I've pretty much given up on Westlife at this point so my only hope of a solid boyband album this year is JLS' debut offering. If there's one thing I'm thankful for it's that Louis Walsh didn't give the guys a Westlife-esque repertoire because I swear if they got a bunch of Westlife ballads for album tracks I would've totally given up on Louis Walsh as a whole.
Before I talk about the album itself, I'm a little disappointed by how the singles were treated. If they were really the new Westlife by now they would've had their third single out and a fourth for Christmas with the fifth single following early next year. Why? To break a record. Now that I'm not the biggest Westlife fan in the world, I'd love to have that 4 singles at #1 in a year record broken and I think JLS are a pretty decent replacement. But no, they've only had their second single at #1 at the moment.
What sets them apart from Westlife though is the fact that all four of them sing and actually get solo parts on the album. Some are stronger than others but at least we get to hear them all on the record.
As a whole their debut album is actually a bit boring, the songs just go on and on and on and a few minutes later I realize that it's halfway done - most of the songs sound like recycled album tracks from failed R&B acts in the US.
My one problem for the entire release is that the choruses don't explode - I want them to and they have to. Their vocals (apart from Ashtons') most of the time sound boring and uninterested. There has to be at least half the album's worth of songs that just explode and leave an impression on my brain. Come on guys, I've been complaining like hell how much K-pop songwriters don't know how to make songs when apparently you guys don't either.
ALTHOUGH, this album is a very, very, VERY good example of how to properly use processing. Not too much, not to obvious all the time and most of all, TASTEFULLY done. If there's one reason why you have to listen to this album from start to finish it's to realize that all the processing they've been doing on other acts sucks really bad.
So I listened over to the album and here are the tracks that are actually worth your time - in short, most of the latter half of the album. Don't wanna waste my energy writing about the crappy songs only to get angry again.
My opinions on Beat Again and Everybody in Love still stand - they're the better tracks off the album. Only Tonight is one of those songs that make for a great last single - slow, sweet and it actually explodes even just a bit. The song has dynamics, it has feeling at it has the most gorgeous melody ever. This is the way they should be making songs and I swear if no one notices this...
One Shot, formerly called Love On The Line is very Everybody in Love-ish and I love it. Doesn't really, really explode but the melody catches your ear and the arrangement is cohesive but separates each element of the song clearly. Private is more of catchy than musically proficient but it works as a pop song. I can imagine the video - if that's the case then it's a good single choice as well. It's very current and I think very apt of the US. If they ever think of breaking the US this is the single to use. Or the next track. Don't Go has it's good points but other than the hook, it's pretty boring - the song stays on the same level throughout. Good hook though. Tightrope is the obligatory slow but happy song on the album. I find it gorgeous. Really, if you're in the mood for a gorgeous song this is it.
Kickstart sounds like a rip-off of BSB's Straight Through My Heart. Enough said.
So, to sum up the album:
Best Track: Private
Better Tracks: One Shot, Only Tonight, Don't Go, Tightrope, Beat Again, Everybody In Love
My Least Favorite Track: Kickstart - mainly because it's the biggest rip-off ever. There are more boring and bad tracks but I absolutely cannot take a rip-off.
THE RATING: 3.5/5 I'm sorry, I tried but there aren't enough insanely brilliant songs to pull the score up to a 4.