Ah, the NOW album. That wonderful compendium of the latest chart hits, aiming to please everybody and guaranteed to please nobody. Only those with a complete lack of musical tastebuds could love every song on every volume of NOW. It was always the aural equivalent of a chocolate assortment, there being some really delicious tracks (strawberry cremes), some mediocre ones (pralines) and some which are quite awful (toffees). However, there’s an exception. Bringing ’40 HOT NEW HITS’ to the pop fans of 1996, the 35th instalment is listenable all the way through. Not all the songs are favourites of mine (The Spice Girls, Peter Andre and Ant ‘n’ Dec are on it) but I can listen to the whole album without having to skip anything. It’s the best NOW album, in my opinion. I won’t reproduce the tracklisting here – you can find that online if you want – but I’ll list my top 10 songs from it.
Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over. A classic 80s song from one of my favourite bands, re-released the year they broke up.
Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song. Not sure what this song’s about, but it rocks.
Pulp – Something Changed. Wistful, irresistible song from the Britpop giants, with Jarvis Cocker’s distinctive voice.
Faithless – Insomnia. Massive dance hit with the famous refrain ‘I can’t get no sleep.’
Shed Seven – Chasing Rainbows. Sweet, slightly melancholy rock song.
Lighthouse Family – Goodbye Heartbreak. Uplifting song with the recognisable vocals of Tunde Baiyewu.
Björk – Possibly Maybe. Enchanting ballad from everyone’s favourite eccentric Icelandic singer.
Dina Carroll – Escaping. Irresistible power-pop about falling in love.
Strike – My Love is For Real. A dance cover of a Paula Abdul song, insanely catchy.
Healy & Amos – Stamp! A funky and fast dance hit to make you stamp your feet.
See previous posts in this series: The Beatles – Revolver, Simon and Garfunkel – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, Kraftwerk – The Man-Machine, Depeche Mode – Violator.