Category Archives: The Now! Project

Now That’s What I Call Music 57

 

Released-  5th April 2004

Music History

 

Me History

 

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… 

Track by Track Breakdown

Britney Spears – “Toxic”

Easily her best single. The syncopated beats and screeching violins and frankly how rudely she says ‘I think I’m ready now’ towards the end (for shame). Can’t not dance to this.

Kelis –
“Milkshake”

What a double to start! I don’t know what there is new to say here, so just put this on and appreciate!

Jamelia
 – “Thank You”

Very odd backing. Wonky. But actually a great song. Touching.


Kylie Minogue –
“Red Blooded Woman”

One of those moments when her star is on the fade again sadly. To be honest, she’ll bounce back. It’s what she does.

Justin Timberlake – “I’m Lovin’ It”

In an otherwise wonderful solo career, writing the McDonald’s jingle is probably his lowest moment.


Enrique Iglesias featuring Kelis –
“Not In Love”

It’s okay. Annoying that he got Kelis on but it just sounds like every other Enrique Iglesias song. And steals a line from 10cc.


The Black Eyed Peas –
“Shut Up”

Not entirely terrible. But I reckon a better song with this title will come out in 12 years or so.


2 Play featuring Raghav –
“So Confused”

The limpest use of a good danceable beat I have ever heard. Even Sean Paul would refuse to guest on this.


Beenie Man featuring Ms Thing and Shawanna
 – “Dude”

He’s a horrible man, but I can’t help but enjoy his music. Bounces along at a great clip.

Peter Andre – “Mysterious Girl”

I reviewed this back on 1996’s Now 34 and I’ll be damned if I’m listening to it again. So this is what I said:
Famous for this song and marrying the plastics and retardation magnate Jordan. I can’t work out which is worse. This song is liked ironically by the sort of man who thinks unwanted groping is just ‘bantz’. That’s how bad it is.


DJ Casper –
“Cha Cha Slide”

No matter how basic EDM is, it could never stoop down to this, which is basically outtakes from an exercise tape over a beat. Or Agadoo without the charm.


Girls Aloud –
“Jump”

Cover of the Pointer Sisters, which adds nothing new – to its credit!


Boogie Pimps –
“Somebody to Love”

Enjoyable update of the Jefferson Airplane classic. Face it, the original wasn’t as danceable!


Atomic Kitten featuring Kool & the Gang – 
“Ladies’ Night”

They can’t quite drain all the funk from the original. But good lord can we all just agree to sent £3 a month so Kool and his gang don’t have to debase themselves this way?

Emma – “I’ll Be There”

I feel like I might have missed out on a great fake 60s album by Baby Spice here. A great low budget Dusty Springfield pastiche here, complete with multiple key changes.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor “I Won’t Change You”
Scissor Sisters “Comfortably Numb”
Deepest Blue “Give It Away”
LMC vs U2 “Take Me to the Clouds Above”
Special D. “Come with Me”
Ultrabeat “Feelin’ Fine”
Motorcycle “As the Rush Comes”
Ferry Corsten “Rock Your Body Rock”
Will Young “Leave Right Now”
Katie Melua “The Closest Thing to Crazy”
Norah Jones “Sunrise”
Blue “Breathe Easy”
Kelly Osbourne featuring Ozzy Osbourne “Changes”
Blink-182 “I Miss You”
Busted “Who’s David?”
Fountains of Wayne “Stacy’s Mom”
Franz Ferdinand “Take Me Out”
Alistair Griffin “Bring It On”
Sugababes “Too Lost in You”
VS “Love You Like Mad”
Joss Stone “Fell in Love with a Boy”
FYA featuring Smujji “Must Be Love”
N.E.R.D “She Wants to Move”
Jamie Cullum “Frontin'” (Live)
Keane “Somewhere Only We Know”
Snow Patrol “Run”
Alex Parks “Maybe That’s What It Takes”
Ronan Keating “She Believes (In Me)”
Michelle McManus “All This Time”

 

Final Verdict

out of 44.

https://open.spotify.com/user/

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.

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.

Now That’s What I Call Music 55

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Released-  21st July 2003

Music History

It’s a quiet few months really. Pete Townshend forgets to clean his internet history, I go to Glastonbury for the third time, REM and Radiohead are brilliant.

Me History

Summer 2003. I move in with my band. Of four massive slobs, I am probably the worst of the bunch. Our kitchen is a nightmare. At one point we get ants, and make a flamethrower out of a can of Lynx and a lighter to solve this problem. This about sums up our talent for domesticity. Bloody good fun though.

If I had to save one track from this album, which us much easier than last time, that track would be…  side one, track one.

Track by Track Breakdown

 

R Kelly“Ignition (Remix)”

Still bringing it 13 years later. Possibly his greatest song. Along with 4 or 5 others. Gimme that toot toot!

50 Cent“In da Club”

I remember thinking he was a ridiculous fraud at the time with all the ‘I got shot 9 times’ stuff. This is still a great track, mind, and the bankruptcy and miserable loss in a face off with Kanye has softened my views on Fiddy.

