Day 85 takes us to Now! #85, which was released on 22nd July 2013.
I believe this was a good year for summer hits. Let’s see if I’m remembering correctly.
Track 1: Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers – Get Lucky
Great feelgood funk track – love this tune.
Track 2: Robin Thicke, TI and Pharrell Williams – Blurred Lines
Repeated artist alert! We’ve only just had Pharrell Williams on track 1.
This track…urgh. Infamously and rightly banned by the University of Edinburgh student union, among various other music-playing organisations, because the lyrics are really rapey and gross. The sad thing is that it would be a really great track if it weren’t for the lyrics, ’cause the tune is great and it’s really danceable.
Track 3: Passenger – Let Her Go
Gorgeous, introspective tune – really like this one.
Track 4: Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
Nice epic atmosphere, great track.
Track 5: Naughty Boy and Sam Smith – La La La
The theme is slightly irritating, but overall it’s an interesting song, which is unusual for an era where most things are really samey.
Track 6: Icona Pop and Charli XCX – I Love It
Great chant-along track – I’ve always really liked this one!
Track 7: John Newman – Love Me Again
Another song that I really like. The instrumentals are great.
Track 8: Jason Derulo – The Other Side
Forgettable tune, but the chorus is nice and epic.
Track 9: Pink and Lily Allen – True Love
I find this one a bit cheesy and annoying.
Track 10: Taylor Swift – 22
Good solid pop track – very danceable.
Track 11: The Wanted – Walks Like Rihanna
Every time I run the Great North Run, I find that because it’s the biggest race in the UK and the biggest half marathon in the world – nearly 60,000 runners these days – there’s no shortage of characters to keep me entertained (and believe me, you need that when running along miles and miles of identical-looking motorway). One guy runs the race with a portable karaoke machine, and last year, when I encountered him, he was doing this song – except he’d changed the lyrics to ‘I can’t sing, I can’t dance, but who cares, I run like Mo Farah‘. It’s possible you had to be there, but I found it hilarious, and it really got me through the rest of the race. Thanks for that, portable karaoke guy!
Anyway, it’s another solid pop song.
Track 12: Bruno Mars – Treasure
Bruno Mars still doing his 1980 pastiches – today he’s aping Michael Jackson. Good stuff.
Track 13: Olly Murs – Dear Darlin’
This one’s a bit of a dull ballad, so I’m not keen.
Track 14: Demi Lovato – Heart Attack
Great song with an awesome epic chorus. Love it.
Track 15: Selena Gomez – Come And Get It
Great tune – love the rhythm on this one.
Track 16: PJ & Duncan – Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble
’90s classic, back in the charts to raise money for Childline. It actually got to number one this time round, probably because Ant & Dec had promised to perform it on Saturday Night Takeaway. It’s still as enjoyably daft as it was in 1994.
Track 17: Iggy Azalea – Bounce
Good beat, but there’s not enough melody for me.
Track 18: Fuse ODG – Antenna
Love the rhythm on this one – very danceable.
Track 19: Nelly – Hey Porsche
The theme really irritates me, and the tune’s very uninspired.
Track 20: Paramore – Still Into You
Great tune, though the theme is a bit cheesy.
Track 21: Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
I was talking about this one yesterday when reviewing the identically-titled Rita Ora song. On the whole it’s a bit dull, but it’s got a great chorus.
Track 22: Gabz – Lighters (The One)
Cringeworthy kiddie vocals, appallingly cheesy theme. Just awful.
Track 23: Rudimental and Ella Eyre – Waiting All Night
Great beat, okay tune, but it’s pretty repetitive.
Track 24: Jessie J, Big Sean and Dizzee Rascal – Wild
Bland tune on the verses, but the chorus is okay.
Track 25: Duke Dumont and A*M*E – Need U (100%)
I find the vocals really irritating on this one.
Track 26: will.i.am and Justin Bieber – #thatPOWER
Very generic electro lines, boring tune.
