Now That’s What I Call Music 28

220px-Now_28

Released- 1st August 1994

Music History

A big summer of reggae here. Along with Wet Wet Wet hogging the number 1 spot. Kurt Cobain joins the 27 club, sadly. And Parklife and Definitely Maybe come out, setting up the groundwork for an amusing rivalry next year.

Me History

This was my first Now album! Somebody put an advert on the notice board in Sainsbury’s saying they’d bought the CD, and would sell the cassette for £2. I made my Dad drive me across town to buy it. Totally worth it! I pretty much wore the magnetic tape down to nothing.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to be chewed up by my boom box, and unsalvageable despite my best efforts with an HB pencil and a lot of patience that track would be…  Girls and Boys by Blur. Stiff competition from the dream team of En Vogue and Salt n Pepa, but Blur were a turning point for my nascent musical tastes.

 

Track by Track Breakdown

 

Wet Wet Wet – “Love Is All Around”

Troggs cover. Spent more weeks at number one than Hugh Grant says, ‘Fuck’ in the first 5 minutes of 4 Weddings and a Funeral{citation needed}. Nothing wrong with it, but it loses some of the sweetness of the original with its pomp and bombast.

All-4-One –  “I Swear”

Sweet and soulful 90’s R&B slow jam. The sort of song that is great, but if you ever tried to use it in attempt to woo somebody, you would be roundly ridiculed.

Ace of Base – “Don’t Turn Around”

So so cover of a reggae classic. The bleak feel is kind of interesting, but not by any stretch a classic.

Aswad –  “Shine”

Best reggae track yet on these albums. And that’s actually quite a large field. And now I think about it, probably actually joint first with Inner Circle’s Sweat. But still really good.

The BC52’s – “(Meet) The Flintstones”

We got through the 80’s with far too little from the B52’s, which is a crying shame. Still, I’ll take this beautifully silly cover. And they changed their name especially!

Let Loose – “Crazy For You”

Very well put together MOR pop. To my amusement, I can still remember that their singer songwriter is called Richie Wermeling, and that Smash Hits entertainingly rechristened him Richard Wormything.

D:Ream – “U R the Best Thing”

The song is dull, but isn’t their keyboardist a nice chap! I now listen to this for the keyboard line, and think isn’t it a pity that Brian Cox and Sir Patrick Moore didn’t form a keys and xylophone duo and record a concept album about dying stars.

Both review and song were featured on Now 25. Seriously. Only a year ago. Or three weeks in my case. Poor effort compilers!

The Beautiful South – “Everybody’s Talkin'”

Nice enough Nillson cover. Probably the worst effort they’ve done yet. The original song is good enough to carry it, but unexciting version.

Marcella Detroit – “I Believe”

Continuing lack of excitement here. Makeweight balladry.

The Pretenders – “I’ll Stand By You”

Thanks to Comic Relief, I now think of this song as Theme Song to African Children Dying of Malaria and Dysentery. It is one of those pieces of music, like half of Coldplay’s our, which is as moving as you decide you want it to be. Which is at least, a clever trick.

Stiltskin – “Inside”

Was it Kurt Cobain’s death, or this theme tune for fashion pants that killed grunge? Bleeeeehhhhh.

Blur  – “Girls & Boys”

The song that launched my unhealthy obsessions with indie music and being Graham Coxon. For reference the order of the chorus is as follows;

Girls
Boys
Boys
Girls
Boys
Girls
Girls
Boys

Commit this to memory for drunken singalongs. The words in between are utterly irrelevant.

M People – “Renaissance”

Damn it M People! I want to dislike you but you keep writing killer choruses!

Eternal –  “Just a Step from Heaven”

Still on a roll. I’ve noticed that I miss a really snappy snare. These days drums seem murkier, like they’re ashamed of their drum machines.

Toni Braxton – “Another Sad Love Song”

Moderately engaging ballad, with good singing from the inventor of psychosomatic contractions in pregnancy, along with firebrand comedian Bill Hicks. True story*.

China Black – “Searching”

Pleasant, simple and nice. It has an interesting trick where it feels like it skips a beat and leaves no space between verses.

Dawn Penn – “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)”

Bleak and affecting, yet danceable and summery. Incredible balancing act, incredible song. An actual work of art.

Chaka Demus and Pliers“I Wanna Be Your Man”

Dull as heck. Some groups are made for the more uptempo ones. This attempt to slow it up for the romance is cloying and tiring.

Erasure“Always”

Wonky future pop which could still stand it’s ground next to Robyn or Charli XCX today. So forward thinking and really rather good.

