Day 28, and we’ve reached 1st August 1994 with the Now! compilations.
Let’s get on with those summer hits.
Track 1: Wet Wet Wet – Love Is All Around
I remember the long, long summer when this was number one for fifteen weeks (which feels like a long time when you’re nine). I got so sick of it at the time, but I actually think nowadays that it’s quite a nice cover of the Troggs classic.
Google Image Search is failing me on this one, but the highlight of the whole thing was when Smash Hits did a parody cover from the year 2050 with ‘Wet Wet Wet still number one’ as the headline, four skeletons as the image, and a cover price of £21.50 or something. Well, I thought it was hilarious at the time. I’ll have to go through my old Smash Hits collection and see if I can find it.
Track 2: All-4-One – I Swear
In summer 1994, I visited the US for the first time with my family. I’d never been out of Europe before, and so going to North America was super, super exciting – we’re actually flying over a noticeable bump in the Earth’s surface! We’re going to see all those places from TV shows! Then I remembered that America was the place with the guns, and so I had a week-long freakout about OMG WHAT IF I GET SHOT.
Anyway, we went to New England for four weeks, none of us got shot, my dad had a good joke with airport security about how he wouldn’t like to have to stab anyone on the plane with his penknife (they laughed and let him take it in the cabin. Oh, 20th century, you were a different world!), my mum discovered iced cappuccino, we stayed in actual motels and swam in all the swimming pools, we ate silver dollar pancakes for breakfast at the Tremont House Hotel in Boston, and everywhere we went and everything we did, this song played on the radio, the biggest hit of the summer.
For the rest of the year, whenever we heard it anywhere, the wee bro and I would be all like OMG THIS REMINDS ME OF AMERICAAAA and get slightly emotional.
Uh, anyway, the track. Lovely tune, great sax solo, precious memories. Can’t beat it.
Track 3: Ace Of Base – Don’t Turn Around
Interesting tune, great jaunty beat. Like this one.
Track 4: Aswad – Shine
Great Latin-tinged track, gorgeous tune. Loved it then, love it now, a longtime favourite.
Track 5: The B-52s – (Meet) The Flintstones
‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).
Novelty cover of the classic TV theme tune, released to tie in with the live-action film. I thought the film was terrible even when I was nine, but I quite like this version of the song.
Track 6: Let Loose – Crazy For You
Smash Hits had a huge bee in their bonnet around this time about how ‘old’ and ‘decrepit’ Let Loose were. Hang on a second while I depress myself by googling how old the band members actually were in 1994.
Answer: 24, 26 and 27. Yeah.
The track is edgier and rockier than I remember, with a slight ’80s throwback vibe about it. I really like it, actually.
Track 7: D:Ream – U R The Best Thing
We already had this one, on Now! #25, which was only three compilations ago! Did the Now! compilers think nobody would notice this stuff?
Urgh. See the link for my review.
Track 8: The Beautiful South – Everybody’s Talkin’
Pretty cover of the ’60s classic – good stuff.
Track 9: Marcella Detroit – I Believe
Nice tune, nice instrumentals, but a bit slow.
Track 10: Pretenders – I’ll Stand By You
I’ve always found the tune on this one annoying, and it’s not hard enough to be a rock ballad favourite. Not a huge fan.
Track 11: Stiltskin – Inside
The only version on Spotify is a live version, which would normally warrant a YouTube Pause (TM) (I hate live versions of stuff – if I want to hear it live, I’ll go see the band), but I’m a bit pushed for time tonight so I’m being lazy with this one.
That guitar riff is absolutely classic, so I hope they put a real version on Spotify soon so I can add it to my playlist.
Track 12: Blur – Girls And Boys
Classic chant-along Britpop anthem. Brilliant song from a brilliant album.
Track 13: M People – Renaissance
Great beat, but the tune is pretty repetitive.
Track 14: Eternal – Just A Step From Heaven
Like the atmosphere – this is a nice track when it’s not the slightly irritating chorus.
Track 15: Toni Braxton – Another Sad Love Song
Fairly generic pop ballad. Not keen on this one.
Track 16: China Black – Searching
Nice jaunty beat, but the tune’s a bit so-so.
