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    Unbreakable 3 ( 2002 )
    Swear It Again / If I Let You Go / Flying Without Wings / I Have A Dream / Fool Again / Against All Odds (with Mariah Carey) / My Love / What Makes A Man / Uptown Girl / Queen Of My Heart / World Of Our Own / Bop Bop Baby / When You’re Looking Like That / Unbreakable / Written In The Stars / How Does It Feel / Tonight / Love Takes Two / Miss You Nights

    This hits compilation was released by Westlife just in time for Christmas, 2002. How thoughtful of the boys? Usually hits albums spell the death of the boy or girl band, but it seems that Westlife still have some mileage in them yet, they've signed a deal for a further four albums after this one. Now, if I mention the fact this CD contains 11 UK number ones, you might be impressed. You might even be the weird kind of person who loves Simon Cowell, who signed Westlife. They are managed by Louis Walsh. They sit on stools trying to look sincere and sing a procession of cover versions of ballads. Only the odd, occasional uptempo number is allowed, such as their awfully lumpen version of Billy Joel's 'Uptown Girl', an annoying song at the best of times. The sound is processed and sterile, that old 'studio magic' very much in evidence. Oh, for those that like numbers, 1.4 million plus copies of this set have been sold in the UK alone. With those sort of figures, you don't really need to break the USA, do you? Anyway, the five band members were groomed and assembled to be a new Boyzone, as if we really needed another one. They specialise in covers and non-self-written originals, with the odd lyric here and there penned by a band member. They all seem like nice Irish lads and i've nothing against them personally, which would be pretty silly, really.

    So, without a single rough edge, listening to Westlife can be a pretty terrible experience. They get played in fancy clothes shops, supermarkets, shopping centres. Middle aged mothers like the band as much as, if not more than, their teenage daughters. Now, theres nothing inherently wrong with that, but it never used to happen. Mothers weren't digging the Jackson 5 or the Osmonds back in the Sixties / Seventies, were they? As far as the bands singing is concerned, they do have skill when singing in harmony, of that there's no doubt. They are also adept at raising up a key during the bridge or close of a song, simply for that extra effect. Individually the singers voices are clean yet unforgivingly bland. They all have 'boy-band' voices, if you know what I mean. No? Tough! As for the songs, we've no hint of rock, of disco, of country, of folk. Everything shares the same power-ballad type sound. Tasteful touches of guitar and / or piano often feature. Plenty of keyboard lines and/or programming. The songs generally do what they should, moving from A to B to C, without ever offering a single unexpected twist or surprise.

    Individual mentions for songs then? As if all the above isn't bad enough, Westlife see fit to duet with Mariah Carey on a cover of a Phil Collins song. Now, you may all know that the Enoc Powell loving, portly ex-genesis drummer is a bit of a git. Marry one of his songs to an over the top warbel from Mariah and piano that doesn't even sound real? Soft, crooning whispery vocals from Westlife? Move on please, there's nothing to see here. Move on. Their debut hit 'Swear It Again' has a strong chorus reminiscent of groups like Boyz II Men. Too many of the songs lack any kind of distinctive introduction, all sound the same and all drain your will to live after a mere twenty seconds or so. 'Miss You Nights' is a quality composition, although I do prefer the 1975 Cliff Richard version to Westlifes. So, how to summarise? Well, i dislike nearly the entire album and this is their greatest hits set. I live in hope that their individual album efforts offer a little more of interest. If you like the hits, delve in here though, there's plenty of the buggers.

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    Readers Comments

    Robbie pobbierarr@hotmail.com
    Hahahaha, nice hatchet job! It's so refreshing to see an online music reviewer lay into the likes of Westlife and Robbie Williams with such gusto. Your rants against such banal anti-musicians are hilarious - and spot on. Thank you ever so much for torturing yourself with such musical abominations for our viewing pleasure. Keep up the good work!

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    this page last updated 13/7/08

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