Now That’s What I Call Music 21

220px-Now_21

Released- 28th February 1992

Music History

Nirvana reach number one in America, so grunge is now ‘a thing’. Importantly to me now, the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy release their eponymous album. If you haven’t heard it, it really is brilliant, if you like eloquent, angry hip hop.

Me History

I’m 8. I know for a fact that by now I am wearing NHS specs. I’m just throwing it out there that these didn’t become fashionable till about 2008. So I am around 16 years ahead of the curve, fashion wise. Totally worth the judgement of my 8 year old peers to be the original proto hipster. I am now the only one who looks cool in old school photos. A minor miracle in the age of shell suits.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to lose the 21st annual Now! Hunger Games, that track would be…  Deeply Dippy by Right Said Fred. Nothing before or after could be compared to this stupid and wonderful song, save for maybe love itself.

Track by Track Breakdown

Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody”  

The best Queen song. That’s out of a pretty big field too. Absolutely brilliant, and a good reminder of the recently departed Freddie’s incredible talents, as well as a reminder of one of 1992’s best films, the near perfect SNL spinoff, Wayne’s World.

Wet Wet Wet – “Goodnight Girl”  

Bland bland bland. Beyond bland. Offensively bland. Bland on the run. Mary Whitehouse should have got it bland.

Shakespears Sister“Stay”

Sounds like nothing else ever, making me wish more truly sinister and beautiful ballads existed. So far, this project has made me invest in one back catalogue, that being The Housemartins. I didn’t regret it. I’m fairly sure I won’t regret my second, which will be Shakespear’s Sister. Truly hope they’re not just a singles band!

The Temptations –  “My Girl” 

Regrettably, The Pizza Underground will never be Macauly Culkin’s defining contribution to music, as getting this song back in the charts will top any number of fast food related Velvet Underground covers

Simply Red “Stars” 

I have tried to be objective in my reviews of these songs, and as such, Simply Red, who I’d assumed a dislike of previously, have come our very well over previous volumes, and I feel better for reconsidering my perspective. However, nothing can temper my hatred for this song. I think it’s the way he says comprehend with the emphasis on ‘hend’.

The KLF“Justified & Ancient”  

There’s really not enough house and country music crossovers. Probably the least exciting song they’ve done so far. Still more than worth the price of admission. They are barmy. Or geniuses.

Madness“It Must Be Love”  

Good hearted, well intended fun. It works for me, lilting along like a grand old ball of fun. What Madness do best.

Genesis“I Can’t Dance”  

All considerations of quality and cool go out the window here. LOVE IT.

Julia Fordham“(Love Moves in) Mysterious Ways”  

Standard balladry, with little interest, save for some terrible drum machine backing.

Crowded House“Weather with You”  

Could not be more middle of the road. However, it’s a perfect example of why this isn’t always a bad thing, because it’s an absolutely cracking song.

Right Said Fred“Deeply Dippy”  

With no irony or pretense, an early contender for best song of the 90’s. Deeply silly, but it just adds to the silliness of romance, which if we’re honest, is one of the best things about romance.

Mr. Big“To Be with You”  

I hate that I like this song. Token campfire acoustic track from an 80’s hair metal band style dreadfulness wins me over, somehow.

Everything But the Girl “Love Is Strange”  

Going this earnest and simple is a high risk strategy. Normally it comes out cloying or embarrassing. But the risk pays off here and it sounds plaintive and sweet. Gorgeous.

Roxette“Church of Your Heart”  

Like eating a bowl of plain rice on its own. Yes it’ll fill you up but by God it’s boring.

Brian May“Driven by You”  

Oh Brian. The song is passable. But the album opens with Bohemian Rhapsody. It was never going to compare favourably.

The Wonder Stuff“Welcome to the Cheap Seats”  

Irish sounding music with a cheeky sense of humour. Enjoyable but not brilliant.

