Released- 17th April 2000
Sharon Osbourne does the final cool thing of her career when she quits as the Smashing Pumpkins manager, saying she left, “…for health reasons. Billy Corgan makes me fucking sick”.
I’m 16. Event birthday! It’s also a new millennium. Me and my friends sneak up to London to see the new year in. At the stroke of midnight, a very nice rich guy sees us with our own brand Cava and Hamlets and insists we share his champagne and King Edward cigars. We miss the last train back and end up sleeping in a train station 50 miles from home. And most of us end up grounded. Totally worth it.
If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were grounded for a Millennium adventure, that track would be… so stupid it hurts.
Track by Track Breakdown
Gabrielle – “Rise”
It’s nice, but that’s about all it is. It also sounds a lot like Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.
Melanie C featuring Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes – “Never Be the Same Again”
One of the better solo Spice Girls songs. She can actually sing which helps. And yay for the cool one from TLC, though she has but a year or so left on the clock at this point.
Craig David – “Fill Me In”
One of the two Craig David songs on this album is a classic. This isn’t it, being an average paean to young love.
Britney Spears – “Born to Make You Happy”
Not a Britney classic. But more will come in time. A bit of a plodder.
Backstreet Boys – “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely”
Follows the same template as their earlier singles, but sadly their methods are starting to wear thin now.
Lene Marlin – “Sitting Down Here”
I didn’t want to remember this one fondly. Slightly irritated I do. It’s driving pop country feel is frustratingly endearing.
Tom Jones and Stereophonics – “Mama Told Me Not to Come”
While it’s fun seeing Tom Jones cover classics with newer younger (and largely Welsh) new bands, the Three Dog Night original is almost identical, but so much cooler.
Shania Twain – “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”
Aaargh. Not even the best song to use the word perogative. And that’s a narrow field. Cheers Bobby Brown.
Geri Halliwell – “Bag It Up”
If there’s a positive to be taken here, it’s that Geri definitely had the most entertainingly poor solo career. Like a clown car crash in slow motion.
S Club 7 – “You’re My Number One”
Well meaning but massively dissapointing song after their killer few openers.
Aqua – “Cartoon Heroes”
The combination of their voices doesn’t fit the song, which was not great to begin with. Painful.
Vengaboys – “Shalala Lala”
They’ve crossed the line from amusingly silly to irritating joke. Down there with Agadoo.
Daphne and Celeste – “Ooh Stick You”
If pop music is immediacy and bringing smiles out, this may just be the high watermark of pop music. I may choose this above John Lennon’s Imagine as the best track on the album.
Atomic Kitten – “See Ya”
They’re not quite ready yet. I know they have some good singles to come. This isn’t quite there. Some nice touches, but it’s about half of a pop song.
Madison Avenue – “Don’t Call Me Baby”
Disco heavy house. It’s good, hits all the right points, catchy but for some reason just doesn’t do it for me.
Martine McCutcheon – “Love Me”
The best point in a bad musical to pop out to the toilet. Amateur hour ballad.
Steps – “Say You’ll Be Mine”
Uniquely terrible, in a fairly endearing manner. Bless these kids.
Honeyz – “Won’t Take It Lying Down”
A bit more drama and power lifts them to hitherto unseen levels of mediocrity. Which might be unkind. This is a success, comparitively…
Precious – “Rewind”
It’s like the template for hackneyed turn of the millennium pop R&B. Not bad, but definitely dull.
Montell Jordan – “Get It On Tonite”
Pretty old school, has a nice sleazy groove, but it doesn’t really go anywhere with it.
Fierce – “Sweet Love 2K”
Like Y2K, somewhat less of an event than you may have hoped.
Boyzone – “Every Day I Love You”
Musical dry bread and water. Bland. And I’d only choose it if I was in a gulag with no other option.
Chicane featuring Bryan Adams – “Don’t Give Up”
I’ve always felt that Bryan Adams has been an artist more interested in staying famous than creating anything of worth. This is Exhibit B in my case.