Track 27: David Guetta, Ne-Yo and Akon – Play Hard
Great rhythm, great bassline, great Better Off Alone sample. Annoying video, but you can’t have everything.
Track 28: Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love
I’ve always found the tune on this one very irritating.
Track 29: Pitbull and Christina Aguilera – Feel This Moment
Annoying, repetitive track, but the Take On Me interpolation is quite fun.
Track 30: Sebastian Ingrosso, Tommy Trash and John Martin – Reload
Boring dance track, very forgettable tune.
Track 31: Armin van Buuren and Trevor Guthrie – This Is What It Feels Like
Fairly bland dance song with an annoying chorus.
Track 32: Chase & Status and Louis Mattrs – Lost And Not Found
Nice atmosphere, but the vocals are really dull.
Track 33: Chris Malinchak – So Good To Me
Another boring tune, one of those ‘summer chillout’ tracks that were all the rage at the time.
Track 34: Disclosure and Eliza Doolittle – You And Me
Dull and forgettable.
Track 35: Breach – Jack
Very little melody in this – just drum machine, spoken word and fairly tuneless bassline – but at least it’s something different.
Track 36: Wiley, Angel and Tinchy Stryder – Lights On
Bland tune, but at least this one’s actually got a tune. Very forgettable though.
Track 37: Dizzee Rascal and Robbie Williams – Goin’ Crazy
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Dizzee Rascal on track 24.
Interesting rhythm, but again the tune’s very uninspired.
Track 38: Psy – Gentleman
Follow-up to Gangnam Style that obviously wasn’t anywhere near as memorable as the original.
Track 39: The 1975 – Chocolate
Love this tune – great instrumentals, great lyrics.
Track 40: Union J – Carry You
Saccharine and bland.
Track 41: The Saturdays – Gentleman
A slightly more standard song about a ‘gentleman‘ than Psy’s attempt above. It’s actually quite edgy for the Saturdays, and I like the retro references in the lyrics. Good stuff.
Track 42: Charlie Brown – On My Way
Slow ballad, not my thing.
Track 43: Tom Odell – Another Love
Lovely piano at the start, and it’s got a nice atmosphere – quite like this tune.
Track 44: Michael Bublé – It’s A Beautiful Day
Nice and upbeat, but the song’s a bit too cheesy for me.
Day 84 equals Now! #84, which came out on 25th March 2013.
Let’s see what the hits were that spring.
Track 1: One Direction – One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)
Pointless cover mash-up of Blondie’s One Way Or Another and the Undertones’ Teenage Kicks. This was the Comic Relief single for 2013, so I guess charity fundraising is the excuse for ruining both of these classic songs.
Track 2: will.i.am and Britney Spears – Scream And Shout
I really like this danceable track, especially the well-done callback to Gimme More.
Track 3: Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble
I quite like this tune, and it’s got a good atmosphere.
Track 4: Pink and Nate Ruess – Just Give Me A Reason
Great song – love the way the duet works here.
Track 5: Rihanna – Diamonds
Another pretty tune. Very nice.
Track 6: Bastille – Pompeii
Epic and anthemic – love this one.
Track 7: James Arthur – Impossible
The annual inclusion of the most recent X Factor winner, this year doing a pointless cover of Shontelle’s Impossible, which was not a great song to begin with.
Track 8: Olly Murs and Flo Rida – Troublemaker
I quite like this jaunty track – it’s got a great singalong chorus.
Track 9: Bruno Mars – Locked Out Of Heaven
This is from my favourite Bruno Mars era, when he started doing all these pastiches of artists that were big circa 1980. This song sounds like it should have been released by the Police.
Track 10: Kesha – Die Young
Nice beat, but the tune’s pretty forgettable.
Track 11: Bridgit Mendler – Ready Or Not
Irritating vocals, boring tune, and the chorus has a poorly-done interpolation of the Delfonics ’60s song (which was already done much better by the Fugees). Nothing impressive here.
Track 12: Little Mix – DNA
Great epic atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit weak.
