Released- 22nd July 2002
R Kelly gets caught being a touch too rude with someone a little too young. Graham Coxon leaves Blur. And Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez passes on, meaning I will never get to express my love for Waterfalls.
I finish my A levels! (B, B, B, C, D) I get into university (this doesn’t work out well) and I sign a tenancy agreement for a house with three friends. By the next Now album it’s highly likely I would have been beneath four feet of dirty plates and dirty underwear.
If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest get a U for not submitting coursework, that track would be… Hot in Herre. Nelly will never outdo it.
Track by Track Breakdown
Ronan Keating – “If Tomorrow Never Comes”
Cliché upon cliché. Easily the weakest opening track in 52 Now albums.
Liberty X – “Just a Little”
The song is pretty good. However, the first line (Sexy. Everything about you’s so sexy) is my go to line when someone does something disgusting in front of me. Works especially well for loud farts.
George Michael – “Freeek!”
Clearly with the modem noise and groans he’s making a point about the internet… but now the nostalgia of modem noises is the best thing about the song.
Sugababes – “Freak Like Me”
Gary Numan. Nothing involving him can be bad. This is no exception. I miss Siobahn though.
Kylie Minogue – “Love at First Sight”
The appropriation of French Touch tropes is really cool. I’d take DJ Falcon or We Are Terrorists over this every time, but still… good fun.
Enrique Iglesias – “Escape”
Maybe it’s just that I’ve been watching Jessica Jones but the sentiment ‘You can’t escape my love’ sounds less sweet and more stalkery…
Sophie Ellis-Bextor – “Get Over You”
Like a crap version of the Kylie song two tracks ago. Shame. I seem like I hate Sophie Ellis Bextor. She actually seems okay as a person…
S Club Juniors – “One Step Closer”
Sorry. I just find the whole concept a bit creepy and Operation Yewtree.
Nigel & Marvin – “Follow Da Leader 2002”
Feels like it was designed to be annoying. But dagnabbit I enjoyed it. Out of spite.
Scooter – “The Logical Song”
Supertramp might not be cool. But that’s no excuse to do this to them. Also… I love Supertramp. So much that I could never be cool. So much that I secretly enjoy hearing this song, not because Scooter are anything but shit, but because of the 8 bars of Supertramp.
Dee Dee – “Forever”
A festering sore on the arse cheek of dance music.
Flip & Fill – “Shooting Star”
This is a weak section of this Now! album. The above review carries over for a second track.
Paffendorf – “Be Cool”
A massive improvement, by dint of an injection of humour. I like an amusing vocal sample.
Kelly Llorenna – “Tell It to My Heart”
Not as good as the Taylor Dayne original (how was that missed on Now 5?) But sung by Kelly Llorenna, vocalist on the divine Set U Free I can’t dislike it.
Shy FX and T-Power featuring Di – “Shake Ur Body”
A bit of pop drum and bass? I’ll allow it! Gets your pulse up and your raver juices flowing.
Tim Deluxe featuring Sam Obernik – “It Just Won’t Do”
Dance and samba just gel so damn well. You almost wish Sabu were still around to collaborate. Palo Congo would sound amazing with a Basement Jaxx twist.
Shakedown – “At Night”
A bit of a classic. But the full version drags on a bit… love the cut up on the long notes.
Moony – “Dove (I’ll Be Loving You)”
Built from good parts. But ultimately just a little bit dull I’m afraid…
Intenso Project – “Luv Da Sunshine”
I don’t like 10cc being appropriated for dance tracks… I mildly like it. 10cc and Supertramp on one Now! Album gives you an idea how good these could have been in the 70s.
4 Strings – “(Take Me Away) Into the Night”
Too formulaic. Would have been amazing in 1995…
Mad’House – “Like a Prayer” (Almighty Radio Edit)
So redundant it’s benefits are being sanctioned. The musical equivalent of lint. Just listen to the original.
S Club 7 – “You”
A great chorus stands out like an island, surrounded by oceans of slurry for the rest of the song…
Atomic Kitten – “It’s OK!”
Well done girls. The title has reviewed the song for me.
Britney Spears – “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”
Had so much potential. Could have been a spiritual successor to The Beach Boys’ When I Grow Up to Be a Man, and hits the sad notes but misses the bittersweet optimism. An admirable failure.
Ashanti – “Foolish”
Amazing backing. Barely noticed the song above it, but it’s a great tune nonetheless.
Mary J. Blige – “No More Drama”
She’s actually a bit flat. Seriously. You’d retake that shit, wouldn’t you? Also… Diddy cannot rap.
‘N Sync – “Girlfriend” (Album Version)
Probably their first good song. But let’s be honest… it’s really Justin Timberlake’s first single.
Christina Milian – “When You Look at Me”
An absolute tense classic. The propulsive guitar and squelchy synths boss this one forward. Brilliant.
Nelly featuring Dani Stevenson – “Hot in Herre”
This song is so brilliant, I can no longer respond to any complaint about heating with anything but ‘So take off all your clothes.’
Ms. Dynamite – “It Takes More”
Beating everyone by years at putting some feminism in hip hop. Especially love the dig about how many Africans died for the bevels on your rolex.
Omero Mumba – “Lil’ Big Man”
For the first time ever, I am unable to locate a copy of a song on a Now! album. I will come back and edit this. I don’t give up.
Aaliyah – “Rock the Boat”
A rare weak one from Aaliyah. Which is a shame, as she won’t have much more time to do this…
The Reelists – “Freak Mode”
Embarrassing. I feel dirty for listening to it. I’m going to delete it from my viewing history on YouTube.
1 Giant Leap – “My Culture”
A strange mix of Pink Floyd, Faithless and Robbie Williams… it’s good, but very odd to hear three things smooshed together like this.
Amy Studt – “Just a Little Girl”
A welcome throwback to some of the great female fronted angst rock of the mid 90s. Lovely acapella intro too.
Sheryl Crow – “Soak Up the Sun”
More slightly out of tune guitars and bored sounding vocals. It grows on you. Pleasantly lo fi.
Doves – “Pounding”
It’s a shame the prior single, There Goes the Fear didn’t make it on. That’s a lock for song of the album. But this is solid enough in its bruised, driving way.
Space Cowboy – “I Would Die 4 U”
Big beat dance version of Prince. It’s Prince. I don’t give a fuck if it’s bad. It’s Prince.
Idlewild – “American English”
Not a patch on their more fun, early stuff, but it’s nice to see them get their dues.
Puddle of Mudd – “Blurry”
A faded photocopy of all that was good about grunge. Just plain depressing.
Moby – “We Are All Made of Stars”
Moby tries to move on from Play by impersonating David Bowie. He’s more successful than he should be!
Oasis – “Stop Crying Your Heart Out”
Almost as good as when Oasis were great. Almost. Still, that’s better than most ever manage.
25 out of 42. Finally the 60% mark has been reached again. It’s been a long 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.