Tag Archives: 2003

Now That’s What I Call Music 56


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?


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


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”


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”


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.


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


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.