Track 13: The Saturdays and Sean Paul – What About Us
Another bland, forgettable song.
Track 14: Girls Aloud – Something New
Love this one! Girls Aloud sort of came to a natural finish at the end of the ’00s, and so this special tenth anniversary track is really the only thing they’ve done as a group this decade. Better one cracker than lots of poor tracks, though, and this song is great.
Track 15: Nicole Scherzinger – Boomerang
Good rhythm, but this is another uninspired tune.
Track 16: Disclosure and Sam Smith – Latch
I appreciate that it’s a bit different from most stuff that was in the charts at the time, but it’s not my kind of thing – the tune is generic and I’m not into this kind of chillout/trance stuff.
Track 17: Rita Ora – Radioactive
I usually get this one confused with the identically-titled Imagine Dragons song that came out around the same time. This one’s probably my less-preferred (though there’s not much in it – the Imagine Dragons song is pretty dull too), because the tune’s very bland, but it does have a good electro backing track.
Track 18: Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire
I quite like the instrumentals, but the tune on the vocals annoys me.
Track 19: Christina Perri – A Thousand Years
Boring ballad off the Twilight soundtrack, but at least she doesn’t sound quite as horribly off-key as she does in Jar Of Hearts.
Track 20: Emeli Sandé – Clown
I find the theme a bit awkward, and it’s too slow for me.
Track 21: Gabrielle Aplin – The Power Of Love
This was one of the first of the big ‘Christmas advert’ hits that have been a feature of Christmas music this decade. Take a classic song, record a slow, melancholy, piano-based cover with female vocals, slap it over the top of an expensive John Lewis Christmas advert, debut the advert during an X Factor ad break in early November, job done. Christmas classic guaranteed.
Of course, this was already a Christmas classic, and has been ever since Frankie Goes To Hollywood released the original in 1984. Gabrielle Aplin’s version is very pretty, but it doesn’t have the pure emotional power of the Frankie version – Holly Johnson’s performance of the second verse is capable of moving me to tears when I’m in the right place, and Aplin just can’t compare. Still, it is enjoyable, even if July is really not when I want to be hearing Christmas songs.
Track 22: Avicii and Nicky Romero – I Could Be The One
I love this dance track – obviously it’s got a great beat, but there’s also something very wistful about the vocals. I actually can’t think of anyone who was better than Avicii (RIP) at emotion-inducing EDM.
Track 23: Bingo Players and Far East Movement – Get Up (Rattle)
Daft tune, but it’s a good head-nodder.
Track 24: Pitbull and TJR – Don’t Stop The Party
Messy and irritating.
Track 25: Calvin Harris and Tinie Tempah – Drinking From The Bottle
Good beat, and I really like Tinie Tempah’s rap on this one.
Track 26: Dizzee Rascal – Bassline Junkie
Daft theme, but I find it very funny. Good stuff.
Track 27: Wiley, Chipmunk and Dayo Olatunji – Reload
Boring tune, and there’s too much going on with the track.
Track 28: Rudimental, John Newman and Alex Clare – Not Giving In
Slow and dull intro, and the tune’s very irritating.
Track 29: Conor Maynard and Wiley – Animal
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Wiley on track 27.
The rap’s very bland, as is the tune, and the whole thing’s just a bit repetitive.
Track 30: Disclosure and AlunaGeorge – White Noise
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Disclosure on track 16.
This one takes ages to get going. The electro hook’s okay, but the vocals are super bland.
Track 31: Devlin and Diane Birch – Rewind
Another very forgettable song. Also, part of the melody on the chorus rips off Heart’s Alone, which has been an irritating theme in recent Now! compilations.
Track 32: Lawson – Standing In The Dark
A little more upbeat than previous Lawson tracks, but it’s still a very bland, saccharine song.