Justin Timberlake –  “Cry Me a River”

And now it’s a one two punch of great singles for him. This more maudlin but no less danceable one is brilliant. Great video too. Is it about Britney? Had you forgotten that he and Britney were a thing too?

Wayne Wonder“No Letting Go”

Nice piano sounds. Vague reggaeton attempts. But it doesn’t really have much direction.

Javine – “Real Things”

Nah. If I hear those horns, I want to hear Ante Up by MOP, not this limp imitation of R&B. Bleh.

Kym Marsh – “Come on Over”

I knew her singles had to get bad at some point, or she wouldn’t be in Coronation Street. I just didn’t expect it to be this soon. Like a reheated Shania Twain.

Girls Aloud – “No Good Advice”

So good, I can forgive them for shoplifting the entire backing from a favourite of mine, The Knack’s My Sharona.

t.A.T.u. – “Not Gonna Get Us”

One hit wonder. This isn’t the one. It has some quite good big drums though.

S Club 8“Fool No More”

Still creepy. The first time they’ve made an effort to put together a half decent song though.

Fast Food Rockers –  “Fast Food Song”

That hideous kids song that just encourages the little bastards to kill themselves with hydrogenated fats, to a beat. You know. The one that’s just a list of fast food chains.

XTM and DJ Chucky presents Annia“Fly on the Wings of Love”

Basic.

Lisa Scott-Lee“Lately”

STEPS SOLO SINGLES! I say this like they’re going to be brilliant… they’re not. But they are entertaining in the same was slow motion footage of cars crashing is.

One True Voice – “Shakespeare’s (Way with) Words”

I will write a sonnet,
Put your name upon it.

That is actually the nearest they can get to Shakespeare’s actual way with words. A song, written by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Bhangra Knights vs Husan“Husan”

Not as good as Punjabi MC. More a microwave value curry with danky raisins, than a finely made keema with chapattis.

Tomcraft –  “Loneliness”

Lovely. It’s nice to have a bit of a dark bleak stuff back in the house part of the album.

Tiga featuring Jake Shears – “Hot in Here”

One of the best covers of all time. I adore Tiga’s sidelong, obtuse take on pop and dance. He’s still doing it now, Bugatti being a great example.

Lisa Maffia“All Over”

Yeah, still I like wonky agressive RnB. So Solid aren’t quite past it yet.

Benny Benassi presents The Biz –  “Satisfaction”

Still an absolute classic. Just one of those synth drops that will never get old. Raaagh!

Deepest Blue –  “Deepest Blue”

…And then this moronic shite comes along and ruins the whole improvement. Damn it Deepest Blue.

DJ Sammy –  “Sunlight”

And DJ Sammy continues the ruination. He just writes the most hideous, soft as fuck dance for pussyoles.

Plummet –  “Damaged”

A slight improvement. A little more atmospheric and fun. But nothing special.

Paul van Dyk featuring Hemstock and Jennings“Nothing But You”

Boringly solid house from the master of the turgidly reliable.

Scooter – “The Night”

I love that their shouty guy asks ‘who has the skill to test me?’. As the worst hype man ever, I reckon there are people in comas who could take you on lyrically.

Robbie Williams –  “Come Undone”

It’s kind of pleasantly resigned, nut you get the feeling Rob’s lustre has faded, and his golden period has passed.

Busted – “You Said No”

Busted are the best. Why did I hate them? I think it was more because one of them was determined to be taken seriously. The silliness is what’s good about them!

Daniel Bedingfield –  “I Can’t Read You”

Surprisingly convincing rocker from him. He was actually quite versatile, really.

Amy Studt – “Misfit”

It’s wonderfully snarky and has a huge touch of mid 90’s angst rock to it. Brilliant stuff.

The Thrills – “Big Sur”

An attempt to try to bring back some Calafornia tinged melancholy pop rock. They probably would have done way better if they had waited till about 2008, when it became fashionable.

Coldplay – “God Put a Smile upon Your Face”

Much better than Clocks. Not as good as The Scientist.

Appleton –  “Everything Eventually”

So close to being All Saints levels of good I want to rave about it but it’s just inches short of brilliant.

David Sneddon“Don’t Let Go”

The first sung line sounds like it could almost be in a Bond theme. The rest doesn’t. Good chord changes… which isn’t much, but I’m trying to be positive.

Ronan Keating“The Long Goodbye”

YOU THINK YOU’RE PHIL COLLINS BUT YOU’RE JUST A MARGINALLY BETTER SOLO GARY BARLOW.

Darius“Incredible (What I Meant to Say)”

Some nice, odd reversed tape loops in the production add a little interest to an otherwise rather bland number.

Feeder – “Just the Way I’m Feeling”

And a new generation of earnest knobhead acoustic simperers have a song to cover. I just hate it. So much.

Sinéad Quinn –  “What You Need Is…”

It’s better than her last single. Some nice melodic touches cover slightly more for the lack of authenticity.

Melanie C“On the Horizon”

Okay. Sorry. It I have to say it. The party is over ex Spice Girls. It has been since about 2000. Please go home, until enough time has passed for us to get nostalgic about you.

Emma“Free Me”

Seriously. See what I just said Baby Spice. Nobody was looking for a poundland Sade.

