Lemon and Dill Savoury Muffins

Savoury muffins? What heresy is this? It’s heresy which is very nice cut in half, buttered and served with a bit of smoked salmon is what it is.

Also, I’m baking more and more these days. This time last year, I had baked once. I tried to make scones, which ended up so dense I sent them to CERN to investigate as a possible source of black holes.

This version is inspired by The Intolerant Gourmet again, though I have made some unsubstitutions. It remains gluten and yeast free, but if you like yeast and gluten, you can just use standard ingredients!

Ingredients

Makes 6 muffins. Or more mini muffins if you use a cupcake tin. Theoretically, you could make one uber-muffin in a pie dish, but I cannot be bothered to amend the cooking times for this, even if now I’ve thought it, I think it might be my greatest idea EVER.

  • 300g Gluten Free plain flour (Doves Farm is pretty good and widely available)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 250ml rice milk
  • 70ml olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dill, or equivalent fresh
  • A lemon
  • Cumin seeds (optional)

You’ll need scales and a muffin tin too!

Method

Grease up your muffin tin, and preheat your oven to 180c.

Add all the solid ingredients to a mixing bowl, and give it all a good mix together. Grate in the rind of the lemon, taking care not to go too deep- the white under-rind (is that even a word?) is unpleasant on the tongue.

In a measuring jug, measure out your rice milk and olive oil, and add the beaten eggs and about 1tbsp of the juice from the lemon.

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Pour the liquid over the flour mixture, in about four batches, beating it together with a wooden spoon each time. You should end up with a nice looking batter.

Spoon this into the muffin tins, trying to keep it roughly even. If you fancy the addition, a sprinkling of cumin seeds on top can be a pleasant extra, though by no means essential.

Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes, until browned. They should make a nice hollow ‘DONK’ if you tap one on the bottom when they’re done.

Leave to cool on a wire rack, then, as recommended above, serve cut into two with a little smoked salmon. Or pick your own filling, but that works for me. Avocado and a tiny spritz of chilli flakes would be pleasant, I would imagine.

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Now That’s What I Call Music 34

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Released-  12th August 1996

Music History

KISS and the Sex Pistols reform. The Sex Pistols have the decency to admit it’s all about the money (it’s called the Filthy Lucre tour), but I fall in love regardless. Other than that, a quiet few months. MTV2 launches, and the first video is Where It’s At by Beck. I know I buy Odelay at the time, and start another great obsession.

Me History

It’s that first Summer break from secondary school. I think it’s one of the first times I go to Spain on holiday too. We go to Puerto Pollenca in Mallorca, and I develop a taste for paella, tortilla Espanol, and giant Tic Tacs. It’s all kinds of brilliant, and I still love Spain to this day, as you may realise from my recipes…

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to be headed the same way as John Major (bless his cricket loving soul), that track would be…  Wannabe. There are better, worthier songs on here. I mean dammit, I went to see Mad Max At the weekend and I want it to be California Love so the video can match. But there hasn’t ever been a better pop debut. Fact.

Track by Track Breakdown

Spice Girls – “Wannabe”

As a statement of intent, there are few better in the history of pop. The concept of the band, the style, the attitude, all summed up in 3 minutes. They never top it.

Robbie Williams –  “Freedom”

Robbie Williams covers other successful boy band escapee, George Michael, in the style of the Happy Mondays to try to establish some indie cred. Shamefacedly transparent.

Peter Andre featuring Bubbler Ranx“Mysterious Girl”

Famous for this song and marrying the plastics and retardation magnate Jordan. I can’t work out which is worse. This song is liked ironically by the sort of man who thinks unwanted groping is just ‘bantz’. That’s how bad it is.

Dodgy  – “Good Enough”

Maybe it’s the fact that a I write this, the sun has come out for what feels like the first time in weeks, but a resounding yes and a click of the heels for this one!

Ocean Colour Scene – “The Day We Caught the Train”

The first band I ever saw live! At Margate Winter Gardens about a year after this album. This is a good old fashioned reminisce about a summer’s day song with a singalong chorus. An enjoyable one at that.