Seal – “Prayer for the Dying”

Sign O’ The Times for people who thought that song was a little too subtle in its message, and a bit too funky.

The Grid – “Swamp Thing”

There should totally be more banjo led techno. I say this without irony.

Two Cowboys –    “Everybody’s Gonfi Gon”

Entertaining hoe down dance mash up. But don’t come crying to me when this leads to Cotton Eye Joe people.

MAXX  – “Get-A-Way”

Pretty standard house fare with a little bit of terrible faux patois going on (or gwan on I suppose). I miss the banjos now.

Reel 2 Real featuring The Mad Stuntman – “Go On Move”

More ragga stupidity, and almost as good as I Like to Move It to boot! I worry it may fall apart if they release a single without the word ‘move’ in the title though.

The Prodigy – “No Good (Start the Dance)”

Somehow they missed last year’s Max Romeo sampling genius classic Out of Space. Criminal. Luckily, Braintree’s finest crack out classics like I produce moderately entertaining reviews of 90’s pop songs.

Cappella  –  “U & Me”

Irredeemably shite.

Haddaway – “Rock My Heart”

Sometimes a thing can be almost exactly the same, yet nowhere near as good. And this is basically What is Love, except doubleplusungood.

2 Unlimited – “The Real Thing”

In defense of their decreasing quality, this at least has an amusingly portentous organ break, and it’s not often you can say that.

Sonic Surfers – “Don’t Give It Up”

A million monkeys on a million typewriters would throw these lyrics away before anyone judged them.

Don’t you give it up
Don’t you ever stop
Take it to the top
Will this fucking do.

DJ Miko – “What’s Up”

Back from Now 25, but this time with a deeply unnecessary dance beat. 4 Non Blondes riginal is thankfully good enough that even with the deeply unnecessary twist, it’s still not awful.

Clubhouse featuring Carl – “Light My Fire”

The dance selection at this point is getting larger and more niche. Case in point, this track would only be enjoyable in the later stretches of a long night, with class A inebriation. Sober it is repetitive, simplistic and cheesy.

Tony Di Bart – “The Real Thing”

Very prophetic. In that I’m pretty sure Ne Yo, Crisis Brown et al were doing this same soul lite over terrible 90’s beats thing in 2012.

C.J. Lewis – “Sweets for My Sweet”

This album has a lot of covers. Reggae version of The Searchers here. Incredibly good for a 90’s summer, and I’m not grumpy enough to complain about it!

Bitty McLean – “Dedicated to the One I Love”

Same trick as the prior track, but not even a saxophone solo can spoil it’s warmth and fuzziness.

Salt-N-Pepa with En Vogue  – “Whatta Man”

You know those World’s Finest comics where Superman and Batman team up? This is the female hip hop/R&B version of that. But even better. A team up like salt and vinegar, or air and not suffocating. It just should be.

R Kelly“Your Body’s Callin'”

Despite his limited subject matter (hey- let’s have sex!) I can’t help but enjoy R Kelly. His repertoire does expand later on, to both motivational songs and the demented soap opera of Trapped in the Closet.

The Brand New Heavies – “Dream On Dreamer”

Their best song, by dint of being boring, rather than offensively bad.

Juliet Roberts – “Caught in the Middle”

In the middle of this song, I removed my headphones to buy a sandwich, and Real Love by Clean Bandit was playing, and I realised nothing at all had changed at this poundstore dance end of the scale. Depressing.

Not strictly true this time round, but again, this song was on Now 25, and it definitely wasn’t worth a second go around.

Gloworm – “Carry Me Home”

Pleasant, soulful and well produced, if not the most exciting song ever.

Absolutely Fabulous – “Absolutely Fabulous”

If that’s not Neil Tennant on the chorus it’s a perfect imitation. Otherwise, it’s just bits of dialogue from Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. Good if you like the TV series, and I do!

Final verdict

22.5 out of 40. 56%. Solid, thankfully, as otherwise I might have trampled my childhood.

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.

* Disclaimer. Truth is subjective, and to the untrained eye, this may appear to be a big fat lie.

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4 thoughts on “Now That’s What I Call Music 28”

  1. This was also one of the first Now Albums that I bought on CD with my own money and I too played it over and over. It was back in the day when double albums were double the size and it really messed up my cd rack lol

    Like

    1. I know! They never fitted anywhere, and the teeth that held the CD in place always broke! hope all is well with you. You should check out ‘Then Play Long by the way- another fool like us trying to review everything ever. I have my next plan planned. But I’m only halfway as of this week, so it’s a ways off yet!

      Liked by 1 person

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