Westlife: ‘Greatest Hits’ – Album review28/11/2011 17:58
Released on Monday, Nov 21 2011
By Robert Copsey
After 13 years, ten studio albums and 31 singles, the question most people were asking when Westlife announced their split last month was how they managed to make it this long in an industry where you’re the equivalent of day-old bread after your debut album. Our guess? Their dependability against an ever-changing pop landscape.
Sure, the line of progression between their 1999 debut ‘Swear It Again’ and most recent single ‘Lighthouse’ is near-horizontal, but to their credit it also means they’ve had relatively few slip-ups in their expansive career. As such, we’ll (happily) allow them to whitewash over 2004′s big band covers record Allow Us to be Frank, which, despite its double platinum status, fails to get a single mention here.
While the retrospective features their most memorable cuts – including chart-toppers ‘Flying Without Wings’, ‘Uptown Girl’, ‘Mandy’ and ‘You Raise Me Up’ – there are still a number of notable omissions. Even today, ‘Fool Again’ remains one of their most recognisable hits, while Europe-only single ‘When You’re Looking Like That’ from 2000′s Coast to Coast proved they could handle uptempos if they put their minds to it.
Even more frustrating is that after all the swooshing strings, dramatic key changes and carefully-selected covers, the three new cuts tacked on the end – ‘Beautiful World’ in particular – point to what could have been an interesting new direction for the band, should their record label have permitted it. Their decision to call time now means they probably wouldn’t, and for that reason alone, we salute them.
Tracks to download: ‘Flying Without Wings’, ‘World Of Our Own’, ‘Mandy’, ‘Beautiful World’
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