Track 33: Biffy Clyro – Black Chandelier
I saw Biffy Clyro once. It was the worst gig I’ve ever been to. Not because of Biffy Clyro, I hasten to add – they were fine to listen to, although the heavier stuff they were playing as the second support band in 2003 wasn’t really my thing. The main act was Linkin Park, who were okay (and I am glad I got to see them given sad future events), but the SECC in Glasgow had done this thing (I don’t know if it was by band request or what) where they barriered off a huge semicircle around the stage and only let about fifteen people into it, leaving the remaining hundreds of gig-goers to squash uncomfortably round the outside of the barrier and completely ruining the atmosphere. The only person onstage who seemed to be on the audience’s side was Ian Watkins of Lostprophets, the main support band, and I don’t really want to give him credit seeing as how he turned out to be a sex offender.
Anyway, I never went back to the SECC again. Barrowlands all the way if it was a Glasgow gig, even if I did lose a lot of brain cells and earrings over the years through being booted in the head by crowdsurfers.
I think what I’m trying to say is that this song’s a lot more interesting than the stuff Biffy were doing back in 2003. I quite like the vocal hook at the start, and the chorus is great.
Track 34: Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)
There’s a nice atmospheric chant-along bit on this one – quite like the track.
Track 35: McFly – Love Is Easy
Twee and irritating. I should note that Geth appreciated the It’s A Wonderful Life sample though.
Track 36: Ben Howard – Only Love
I find this tune pretty annoying.
Track 37: The Lumineers – Ho Hey
It’s a bit twee, but it’s quite a nice, jaunty song.
Track 38: One Direction – Little Things
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had One Direction on track 1.
This one is an irritating saccharine ballad with an irritating black and white video where One Direction sit around and play acoustic guitars in an attempt to look like serious musicians. The song was apparently written by Ed Sheeran, which will surprise no one.
It was also number one on Geth’s and my wedding day, which is far from ideal.
Track 39: Pink – Try
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Pink on track 4.
This one is a gorgeous tune though – really like it.
Track 40: Gabrielle Aplin – Please Don’t Say You Love Me
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Gabrielle Aplin on track 21.
The only thing this song achieves is proving that she should have been a one-hit wonder. Dull and uninspired.
Track 41: Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere
1987 classic, back in the charts due to a mobile phone advert. Not complaining here at all – I’m very partial to Fleetwood Mac, and this is one of my favourites.
Track 42: Ellie Goulding – Explosions
Not keen on that choral bit at the start, and on the whole it’s too slow for me and I don’t find the tune interesting enough.
Track 43: The Justice Collective – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).
Charity cover of the ’60s classic to raise funds for Hillsborough victims’ charities, and the Christmas number one for 2012. Some good voice-spotting to be done here.
Day 83 equals Now! #83, which brings us to 19th November 2012 – just four days before mine and Geth’s wedding.
I am proud to report that we played absolutely none of the following songs at our wedding disco. Not even Gangnam Style.
Track 1: Psy – Gangnam Style
It’s still hilarious nearly six years later, and very danceable, even if you’re not inclined to do the comedy dance that goes with the song.
Track 2: Robbie Williams – Candy
Nice feelgood tune that gave Robbie Williams an unexpected number one later in his career. Good song.
Track 3: Swedish House Mafia and John Martin – Don’t You Worry Child
The theme is pretty cheesy, and the tune is a bit bland.
Track 4: Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Great folk-pop track with an awesome singalong chorus – really like this one.
Track 5: The Wanted – I Found You
Good danceable track, but the tune’s a bit bland.
Track 6: Calvin Harris and Florence Welch – Sweet Nothing
Another boring tune – not keen on this one.
Track 7: Maroon 5 – One More Night
Great reggae-tinged beat – this one’s a great head-nodder.
Track 8: Wiley, Skepta, JME and Dayo Olatunji – Can You Hear Me? (Ayayaya)
Love those steel drums at the start – good tune, great rhythm.
Track 9: Flo Rida – I Cry
I quite like the tune on this one – despite the title, it’s quite feelgood.
Track 10: Ne-Yo – Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)
Irritating tune, even more irritating theme.
Track 11: Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen – Good Time
Another annoying tune, and the theme is really cheesy.