Continue reading Now That’s What I Call Music 34

Eurovision Song Contest 2015: The Results…And Some Questions!

A small change from my usual Sunday repost. What did we do wrong (again)? Do we fail at Eurovision just to boost Rooney and co’s feelings at their piss poor World Cup efforts? WHY CAN’T WE JUST ENTER DAVID BOWIE?

Talk About Pop Music

We have a winner! Måns Zelmerlöw from Sweden has won the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 with the song Heroes.

In one of the most closely scored finals this song eventually ran away with the votes to take us back to Sweden next year.

There’s no doubt its a great song performed by a handsome guy with some fantastic staging. I think it was the staging that just gave it that extra edge over the runners-up Russia. Well done Sweden and good job that Måns!

So, Eurovision is over for another year. Well, for normal people it is but Eurovision never really ends for me and I have a few questions that need answers!

The United Kingdom came a pathetic 24th out of 27 countries and only scored 5 points. In a year where the contest that although did have some political voting it was far, far less than has been known…

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Mayonnaise

Shop bought mayonnaise uses citric acid in it, which is a yeast magnet made from some kind of fermented mould. Mmm. And here I was thinking they just used a bit of lemon juice. How naive I am.

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So, I’ve finally learned to make my own mayo. It’s surprisingly simple with an electric whisk and a degree of patience, and keeps for a good week or so.

Unsurprisingly it also has so much more rich flavour, and a pleasingly gelid texture over any crystal white product off the shelf. It is also incredibly adaptable. Want a Spanish style aioli? Add a couple of cloves of finely chopped garlic. Domino’s style pizza dip? Add some oregano and garlic. Something a little middle eastern? add a sprinkling of sumac and paprika. Spicy? Add some chilli flakes.

Finally, the one most important thing? Use the blandest oil you can. Do you like the taste of olive oil, uncooked and out the bottle? If you don’t, you won’t like it in your mayo either!

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp English mustard powder
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 250ml bland tasting oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

In a large bowl, add the two egg yolks (I just use the egg shell to separate them from the albumen, passing it back and forth and using the egg shell as an impromptu knife to separate them). Mix in a little salt and pepper, the vinegar and the mustard powder.

Continue reading Mayonnaise

Now This Probably Isn’t What Anyone Would Call Music 1

The first in an occasional series, which I am releasing surreptitiously, and quietly, as I am fairly sure they’re terrible. In line with the Now! project where I am attempting to review every song from every Now! album, I am also attempting to record a quick and dirty cover of one song from each. Please bear in mind that I am a mediocre guitarist, and a below average singer. As such, I will be trying to cover the stranger, sillier end of the songs on the Now albums

Anyway, here is the first. For your pleasure, Antipathti murders Men at Work.

Now That’s What I Call Music 33

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Released-  18 March 1996

Music History

Take That split up, causing all sorts of misery for teenage girls, and wry amusement for teenage boys. Little did we know the horror they would yet bring. Jarvis Cocker becomes a national treasure after invading the stage at the Brit Awards during Michael Jackson’s performance and waving his bottom at him. In fairness, whoever thought allowing MJ to impersonate Jesus while surrounded by little children should earn an honorary membership of the Sex Offenders Register.

Me History

12 years old, and enjoying school a lot. I have shot up to about 6 foot so tower over my diminutive classmates, but sadly, I only grow outwards from this day forth. Being at a grammar school, I wear a nifty blazer, which makes me look damn cool.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to be remembered as keenly as MJ’s aforementioned performance of Earth Song, that track would be… I Got 5 On It, by the narrowest of margins. It would have been Street Spirit by Radiohead, but to be fair, it isn’t a pop song, and Disco 2000 is also great, but I have been (in keeping with the era) very indie-centric for the last couple of records, and a posse cut like I Got 5 On It deserves respect too!

Track by Track Breakdown

Queen –  “Too Much Love Will Kill You”

The Brian May original was on Now 14, but let’s be fair, a version with Freddie singing was always going to be better. But again, innapropriate title Brian.

