Released- 9th April 2001
Apple release iTunes, ensuring PC owners will never have a decent media player again. The Manic Street Preachers play Cuba, the first Western rock band to do so. Fidel Castro describes them as ‘louder than war’. And Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown trash a hotel room to levels that are actually unbelievable.
I’m 17. Which is cool. I’m learning to drive. I’m also smoking quite a bit of herbal tobacco. The two are not good bedfellows, and I’m now a 31 year old who still can’t drive. Let that be a lesson kids…
If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest only flew away, that track would be… this beautiful reason to smile;
Track by Track Breakdown
Atomic Kitten – “Whole Again”
My abiding memory of this song is being rather stoned at a house party, and a friend being completely wasted, to the point he sang this between giggling fits for a good two hours. Credit where it’s due, I still quite enjoy this song, even after that.
Hear’Say – “Pure and Simple”
The first single from the fist winners of Pop Idol (or one of those). Responsible for setting the very low bar for longevity after winning these things. Even at this point, it sounds like a three year old All Saints off cut.
S Club 7 – “Never Had a Dream Come True”
It’s by the book. It’s a ballad by a manufactured pop group. I hate myself for how much I love this one. Deep shame, but I really do.
Nelly Furtado – “I’m Like a Bird”
There’s no logic or reason to my love of this song. It’s just a perfect storm of major key melancholy.
Shaggy featuring RikRok – “It Wasn’t Me”
The Shaggy cycle comes back around, with this played to death catchphrase set to music. If I could travel back in time, I would use my powers to punch every person who used this as a punchline through 2000/01.
Gorillaz – “Clint Eastwood”
Let’s stop and just enjoy the fact that the front man of Blur built a supergroup who you never see, as they’re represented by cartoon avatars created by Jamie Hewlett, the guy who did Tank Girl. So much better than The Archies. Forgot how much I like Dan the Automator, who raps on this one.
Modjo – “Chillin'”
While I love this Gallic disco house sound, this is more than a little by the numbers.
Chocolate Puma – “I Wanna Be U”
Feels basic, but it builds well. More minimal than badly made.
Fragma featuring Maria Rubia – “Everytime You Need Me”
There’s very little music which is objectively bad. But the only way this could recover any pride would be to claim it’s an attempt to parody the perceived idiocy of EDM. It’s not. It’s just embarrassingly shit.
Samantha Mumba – “Always Come Back to Your Love”
The song is okay. I swear that the backing is a sample of something I know, but not even WhoSampled can nswer this one for me.
Britney Spears – “Stronger”
Attitude Britney comes into existence. Thoroughly enjoyable pop, with its stop start mechanics and sheer fun.
Steps – “It’s the Way You Make Me Feel”
Steps ballad. We’ve covered this. Unlistenable.
Emma Bunton – “What Took You So Long?”
Her good solo song. A little more feel and power than the rest. Good work.
Ronan Keating – “The Way You Make Me Feel”
I hate it when people record deeply poor songs which share titles with much better songs. Wish I were listening to Michael Jackson.
Backstreet Boys – “Shape of My Heart”
On the strength of this… I think the Backstreet Boys are over. Shame. They had some great stuff.
LeAnn Rimes – “I Need You”
She could cut out a fine career writing songs to play over the credits of deeply average romcoms.
Damage – “Still Be Lovin’ You”
Like the Blackstreet you’d find in Poundland. I don’t like the way they work it.
Kaci – “Paradise”
Latin tinged ballad. I regret that catchier tunes have come out of my backside after a night of curry and ale.
Martine McCutcheon – “On the Radio”
Finally a passable song from Eastenders’ Tiffany. It’s not hers, but let’s not take away from a small victory.
Kylie Minogue – “Please Stay”
Latin feel adds a little interest, but not a Kylie classic. Mostly just waiting for Can’t Get You Out of my Head at this point.
Bob the Builder – “Can We Fix It?”
An overdue return for Morrissey. Unfortunately it’s Neil Morrissey from Men Behaving Badly as the voice of a children’s character. Bloody catchy, in fairness. And he beat Barack Obama by 7 year to the catchphrase, ‘Yes we can’.
Eva Cassidy – “Over the Rainbow”
Hey. Why not take one of the most beautiful songs of all time and reduce it to an X Factor audition of hitting a bunch of high notes. THIS SONG IS BEAUTIFUL AND YOU FUCKED IT UP. GET IN THE SEA.
U2 – “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of”
Not an atrocity, but I honestly can’t see the point of U2 since the turn of the Millennium. And let’s be fair… Bono doesn’t help the cause.
Stereophonics – “Mr. Writer”
A bitter rant about getting a hard time from the press set to music. Ironically it proves their critics right rather than wrong…
Coldplay – “Don’t Panic”
Slightly limp after two fantastic songs. Always felt of the whole of their debut album, Parachutes, this was the one track they could miss.
Texas – “Inner Smile”
It’s not for me, but this is certainly head and shoulders above a lot of their more tepid recent efforts. They remembered to include a chorus, for one thing.
Robbie Williams – “Let Love Be Your Energy”
Williams by numbers. Everything is there but it feels like an obligation.
Feeder – “Buck Rogers”
I’m not saying it’s high art. It’s really not. But there is a moronic joy in the repetitive pre chorus bits.
Papa Roach – “Last Resort”
Beyond hilarious. This must be a comic parody of the sort of song an angsty 13 year old might right. I laughed so hard I need fresh underwear.
Planet Funk – “Chase the Sun”
Manages to nail that Ibiza sunset ethereal vibe. Not my thing, but I can appreciate the craftsmanship.
Safri Duo – “Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song)”
How many drums? ALL OF THE DRUMS. Gets a little repetitive over 5 minutes but DRUMS.
Dario G – “Dream to Me”
Very uplifting and impossibly cheesy euphoric house. I feel a bit dirty enjoying it, but X and taste never did go hand in hand.
Jakatta – “American Dream”
The music from this year’s big Oscar winner, American Beauty, set to a beat. Works on account of the atmospheric original. However THERE IS NOTHING PROFOUND ABOUT FILMING A PLASTIC BAG DRIFTING IN THE BREEZE.
Sonique – “I Put a Spell on You”
This song gets covered a lot. Why does anybody think they can outdo the extreme screech and rawness of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins? Just makes me want to hear the good version.
Melanie B – “Feels So Good”
A waste of a really good beat. You could make a really good song out of the parts.
Mýa – “Case of the Ex”
Actually great, jittery, tense R&B. All syncopated. I also seem to love a vengeful, scorned R&B number.
Chanté Moore – “Straight Up”
It’s bouncy directness makes me like it more than it probably deserves musically.
Joe – “Stutter”
Very nicely produced. But a pretty hollow song otherwise. Good for one listen.
Architechs – “Show Me the Money”
Starting to look like they only have one idea. Possibly because they only have one idea.
DJ Luck & MC Neat – “Piano Loco”
I’m listening to so much garage I now introduce myself at work in the mornings by shouting out to my West Midlands crew. Original utilities massive. Holla, swalla back. Love it.
Fun Lovin’ Criminals – “Loco”
Chilled summery grooves, made for a mimosa by a pool. Schmoove.
20 out of 41. 48%, and the first dip below 50% in years. Deservedly, given that between Eva Cassidy, Papa Roach and Fragma, this volume contains more atrocities than the Cambodian killing fields.
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.