Now That’s What I Call Music 40


Released-  3rd August 1998

Music History

A quiet couple of months, really. The Eurovision Song Contest happens in Birmingham (woop!) and is won by Dana International, and Israeli transsexual (woop woop!). Lauryn Hill destroys the competition with the sublime Misseducation of Lauryn Hill, and presumably stops paying tax. Linda McCartney, and Frank Sinatra pass away, so not A Very Good Year for him…

Me History

I’ve kissed a girl! Take that universe! I mean, it’s also meant that I’ve had to see Titanic several times, but frankly, 14 year old Ben is willing to pay that price. It’s summer again, and when I return to school, I will be doing GCSE’s. Damn, I’m nearly an adult ‘n’ stuff.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to kept inside at lunchtime for all eternity, that track would be…  Teardrop by Massive Attack, because it’s actually brain meltingly beautiful. Although K-Ci & JoJo came alarmingly close.

Track by Track Breakdown


John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John“The Grease Megamix”

I have no idea why a Megamix of songs from a 70’s musical (set in the 50’s) is on a compilation in 1998. What the flip? Not that it’s bad. Who doesn’t love Grease? I worked for someone who liked Grease 2!

Spice Girls – “Viva Forever”

The end approaches, and you can sadly feel it in the quality of the music.

Karen Ramirez –  “Looking for Love”

Sounds suspiciously like Everything But The Girl’s big hit from a couple of summers before. Luckily it’s a formula that works.

Billie –  “Because We Want To”

If any overseas readers wondered why English people were so concerned about Doctor Who relaunching, it essentially boils down to this song. Infectious and silly, but she was a much better Rose Tyler than she ever was a pop star!

All Saints – “Lady Marmalade”

The better cover version with Missy Elliot comes out in a year or so. This one’s better left alone.

Mousse T. vs. Hot ‘N’ Juicy“Horny ’98”

I remain unsure if there’s anything more to this song than a moronic peurility.

The Tamperer featuring Maya – “Feel It”

Vengeful, angry disco, with a great use of a Jackson 5 sample. I would not cheat on The Tamperer or Maya, frankly I’m slightly terrified.

Aqua –  “Doctor Jones”

It’s not terrible, but it’s fairly clear they’re one hit wonders. I love the guy from Aqua. He’s like a crap version of the chap from the B52’s.

Steps –  “Last Thing on My Mind”

There is such a thin line between fun cheesy and awful cheesy. This time, Steps fall on the wrong side of that line.

Groove Generation featuring Leo Sayer“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”

Rubbish. But, there is this…


Bus Stop featuring Carl Douglas –  “Kung Fu Fighting”

After the Leo, Bee Gees and Rod Stewart get the bad rap treatment, another disco classic gets dragged through the mud here.

Ultra Naté –    “New Kind of Medicine”

Dropping the pop house and going for Chic style disco is a very good move. A win.

Lutricia McNeal –  “Stranded”

Another one where my narrow 90’s perspective has broadened, this somehow straddles R&B and country really impressively.

Lighthouse Family –  “Lost in Space”

It’s the most exciting song ever. And Seven Goran Eriksson was the greatest England manager. And everybody loved Joey.

Boyzone – “All That I Need”

Oh Louis Walsh you scamp! You have repurposed Boyzone from Take That lite to Backstreet Boys lite. Smart move. Shit song.

All Saints – “Under the Bridge”

On the one hand, they’ve tried to do something interesting with this cover. Sadly, on the other it fails miserably. The positive is that the song is about heroin, and this is a good warning against it.

K-Ci & JoJo –  “All My Life”

They never reach this height again, but frankly, this is probably the high watermark for R&B ballads. It is sentimental, danceable and a little bit wonderful.

Janet Jackson –  “I Get Lonely” (TNT Remix Edition)

Pretty average, which is a huge failure given you have the second best Jackson sibling and Blackstreet on the cut. Lost opportunity.