Oasis – “Don’t Look Back in Anger”

Anthemic. Get drunk and stick it on. Everybody will sing along. The first definite sign that Oasis is, basically, just Noel and some other guys.

Babylon Zoo – “Spaceman”

Immense intro. If the whole song was like that it’d be amazing. Sadly it descends into sub David Bowie meets William Gibson mediocrity shortly after.

Supergrass – “Going Out”

Okay first single from their second album. I’ll spoil the surprise- they never top I Should Coco, and end up becoming irritating society types…

Pulp – “Disco 2000”

Just a perfect song about the sweetness and inanity of teenage love, and hopes and dreams and naivety and perviness. All in a great 4 minute pop song. Ain’t life grand?

Cher – “One by One”

Still a beautiful and unique voice. I just wish someone would write her a good song.

Meat Loaf – “Not A Dry Eye In The House”

It’s just so joyfully over the top, that you can’t even find fault with it. the pomp and theatrics and melodrama are a joy to behold.

Enya – “Anywhere Is”

Yay, it’s one of the two Enya songs with a discernible tune! I don’t dislike it! The lyrics are pretty piss poor though.

The Connells – “’74–’75”

It’s like a flask of weak lemon drink (c. Fist of Fun) but for some reason, I can’t quite find it in my heart to loathe it as I should.

Boyzone – “Father and Son”

Like finding Cat Stevens beaten senseless in your porch. What have they done Cat? What did those nasty Irish boys do? Don’t worry, Cat. One day they’ll be replaced by Westlife, that’ll show them for what they did. Come inside Cat. I’ll make tea… for the tillerman. I’m sorry Cat. I couldn’t resist.

Blur – “The Universal”

Blur get all existential, and worry about the future of our prozac fuelled monoculture. And yet they still find time to throw in a huge, uplifting chorus.

Paul Weller – “Out of the Sinking”

Probably his best effort in 14 years. Almost average. Just a bit too dull.

Cast  – “Sandstorm”

Completely and utterly enjoyable. Lyrically it’s all guff, but it’s tuneful, catchy guff that I can’t help singing along to.

Mike + the Mechanics  – “All I Need Is a Miracle”

Beyond the Jump (the Van Halen one) style intro, in danger of failing it’s MOT.

Status Quo with The Beach Boys  – “Fun, Fun, Fun”

The original, minus all the good members and joy. Mike Love is genuinely the worst human alive.

Terrorvision – “Perseverance”

Skittering, jitterish and massively upbeat song. Genuinely one of my favourites of the era. Terrorvision also seem unfairly forgotten today!

Lush – “Ladykillers”

Feminist rock about the sheer uselessness of men. If I could disagree with the sentiment I’d hate it. I can’t, and I flipping love it.

Levellers – “Just the One”

A pretty perfect summation of the joy/horror af a day wasted. And catchy as heck to boot! If I’m not careful I’ll end up wearing sandals..

Radiohead – “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”

Definitely in my top 5 Radiohead songs. Which puts it pretty high, as I love Radiohead. Haunting, powerful, simple and brilliant.

Oasis  –  “Live Forever”

One Now album, two classics. You forget, what with the coke and ennui filled later albums, quite how good they were.

Lighthouse Family  – “Lifted”

A self help psychology book set to music. Irritatingly catchy, in it’s Magic FM way, and makes me want to set fire to things.

Eternal –  “Good Thing”

A return to form, with a sleazy En Vogue feel to it, and some great vocals.

Etta James –  “I Just Want to Make Love to You”

Cheers Diet Coke, for getting this song back up there. Etta James is, in short, immense. All other singers ever can’t get that much emotion in a single note.

Simply Red – “Never Never Love”

Pleasant, but nothing more. You get the impression Mick Hucknall is half arsing it at this point.

Gabrielle – “Give Me a Little More Time”

A brave attempt to mine that wistful, summery Dusty Sringfield/ Dionne Warwick soul sound, that actually comes closer than you might think to striking gold.

