Now That’s What I Call Music 56

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Released-  17th November 2003

Music History

 Not a whole lot. Michael Jackson releases a best of, and to promote it, gets arrested for interfering with kids…AGAIN. Mick Jagger shows us his rebellious side by accepting a knighthood.

Me History

Probably playing a lot of gigs, drinking a lot, not doing a good job of studying. Hopeless 19 year old stuff. My memory is a bit fuzzy round here. Maybe if I can find my old MySpace it’ll clear things up.

If I had to save one track from this album and the remainder had to be comic relief on an X Factor rip off (looking at you Will.I.Am) that track would be… heavy on the handicaps.

Track by Track Breakdown

The Black Eyed Peas – “Where Is the Love?”

The perfect crossover point between the serious hip hop act responsible for Joints and Jams and the pop act to blame for Boom Boom Pow. So good, but also a little sad.

Rachel Stevens – “Sweet Dreams My LA Ex”

Fantastically jangly flamenco guitars and driving rhythms. Just a shame it was her only decent single.


Kylie Minogue  – “Slow”

Hated it at the time, but it actually has a real woozy charm listening back.

Blue – “Guilty”

I ain’t passed the bar but I know a little bit, enough to know loving you isn’t a crime. But this cliché wrapped in acoustic guitars is under article 6 of the Geneva Convention.

Fatman Scoop featuring The Crooklyn Clan – “Be Faithful”

Literally just a guy shouting over Chic Cheer. But in its favour, what’s wrong with a guy shouting over Chic Cheer?

Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z – “Crazy in Love”

While she’s put out some absolute classics since, has Beyoncé ever managed to outdo this track in 13 years? I’m not sure.

Sugababes – “Hole in the Head”

Sugababes can do no wrong at this point. Not quite at the point where they get rid of every original member. 

Liberty X“Jumpin'”

It hasn’t aged well, but it does have a pleasing sinister streak behind the inane lyrics. Sleazy and with a great low slung feel.

Jamelia –  “Superstar”

I can’t remember if it’s true that this was written by Chris Martin from Coldplay. If so, he’s wasted on his own records. This is class.


Lumidee  – “Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)”

Damn there was some good R&B in 03. Eerieist song to feature handicaps ever.

Stacie Orrico  – “Stuck”

Nice opening verse, but the wheels come off as soon as the cheesy guitar chorus kicks in. Disappointing waste of a half good song.

Lemar – “Dance (With U)”

Could totally be an 80’s soul jam. Just not an especially good one.

Javine  – “Surrender (Your Love)”

A bad wedding band trying to do Chic. Two Chic references in one article. Oh well.

Emma  – “Maybe”

This might actually be my favourite solo Spice Girls single. Great sun dappled 60’s vibe.


S Club 8 – “Sundown”

Still making my stomach crawl with its Jonathan Kinginess. But probably the best song they’ve done. Not that there’s much competition.

Ultrabeat – “Pretty Green Eyes”

Really standard dance. Worst of all the build up to the break is great then just… Goes nowhere.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor –“Mixed Up World”

Very of the moment. Sounds exactly like pop in about 03. Fails as a result of its lack of innovation or soul. Corporate pop.

Phixx –  “Hold On Me”

It’s terrible, but the synthesiser sounds a lot like The King of Rock and Roll by Prefab Sprout, which makes me happy.

D-Side – “Invisible”

The irony of the band name being that even if records HAD four sides, this still wouldn’t justify inclusion.

Louise  – “Pandora’s Kiss”

The verse is genuinely promising, a jerky, bleepy, Neptunes inspired thing. But the wheels fall off at the chorus. 

Girls Aloud – “Life Got Cold”

Certainly not one of their greats, but I think a mark of their quality is that even filler like this is still pretty good.

Atomic Kitten –  “If You Come to Me”

You’re nothing without Kerry Katona.

Elton John – “Are You Ready for Love”

Terrible remix of what was never one of his great songs anyway. A big fat meh.

Justin Timberlake – “Rock Your Body”

Absolutely great. But then all his singles are aren’t they? Love the little faux beatbox ending…


Robbie Williams –  “Something Beautiful”

He’s done. It’s not bad, but his spark has gone out. Whatever magic touch he had has gone.

Nickelback – “Someday”

There’s a funny meme going round that says ‘Blaming all Muslims for terrorism is like blaming all musicians for Nickelback.’ It’s funny because it’s true and their music is probably as bad as terrorism.

Busted  – “Sleeping with the Light On”

I listened to a podcast with… Possibly Matt from Busted the other day. He seemed so genuine about his love of pop and that that was his intention all along. They were very good at it. This song is pretty bland though.

Mark Owen – “Four Minute Warning”

I thought I was being clever and ironic liking this as a 19 year old. Problem is its actually good, which in hindsight must have made me look a bit of a bellpiece.

Amy Studt – “Under the Thumb”

Bravely attempting a reggae resurgence. Bravely swinging and missing.

Texas featuring Kardinal Offishall –       ‘Carnival Girl

Kardinal Offishall is the only thing that stopped me from stopping after a minute. He doesn’t save it, but he at least stopped me from breaking anything.

50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg – “21 Questions”

Cracks already appearing in 50 Cent’s limited skills. But the joy of Nate Dogg’s somnambulistic voice is never in doubt. Still miss hearing him on a joint.

Ashanti – “Rock wit U (Awww Baby)”

Not bad. Much of a mid noughties R&B muchness.

Joe Budden  – “Pump It Up”

If it’s not on your pre drinks playlist then you’re doing it all wrong. Although the rohypnol line makes me actively dislike him as a human being.

Jaimeson –  “Complete”

Smooth sounding, then jumps in with a great breakbeat. Needs a little more change to be truly good, but an alright effort.

Lisa Scott-Lee“Too Far Gone”

I get the impression of a writers room throwing around every au courant idea they can think of and shouting ‘Why is nothing working!’.

Angel City featuring Lara McAllen –     “Love Me Right (Oh Sheila)”

Dull dull dull.

Richard X featuring Kelis – “Finest Dreams”

Both Richard X and Kelis are masters of this sleazy, wonky sounding electro R&B. I can only assume The Weeknd was paying close attention.

Rishi Rich Project featuring Jay Sean and Juggy D –  “Dance with You”

I forgot about the whole Panjabi thing in hip hop at this time. Love it. 


UB40 featuring The United Colours of Sound – “Swing Low”

On the one hand this is a terrible version of the song. On the other, Johnny Wilkinson, dying minutes, beating an Australia side with the ref in their pocket, taking home the World Cup.

Starsailor –  “Silence Is Easy”

I remember really liking their first single, Fever. But they never really moved forward from there sadly.

Stereophonics –   “Maybe Tomorrow”

Album to album is a downward trajectory for these guys. Loved the first, liked the second, indifferent to the third. And it gets worse.

Daniel Bedingfield –  “Never Gonna Leave Your Side”

He’s gone back to the gentle, moving ballad well. It’s getting dry, sadly.

Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules – “Mad World”

This, and Dornie Darko, the film this lovely, plaintive Tears For Fears cover is taken from were both overhyped at the time, but with 13 years mellowing… They’re both rather lovely, aren’t they?

 https://youtu.be/4N3N1MlvVc4

Final Verdict

22 out of 43 or a passable 51%.

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.