it at the time and bought the single, but I far prefer the original these days.

Track 15: Sum 41 – Fat Lip

Another pop-punk anthem – love this one.

Track 16: Wheatus – A Little Respect

Dodgy guitar cover of the Erasure classic.  I suppose it’s at least different.

Track 17: Travis – Sing

I was a huge Travis fan back in the day, and I still really like their stuff.  This is a great track that builds beautifully to an epic chorus.

Track 18: Jennifer Lopez – Ain’t It Funny

Nice Latin tinge – love that dramatic flamenco bit at the start.  Good stuff.

Track 19: Emma Bunton – Take My Breath Away

Fairly generic slow song, nothing interesting here.

Track 20: Gabrielle – Don’t Need The Sun To Shine (To Make Me Smile)

Boring tune, very forgettable.

Track 21: Lighthouse Family – (I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be) Free/One

Pretty song, but it’s a bit slow for me.

Track 22: Kate Winslet – What If

Pretty ballad released to tie in with the animated film of A Christmas Carol.  This is most definitely a Christmas song nowadays, though it also reminds me of friends singing it at me at the time, ’cause it was a thing that they all thought I looked like Kate Winslet.  Not sure about that!

Track 23: iiO – Rapture

Oh, it’s this one!  Love the hook – good classic dance track.

Track 24: Supermen Lovers – Starlight

Great epic intro, good beat, nice retro tinge.  Big fan of this.

Track 25: Jamiroquai – Little L

Like the funk instrumentals, but the tune’s not as memorable as other Jamiroquai tracks.

Track 26: Destiny’s Child – Bootylicious

Great danceable pop track – I’ve always really liked this one.

Track 27: D12 – Purple Hills

Quite like the backing track, and the chorus is quite good to nod along to, but the multi-rapper stuff doesn’t really do anything for me.

Track 28: Eve and Gwen Stefani – Let Me Blow Ya Mind

Another good danceable singalong track – big fan of this!

Track 29: Britney Spears – I’m A Slave 4 U

Good beat, but the chorus has always annoyed me.

Track 30: Mis-Teeq – One Night Stand

Good epic atmosphere, good singalong chorus.  Quite like this one.

Track 31: Mary J Blige – Family Affair

Another atmospheric track – good stuff.

Track 32: Samantha Mumba – Baby Come On Over

Dull tune, irritating vocals.  Not keen on this one.

Track 33: Liberty X – Thinking It Over

I always like a bit of Spanish guitar, but the rest of the track’s pretty dull and messy.

Track 34: Victoria Beckham – Not Such An Innocent Girl

I’ve always found this song very so-so, but the video‘s great.

Track 35: Louise – Stuck In The Middle With You

Fairly uninspired cover of the Stealers Wheel classic.  It needs more edge.

Track 36: Geri Halliwell – Scream If You Wanna Go Faster

I’ve always found this track pretty irritating – the tune is dull and the lyrics are just random, jarring and awkward.  Not a fan.

Track 37: Allstars – Things That Go Bump In The Night

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

Good spooky atmosphere – I’ll be putting this on my Hallowe’en playlist.

Track 38: N-Trance – Set You Free

We’ve had this one already, on Now! #30!  I thought the Now! compilers were getting better at not doing that.

See the link for my review.

Track 39: The Ones – Flawless

Oh, it’s this one.  Good head-nodder, but the tune’s not exciting enough for me.

Track 40: Daft Punk – Digital Love

Nice feelgood tune, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 41: Groove Armada – Superstylin’

Irritating mishmash of sounds, very messy, and not enough melody for my liking.

Track 42: Jean-Jacques Smoothie – 2 People

Annoying noise on the intro, then it launches into a fairly generic dance tune.  The vocals are quite nice though, and I appreciate the hint of saxophone later in the track.

Track 43: So Solid Crew – 21 Seconds

Interesting vocals, and it’s good to nod along to, but it does get pretty dull after a while.

Track 44: Afroman – Because I Got High

It’s quite a funny song, but because my stoner friend had it on constantly at the time, I got a bit sick of it.