So remember that national speech contest? It was yesterday, and I didn't get through to the next round. It's perfectly fine though, because the simple fact that I was the one sent there is big enough - I can now say, and prove, the fact that I'm a better writer than I am a public speaker (especially if it's impromptu!), and I'm not that much of a good writer. So that just means that I suck at speeches. Meh, enough of all this talk about my conquests, on to the review! YES, IT'S A BOYBAND AND NO, IT'S NOT KOREAN! Applaud me. ;D
The Wanted. Yes. They're exactly what British pop boybands should sound like in 2010 - nice and perky, but still with that British sophistication, none of those now-sappy Westlife ballads. It's funny how I used to spazz about Westlife, and now I look at them with such disdain. Well, after they promised "no more covers" then released a cover of a Daughtry song for their lead single, why wouldn't I? But then I should've known better - Westlife without covers is impossible. BUT BACK TO THE WANTED.
To be honest with you, all I really want in a pop song is a solid melody, a good arrangement, nice transitions, original and strong execution, a catchy but not annoying hook, fantastic vocals, and something that ties all of those together - is that so hard for other acts to do? The Wanted have done it, and a little more, so I don't see what the problem is. It's nice not having to complain about everything in an album once in a while, this album has given me that chance. *pops confetti*
I'm not jumping up and down over the album, but I'm happy with it. There are quite a few songs that aren't to my taste, but without them the album wouldn't make sense. That's what an album should be, actually - a cohesive, complete collection of songs and not a bunch of random cuts thrown together and packaged. And the album is so easy to listen to - the tracks breeze along, they don't drag, nor do they bore, or completely disappear. I'd want to hear this over and over and over aaaaand over again.
I never talked about All Time Low here, but I do really like the song. Yes, the prominent string section contributed a hell of a lot - I am, and always will be, a sucker for a good string section. And the one on All Time Low was edgy but classy - very classy. The song doesn't hit you over the head, nor does it bore you to death, but it has spunk, it has guts. All delivered with that British sophistication. The perfect debut single and the perfect start to an outstanding album.
All Time Low got me interested, but Heart Vacancy got me addicted - I remember listening to this for days at a time, and whenever there was a lul in Korean releases, this was what I would listen to - iTunes says I've listened to this 170 times, and iTunes never lies. Like All Time Low, it doesn't hit you over the head, but the resonance of the chorus (which I usually don't like) is just enough to contrast the nice melodious verses. Not a big fan of the middle 8, but it fits the rest of the song nicely.
There are parts of Lose My Mind that sound like they came straight of a World Cup theme song, but that aside, I actually like the song. The melody isn't my cup of tea that much, but it sounds very Brit. The start is average, but the song progresses with such grace that it's an absolute pleasure to listen to - it's effortless.
Replace Your Heart is.. wait for it, wait for it.. BRILLIANT. No actually, it's more than brilliant, it's a gazillion times brilliant. The verses sound rather American, if I may say so, but them BAM the chorus hits and I'm sent into hysterics, smiling like a madwoman. And I like that instead of repeating the chorus for a second time at the end, they made another middle 8/bridge/whatever. More than the technical side, because they have that down and all, I believe that a good pop song should make you smile, for whatever reason, in whatever way, it should make you smile. And this did. Music isn't universal because there's only one language, musical notes, it's universal because even if you can't read, write or even see, what you hear will play with your emotions - we all have emotions, there's no need to learn how to feel, we just do. And I'm not talking about lyrics, I'm talking about the actual music, the melody, arrangement, execution.
Hi and Low is, in one word, quaint. It's like the ending song for this TV show about this family in a small American town in the middle of nowhere - I can already imagine the credits showing this run-down house with this girl walking up and then she closes the door and ok I'm getting a little too off topic. So yes, it's quaint. I like the harmonies, and I like the simple verses that turn into nice, floaty, choruses. Let's Get Ugly (strange title) is one of the songs I don't like that much. I do get what they're doing though - it's, once again, like a theme song for this fashion chick-flick ala-The Devil Wears Prada. Am I right or am I right? I'm right. It actually reminds me of a better-produced, updated version of one of the songs from the ill-fated I Dream. Remember that? Yeah, dig up the OST and look for the song.
You know what, Say It On The Radio reminds me of a male version of a Saturdays song. The instrumental, the arrangement, and even the melody sound very like them. The song's nice and perky at the chorus, with nice melodic hook and probably one of the most brilliant middle 8's on the album. Yes, I still like fantastic middle 8's. And I sense the same/similar vocal treatment here and on Let's Get Ugly.
I'm not that sure about this comparison so don't kill me or anything (although you guys aren't as rabid as kpop fans, right?) but Golden is probably the song that sounds like Take That the most (and here I was hoping for something that sounds like Mika's We Are Golden). The verses really, REALLY remind me of Take That. Oh what the heck, the melody, the arrangement and practically everything about the song remind me of them. Well, Take That is a pretty good band to be compared to, right? Yes. I like the epic-ness of My Weakness, and some parts of the melody, but that's about all I like. It does fit into the album very nicely though, and acts as a strong transition for the next track.
I'll be somewhat ranking the songs at the end of this review, but I'll say it anyway - Personal Soldier is currently competing with Replace Your Heart to be my favorite song. I like how their vocals were treated, I like it a lot, and it really makes the melody stand out. The drum rolls throughout the song are a really nice touch as well, you know I love it when drums are used for more than a metronome and the standard dug-dug-pak rhythm. Although, I do think the middle 8 was a little lacklusterly put together. Other than that, brilliant song. Very Brit, very The Wanted, very well-put together. And once again, it's a happy song. *smiles*
Here I go describing songs in one word again. I'm sorry, but it's a good way to review them - it gets my ideas out! The verses of Behind Bars are very cunning. They sound very cunning. The almost whiny (but not annoying) melody with the real drums and the edgy string section make it sound cunning. I'm serious! The chorus is explosive, the drums go wild, and the melody goes from almost whiny to almost scream-y. I like it. And I like how it just ends as well.
Have never been a band person, but having your dad produce one of the most influential bands in the country kind of makes you subconsciously like songs that sound like they were made by a pop/rock band. That's where Made comes in. And the start of A Good Day For Love To Die. I'm serious, if I didn't know The Wanted were a boyband and I heard either or both of these songs, I would've thought they were some pop/rock band. Made I have nothing else to say, but I love the chorus of A Good Day For Love To Die, and the middle 8.
What a very apt ending for the album - The Way I Feel sounds like the ending song for some movie/musical and the entire cast is singing, all smiling and happy and then the red curtains close and the spotlight hits the shadow of the main character. HERE I GO AGAIN. Sorry, I just really missed being able to do this on reviews. The song's actually kinda sappy, to be honest, but it fits the album, so all my arguments are invalid.
Best Track: Replace Your Heart, without a doubt
Better Tracks: Personal Soldier, All Time Low, Say It On The Radio
Worst Track: The Way I Feel, because it's more than a little sappy, to be honest
The Rating: 4.7/5 It has direction, sophistication, cohesion and effortlessness. They just need to tweak a few things here and there, but what we have now is pretty damn good!