S Club“Say Goodbye”

Okay. It’s a pretty strong goodbye song… I almost feel bad for tearing into their later singles.

Sugababes“Shape”

Better for having Mutya and squad rather than an increasingly leathery looking Sting taking most of the singing on. He should have stopped around 1992 really.

Jay-Z featuring Pharrell Williams“Excuse Me Miss”

Jigga and Pharrell. Before they both lost it. Got to love it. A1 Neptunes production, no embarrassing rhymes. A joy.

Mariah Carey featuring Cam’Ron“Boy (I Need You)”

The reinvention on Mariah Carey as an R&B genius continues. It’s pretty good fun. And let’s face it, Mariah is always entertainingly batshit. Sure the remix was better though.

Ja Rule featuring Ashanti –  “Mezmerize”

Ja Rule always sounds drunk. Whatever happened to him?

Just looked it up. 2 years in prison for possession of a firearm and finding God apparently. Well, that explains why he’s not been about!

Final Verdict

22 out of 42. 52 %. More consistent than Now 54, but lacking the banquet of classics.

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.

Now That’s What I Call Music 54

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Released-  14th April 2003

Music History

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.

Me History

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 TimberlakeLike 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 RowlandDilemma

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 SeniorMove 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 AloudSound 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?

BustedYear 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 QuinnI Can’t Break Down

Tries too hard to give it attitude. A pretty wide miss.

DariusRushes

Darius remains my favourite reality TV singer of all time. Not that this song is any great shakes.

AppletonDon’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 KittenLove Doesn’t Have to Hurt

It could be about anal sex or domestic abuse, and either would be more enjoyable than this.

BlueU Make Me Wanna

Blue go back to being crap. They keep promising more then letting you down…

Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé Knowles03 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 BluTrue

Garage says goodbye with a whimper.

Zoe BirkettTreat Me Like a Lady

Basic. Disco pop. Instantly forgettable.

S ClubAlive

Sorry guys it’s over. Stop. Give up.

One True VoiceSacred Trust

These were the winners of Popstars:The Rivals over Girls Aloud. Which says all you need to know about Simon Cowell shows.

Kym MarshCry

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 BedingfieldIf You’re Not the One

Aww. He’s a right sweetie. Musically meh, but I want to give him a big hug…

David SneddonStop 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 WilliamsFeel

Trying to sound more clever and meaningful than it is. Catchy chorus though.

OasisSongbird

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 BrakesPain Killer

Affable niceness on acoustic guitars. I was far too ‘edgy’ (read ‘pretentious’) to enjoy it at the time. Like it now!

ColdplayClocks

So ubiquitous that I know it’s the hold music for at least two utility companies. Does nothing for me.

Lulu & Ronan KeatingWe’ve Got Tonight

I fucking hate Lulu. That is all.

SugababesStronger

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 ManStreet 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 ToyaHey Ma

If you’re making a summer mixtape, and this isn’t on it, it’s not a summer mixtape.

Nelly featuring Justin TimberlakeWork 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.

ScooterWeekend!

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 VanguardFlash

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.

ErasureSolsbury Hill

Erasure put their stamp all over the Peter Gabriel classic. It’s Erasure. Of course it sounds bloody great!

The Mock TurtlesCan 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 AshcroftScience 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 AttackSpecial Cases

One of those lovely, bleak, sinister Massive Attack songs. Like a wasteland on a winters day. In the best way.

Final Verdict

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.

Now That’s What I Call Christmas

Okay… its a repost from last year. But it’s Christmas. And this album doesn’t change much each year. From a quick glance, I think there’s one song I haven’t covered in this article.

Sooo. In the spirit of completeness;

Idina MenzelDo You Want to Build a Snowman

A worthy addition to the Christmas song canon. But Let it Go is clearly better.

Antipathti

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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. This, however, is a break from the norm to review an annual offshoot of the series, compiling (in theory) the best Christmas songs of all time onto three fun packed discs.

Released- 3rd November 2014 (Though, let’s face it, there’s one every year)

Music History

2000 years ago, in a manger, Jesus was born. 1950 odd years later, pop music was born. The two work well together.

Me Holiday History

Originally a Roman festival called Saturnalia, and appropriated by Christianity under the Emperor Constantine as the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday. In fairness, Jesus is pretty cool about the whole thing, and doesn’t want presents himself, and is just like, ‘Guys…

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Now That’s What I Call Music 53

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Released-  18th November 2002

Music History

A good year for TV talent shows, which create Girls Aloud and Kelly Clarkson.  Sad day for hip hop, as Jam Master Jay dies. I saw Run DMC at reading the year before. A sad loss.

Me History

I’ve started university. I won’t finish. I live in a shared house on the outskirts of Canterbury, and I am physically incapable of cooking or cleaning. My specialty is a quorn fillet with pesto smeared on it. The sadist in met wants to go back and sniff my house. Just once. And feel shame.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest are rightfully burned with all the remaining copies of Now 53, that track would be…  Dy Na Mi Tee by a mile.

Track by Track Breakdown

DJ Sammy & Yanou featuring Do“Heaven”

I get the appeal. I quite like the stripped down version. But with the cheese house backing, this just falls flat.