Fragma – “Toca’s Miracle”
A dance classic, but not one I particularly care for. Pretty standard…
Moloko – “The Time Is Now”
Balearic, slightly flamenco feeling dance. Slightly moody and all a hit brilliant.
Artful Dodger featuring Craig David – “Re-Rewind (The Crowd Say Bo Selecta)”
Boink. Garage goes huge in one move. You can’t really argue with it. Infectious and funky, and one of those rare songs that gave birth to a catchphrase!
DJ Luck & MC Neat – “A Little Bit of Luck”
Brilliant. Atmospheric, catchy and bounces. Garage’s explosion since the last Now! Album has revitalised the dance portion of the albums.
Sisqó – “Thong Song”
Released at the cusp of the millennium in order to be the first number one of the millennium. It deserved it. Dumb as all hell, but try to resist singing along-tha-thong thong thong.
Jamelia featuring Beenie Man – “Money”
A Brummie, my favorite Dancehall artist, and a crazy harpsichord and choir backing. There is nothing not to like here.
Kelis – “Caught out There”
Redefines the word fierce. It’s a great song, with more rage and malice than the heaviest metal song. Kelis is a maverick genius- and respect is due for some early Pharrell Williams production. Well, The Neptunes really.
Artful Dodger featuring Romina Johnson – “Movin’ Too Fast”
So much in the ones and twos here, it’s a wonder my generation grew up mathematically literate. The second best Artful Dodger track on here, but still does its job well.
Nu Generation – “In Your Arms (Rescue Me)”
I’m sure that this had Jeffrey Archer on the front cover… a lazy dance cover, but a fun and irresistible one.
Basement Jaxx – “Bingo Bango”
SAMBA! If there’s any other form of music this joyful, I don’t know what it is.
ATB – “Killer 2000”
They’ve wedded the Seal classic to their patented pitch modulated synth noises. Better than I had any right to expect.
Sash! – “Adelante”
Four years of success on one trick. Truly the Emile Heskey of Eurodance.
Watergate – “Heart of Asia”
The 2000’s trend for cultural appropriation starts here. Too lazy to write something? Steal from a culture with underdeveloped sampling rights laws! People think it’s cool!
Progress presents The Boy Wunda – “Everybody”
Has fun with the Madonna sample, but so poorly mixed it’s almost unlistenable.
Lock ‘n’ Load – “Blow Ya Mind”
Mildly anarchic hard house. Entertainingly frenetic.
Precocious Brats featuring Kevin and Perry – “Big Girl”
This one note joke is bad enough over a 4 minute novelty song. I pity anyone who saw it stretched over 2 hours in the film.
The Tamperer featuring Maya – “Hammer to the Heart”
All due credit. Clearly neither ABBA or Metallica cleared the samples they wanted, but they carried on regardless.
Cuban Boys – “C vs. I”
When I said Daphne and Celeste might have the best stupid song ever, I had forgotten this exists. Probably the first instance of an Internet novelty record (Google The Hamster Dance. Don’t blame me). John Peel tried to get it to number 1 for Christmas. The full title is Cognoscenti vs Intelligentsia. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?
Robbie Williams – “It’s Only Us”
Mr Williams attempts to be Supergrass. Results predictably awful.
Blink-182 – “All the Small Things”
Though they have a questionable legacy, this is a fairly sweet and fun pop punk song, and let’s be honest, it’s catchier than Ian Bell (with apologies to anybody who doesn’t love cricket. Which involves catching. Which Ian Bell is rather good at)
Moby – “Natural Blues”
One of about 50 singles from the 20 track LP ‘Play’. Still, atmospheric music and old blues samples. He couldn’t go wrong really.
John Lennon – “Imagine”
Beautiful, if overplayed, ballad of optimism. If I were pernickety (and let’s face it, I’m criticising the entirety of modern pop here, I’m pernickety) I’d ask why Give Peace a Chance, Working Class Hero or Jealous Guy don’t get the same love.
24 out of 45. 51% ace. All of which seems to be on the second disc. Screw side 1.
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.