Released- 20th November 2015
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…
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 Smith – Writing’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 Bieber – What 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 Weeknd – Can’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 Disciples – How 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 Benjamin – Runnin’ (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 Trainor – Marvin 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 Levine – Locked Away
Liking that reggaeton has made a return this year. More the soppier lovers end but I take the wins where I can!
Rachel Platten – Fight 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 Glynne – Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
All your songs sound the same. Like a boringly classy dance music. Radio 2 rave.
Olly Murs – Kiss 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 Goulding – On 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 Mix – Love 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 Direction – Drag 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 Lovato – Cool 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 & Years – Eyes 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-Eazy – You 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.
Birdy – Wings (Acoustic)
No chance of a difficult second album here, was there! Bless, it’s a steady job at least.
AURORA – Half 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 Lawson – Wasn’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 Sheeran – Photograph
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 Rocky – Good 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 Summer – She’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 Vamps – Wake Up
Sounds like Passion Pit without the passion. Going into U2 at their worst for the chorus.
KDA featuring Tinie Tempah and Katy B – Turn the Music Louder (Rumble)
Yeah. It’s alright. Tinie Tempah can always charm his way above an average song.
Galantis – Peanut 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 GTA – Intoxicated
Fun. Just plain fun. Big farting horns and a tasty beat. Great.
MNEK and Zara Larsson – Never 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 Tom – Be 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 Thompson – Ain’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 Tyga – Do 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 Sheeran – Lay 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 Henderson – Glitterball
Bland. Even by the standards of the artists involved.
Disclosure featuring Sam Smith – Omen
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 Wap – Trap 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:B – Chunky
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.
WSTRN – In2
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 Grande – Focus
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.
Silentó – Watch 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 Jordan – The 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 Bourelly – Talk 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 Jme – Keep 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 PRGRSHN – Alright 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 Powers – Alone No More
More stuff I thought we’d left behind in the 90s. Ah well. It’s inoffensive. Not much else.
Kygo featuring Ella Henderson – Here 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 Clarkson – Second 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.
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.