East 17 –  “Thunder”

Tries do be dramatic. Fails. My abiding memory of this song is of one of my friends being sick on the way to school around the time this was released, leading us to adapt the lyrics to contain, ‘When the chunder calls you, on the way to school’, and sing it to him for a solid month after.

Luniz – “I Got 5 on It”

The nadir of West Coast weed rap. Chilled and a little dark, and endlessly quotable. However, inflation has dated it a bit. $10 (£6) worth of marijuana would make for a dissapointing session in this day and age!

Disclaimer- not that I’d know. Weed heads are a blight on our society, and if you know of one, please report them to MI5 immediately. They’re probably plotting to overthrow society.

Kaliphz featuring Prince Naseem –  “Walk Like A Champion”

For a while in the 90’s, Prince Naseem ruled British boxing. So huge, he put out a hip hop single, then came into the ring to it. That’s pretty cool. Shame about the song itself, and his downward trajectory since.

Shaggy featuring Grand Puba – “Why You Treat Me So Bad”

Shaggy is a strange one. Every few years he releases a killer single (Oh Carolina, Boombastic, It Wasn’t Me) then follows it up with a few that are pure dreck so that people write him off, then comes back with another killer. He’s like that kid with ADHD that nobody realises is actually a full blown genius in between bouts of wetting himself.

Baby D –  “So Pure”

More breakbeat joy, it’s sheen fading after the first one was so bloody good, but certainly worth your 4 minutes.

Gat Decor – “Passion”

Wubby and judder soul house. Fairly pleasant, but nothing more than whelming.

Gusto – “Disco’s Revenge”

Classic bit of French disco house. You can hear Daft Punk being inspired as it goes on.

Ken Doh –  “I Need a Lover Tonight”

The very definition of generic. The one saving grace is that his name may be a reference to Kendo Nagasaki, the wrestling sensation.

Ace of Base“Beautiful Life”

Difficult second album syndrome strikes, and the otherwise pretty good thus far Ace of Base record a dance tank that’s already at least 5 years out of date. Dissapointing.

Louise  – “In Walked Love”

Boooorinnng. Hopefully Jamie Redknapp will whisk her away from the world of pop, and into a world of Nintendo Wii adverts in the near future.

Dubstar – “Not So Manic Now”

A truly beautiful song about an absolutely horrible subject. Dubstar are seemingly forgotten in any talk about great 90’s bands, which is a bit of a tragedy, when they can write a song this brave.

Saint Etienne – “He’s On The Phone”

On the one hand it’s almost a really sweet longing song. On the other they stuck a hideous, dated eurodance beat underneath it, wrecking their good work.

Dreadzone –  “Little Britain”

Highbrow dance, sampling Carl Orff (the classical musician who composed dramatic music now used in the X Factor) and dialogue from Lindsay Anderson’s seminal film If…, about the joys of public school and automatic weaponry.

Goldbug – “Whole Lotta Love”

Long before anyone coined the term mash up, here is a mash up of the 60’s and 70’s Top of the Pops chart music. Obviously nowhere near as good as Led Zeppelin, but pretty good fun all the same.

Technohead – “I Wanna Be A Hippy”

The Cheech and Chong to the Luniz’s Scarface. A novelty happy hardcore track, with sped up vocals about the joys of getting stoned. Silly fun, and completely manic.

 

Final verdict

25 out of 40. 63%, and deservedly so. I thought it may even be higher, but this one seems to be either feast or famine.

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.

The Salmon of Doubt

A recipe borne of panic today. In a rush on my way home, I bought two very nice salmon fillets, thinking I’d do my quick and reliable salmon and pesto vinaigrette only to get home and disaster! No pesto! No pine nuts! And my poor basil looking in poor health!

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So I improvised and made two alternative toppings, in case one was terrible. Both turned out pretty good in the end, to my massive relief.

Some say tomato doesn’t go well with salmon, but in both these cases, either vinegar or saltiness helps it blend well.