Las Ketchup –  “Aserejé (The Ketchup Song)”

One of those fantastic European crossover tracks that you can’t help but enjoy. Also, their entry for the 2006 Eurovision song contest, Cubalibre, is an underrated gem too!

Enrique Iglesias –  “Love to See You Cry”

Okay. So after the stalkery Escape, he’s now saying he loves to see you cry. No offense, but he sounds like the most abusive partner ever.

Sugababes –  “Round Round”

Two classic singles in a row! The Soulwax remix is one of life’s great joys too.

Atomic Kitten“The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling)”

Is it better than the original? No. Is it better than the Blonde version? No. But still, it’s pretty much unruinable, so you’ve got away with it.

Blue –  “One Love”

Another enjoyable one of Blue’s ‘pop with attitude’ type singles. Would that they had done more of these and less ballads…

Darius“Colourblind”

Darius Danesh is still the greatest thing ever to feature on a TV talent show. I’m just leaving this here…

Busted – “What I Go to School For”

Haha. I forgot this silly, childish pop rock song exists. Oh Busted. Hello. Welcome. How cute are you?

Liberty X“Got to Have Your Love”

A welcome Mantronix sample carries a good pop song here. Wow. It’s been about 50 Nows since the original featured!

Romeo featuring Christina Milian – “It’s All Gravy”

He was born into the wrong time. He throws out memeable lines like Drake, but memes aren’t a thing yet! Tumblr would have made you a legend.

Samantha Mumba –  “I’m Right Here”

An almost successful attempt to do what Aaliyah did. Stuttering stop start beats prevent, but she’s not quite got the charisma to pull it off.

ABS – “What You Got”

Did you think you could get away with sampling Uptown Top Ranking ABS from 5ive? It’s one of the best reggae tracks ever. You ever see me, Althea and Donna in our jeans an’ ting, you better run.

Britney Spears“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”

Amusing enough Joan Jett cover. Really… could do better but I’ll take it.

S Club Juniors“Automatic High”

I want to be objective, but this just won’t stop creeping me out. There’s something so wrong about the concept… so very Jonathan King. Shudder.

Kylie Minogue“Come into My World”

After a pretty great run, Kylie has fallen into a bit of a rut, where this could be a bit from any of her other, better singles of the past few years.

Jakatta featuring Seal“My Vision”

Jakatta are no Adamski. In fairness, Seal has such a great emotive voice this couldn’t be bad. But in comparison to his previous dance crossover efforts, this is a little flat.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor“Music Gets the Best of Me”

It’s almost cruel that they always stick her tracks after Kylie doing it better on these albums. Poor lass.

Kelly Llorenna –  “Heart of Gold”

On the cheese scale, this is a camenbert growing blue green fluffy mould. It stinks.

Milk Inc.“Walk on Water”

This is all getting a bit generic here. If it were a person, it would be wearing a vest and an Obey snapback.

Jan Wayne –  “Because the Night”

So much better when it appears to be an 80s power ballad. The euro beat and synths are completely unnecessary and detract from the good bits.

Lasgo“Pray”

Like so much vocal house, it’s really promising till the vocal kicks in. Ah well.

Scooter“Posse”

It’s like the worst MC ever, at a rave where only 3 people turned up. Possibly a little endearing in its underwhelmingness.

Coldplay – “In My Place”

Remember when Coldplay weren’t huge and actually had to write good songs to keep going? I miss it. Everyone should just not buy their new album, get them working like this again.

Oasis –  “Little by Little”

You’re pretty much safe writing off anything Oasis do from now on.

U2“Electrical Storm”

Blander than anything they’ve done before. Like cooked pasta with no seasoning whatsoever.

Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott“Hero”

No offense Nickelback, but I still know it’s you from the way it plods along like a dog with three legs.

Richard Ashcroft –   “Check the Meaning”

Like the Verve, but without anyone to tell him the song needs more work. Not bad, but very dull.

Eva Cassidy – “Imagine”

Could this have been the moment that that godawful trend of recording great songs in a twee lullaby style began? Just listen to the original.

Vanessa Carlton –  “A Thousand Miles”

I realise that my masculinity is at threat here… but come on, this is really quite lovely. Overproduced maybe. But still beautiful.

Badly Drawn Boy –  “You Were Right”

Is the intro meant to sound like Digital Love? Because it really does. I like Badly Drawn Boy, but this one feels a bit directionless.

Ronan Keating“I Love It When We Do”

So middle of the road he’s falling over squashed hedgehogs.

Appleton“Fantasy”

Half of All Saints, and about half as good. My old band played on the same bill as them at a university ball! How far they had sunk…

Ms. Dynamite“Dy-Na-Mi-Tee”

Possibly the best British R&B song since Neneh Cherry went for cosy domesticity. Or possibly ever…

Beenie Man featuring Janet“Feel It Boy”

The Neptunes can’t make a bad track at the moment. The fact they’ve managed to blend two seemingly disparate artists is brilliant.