Track 12: Katy Perry – Wide Awake
Again, a very bland tune.
Track 13: Pink – Blow Me (One Last Kiss)
Great beat, and I love the instrumentals.
Track 14: Little Mix – Wings
Good solid pop track – very danceable.
Track 15: Stooshe – Waterfalls
Uninspired cover of the TLC classic. What’s kind of irritating is that the surviving members of TLC show up in the video.
Track 16: JLS – Hottest Girl In The World
Good beat, but in general I find this track a bit messy and jarring.
Track 17: Nicki Minaj – Pound The Alarm
Another very danceable track, another fairly forgettable tune.
Track 18: Redlight – Lost In Your Love
Dull, repetitive tune, and the messy beat gives me a headache.
Track 19: Rita Ora – How We Do (Party)
Boring, bland track – not enough melody for me.
Track 20: Cheryl – Under The Sun
It’s got quite a nice retro tinge, but the tune’s fairly forgettable.
Track 21: Wiley and Dayo Olatunji – Heatwave
Double repeated artist alert! We’ve already had both Wiley and Dayo Olatunji on track 8.
Great rhythm, but the vocals are repetitive and irritating (and it’s never clear whether the lyric is ‘body‘ or ‘party‘).
Track 22: Sam & The Womp – Bom Bom
Daft track that’s a lot of fun. Happily chair-dancing right now.
Track 23: Labrinth and Emeli Sandé – Beneath Your Beautiful
I know the grammar of that title looks horrible – it’s actually because they’re using ‘beautiful’ as a noun rather than misspelling ‘you’re’. Still wrong, but not a your/you’re fail. ‘Beneath Your Beauty’ is what they actually mean.
Anyway, the song’s a slow, saccharine ballad, and I’m not keen on those.
Track 24: The Script and will.i.am – Hall Of Fame
Collaboration cooked up between will.i.am and Script singer Danny O’Donoghue, who were both coaches on The Voice at the time. It’s a bit awkward and poor.
Track 25: Florence & The Machine – Spectrum (Say My Name) [Calvin Harris Remix]
Not technically a repeated artist alert, but this is the second collaboration between Florence Welch and Calvin Harris on this Now! compilation.
This tune is epic and gorgeous. Lovely stuff.
Track 26: David Guetta and Sia – She Wolf (Falling To Pieces)
Boring, forgettable tune, and I don’t find any of the hooks very interesting.
Track 27: Calvin Harris and Example – We’ll Be Coming Back
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Calvin Harris on track 6, and sort of on track 25.
Nice atmosphere though, and the tune’s quite pretty.
Track 28: Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen
I find this one pretty dull.
Track 29: Naughty Boy and Emeli Sandé – Wonder
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Emeli Sandé on track 23.
Not keen on this tune – I find it a bit twee.
Track 30: Conor Maynard and Ne-Yo – Turn Around
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Ne-Yo on track 10.
This one’s another boring, uninspired tune.
Track 31: One Direction – Live While We’re Young
Extremely bland tune – very forgettable.
Track 32: Chris Brown – Don’t Wake Me Up
Irritating spoken word bit at the start, dull saccharine vocals. Not a fan.
Track 33: Amelia Lily – You Bring Me Joy
Another dull, forgettable song.
Track 34: Fun – Some Nights
Good tune – there’s something a bit folk-rock about this one.
Track 35: Example – Say Nothing
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Example on track 27.
This is another bland, uninspired tune.
Track 36: Lawson – Taking Over Me
Too cheesy for me.
Track 37: Karmin – Brokenhearted
Yet another forgettable song.
Track 38: Trey Songz – Simply Amazing
Again, this one’s far too saccharine for my liking.
Track 39: Simple Plan and Sean Paul – Summer Paradise
Nice jaunty track, though it’s a bit cheesy.
Track 40: Angel – Wonderful
This tune’s okay, and there are some interesting instrumentals going on too.