I served this on a bed of polenta. Polenta is a pain to make. Essentially you take 100g polenta, 150ml of a 50/50 mix of milk and water, a knob of butter, and a pinch of salt. Bring the liquid to the boil, reduce heat to the very lowest, add the salt and polenta, and stir constantly for half an hour or it burns. Stir in the butter, and maybe a little cheese at the end. It is nice, but the amount of work for a little reward is disproportionate.

The name I’ve given my dish is a tribute to the late Douglas Adams, possibly the most inspiring writer who ever lived.

Ingredients

2 Salmon fillets

Continue reading The Salmon of Doubt

Oh Mein Papa

A touch late, but here is the next number one, opening 1954 up with some trumpet led mellowness.

I imagine that this would sound good on a sandy beach, somewhere tropical, played on a Dansette portable record player (which may be an anachronism). In short, chilled summery goodness. Good work Mr Calvert.

Talk About Pop Music

I have a playlist that contains every UK number one song since charts began in 1952. Thanks to EveryHit, this is a fairly simple process. Let’s remind ourselves of these songs.

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Now Stats What I Call Music 3.1 1983-1995

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So, I now have 12 years of Now That’s What I Call Music albums done, and a huge spread sheet detailing my opinions on every one of these. 1003 songs, by 546 different artists. Working on a 4 minutes per song average (which is pretty fast and loose, but it’ll do), that works out at 2 days 19 hours spent listening to pop music. As a big fan of big data, that at least throws up some interesting results- I may add some extra detail for next time, to add some more analytical joy. But for now, it’s just about quality, and the various winners and losers this time around.

Artists

Best

So firstly, who sits astride the 80’s and 90’s as a pop colossus? To qualify for this, I set a limit at a minimum of 5 songs featured, and then based it on the tried and true Groom Method™ of rating to work out how well they had done*. They are presented in the time honoured tradition of reverse order, as per the Top of the Pops act, 1973. Feel free to whistle the riff from Whole Lotta Love as you read this. And the winners are as follows;

10) Eternal70% from 5 songs

A surprise new entry at number 10. Consistently great across their first salvo of singles, and deservedly here. Can they hold on to this spot in 10 Now albums time? Only time will tell (but I’m going to guess no. No they can’t)

9) East 1775% from 6 songs

And more new at number 9! Walthamstow wonders East 17 bringing their cheeky brand of pop and endearingly terrible rapping to the top 10.

8) Erasure79% from 12 songs

Falling 5 places from number 3 last time round, quirky electro pop still doing brilliantly- that they’ve stayed so good over 12 singles is a fantastic achievement, and to my mind, their place in the pop canon is earned and deserved.

7) The Cure80% from 5 songs

And the first entry from the indie canon. Robert Smith and co. appear, having consistently popped up with a Lovecats here, and a Close To Me there, taking number 7 by stealth.

6) Queen (including Freddie Mercury)- 81% from 13 songs

Even Freddie’s demise couldn’t hold back the operatic rock juggernaut that is Queen. A slight drop from 4 to 6 here, for which you have George Michael to blame!

5) Tina Turner82% from 11 songs

No movement from number 5 for Tina Turner, who actually improves her rating this time around. She’s just never not brilliant.

4) Duran Duran83% from 9 songs

Her come the Brummies! Dropping one place to number 4, despite their sell by date arriving in 1993, who can argue against their new wave pop flair?

3) Fine Young Cannibals/ Neneh Cherry90% from 5 songs

From both ends of the spectrum, the R&B and early trip hop of Neneh Cherry, and the almost schizophrenic genre jumping of the Fine Young Cannibals both more than earn their bronze medals for the 10 great pop songs they’ve released.

2) Pet Shop Boys94% from 9 songs

You cant argue with such consistent brilliance. They boil pop down to it’s most essential parts- great tunes and witty lyrics, and are just an inescapable force of pop nature.

1) KLF/ Salt ‘n’ Pepa100% from 5 songs

A double new entry for the number one spot, bossing the early 90’s with either situationist craziness, or hip hop heaven, both worthy of running the crown.

 

Honourable mentions

In the interests of those artists who just didn’t have enough songs on, here are the remaining artists who didn’t quite qualify for the Top 10, but are yet to have even an average song included yet.