Sparkle featuring R. Kelly“Be Careful”

Given neither of the couple in this song seem to respect the others contributions to the relationship, and think that the other is cheating on them, I don’t reckon they’re going to make it. I mean also, one of them is R Kelly, he will totally cheat on you. Dirtily. And film it. Good song, by the way.

Peter Andre –  “Kiss the Girl”

Seriously, he’s managed to run an entire career off of one song and a failed marriage. A long way on a little.

Don Henley –  “The Boys of Summer”

Urgent 80’s synths belie an otherwise unremarkable song.

The Mavericks – “Dance the Night Away”

I try. But if you put me next to the big red nuclear button and played this song to me, mankind would be gone in seconds.

Eagle Eye Cherry –    “Save Tonight”

His sister is the better of the two siblings (Neneh Cherry). However, this song is simple and great. Four chords, a simple melody, done.

Catatonia – “Road Rage”

Problem bias here. I just love the Welsh accent too much. I would have voted Plaid Cymru if they had run in Birmingham. So I can’t pass viable judgement here.

Natalie Imbruglia  –   “Big Mistake”

It’s no Torn but it has moments of, not greatness, but good enoughness…

Embrace – “Come Back to What You Know”

This terrible band is still touring the nostalgia circuit. Who could possibly be nostalgic for this. It’s like being nostalgic for that time you pissed yourself when you were five, and we’re so embarrassed you said nothing, and sat stewing in your own piss for what felt like hours before anyone realised. Not that that happened…

The Verve  –  “Sonnet”

Not their greatest song, but Richard Ashcroft does do that sort of sad reminiscence thing well.

Massive Attack – “Teardrop”

Haunting, beautiful, powerful. I can’t think of a better song right now. Just perfect.

Mansun – “Legacy”

Middling effort. With the weird and sentimental edges taken off, they lose a lot of their charm.

Baddiel, Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds – “Three Lions ’98”

It’s not coming home, I still don’t believe. Our academy system isn’t good enough, and our focus is too much on 20 teams at the top of the pyramid. Fuck you for lying to me.

Fat Les –  “Vindaloo”

Ha. This is the perfect football song. Completely stupid, singalong and just ridiculous. Keith Allen, Alex James and Damien Hirst have done a lot wrong (Lily Allen, being David Cameron’s wanky cheese making neighbour, and repeating the same cheap tricks for 20 years respectively) but this is so very right.

Fatboy Slim –  “The Rockafeller Skank”

After 15 years and around as many name changes, Norman Cook finally discovers his amazing big beat alterego, with this surf styled dance floor certainty.

David Morales presents The Face – “Needin’ U”

How rare is it that a dance anthem is actually anthemic? This is a happy exception where every bar is fun, and you can be pretty sure you’d never bore of it. Although not as good as the last track!

Lucid –  “I Can’t Help Myself”

Apart from some nice vocal effects, incredibly standard.

Perpetual Motion – “Keep On Dancin’ (Let’s Go)”

It’s scientifically impossible to dislike a song that samples Take Me to the Mardi Gras. It’s literally the greatest keyboard riff ever keyboarded.

Barbara Tucker –  “Everybody Dance (The Horn Song)”

It just feels half finished to me. Not enough depth in the instrumentation. Meh.

Imaani – “Where Are You?”

Sounds like a hybrid of Unbreak My Heart and Missing but without the charm of either.

Adam Garcia – “Night Fever”

The Bee Gees did much wrong, but the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack is pretty much perfect. So a lethargic, barely on song cover makes me angry. Bruce Banner angry.

Kerri-Ann – “Do You Love Me Boy?”

Faux salsa horror. Which worries the cook in me.

Los Umbrellos – “No Tengo Dinero”

Spanglish fun. I don’t remember this song at all. I love that the guy can’t decide between patois, Spanish or English. It’s like he’s triple racist!

Final Verdict

20 out of 40. A bit of a shocker at 50%. There are amazing songs on here, but there’s more padding than American football.

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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