Track 17: Dawn Penn – You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)
Great, classic track – loved it then, love it now. You can’t not sing along to that chorus.
Track 18: Chaka Demus & Pliers – I Wanna Be Your Man
Annoying vocals, annoying tune. Not a fan.
Track 19: Erasure – Always
Quality synthpop as ever from Erasure, but due to this song playing on the radio during a bout of carsickness en route to the caravan (I probably wasn’t actually sick, just really nauseous due to reading in the backseat, but those associations are strong), I…still feel sick when I hear it.
Track 20: Seal – Prayer For The Dying
Lovely track from Seal – beautiful atmosphere, beautiful tune.
Track 21: The Grid – Swamp Thing
Like that banjo line – fairly solid dance track.
Track 22: Two Cowboys – Everybody Gonfi Gon
Two slightly country-inspired dance tracks in a row, but it turns out I don’t mind country-inspired so much when the Eurodance is this good. Great track, wonderful electro instrumentals.
Track 23: MAXX – Get-A-Way
Another great dance track. I may have to start making a list of requests for the next time I find myself at a ’90s night!
Track 24: Reel 2 Real and The Mad Stuntman – Go On Move
Classic bassline! The rest of the track’s not really anything special, though.
Track 25: The Prodigy – No Good (Start The Dance)
Not the first track to sample the ’80s classic You’re No Good For Me, but definitely the best. Classic stuff.
Track 26: Cappella – U And Me
Great atmosphere, great beat, great dance track. I’d forgotten how good 1994 was for dance!
Track 27: Haddaway – Rock My Heart
Pretty similar to What Is Love, but as that one’s a stone-cold classic I’m not complaining. Brilliantly danceable stuff.
Track 28: 2 Unlimited – The Real Thing
Another great dance track – how many of these were there at the time? Love those slightly eerie instrumentals.
Track 29: Sonic Surfers – Don’t Give It Up
I’m starting to feel like I’m in a nightclub. Was everything a dance track in summer 1994? Maybe I was so busy hearing Wet Wet Wet and All-4-One everywhere that I just didn’t notice.
This one is…another great dance track, believe it or not!
Track 30: DJ Miko – What’s Up
Irritating dance remix of 4 Non Blondes’ What’s Up (see Now! #25 for my review of the original version). This is a song that very definitely did not need to be turned into a generic dance track. Not keen on this treatment.
Track 31: Clubhouse and Carl – Light My Fire
Danceable beat, jauntily camp vocals, atmospheric synth lines – this one’s a lot of fun.
Track 32: Tony Di Bart – The Real Thing
Two tracks with the same name on the same Now! compilation! I feel like we’re back in the title-inspiration-starved late ’80s again.
This one’s not as good as the identically-named 2 Unlimited song, but it’s still a good dance track, and I’m still on that dancefloor in the imaginary nightclub. I’m not sure whether that Bee Gees lyric (‘if I can’t have you/I don’t want nobody, baby‘) is homage or theft, though! (Wikipedia calls it ‘sampling’, but the tune is totally different.)
Track 33: CJ Lewis – Sweets For My Sweet
Annoying chorus alert! Good dance beat though.
Track 34: Bitty McLean – Dedicated To The One I Love
Feelgood reggae-tinged cover of the ’50s classic. Nice track.
Track 35: Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue – Whatta Man
Absolutely classic collaboration, great track with a fabulous singalong chorus.
Track 36: R Kelly – Your Body’s Callin’
Found R Kelly and his penchant for underage girls creepy then, still find him creepy now. Some things don’t change!
The song’s boring, anyway.
Track 37: The Brand New Heavies – Dream On Dreamer
Oh, it’s this one! Nice upbeat track, great tune. Like this song.
Track 38: Juliet Roberts – Caught In The Middle
This one was ALSO already on Now! #25! I hope they were offering partial refunds to people who’d bought both compilations!
See link for review, yadda yadda.
Track 39: Glo-Worm – Carry Me Home
Irritating lyrics, but the tune and atmosphere are quite nice.
Track 40: Pet Shop Boys – Absolutely Fabulous
More great synthpop from Pet Shop Boys, released to tie in with the TV show. We always watched the show in our house, so I’ve appreciated this one ever since.