4 songs- Take That

3 songs- Norman Cook (and side projects), Heaven 17, James, Massive Attack, Morrissey, Peter Gabriel, R Kelly, REM, Transvision Vamp

2 songs- Arrested Development, Betty Boo, Bitty McLean, Bjork, Blur, Cameo, CeCe Peniston, Cranberries, Culture Beat,De La Soul, En Vogue, Faith No More, Flying Pickets, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Kate Bush, Malcolm Mclaren, Meatloaf, Oasis, Paul Hardcastle, Prince, Righteous Brothers, Snap, Tasmin Archer, Ugly Kid Joe, Utah Saints, Voice of the Beehive, Whitesnake

Worst

Again, you need to take the rough with the smooth, and these are, scientifically, the roughest things out there according to my scientific methods.

10) Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark40% from 5 songs

Not a bad band per se, but not a singles band, and it shows in their final tally.

9) Kim Wilde- 40% from 5 songs

I’m shocked too! But outside of Kids in America and killing it in denim jackets, there are a lot of bad songs.

8) Chaka Demus and the Pliers40% from 5 songs

In their defense, Tease Me is an undeniable killer tune, but a whole smorgasbord of bland lover’s rock lets them down badly.

7) INXS33% from 6 songs

Dropping three places (which in this instance, is a good thing), but clearly massively overrated nonetheless.

6) Simple Minds31% from 8 songs

Don’t you, forget that that’s just about their only decent song. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t. Still, a fall of 4 places on the strength of a nearly good song.

5) Roxette30% from 5 songs

It Must Have Been Love is again, unimpeachable in it’s greatness, but after that, a barren wasteland of the mediocre.

4) Cliff Richard30% from 5 songs

It’s feasible that he could actually climb higher if The Millennium Prayer is included on a future volume. Down one place, but no new songs on the last 10 Now! albums.

2=) Level 4225% from 6 songs

Tied for 2nd, and no move on last time, it’s the mediocre bass led crapness of Level 42.

2=) Culture Club (including Boy George et al)- 25% from 6 songs

And level on corpulence, a band with two brilliant songs, one of which wasn’t even featured on these albums.

1) Style Council0% from 5 songs

Will Paul Weller ever be able to get a positive score from me? Let’s say no now, even if it kills any suspense. He just has to hope something worse happens in the next 20 years…

Dishonourable mentions

3 songs– Brother Beyond

2 songs– D Ream, Enya, Feargal Sharkey, Go West, Kim Appleby, Lisa Stansfield, Living in a Box, Sydney Youngblood, Then Jerico, Urban Cookie Collective

Most

As ever, quantity is not necessarily quality. but it certainly shows that they were doing something right, and people were buying it. So the most featured artists so far are as follows;

1) Phil Collins (inc. Genesis)- 16 songs

Say what you like about the man himself, Phil Collins has appeared on more than half of the Now! albums at this point. Over an hour of my listening has been to his dulcet tones. That may actually be more disturbing than if I had watched Buster without setting fire to my telly.

2) Queen (inc. Freddie Mercury)- 13 songs

Nearly as huge, and without the majority of the tracks that make up their first Greatest Hits album. And with Freddie being dead for a quarter of these albums too.

3) Communards (inc. Bronski Beat and Jimmy Somerville)/ Erasure12 songs

Without wishing to appear homophobic, or ascribing a trait to any group of people unfairly, based on this evidence, being gay makes you an amazing songwriter.

UB40/ Tina Turner11 songs

Reggae and soul, done well is always going to sell.

The Beautiful South (inc. The Housemartins)- 10 songs

Paul Heaton is just brilliant. If Norman Cook were included they’d be unstoppable.

Analysis

Quality

So, where does this leave the Now! albums as a whole? Well, continuing my hypotheses from before, that the best pop is released in even numbered years, you can see that there is a minor spike in 1992, and a larger spike in 1994, continuing to support my theory. Perhaps cultural sea changes happen in odd years (the Summers of Love of 1969 and 1987, punk in 1977, grunge in 1991) that then permeate the pop culture in the following year, bringing a fresh wind of change? That’s my best theory so far, and ghere is a graph, because statistics prove everything.