Track 41: Devlin and Ed Sheeran – Watchtower
The chorus samples/covers Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower, and there’s also a bit of the guitar riff from the Jimi Hendrix version. Other than that, it’s mainly a rap, which I’m not keen on.
Track 42: Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait
I find this tune really dull, and a bit depressing.
Track 43: Elbow – One Day Like This
2008 hit that was back in the charts for 2012 – I can’t remember why. Classic tune though, and that repeated anthemic hook at the end is epic.
Day 75 brings us to Now! #75, which came out on 29th March 2010.
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!
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.
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.
Day 72 brings us to Now! #72, which came out on 6th April 2009.
2009 really brought the electropop, from what I remember, so let’s get cracking!
Track 1: Lily Allen – The Fear
Great tune, great lyrics. I’ve always really liked this one.
Track 2: Lady Gaga and Colby O’Donis – Just Dance
Awesome danceable piece of electropop.
Track 3: Flo Rida and Kesha – Right Round
It’s based around the hook from Dead Or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), so I was always going to like this one. Flo Rida’s rap style actually goes really nicely with it.
Track 4: Alesha Dixon – The Boy Does Nothing
Alesha Dixon’s post-Strictly solo comeback song. Love this tune, and the retro big band feel is much appreciated.
Track 5: The Saturdays – Just Can’t Get Enough
Pointless cover of the Depeche Mode classic, and one of the official Comic Relief singles for 2009 (so charity fundraising, as ever, is the ‘point’).
Track 6: Kelly Clarkson – My Life Would Suck Without You
This one’s pretty acclaimed, but I’ve always found the tune and theme really annoying.
Track 7: Tinchy Stryder and Taio Cruz – Take Me Back
Nice atmosphere – I like the electro lines.
Track 8: Kid Cudi and Crookers – Day ‘N’ Nite
Boring, repetitive tune, with some irritating vocal tics going on.
Track 9: Britney Spears – Womaniser
Great pop track – love the hooks on this one.
Track 10: TI and Rihanna – Live Your Life
It’s based around the hook from O-Zone’s Dragostea Din Tei, which gives the track quite an interesting sound.
Track 11: Akon – Right Now (Na Na Na)
Nice tune, quite like this one.
Track 12: Shontelle – T-Shirt
Interesting vocals, but I find the tune very generic.
Track 13: Ne-Yo – Mad
Boring tune, annoyingly saccharine vocals.
Track 14: The Saturdays – Issues
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had the Saturdays on track 5.
I quite like the rhyming of the lyrics on this one, but the tune’s a bit dull. The Saturdays did much better songs later on.
Track 15: Leona Lewis – Forgive Me
Great vocals, great atmosphere, but the tune’s pretty forgettable.
Track 16: Girls Aloud – The Loving Kind
Another boring tune, and the vocals make it a bit too ballad-y for me.
Track 17: September – Can’t Get Over
Good beat, good electro lines. The vocals are a little generic though.
Track 18: Steve Angello, Laidback Luke and Robin S – Show Me Love
Semi-cover of Robin S’s 1993 hit, mashed up with various other things. It’s not very inspired. See my Now! #24 review for the original song.
Track 19: N-Dubz – Strong Again
Boring tune, but I quite like some of the vocal hooks.
Track 20: Katy Perry – Thinking Of You
Dull ballad, not keen on this one.
Track 21: Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah
The annual bit of karaoke from the X Factor winner. To give credit to Alexandra Burke, this is not a pointless cover: there have been so many different and beautiful versions of the Leonard Cohen classic, and she did put her own stamp on it, but it just doesn’t have as much feeling in it as classic versions like those of Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright.
Speaking of the X Factor…
Track 22: X Factor Finalists 2008 – Hero
There was an annoying trend in the late ’00s/early ’10s where the final twelve contestants in the X Factor would release a group single with everyone getting a line, which, just like the winner’s single, was inevitably a pointless cover of a classic song. This meant that everyone who was interested in pop music but didn’t care about the X Factor had to put up with not one but two irritating karaoke numbers in the charts around Christmas time. 2008’s offering was a pointless cover of the Mariah Carey song. (As often happens, the ‘point’ was charity fundraising, this time for Help For Heroes and the Royal British Legion. Charity fundraising = awesome! Releasing a soulless, uninspired remake of an existing song = not awesome.)
