Now That’s What I Call Music 31

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Released-  31st July 1995

Music History

Not much to report. Robbie leaves Take That, which is the watermark against which Zayn Malik’s actions are judged. And Oingo Boingo split up to leave Danny Elfman free to record brilliant soundtracks to increasingly disappointing Tim Burton films.

Me History

I am enjoying the longest Summer holiday of my life, full of anticipation for the horrors of big school… I also have my first holiday abroad, in Mallorca, and fall in love with Spanish food. Still haven’t fallen out of love with it. Damn, I’m hungry for some fideua right now.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were doomed not to be the song that made me love music, that track would be… and could only ever have been Common People. There are a whole load of great songs on here, but only one set me on a path that would result in me being so obsessed with music I would set myself the task of reviewing all music ever. Jarvis Cocker, you ruined me.

Track by Track Breakdown

Wet Wet Wet – “Don’t Want to Forgive Me Now”

Has the air of a band who have rushed out new material to ride the wave of success they had with that Troggs cover the summer before. Sunny but forgettable.

Edwyn Collins – “A Girl Like You”

Slightly suave, slightly leering, with a guitar line like no other. Brilliant, before you even take into account what an inspiring chap Edwyn Collins is.

Pulp – “Common People”

And so my lifelong love of Jarvis Cocker and the gang begins here. Dry, acerbic wit plus killer chorus. Probably the best song of the 90’s, tearing Britpop’s entire ethos apart while simultaneously becoming the most important band in the scene. My first CD single. I pored over the lyrics (though as per the instructions in all Pulp records, never at the same time as listening to the songs), the art, the style. This is the exact point that my love affair with music became a lifelong committed relationship.

Supergrass – “Alright”

3rd amazing song in a row! The fun you can have with an out of tune piano and some good sideburns, eh? None more summery.

Shaggy –  “In the Summertime”

A cover of the Mungo Jerry song. My mum hates this song because of some pretty tasteless lyrics (one line implies that you have to wine and dine rich girls, but poor girls are easy). I haven’t the heart to play her Bitches Ain’t Shit by Dr Dre! Personally, it’s always been too catchy for me to hate it, despite its faults, and this reggaefied version is pretty faithful.

Ini Kamoze – “Here Comes the Hotstepper”

I could never get bored of this song (murderah). It’s a straight up, baller classic (murderah). I smile every time I hear it (murderah). Still loving like that (murderah).

Dana Dawson  –  “3 Is Family”

A cloying, Disneyfied irritant of a song, and yet I can’t quite bring myself to hate it. Stupidly charming charming in a really banal way.

Jam & Spoon featuring Plavka   “Right in the Night (Fall in Love with Music)”

If anyone’s fallen in love with music as a result of this, it must be a deeply sadomasochistic relationship.

East 17 –  “Hold My Body Tight”

And after a great single, it’s equal and opposite reaction. Terrible song, playing to none of their strengths.

Boyzone – “Key to My Life”

It has a catchy chorus. But frankly, my little sister (who was obsessed with these guys, and if I remember correctly wanted to marry Shane) ruined it for me by overplaying it so bloody much.

Seal – “Kiss from a Rose”

In many other hands, this song would be deeply naff. But the variety of moods conveyed by Seal’s voice really sells it.

Kirsty MacColl – “Days”

Cleaner and warmer than the slightly superior Kinks version, but has its own pastoral charm that justifies it’s existence. It’s a shame that MacColl ‘s own music doesn’t get enough recognition, what with her three best known songs being this, a Billy Bragg cover and a duet with The Pogues. She was great in her own right.

Yeah, it’s another one that’s bindun before, a good five years ago on Now 15.

The Human League – “One Man in My Heart”

It has just occurred to me that, for those of my age today in 1995, that this must have been like the new Blur album. They’re back, and the problem is that they sound no different. Lifted at least by a daffy charm.

Portishead – “Sour Times”

None more bleak. Like a despatch from a cold winters night, when the power’s gone and something unimaginable is outside your window. Absobloodyluteley brilliant.

Oasis – “Some Might Say”

Already repeating themselves, but still getting away with it… for now. Oasis are back, having barely been away because of the sublime Whatever bridging their debut and sophomore albums.

Weezer – “Buddy Holly”

Stone cold classic, with a fantastic Spike Jonze, Happy Days referencing video. And introduced the world to Weezer, which is amazing half the time, and dissapointing the other half. 1995 fact- the video for this song was bundled with every copy of Windows 95, to show off its ability to play heavily pixellated video.

