In March 2018 I was talking to my mum and thought it would be fun to put together a playlist of one track from every NOW album. Pop has changed so much from 1983 to 2018, and NOW compilations have covered that change: from hi-NRG club music to British guitar rock to vocal harmony groups to today’s star system, pop has remained prevalent as a global language.
Because I’m an idiot, I drew up a chart of 100 songs I would pick, based on musical, lyrical or cultural relevance. Over the course of summer 2018, these 100 will be explained in short essays that also list the shortlisted tracks. They could be from popular films, adverts, acts or one-hit wonders. Will Gangnam Style make it? What about Flat Beat by Mr Oizo, or Lou Bega’s Mambo No. 5?
Accompanying the 100 essays will be 100 songs, uploaded to soundcloud.com/jonny_brick, which I have recorded versions of. Many of these are personal choices which can all be played on acoustic guitars or with just voice.
The third element of the NOW series is a podcast. Helped by pop fans, I will discuss each compilation in twelve episodes, where my guest argues against my choice. I can tell you that my mind has been changed on at least two occasions, based on the first four shows being recorded. Pop is about debate, fashion and music, and I hope I justify my selections appropriately.
So strap yourself into the Delorean of Time, and prepare for a wild ride through recent popular history.
We start with NOW 1 to 8, from 1983 to 1985…