Daniel Bedingfield –  “James Dean (I Wanna Know)”

His good song’s been and gone. And so his sister starts plotting her moves…

Eminem“Without Me”

Come on… Two classic albums and nothing on a Now! album. His first weak (ish) song and they love him. A boat missed here…

Puddle of Mudd –  “She Hates Me”

Everyone does, you fake grunge horror.

Bowling for Soup –  “Girl All the Bad Guys Want”

Is this not just Teenage Dirtbag all over again? Amusing for two minutes, with a few very funny lines… Her CD changer’s full of singers who are mad at their dad… haha.

Supergrass“Grace”

Their best has now passed, but this 70’s inflected stomper still hits the right notes. Finally a sound to match the sideburns.

Status Quo“Jam Side Down”

Strangely anachronistic, though aided by the preceding 70’s revivalism by Supergrass. Still, does this have any place on a pop compilation in 2002?

Raven Maize“Fascinated”

The best thing I can say about it is that I’ve never come across someone named after birds and grains before.

Who Da Funk featuring Jessica Eve – “Shiny Disco Balls”

Sinister and whispery. Can’t tell if that’s good or bad to be honest.

Oakenfold“Starry Eyed Surprise”

I’m trying to remember the band that this guy came from. They were terrible. Their big song was called Butterfly. Also, when did Paul Oakenfold lose his first name. It actually has quite a nice backing. But some of the most terrible rapping I have ever heard.

Edit- Crazy Town. They were called Crazy Town. They were awful. My little sister loved them.

Final Verdict

19.5 out of 43. 44%. Just terrible. Truly.

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.

Now That’s What I Call Music 92

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Released-  20th November 2015

Music History

Adele releases an album much like her previous two, which appears to be revolutionary in this day and age. Cilla Black  dies, which is a pity. And as a response to allegations that he uses a ghostwriter, Drake dances badly…

Me History

Haha. This is an odd one to do… I am in the process of getting divorced, I’ve moved house twice, and the company where I work has had a massive restructure which means I have to do the work of three people. Yet, my life hasn’t been this enjoyable in years. My new house is amazing, I’m doing all of the awesome things around my beloved Birmingham, dating hasn’t yet become bleak and terrifying to me, and best of all, nobody tells me off for smoking.

If I had to save one track from this album, mostly because they’ve shockingly overlooked Hotline Bling, that track would be… well… Grace and G Easy deserve it musically. But sometimes the fun one beats the worthy one. So Silentó steals the crown… Now watch me whip. WATCH ME NAE NAE.

Track by Track Breakdown

Sam SmithWriting’s on the Wall

Tries for the same level as Adele’s Skyfall but it’s a bit too melodramatic and a little bit dull. Who cares though… the film has Blofeld in it.

Justin BieberWhat Do You Mean?

Beibs bas got very good at picking up prevailing trends. After the Diplo heavy ‘song of the summer’ Where Are Ü Now, this is basically a Kygo track with his vocal over it. A Good Thing.

The WeekndCan’t Feel My Face

Still find it weird that The Weeknd is big now. I remember being really excited about his Noir n B in 2012, but would never have expected him to blow up like this.

Calvin Harris and DisciplesHow Deep Is Your Love

In a fair world, Calvin Harris would have been introduced to heroin at the age of about 17, and died in a pile of his own urine and faeces by 22. Sadly, instead I am forced to listen to the piss and shit he forces into our ears every second month.

Naughty Boy featuring Beyoncé and Arrow BenjaminRunnin’ (Lose It All)

A lot of waiting for a good chorus. Can’t help but feel he’s wasted two very good collaborators here…

Charlie Puth featuring Meghan TrainorMarvin Gaye

Referencing Marvin Gaye is cool. This song is kind of alright but not worthy of the guy’s name, I’m afraid.

R. City featuring Adam LevineLocked Away

Liking that reggaeton has made a return this year. More the soppier lovers end but I take the wins where I can!

Rachel PlattenFight Song

Landfill ballad. Going big like it’s 2013 on the chorus doesn’t save it. It tries too hard to be the moving song from the end of a reality TV show…

Jess GlynneDon’t Be So Hard on Yourself

All your songs sound the same. Like a boringly classy dance music. Radio 2 rave.

Olly MursKiss Me

The X Factor cheeky chappie tries to go sexy. Nope. It’s akin to Liam Gallagher trying to go emo. It’s too late. Your role is decided now…

Ellie GouldingOn My Mind

Still haven’t quite worked out the purpose of Ol’ Big Nose. Weak singing voice, and a desperate relentless bandwagon jumper. Answers on a postcard.

Little MixLove Me like You

You go girls. Lovely Motown style number. You could imagine The Supremes or The Shirelles absolutely killing this. I hope they put it out on 7″ for authenticity.

One DirectionDrag Me Down

After appropriating Journey before, this is a mildly EDM appropriation of The Police. Honestly I’m a little impressed at the clever way they steal from very uncool sources and sell it on. It’s good by the way. The above makes me sound like I don’t like it…

Demi LovatoCool for the Summer

Despite some sort of alt pop riffing at the chorus, this is a dissapointingly dull effort from a pop artist I know can kill on her best days – Heart Attack is pure gold.

Years & YearsEyes Shut

It’s a shame when the beat and clicks kick in, because the piano tone on this track is fantastic. Unfortunately it’s knocked down to mediocrity by the rest of the song.

