Released- 19th July 1999
Billy Joel quits pop (it doesn’t stick), Marilyn Manson gets blamed for a high school shooting, and Red Hot Chili Peppers make a successful return, by stopping making good music.
I get my first summer job. I’m working in a chip shop, for a Chinese couple. I make the princely sum of £2.80 an hour, and largely spend my time reheating pots of sauce and flipping burgers. It’s definitely not where I found my love of cooking, and at age 15, I spend a lot of time failing to meet girls because I stink of chip fat.
If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to be deep fried in batter and served to the Scottish, that track would be… a dead heat between S Club 7 and The Wiseguys… I’ll give it to S Club for being more pure pop.
Track by Track Breakdown
Martine McCutcheon – “Perfect Moment”
This was a pointless answer on Pointless the other night, which is probably the first time this song has justified it’s existence to me.
Boyzone – “You Needed Me”
I’m not a monster, and they have had a couple of good singles over their career. But this is what I think of when I want to hate them. Duller than a documentary about Piers Morgan.
Backstreet Boys – “I Want It That Way”
Good lord, I never expected these chaps to have such a good run with me. Again with a great pop ballad. That may or may not be about non traditional penatrative sex.
Shanks & Bigfoot – “Sweet Like Chocolate”
As Eddard Stark said, ‘Garage is coming.’ This is fairly pedestrian, lifted up by the newness of the 2 step beat.
S Club 7 – “Bring It All Back”
Great gallumphing positivity pop! I literally can’t find fault with it. It’s 3 minutes of joyful upliftingness.
Vengaboys – “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom”
Entertainingly silly at one listen, but probably hideous for any further plays.
ATB – “9PM (‘Til I Come)”
…so about 9.03 then… sorry. Possibly the best ever use of the pitch wheel on a synth ever.
Phats & Small – “Turn Around”
It’s a great disco style record, but about halfway through it runs out of ideas and basically just repeats itself again.
Basement Jaxx – “Red Alert”
Noisy, brash and beautiful. Even men with steel hearts will feel joy.
Dina Carroll – “Without Love”
Unnecessary dance beat over a fairly good soul song. Ah well.
Geri Halliwell – “Look at Me”
Needy, narcissistic, and a terrible attempt at trying to be Shirley Bassey.
Adam Rickitt – “I Breathe Again”
It’s the age old story of a pretty soap star trying to launch a pop career, landing flat on his face, to the amusement of all watching. The Germans have the word schadenfreude for this. Maybe the campaign to make the English word for this rickitting starts here.
Lolly – “Viva La Radio”
I’m fairly sure there’s a scene in Zero Dark Thirty where they use this song to force a confession out of a suspect.
Cartoons – “Doodah”
Let’s just move on, eh?
Precious – “Say It Again” –
Basic as hell, but does what it has to De convincingly. Completely middling pop R&B.
Honeyz – “Love of a Lifetime”
Their best song yet. Simple and understated. By no means a classic, but certainly not terrible.
911 – “Private Number”
Their continued existence has now gone from endearing to confusing. The song is just terrible.
Culture Club – “Your Kisses Are Charity”
Another good(ish) later era record from Boy George et al.
Beverley Knight – “Greatest Day”
Groove laden disco soul. It feels a little like a 1979 style pastiche, but you know what, it works.
Melanie B – “Word Up”
It says a lot about Timbaland’s magic touch at this time that what should be a terrible, rote cover is actually good fun, though not a patch on the original.
Fierce – “Dayz Like That”
Very enjoyable TLC style R&B jam, with a skittery, nervous beat carrying it along.
Tina Cousins – “Forever”
Like a noughties indie film, nothing happens, and it thinks it’s a lot more meaningful than it actually is.
Baz Luhrmann – “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”
Okay. This is trite as all hell. But it’s kind of lovely and odd and works. It’s a great single, a one off, and I’ll forgive it a lot for that. It’s also by the director of Strictly Ballroom and The Great Gatsby. Which is all sort of cool. I still prefer Chris Rocks response, No Sex in the Champagne Room.
Texas – “In Our Lifetime”
The Eastern sounding glockenspiel on the chorus makes it more enjoyable than your usual Texas song, but that’s about it.
New Radicals – “You Get What You Give”
It’s nice to know that I haven’t mellowed all that much. This song still makes me want to run away and join a terrorist organisation, in the hope I might end up killing somebody who bought this 16 years ago and wasn’t suitably punished. Possibly the worst song ever.
Supergrass – “Pumping On Your Stereo”
Their best song since the first album. Big 70’s glam fun.
Madness – “Lovestruck”
Surprisingly great return to form, about 20 years in for the lovable pop ska band. Bless you Suggs!
The Wiseguys – “Ooh La La”
They have taken 5 or 6 of the best samples of all time, and stitched them together to make a big beat Frankenstein’s monster. If you’re not dancing to this, you’re either dead inside or paralysed.
The Chemical Brothers– “Hey Boy Hey Girl”
Urgent, dark and FUN. The Chemical Brothers are, in short, obscenely good at this moment in time. In fact, as their album this year proves, they’ve never really lost it.
Fatboy Slim – “Right Here Right Now”
The weakest single from ‘You’ve Come a Long Way Baby’. Still great, just not amazing.
Chicane featuring Maire Brennan of Clannad – “Saltwater”
The worst of trance combined with the worst of new age folk. Have you ever been a little sick in your own mouth and swallowed it back down? Musical version of that.
Bryan Adams – “Cloud Number Nine”
Just shut up and play Run to You Bryan Adams. Nobody likes your output after 1990.
Blur – “Coffee & TV”
Blur allow Graham Coxon to do a single. It proves to be one of their very best, a beaten wit in the lyrics, and a great chorus, coupled with what might be their very best video.
Cast – “Beat Mama”
Jaunty and bouncing, but treading the same old ground as before, sadly.
Stereophonics – “Pick A Part That’s New” –
Nice, slightly sad but summery song from the Stereophonics. Unfortunately they’re on here too late, and will never top the tracks on their debut album, such as A Thousand Trees and More Life in a Tramp’s Vest.
Gomez – “Bring It On”
The ting about pop since the 80’s is that you don’t get many psychedelic, bluesy stompers. So when one comes along, grab it with both hands!
Semisonic – “Secret Smile”
I hated it purely on the grounds it was a bit wet back in the day. I’m now just mildly indifferent. Nice ide, boringly executed. There’s a nice middle section.
James – “I Know What I’m Here For”
Good James, if not classic James. I think I go and see them with my Dad in December this year. It starts an obsession for him with their earlier material, especially the song Laid at full blast when he’s had a few drinks. So sorry Mum…
Yomanda – “Synth & Strings”
Jittery, skittish French house. If I use the words French and house together, please just assume it is brilliant to save my typing fingers.
DJ Jurgen presents Alice DeeJay – “Better Off Alone”
There’s just a swathe of good keyboard riffs in EDM at this point in time. Take note. Good riffs work!
Masters At Work presents India – “To Be In Love”
Disco house again, much enjoyed again. Has a touch of the Minnie Ripertons to it, which will never ever ever be a bad thing.
24 out of 41, or 59%. The most enjoyable Now! for a while.
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.