Yearly

I have continued to make a graph mapping the quality by volume number, but I am yet to discern anything from this information that is of value. I am also starting to create weighted figures to take into account that the volumes get larger as time goes on. For example, Now 1 had 30 tracks, whereas by Now 29, they settled on 40 tracks per volume, and by Now 90, we’re nearer 50! However, my current methodology is too simple, and needs further balancing to be of any real worth. I have included a second graph showing my current, broken figures, for information only. Essentially, both these graphs are useless. ENJOY!

Volume

weight

My current weighting clearly shows an improvement in quality overall, which I am not sure the music itself justifies. However, Boom! Shake the Room may just explain this.

One Last Top 5

This time, being the top 5 Now! albums so far, and a few tracks that explain why.

1) Now 7 (August 1986)- 66%

Pet Shop Boys- Opportunities, The Housemartins- Happy Hour, Peter Gabriel- Sledgehammer

2) Now 27 (March 1994)- 64%

Enigma- Return to Innocence, Tori Amos- Cornflake Girl, Doop- Doop

3) Now 3 (July 1984)- 63%

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five- White Lines (Don’t Do It), Bronski Beat- Smalltown Boy, Sister Sledge- Thinking of You

4) Now 12 (August 1988)- 63%

The Timelords- Doctorin’ the Tardis, Salt ‘n’ Pepa- Push It, Morrissey- Every Day is Like Sunday

5) Now 17 (April 1990)- 63%

Beats International- Dub Be Good to Me, Happy Mondays- Step On, Adamski feat. Seal- Killer

 

See you in another ten!

The Groom Method™- A great song is given one point, average half a point, and a crap song, nil points. This is then divided by the number of songs and multiplied by 100 to give a percentage score. You just wasted 20 seconds of your life reading this.

Now That’s What I Call Music 32

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Released-  13th November 1995

Music History

The Beatles release their first single in over 20 years, Free as a Bird, which actually turns out to be pretty good! Madonna’s security shoots a stalker outside her home. His name is Robert Hoskins, which leads to a great many ‘It’s good to stalk’ jokes (1- If only the internet had existed then, meme heaven, and 2- For context for any other readers, there was a fine actor called Bob Hoskins, who appeared in a series of adverts for the newly privatised British Telecoms, where he encouraged people to make calls, with the catchphrase ‘It’s good to talk). Tupac signs a three album deal with Death Row records on his release from prison. Suge Knight is soon to learn that hindsight is 20/20.

Me History

I am now at big school. I went to secondary in Sandwich, the town the snack comes from. I won’t name the place, as it probably doesn’t deserve the dent in its reputation. I also start guitar lessons, further deepening my obsession with music. My guitar is a lovely old nylon string acoustic my Mum was given in the 70’s, and I still have it to this day. At the time it just felt like a new toy, but actually I can see that this was fairly life changing now…

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest became the soundtrack for the forthcoming, much anticipated sequel to Batman Forever, that track would be…  Yes by McAlmont and Butler. At the time, I thought it was okay. A year on, I liked it. 19 years hence I realise it was the Dusty Springfield single I never knew existed. Pure, unadulterated, joyous soul.

Track by Track Breakdown

Queen –  “Heaven for Everyone”

The final great Queen song. Poignant and touching. It didn’t need to be good, but I’m glad it was.

Meat Loaf – “I’d Lie for You (And That’s the Truth)”

Not his strongest song, but once again, masterful use of title length and brackets. I can’t dislike you, Robert Paulson.

Simply Red – “Fairground”

A return to form of sorts for Simply Red. Admittedly a lot of the heavy lifting is done by the sample of The Goodmen.

U2 – “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”

Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the association with Batman Forever. But this U2 song gets a pass from me.

Tina Turner – “GoldenEye” (Single Edit)

Who can resist a good Bond theme. Not me. Sadly it is the last truly great Bond theme until Skyfall.

Continue reading Now That’s What I Call Music 32