Grace featuring G-EazyYou Don’t Own Me

Nice to hear some triplets (the musical rhythm, not trizygotic children). Also, the switches in style every 12th bar is both disorientating and brilliant! One of the best tracks out at the moment.

BirdyWings (Acoustic)

No chance of a difficult second album here, was there! Bless, it’s a steady job at least.

AURORAHalf the World Away

Oooh. I know what would be a good idea! Why not get a girl to sing a great song in the style of a lullaby NOBODY’S DONE THAT BEFORE! This is the music from John Lewis’ Christmas advert, where an intergalactic paedonazi grooms a small girl into helping him plot his escape to earth.

Jamie LawsonWasn’t Expecting That

Okay. It’s really cute. Maybe I’m a little sentimental but I kind of love it. I’m ashamed that I do. But I do.

Ed SheeranPhotograph

As always it’s not terrible. Like a guy at an open mic night who is just a little too in love with Coldplay. its nice, but not worth writing home about.

Selena Gomez featuring A$AP RockyGood for You

Last year he was collaborating with Drizzy and Kendrick. Now he’s on this bleak, dark ballad that sounds a little like a new age offcut. Not a bad effort though.

5 Seconds of SummerShe’s Kinda Hot

Basically it’s The Offspring’s Why Don’t You Get a Job updated for modern gender politics… In a good way. Big and stupid.

The VampsWake Up

Sounds like Passion Pit without the passion. Going into U2 at their worst for the chorus.

KDA featuring Tinie Tempah and Katy BTurn the Music Louder (Rumble)

Yeah. It’s alright. Tinie Tempah can always charm his way above an average song.

GalantisPeanut Butter Jelly

Promising start… even if we call it JAM here, you Yank gits. And the drop lives up to the intro. I like it a lot.

Sigala Easy Love (Radio Edit)

If you make a deeply average song, don’t then include a Jackson 5 reference. You’re just advertising your own weaknesses.

Martin Solveig and GTAIntoxicated

Fun. Just plain fun. Big farting horns and a tasty beat. Great.

MNEK and Zara LarssonNever Forget You

One of those attempts at emotional EDM for people who lack the basic intelligence to have real feelings. The relentless bass noise is a small saving grace.

Diplo and Sleepy TomBe Right There

Starts dissapointingly. I was ready to call time on Diplo, but luckily it jumps into some 80s electro grooves and recovers somewhat.

Felix Jaehn featuring Jasmine ThompsonAin’t Nobody (Loves Me Better)

Much like Kygo’s remix of Sexual Healing this summer, this seems to add some faint dance tropes and a xylophone. It works but seriously? WTF is the deal with all this xylophone house? 2015 is the year glockenspiels blew up?

Pia Mia featuring Chris Brown and TygaDo It Again

I remain amazed at the number of women willing to work with Chris Brown. His career should be down there with Gary Glitter and Rolf Harris’. This track is pretty much exactly how you expect it to sound. Lazy EDM/R&B crossover.

Rudimental featuring Ed SheeranLay It All on Me

More middle of the road EDM that won’t challenge your brain. With that nice ginger lad. It came, it went.

Sigma featuring Ella HendersonGlitterball

Bland. Even by the standards of the artists involved.

Disclosure featuring Sam SmithOmen

Probably the best Disclosure song I’ve heard. Yeah. That is like saying it’s the best sexually transmitted disease I’ve ever had.

Fetty WapTrap Queen

Up there with Biz Markie’s Just a Friend for badly sung songs by rappers. He’s missing the notes… With autotune. Genius.

Format:BChunky

Quirky with a deep groove. I’m pretty into this one. A lot of it sounds like it’s held together with elastic bands. In a good way.

WSTRNIn2

The Hey beat is well overused at the moment. This is not great. It appears that so long as you have a South London accent at the moment you’ll get on the track… even if you can’t sing or rhyme.

Ariana GrandeFocus

Cowbell people! One of those rare ones where the verse and fills are so much better that the chorus. Good work you doughnut licking loony.

SilentóWatch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)

Basically it’s Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em all over again. Which is a very good thing. Okay… its not quite that great. But you get the idea.

Joe Stone featuring Montell JordanThe Party (This Is How We Do It)

Taking away the Slick Rick backing from the original is a huge loss. Still, a good fun way to hear it if you end up in a shot club, rather than one that would just play the original.

Nick Brewer featuring Bibi BourellyTalk to Me

More 90s dance sampling. A bit of Crystal Waters. I love the original, so this gets away with some weak rapping out of nostalgia for the original.

KSI featuring JmeKeep Up

Grime lite. But it has its bit of ringtone Rick Ross fun as it goes on. You know, does anyone still use ‘bare’ in the real world these days? Anyway, it’s bare okay.

Wretch 32 featuring Anne-Marie and PRGRSHNAlright with Me

I like it. A false lead at the start ends up taking it down a Billy Squier The Big Beat route. On fleek.

Philip George and Anton PowersAlone No More

More stuff I thought we’d left behind in the 90s. Ah well. It’s inoffensive. Not much else.