Track 23: Take That – Greatest Day
It should feel epic and sweeping – but I just find the tune irritating. I’m not sure why.
Track 24: Alesha Dixon – Breathe Slow
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Alesha Dixon on track 4.
This one’s got a nice backing track, but the tune is fairly generic.
Track 25: James Morrison and Nelly Furtado – Broken Strings
Irritatingly cheesy and slow ballad. Not my cup of tea.
Track 26: Taylor Swift – Love Story
Super saccharine soft pop-rock! Again, not my thing. I prefer Taylor Swift’s more pure pop stuff from the early-to-mid-’10s.
Track 27: Pink – Sober
Nice guitar, interesting theme, but the tune’s pretty dull.
Track 28: The Killers – Human
I still remember people getting irritated about the grammar of the line ‘are we human or are we dancer‘. Would it sound better and less jarring if the lyric was ‘dancers‘? Yes. Is it grammatically incorrect? Technically, no. Brandon Flowers is using ‘dancer‘ to mean a sort of faux-species here, and the use of the singular as an adjective in the same way that ‘human‘ can be used as an adjective is, I believe, meant to emphasise this.
Anyway, it’s quite a good tune.
Track 29: The Script – Breakeven
I’m generally not keen on this kind of soft rock, and this is no exception. Bland tune, very forgettable.
Track 30: Jason Mraz – I’m Yours
I find this kind of cheery, bouncy, acoustic-y track really irritating. Sorry!
Great bassline, lovely bit of electropop. Really like this one.
Track 32: Metro Station – Shake It
Really like the instrumentals on this track – great guitar, great synth. It all adds up to a nice retro ’80s tinge, which I’m all about!
Track 33: U2 – Get On Your Boots
Interesting vocals, good guitar line, quite like this one.
Track 34: MGMT – Kids
Oh, it’s this one! Lovely electro hook, great bassline.
Track 35: The Prodigy – Omen
I saw the Prodigy at M’era Luna 2009, and this song was the anthem of the weekend, with everyone singing it all over the place. Great dance track, builds beautifully, wonderful atmosphere.
Track 36: Kevin Rudolf and Lil’ Wayne – Let It Rock
Another great bassline and another awesome atmosphere – good track.
Track 37: Wiley and Daniel Merriweather – Cash In My Pocket
I like the ’60s retro tinge on this one.
Track 38: Kanye West – Heartless
Nice tune, quite like this track.
Track 39: TI and Justin Timberlake – Dead And Gone
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had TI on track 10.
Nice piano intro, nice epic atmosphere. Great stuff, though it would be better without the rap.
Track 40: Daniel Merriweather and Wale – Change
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Daniel Merriweather on track 37. Give someone else a chance, Now! compilers!
This is a great track, though – lovely tinkly piano, good beat.
Track 41: Pet Shop Boys – Love Etc.
Nice to see Pet Shop Boys back in the charts. I have missed that perfect synth! Wonderful tune.
Track 42: Duffy – Rain On Your Parade
More great instrumentals! Lovely atmosphere on this one.
Track 43: Vanessa Jenkins, Bryn West, Tom Jones and Robin Gibb – Islands In The Stream
Daft semi-cover (semi due to Robin Gibb’s involvement) of the Bee Gees-written song made famous by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, featuring comedy characters Vanessa Jenkins (Ruth Jones) and Bryn West (Rob Brydon) from the sitcom Gavin & Stacey. This was another song released for Comic Relief 2009. The video‘s funny, but the song’s a bit pedestrian until Tom Jones shows up at the end.
Day 70,and we’ve reached Now! #70, which came out on 21st July 2008.
Let’s see what those summer hits were that year.
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!