Del Amitri – “Roll to Me”

Sometimes a song is just nice, and that’s all it needs to make me like it. Short, sweet and deserving of it’s place in pop lore.

EMF with Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer –  “I’m a Believer”

I told you Vic Reeves would be back! About 15 albums ago… at the height of their Shooting Stars zeitgeistiness. Covering The Monkees. With the band who did Unbelievable. IRANU.

Duran Duran featuring Melle Mel & Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five  –  “White Lines (Don’t Do It)”

It’s crap, not a patch on the original, and totally unnecessary. But at the same time, it’s actually quite fun hearing an attempt to capture that Aerosmith/Run DMC magic again. The sad truth is that both acts on Walk This Way were at the top of their game, whereas here, both are looking back on their best years.

Jimmy Somerville  – “Hurt So Good”

How far he’s fallen. And to think I dragged my poor long suffering parents to the Radio 1 Roadshow in Torquay to see him and the Levellers. Sorry Mum and Dad.

The Outhere Brothers –  “Boom Boom Boom”

I was harsh on them last time. This track stands up to my memories of it. Slightly moronic and totally brilliant, even the clean version.

MN8 –  “I’ve Got a Little Something for You”

Another one I loved at the time. I’m not sure that I was aware they were talking about their genitalia at the time.

Montell Jordan“This Is How We Do It”

Slick Rick sampling, party enlivening bouncer. One of the tracks I would be torn between if I ever took up boxing, to enter the ring to. The other is Sexy MF by Prince.

D:Ream – “Shoot Me with Your Love”

Not even worthy of my hate. Just pointless really. My indifference is all consuming.

Baby D “I Need Your Loving (Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime)”

From The Korgis original, to Beck’s sublime cover, there are no bad versions of this song, and this drum & bass reworking is no exception. Even the ragga breakdown gets a pass.

Jinny – “Keep Warm”

All of the soul and a kitchen sink thrown at this one. Entertaining, but definitely a one listen wonder.

Livin’ Joy –  “Dreamer”

Another case of dance producers doing a proper job, and getting the song right before the beat. Absolute classic. The switches in the feel of tempo are genius.

Whigfield – “Think of You”

Exactly the same but worse. The surefire sign of one hit wonder doom. Sorry Ms Field. She’s still going mind. She has a website. It has a section called Whiggypedia. This has made me smile.

Clock –  “Whoomph! (There It Is)”

Tag team, back again, except without any of the good bits. Clock appear to be responsible for any number of bad cover versions of 80’s classics.

Bobby Brown – “Humpin’ Around”

After a pretty good last single, this is terrible. Although it paints an entertainingly bad picture of his relationship with Whitney Houston.

PJ & Duncan – “Stuck on U”

Okay. So along with cool stuff like Pulp and Blur, I would never have fallen for music without the artists now known as Ant and or Dec. Sadly, they’ve missed all the brilliant singles from their actually brilliant first album Psyche on these compilations. This is okay, but not a patch on Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble, Eternal Love, or Our Radio Rocks.

Love City Groove – “Love City Groove”

The track that started my still extant love of the Eurovision Song Contest. I was gutted when it didn’t win. Yes, it’s a limp halfway house between Prince and East 17. But I still love it.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo featuring China Black – “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”

I love Ladysmith Black Mambazo and I love rugby, at least when the World Cup and 6 Nations are on (for my American readers, rugby is football played properly, without the constant breaks and body armour). Therefore I love this song, in spite of it’s flaws.

Soul II Soul –  “Love Enuff”

Sponsored by shitty 90’s vegan cafés that smell a bit too much of incense and stale weed. Horrible.

Junior Vasquez“Get Your Hands Off My Man”

Good fun with vocal samples from films, over a beat. Does some fun things with its own speed and key. This is why Junior Vasquez has lasted above a lot of these acts. He seems to have fun toying with expectations.

Shiva – “Freedom”

A sort of M People lite here. Not dreadful, but certainly completely extraneous.

Billie Ray Martin – “Your Loving Arms”

This is totally the single that Jimmy Somerville should have released. A more modern update on the fantastic music The Communards made in the 80’s.

Deuce  – “I Need You”

I don’t remember this one, but I remain ashamed of liking this band.

JX – “Son of a Gun”

No more depth than his last single, but for no reason other than gut feeling, I like it more.

Hyperlogic – “Only Me”

Funnily enough, the filter on the vocals sounds fairly modern. I nearly expected this to be dusted when it kicked in. Or to call it by its 90’s name, drum and bass at the wrong rpm. Sadly it turns out to be pretty standard manic house.

 

Final verdict

24.5 out of 40. 61% Terry’s All Gold.

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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