Get A Life

by Quinn

Let’s hear it for Westlife; something like seven years into their music career and yet still releasing records that jolt to Number 1 in the charts, as I learned when I watched Top Of The Pops yesterday for the first time in an age. In the fickle world of manufactured kiddie pop, their longevity is both remarkable and impressive.

They have broken all the rules and expectations of their musical genre. By now the typical boy band will have sacked their management and tried to run their own affairs (proving that as businessmen they make great pop idols); they will have experimented with different looks and sounds (with disastrous consequences); they will have tried to write their own songs (and will have failed, but still released them as singles); the interesting one in the band will have left for a solo career (an option not open to Westlife, who never actually had an interesting one); and then they will have split up (hurrah!).

But not Westlife; oh no, not they. Westlife have steadfastly and unquestioningly put into practice everything their management have instructed them to do. They are still wearing matching clothes as if dressed by their mothers, they still plonk themselves on stools while they intone their treacly ballads like some latter-day choreographed Val Doonicans (until they all stand up in unison for the “dramatic” final verse, like a troop of formation…oafs) and they are still happy to record insipid songs as chosen exclusively by their record company, be it cover versions unworthy of revival (eg. Mandy, Against All Odds) or “original” tracks that appear to have been written by committee (eg. Flying Without Wings, whose title even conjures up an image of a corporate brainstorming session, complete with flowchart, trying to combine the counterfeit emotion of Wind Beneath My Wings with the sheer blandness of I Believe I Can Fly).

Yes, congratulations Westlife, and many happy returns; now we know how Boyzone’s career would have turned out if they had been paying attention in class.