Released- 14th April 2003
S Club 7 split up. Phil Spector doesn’t do gun safety. And Apple launch the iTunes store, the first irritating addition to the hideous bloatware that is iTunes.
I’m 19. I am generally drunk. Pound a pint night on Mondays and indie disco at the art school on Fridays. Looking over this Now album is giving me weird alcoholic flashbacks to snippets of nights out, like Proust, but with the madeleine biscuit replaced by the stink of ciggies, and with sticky beer on my Stan Smiths.
If I had to save one track from this album, which this time around feels like asking me which of my children I’d want to survive, that track would be… nearly impossible to pick. Had Nelly, Junior Senior, Punjabi MC, Girls Aloud or Cam’Ron appeared on any other volume with these songs, they’d have won no doubt. But Like I Love You is probably one of the main reasons I stopped being an indie snob. It’s pop perfection.
Track by Track Breakdown
t.A.T.u. – All the Things She Said
The passing of time has rendered the whole schoolgirl lesbianism marketing angle a little odious. But the song is still a great dark pop number. Great start.
Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You
The comeback single Michael Jackson should have gone with. Syncopated, sleek and sexy. And possibly the best pop single this side of 2000, even 13 years on. Also, got to love the guest spot for Clipse.
Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland – Dilemma
Love it! This should close every nightclub ever, in the style of a school disco. Let the uncomfortable slow dancing begin!
Richard X vs Liberty X – Being Nobody
Mash up culture meets pop, with this lovely hybrid of Ain’t Nobody and Being Boiled. Clever move Richard X. Clever Move.
Room 5 ft. Oliver Cheatham – Make Luv
I’m easily pleased. It sounds disco. I’m on it.
Junior Senior – Move Your Feet
If you put summer, joy and Mentoes in a bottle and shook it up, this is the noise it would make as it explodes. Pure, unalloyed fun.
Girls Aloud – Sound Of The Underground
One of those pop debuts that pretty much decides that this act is going to be round for years. In terms of the time, it sounds like a collaboration between Atomic Kitten, Richard X and Fatboy Slim. Don’t you wish that happened?
Busted – Year 3000
It’s stupid. And assumes that we’ll have a lifespan of about 250 years in the very near future. And they’re pretty sniffy about boy bands for a boy band. But I’ll allow it.
Melanie C – Here It Comes Again
I sometimes feel a bit sorry for Mel C and Mark Owen. They both wanted to be the ‘serious AOR’ one after their groups split, but both never really managed it. Bless ’em.
Sinéad Quinn – I Can’t Break Down
Tries too hard to give it attitude. A pretty wide miss.
Darius – Rushes
Darius remains my favourite reality TV singer of all time. Not that this song is any great shakes.
Appleton – Don’t Worry
Half of All Saints. Less than half as good. Amusingly they both married famous Liams. Gallagher of Oasis and Howlett of The Prodigy.
Atomic Kitten – Love Doesn’t Have to Hurt
It could be about anal sex or domestic abuse, and either would be more enjoyable than this.
Blue – U Make Me Wanna
Blue go back to being crap. They keep promising more then letting you down…
Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé Knowles – 03 Bonnie & Clyde
They’d make a nice couple wouldn’t they? Who’d have thought they’d both be royalty today? It’s a great song, but a great song that they have both far exceeded since.
Jaimeson featuring Angel Blu – True
Garage says goodbye with a whimper.
Zoe Birkett – Treat Me Like a Lady
Basic. Disco pop. Instantly forgettable.
S Club – Alive
Sorry guys it’s over. Stop. Give up.
One True Voice – Sacred Trust
These were the winners of Popstars:The Rivals over Girls Aloud. Which says all you need to know about Simon Cowell shows.
Kym Marsh – Cry
I’m disgusted with myself for liking it. It’s trite and so 2003 it hurts. But like it I do.
Ainslie Henderson – Keep Me a Secret
Nice. Bland. One of those things that has been pitched to appeal to everybody but is loved by nobody.
Daniel Bedingfield – If You’re Not the One
Aww. He’s a right sweetie. Musically meh, but I want to give him a big hug…
David Sneddon – Stop Living the Lie
He wrote it himself. Which should be celebrated. But… He very clearly wrote it himself. And lost the post it note saying ‘Put chorus in later’.
Robbie Williams – Feel
Trying to sound more clever and meaningful than it is. Catchy chorus though.
Oasis – Songbird
Let Liam write one. Four words that spell the end of Oasis. Almost as bad as Mick Jagger telling you Keef’s going to do a couple now.
Turin Brakes – Pain Killer
Affable niceness on acoustic guitars. I was far too ‘edgy’ (read ‘pretentious’) to enjoy it at the time. Like it now!
Coldplay – Clocks
So ubiquitous that I know it’s the hold music for at least two utility companies. Does nothing for me.
Lulu & Ronan Keating – We’ve Got Tonight
I fucking hate Lulu. That is all.
Sugababes – Stronger
Moody break up ballad. Good on its own, but following Round Round and Freak Like Me it was always going to sound a bit weak.
Beenie Man – Street Life
They keep putting nice Beenie Man songs on here. When all anyone wanted at the time is Who Am I? Who got the keys to my bimma?
Cam’Ron featuring Juelz Santana, Freekey Zeekey and Toya – Hey Ma
If you’re making a summer mixtape, and this isn’t on it, it’s not a summer mixtape.
Nelly featuring Justin Timberlake – Work It
Both artists getting a second song on here. And there is no drop in quality. It’s a fantastic sleaze fest of a tune.
Panjabi MC – Mundian To Bach Ke
Absolutely immense. The best song to sample the Knightrider theme. Including Busta Rhymes. So that is high praise.
Scooter – Weekend!
Hmm. I’m getting the suspicion that all Scooter’s songs sound the same. Right down to the fake crowd noise.
DJ Sammy – The Boys of Summer
Christ on a ten gear, was the original not horrible enough?
Divine Inspiration – The Way (Put Your Hand in My Hand)
If I spent the same amount of time writing this sentence as they spent on this song I wouldn’t have finished it.
Queen + DJ Vanguard – Flash
Nowhere near as bad as the forthcoming desecration of Freddie Mercury’s grave that’s to come. But frankly, if it doesn’t have Brian Blessed shouting ‘GORDON’S ALIVE!’ it’s not good enough.
Erasure – Solsbury Hill
Erasure put their stamp all over the Peter Gabriel classic. It’s Erasure. Of course it sounds bloody great!
The Mock Turtles – Can You Dig It? (Fatboy Slim & Simon Thornton 2003 Remix) (As featured in the Vodafone ad)
Too reverent to the original. Probably the first weak Fatboy Slim remix. More like a remaster. The song’s still a relative classic.
Counting Crows featuring Vanessa Carlton – Big Yellow Taxi
Jon Mitchell is a genius, and an easy equal to Bob Dylan. Counting Crows are only liked by the sort of white guy who grows dreadlocks. How do you think this was going to end?
Richard Ashcroft – Science of Silence
While I can’t put my finger on it, there’s something missing from Richard Ashcroft’s solo singles that the Verve had. All the same parts are there, but it doesn’t stir you.
Massive Attack – Special Cases
One of those lovely, bleak, sinister Massive Attack songs. Like a wasteland on a winters day. In the best way.
21 out of 42. Fiddy percent. But when it’s good, it’s some of the best pop ever. So much so it’s making me doubt my methods.
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.