Now That’s What I Call Music 33

220px-Now_33

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.

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