Kygo featuring Ella HendersonHere for You

More plinky xylophone. But what will happen when Kygo gives up his gimmick? I look forward to finding out. Though I will miss his brand of plonk house.

Ben Haenow featuring Kelly ClarksonSecond Hand Heart

I always feel sorry for unsuccessful X Factor winners. There should be a special home for them. Bless Kelly Clarkson for trying to arrest the decline. I love Kelly Clarkson.

Final Verdict

23 out of 46. It’s like they were aiming for that 50%. It’s half great!

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.

Now That’s What I Call Music 52

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Released-  22nd July 2002

Music History

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.

Me History

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.

Final Verdict

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.

Now That’s What I Call Music 51

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Released-  25th March 2002

Music History

Adam Ant goes a little bit mad, and ends up in a psychiatric hospital for waving a gun around. Virgin pay Mariah Carey $28m not to record any more music. About 15 years too late…

Me History

I’m 18, and can now legally do all the things I was doing anyway. I have an amazing surprise party, where my sister interprets an offhand reference to National Lampoon’s Animal House and I arrive at my house to all my friends dressed in togas. Cheers sis.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were doomed to some John Belushi tragedy, that track would be… the greatest inspirational track of all time. Thank you R. Kelly. THANK YOU.

Track by Track Breakdown

Enrique Iglesias –  “Hero”

Hilariously overblown. I don’t know what everyone was thinking.

Blue –   “Fly by II”

Good fun from Blue. It’s funny hearing them use vague hip hop tropes, when they are about as urban as a working farmyard!

Ali G featuring Shaggy“Me Julie”

The problem with Sacha Baron Cohen is that while he’s actually fucking hilarious is that he tends to run his jokes into the ground. By this point, even Richard Madeley was in on the joke.

Daniel Bedingfield –  “Gotta Get Thru This”

Brilliant. I mean… garage is officially over with the release of this, but it’s a brilliant pop song. I do wonder why he feels the need to sing the bassline, which is just annoying and distracting, but these are mere details.

Aaliyah – “More Than a Woman”

This is a great, creeping track by the much missed R&B queen. The beat is so brilliantly lopsided you can barely tell where it begins and ends.

Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman – “Somethin’ Stupid”

You know that they couldn’t hope to take on the power of Frank and Nancy. Still, it’s so similar that all that’s missing is the power and richness in the vocal, and the song itself is still brilliant.

R Kelly“The World’s Greatest”

I want to be more cynical about this song, but I genuinely use it to inspire myself when running, or feeling low. When the choir kicks in towards the end, you feel like you can do anything! It may just be the greatest song of all time.

S Club 7“Have You Ever”

You’d been doing so well! Guys… massive dissapointment. It’s not the worst pop ballad ever. But it sounds like it took all of 10 minutes to put together out of old pieces.

Britney Spears –  “Overprotected”

Really? Judging by gossip magazines for the next 5 years, I’d say you were the opposite. Okay. Pretty Britney by numbers…

Sophie Ellis-Bextor“Murder on the Dancefloor”

Possibly the reason it took Daft Punk another decade to resurrect disco. Horrid.

Kylie Minogue“In Your Eyes”

Let’s face it… she’s peaked already. But this is better than most of the vocal house it’s impersonating, so credit for a good (ish) song.

DB Boulevard –  “Point of View”

A bit of laid back, elegiac dance soul. It’s actually really nice, warm and sensetive. Some clunky lyrics, but it’s forgivable.

Lasgo“Something”

Maudlin, creeping house. Probably the best thing they’ve done so far.

PPK – “ResuRection”

Continuing a strong showing for the bleaker end of house, some pleasant minor key blipping and mildly epic sounding backing from PPK.

DJ Aligator“The Whistle Song (Blow My Whistle Baby)”

Every noise in this damnable record is really irritating. The whistle, his voice, the half arsed music. Burn it. Then bury the ashes and urinate on them.

Flip & Fill featuring Kelly Llorenna – “True Love Never Dies”

Without the vocal, this would be much more enjoyable, all atmospheric and twiddly synths over pounding techno beats. Sadly, the vocal is there…

Hear’Say –  “Everybody”

You know when somethings not terrible but not good enough that you can think of anything to say about it? That.

Allstars“The Land of Make Believe”

They get away with this covet. Probably mainly because Bucks Fizz were hardly a high watermark, but it is a cracking chorus.

Victoria Beckham –  “A Mind of Its Own”

Ahh, you know… she tried. And that’s what matters.

Steps –  “Words Are Not Enough”

The addition of handclaps and campfire acoustic guitars can’t hide another horrible Steps ballad.

Geri Halliwell – “Calling”

Objectively terrible. But there’s something about the bossa nova rhythm and the change from the usual brashness that makes me like this one really quite likeable.

Rik Waller“I Will Always Love You”

Proving pop shows are a waste of time, a chap with a good voice records an okay version of Dolly Parton. Nobody has anything to say other than ‘he’s fat’.

Stereophonics –  “Handbags and Gladrags”

What a coincidence… Just as The Office popularises it again, Stereophonics get this Rod Stewart cover out. Cash in.