The Jesus and Mary Chain“Far Gone and Out”  

Another one of those ‘I can’t believe they’re on a Now! album’ moments. Probably their most pedestrian song, but come on! They’re great!

James“Born of Frustration” 

Such a great group. I’ve never understood why James weren’t as big as Coldplay or U2. Great pop songs with a brain deserve much more success.

The Cure“High”  

Sounds like a lot of other Cure songs. Good enough, but not all that exciting.

Shanice“I Love Your Smile”  

Chilled summery pop, that even now should be somewhere on your summer barbeque playlist, between some Beach Boys, Summertime by Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and Barbecutie by Sparks.

The Pasadenas “I’m Doing Fine Now”  

Soul track which is to soul what Madonna is to growing old gracefully.

Kylie Minogue “Give Me Just a Little More Time”  

Terrible cover. Nearly endearing in its crapness. Nearly.

East Side Beat“Ride Like the Wind”

Generic dance. Plinky pianos, anonymous female vocalist. Boring.

2 Unlimited“Twilight Zone”  

Tries for the same hi-NRG hit as their last single, but has none of the fun and a weak vocal, so ends up narcoleptic.

The KLF featuring The Children of the Revolution“America: What Time Is Love?”  

A lovely companion piece to It’s Grim Up North, and another great song in its own right. Is there nothing these loonies can’t do (except settle on a name?).

Clivilles & Cole“A Deeper Love”  

C&C Music Factory was a better name. Now you just sound like a family hardware shop. The song, in keeping, has all the excitement of a packet of 3mm rawl plugs.

Opus III “It’s a Fine Day”  

I can’t adequately explain why, but this song creeps me out like photos of little Victorian children. Shudder.

Erasure“Breath of Life”  

Moodier and housier than before. Not quite as fun or enjoyable as before sadly, and all a bit standard. A dissapointment, but not a bad song.

MC Hammer “Addams Groove”  

Of very little artistic merit. But without this song and TURTLE Power I don’t know if I’d have fallen in love with hip hop. It’s almost as good as U Can’t Touch This.

Salt-N-Pepa“Expression”  

Both self referential, in using the hi hat rush from Push It slowed down, and referencing the history of hip hop as a whole, it’s just another day at the office, but frankly they do such good work, you can’t possibly complain.

Ce Ce Peniston “We Got a Love Thang”  

I think I’ve worked out the whole good vocal house thing. You need to write a good song first, then a good beat. The other way round it will always fail. They got the formula right here. Ridiculous synth horns are a great garnish on an already tasty track.

Paula Abdul “Vibeology”  

Okay, overusing the statement that this is funky is gilding the lily, but in fairness it is actually very funky and great fun.

Alison Limerick“Make It on My Own”  

More accurately, Makeweight Half Arsed Soul. Bleh.

Tina Turner“Way of the World”  

A little Al Green sounding. But mostly Anna Mae sounding. Ergo brilliant.

Curtis Stigers “I Wonder Why”  

Terribly dull. But strangely his vocal style is reminiscent of the guy from Future Islands. Which just adds to the list of reasons they’re overrated.

Diana Ross“When You Tell Me That You Love Me”  

A legend brought low with a sub Disney credits song. For Christ’s sake, she’s flat for half the song. It’s just horrible to see Diana Ross brought so low here. She is brilliant, this is not.

 

Final verdict

20/36. 55% Now! 45% never. Mid table obscurity awaits.

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.

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3 thoughts on “Now That’s What I Call Music 21”

  1. As someone who knows every single word to “Turtle Power”, I have to say I’m happy I missed that MC Hammer Addam’s Family song.

    You are spot on re: Shakespeare’s Sister – I always loved that song and wondered what happened to them.

    As for Deeply Dippy – I didn’t make it through – I’m Deeply Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing to be ashamed of with Deeply Dippy. I am fairly sure this is a massive taste based blight on my own credibility!

      Thanks for popping by, and for possessing excellent taste in 90’s pop!

      Like

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