Now That’s What I Call Music 18

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This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

Released- 19 November 1990

Music History

The end of year polls are saying the year belonged to Public Enemy, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, The La’s, Happy Mondays and the Cocteau Twins. So the Now albums have about a 33% hit rate on critical praise. On the other hand, Timmy Mallett releases a single which is shamefully overlooked by those critic snobs. Leonard Bernstein passes away, but balance is restored as Soulja Boy is born.

Me History

It’s my little sisters birthday shortly after this comes out. She gets a cat for her birthday. For the proceeding 15 years, Snoozy (she is a lazy cat) will be the most faithful, lovable cat you can wish for. Right now, however, she realises that I am terrified she’ll scratch me, and will taunt and mock me relentlessly. Ten years and I still miss you, you lazy, evil git.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the remainder were to be beaten to death by Mallett’s Mallet , that track would be… There She Goes by the La’s. You wouldn’t believe a band as largely mediocre as Cast would be borne out of a band capable of creating such a beautiful, summery, jangle pop song. Sing along and damage your vocal chords.

Track by Track Breakdown

The Beautiful South : “A Little Time”

Lovely country tinged ballad with a clever reversal at the end. Incidentally, also Callie and Arizona’s plot in the current series of Grey’s Anatomy. Further down the incidental scale, I used to be in a band on the same management as another brilliant band called Amber Room. Years later, they unexpectedly popped up in the first series of the British version of the voice, performing a grunged up version of this very song. Enjoy!

PS- their covers are nothing compared to their own material. In short, check out their Soundcloud above, you won’t be disappointed!

Steve Miller Band : “The Joker”

Only heartless men and football referees could dislike this stupid, wonderful song. Especially the Maurice whit whoo bit!

Elton John : “Sacrifice”

Bleh. He’s given up on quality control. He’s only 7 years away from defecating on one of his most beautiful songs.

Roxette : “It Must Have Been Love”

Okay sober, perfect when drunk and singing at the top of your lungs while heartbroken, I’d imagine.

Phil Collins : “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven”

His best song for about four years, but this is more evidence he’s past his prime than a return to form.

Wilson Phillips : “Hold On”

Tackier than a specific type of pin. But in being so it almost becomes the archetype for this type of motivational song. So credit there.

Sinéad O’Connor : “Nothing Compares 2 U”

It takes something special to record a Prince song and make it so nobody associates it with the Purple One. This is something special. Raw, naked emotion that gets in your soul and doesn’t let go.

The Righteous Brothers : “Unchained Melody”

I rewatched Ghost The other night. It’s a cracking film. I hate that I love it, but it really is. But Whoopi Goldberg gets nowhere near enough credit for her part in it. This song is obviously great, but everyone knows that.

Belinda Carlisle : “(We Want) the Same Thing”

Sometimes, a candy coloured silly little ditty is just exactly what you need. 5000 calories of fun. May cause hyperactivity, dancing and neon.

Status Quo : “The Anniversary Waltz (Part One)”

A medley of three chord rock and roll songs. The originals are better, but much like Jive Bunny And The Mastermixers, it involves little talent on the part of the performers.

INXS : “Suicide Blonde”

Brilliant harmonica noises. Otherwise, as half arsed as my efforts to review it.

Public Image Ltd. : “Don’t Ask Me”

PiL are miles better than the Sex Pistols. Fact. Almost good enough that I’d pardon John Lydon for the butter adverts. Almost.

Talk Talk : “It’s My Life”

Totally had this down as an 80’s track. Either way, it goes huge in the chorus, and deserves it’s love.

The La’s : “There She Goes”

Absolutely perfect slice of beautiful indie pop. Jangles and fills your heart with hope. It’s a tragedy they never went on to do more beautiful songs like this.

Tina Turner : “Be Tender With Me Baby”

Not an Anna Mae classic, but even the weak stuff is great, isn’t it?

Robert Palmer & UB40 : “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”

It’s okay. The sections where it goes double time are good for a skank. As in the dance.

Pet Shop Boys : “So Hard”

It feels like it’s been too long since there was a Pet Shop Boys song on here. Good to have them back. Without them, I’d nearly convinced myself Erasure are as good as them…

Bass-O-Matic : “Fascinating Rhythm”

Doesn’t live up to its bold claims in the title, but does have one of those godawfully brilliant ragga breakdown which says early 90’s like recessions and baggy jeans.

Soul II Soul featuring Kym Mazelle : “Missing You”

I often claim there are no genres that are irredeemable, but actually I struggle to think of a single acid jazz track that does anything but bore me. Please do prove me wrong, readers. Bear in mind I am willing to travel to kick you in the shins if you dare say Jamiroquai.

DNA featuring Suzanne Vega : “Tom’s Diner”

Haunting and effing brilliant. So simple and so listenable. I do not have the vocabulary to explain why. Off beat synth stabs and a killer melody are the main things.

Sting : “Englishman in New York”

Bloody emigrants. Going over there, taking their jobs, banging on about tantra and being the second best member of The Police… Probably his best solo song, but it’s only ever okay.

The Cure : “Close to Me”

The Cure are always best when they stop being serious, and the hand claps and horns really do make this record sweet and fun.

Neneh Cherry : “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”

Uptempo but very bleak AIDS awareness anthem. Can’t fault it for lacking in fun really, that would be mean spirited.

Blue Pearl : “Little Brother”

Feels atmospheric and a little bit proto trip hop, but doesn’t really change enough tonally to keep your interest for four minutes.

Kylie Minogue : “Step Back in Time”

Starts brilliantly, dies on its arse as soon as the tacky main music kicks in. It’ll be 2000 odd before she releases another great pop record (there is a brilliant indie phase before this, mind).

Kim Appleby : “Don’t Worry”

Horrible. Like a car crash, you can’t help but keep craning your head, then feeling awful about the fact you did…

Technotronic : “Megamix”

Their hit, mixed with some other songs that sound a lot like their hit. Gets by because Pump Up the Jam is a good song. And there’s a Flavor Flavour sample in there.

Bombalurina : “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”

I cannot be objective here, as I know for a fact that six year old me wouldn’t forgive me for criticising the host of Wacaday, Timmy Mallet. I thought this was the coolest song in the world. I now know it contains the same sample from Think (About It) as Rob Base and EZ Rock used too!

Betty Boo : “Where Are You Baby?”

Deep stupid joy. Dumber than a crate of cheese noses, and so brilliant for it. Pop taken to its basest level. Love it.

The Adventures of Stevie V : “Dirty Cash (Money Talks)”

It’s terrible, and gets worse when it becomes apparent that they literally asked the first POC they saw that day to do a rap. And yet… it’s kind of naffly charming in its way…

MC Hammer : “Have You Seen Her?”

Oh god. Rap ballad. It’s not even rapping, it’s talking. Put on the Hammerpants and sing the hit for Christ’s sake. This song is why you’re a one hit wonder.

Jimmy Somerville : “To Love Somebody”

He tried to do something different at least… Crap reggae is different from perfect pop…

Final verdict

19 out of 32. 59% greatness. Back on a good run here. Happy 90’s all.

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3 thoughts on “Now That’s What I Call Music 18”

  1. I’m not sure what it says about me that I’m most excited to discover there is an Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie … Bikini cover out there. My mother will be thrilled. It will make for fun Sunday dinner conversation.

    And Suzanne Vega was amazing – I’ve always loved Tom’s Diner.

    I think I mostly love this Now.

    Like

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