Nickelback – “How You Remind Me”

Kurt Cobain shot himself in part because he couldn’t live with being co-opted into a bland, soulless mainstream. Hearing this, you kind of feel he did the right thing.

Alien Ant Farm –  “Movies”

This pop punk ballad really doesn’t warrant inclusion. I swear it’s success had more to do with having Mr Miagi from the Karate Kid in the video than any quality.

Sum 41 – “In Too Deep”

Cute enough pop punk, with the emphasis on pop. You kind of want to tickle it under the chin…

Puretone –  “Addicted to Bass”

Actually way less bassy than than you’d expect. Good bit of breakbeatage though, which never gets enough pop love.

Christina Milian –  “AM to PM”

The production almost convinces you this is more than just a half arsed attempt at pop R&B, but the limited vocal and dire lyrics wreck it…

Ja Rule featuring Ashanti –  “Always on Time”

This soundtracked a lot of bad nights out at this time. Yet strangely I still have a soft spot for this track, even if Ja Rule is weak as hell. Honestly, in the 13 years since, our expectations of rappers have improved immeasurably.

City High featuring Eve“Caramel”

Nothing background music. Utterly ignorable save for a little section in Spanish.

Beverley Knight –  “Shoulda Woulda Coulda”

Finally, her great song! Funky, touching and tonally varied. Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Samantha Mumba –   “Lately”

Funny, as an R&B artist, her output has been crap so far, but a bit of laid back pop here serves her brilliantly.

Backstreet Boys –  “Drowning”

Curtains closing slowly on their career. To a dirge of a ballad.

Mary J. Blige“Dance for Me”

Jittering, propulsive floor filler. More for dancing to than for listening to, it gets a little boring by about 2 minutes in otherwise.

Afroman – “Crazy Rap”

Moderately amusing but horribly misogynistic. Sealing his position as a one hit wonder…

Princess Superstar featuring High and Mighty –  “Bad Babysitter”

I love that her filthy hip hop nearly crossed over (see also: Peaches) at this point. Fantastic wonky horn sample and terrifying lyric…

Platinum 45’s featuring More Fire Crew“Oi!”

And so grime came to pass. This skittering, cossack dance track is still an absolute favourite. And Lethal B simply added an ‘izzle’ to the end of his name and is still going strong, with Fester Skank on August 2015’s Now 91!

Goldtrix pts Andrea Brown – “It’s Love (Trippin’)”

Spooky, dark dance, seemingly recorded in Freddy Kreuger’s abandoned warehouse. A bit of a dark edge and good production and you have a classic instead of standard house filler.

X-Press 2 featuring David Byrne –  “Lazy”

David Byrne was, and remains, a genius in all he does. He should be brought back all the time just to make life more interesting.

Jakatta“So Lonely”

Not similar. Identical to their last single. Just go back and read that. I’m not trying if they won’t.

The Chemical Brothers – “Star Guitar”

Great as ever. This one also has a brilliant and clever Michel Gondry video just to make it perfect!

Lange featuring Skye – “Drifting Away”

Minimal trance. A bit too minimal. Pretty much empty.

Dreamcatcher“I Don’t Wanna Lose My Way”

Completing a double bill of piss weak dance to close out this album.

Final Verdict

23 out of 43. 53% pukka pop.

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.

Now That’s What I Call Music 50

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Released-  19th November 2001

Music History

A tragedy… the shaping event of the early 21st century… Yep, that’s right. Autumn 2001 was the release of the first iPod, and ever since then, culturally it’s been acceptable to buy an inferior product that will break within 2 years, so long as it looks nice.  Still, at least Barack Obama eventually managed to kill Steve Jobs in his compound in San Francisco.

Me History

In my final year at school, doing my A levels and looking at universities. I go to look round UCL on September 11th. The events of the day put me off somewhat, and I swear off ever living in a big city, a decision I will not keep to. In less bleak memories, me and a few friends start a monthly open mic in our common room, which is good larks.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were cut due to an arbitrary limit, that track would be… by the half of South London who were members of So Solid Crew. Argh, still have six words left… Antipathti done.

Track by Track Breakdown

Kylie Minogue –  “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”

Actual, pure, pop genius. Minimal, surprisingly slow, with a wonderful counterpoint between the synth and the drums, which are permanently half a beat out, making the track sound… bouncy. Kylie couldn’t feasibly ever outdo this song.

Westlife“Uptown Girl”

Get the hell off Billy Joel. Luckily, faithful enough that I don’t have to hurt anyone for messing with the Piano Man. They should count their lucky stars. Also, around this time, a dear friend of mine used to sing the line, ‘When my ship comes in,’ to communicate that he had partaken of intercourse the night before. Which still tickles me.

DJ Ötzi“Hey Baby!”

An abomination that you still have to tolerate from particularly bad wedding DJs. Bring back the death penalty, I say.

Bob The Builder –  “Mambo No. 5”

Who doesn’t love the strange appropriation of former pop hits by cartoon characters? Me. If it ain’t the Wombles, it can very well do one.

Steps –  “Chain Reaction”

Oh come on! Completely unnecessary cover of a disco classic. The driving rhythm still makes it bearable, but not worth switching versions for.

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