Blue

Guilty

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By the third year of their existence, Blue had gotten into a rhythm, released a single in early November, watched it become a radio favorite and hopefully a big hit, too (which of course they nearly always were), and then before anybody forgets, they dropped the album into the mix and hey presto, another number one. And so it was with the third album, Guilty, which arrived at the end of 2003, in almost exactly the same week of the year as the first two albums, All Rise and One Love. And it followed the same pattern as its predecessors, hitting number one in its first week, but unlike those albums, it had a pretty speedy ascension to the upper regions of the chart, leaving the Top Ten just as December turned. Despite being the band's third consecutive number one, the reason for its comparative failure was the track chosen for the second single. On the previous album, Elton John had made a guest appearance on his original track, "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," and it easily sailed to number one, but on Guilty, the equivalent track was "Signed Sealed Delivered I'm Yours," which featured the original singer, Stevie Wonder and also Angie Stone. "Signed Sealed Delivered" became their first single not to reach the Top Ten. Perhaps it was just not as strong a song as the Elton John collaboration. Also, Blue had moved in a different direction, with the funk-soul tracks "Bubblin," "Taste It," and "Back It Up" more prominent than their smooth soul/R&B-like "Rock the Night" and "Breathe Easy," which they had become known for on the first two albums. Finally, even the debut single and title track taken from Guilty and the final song "No Goodbyes" were straying perilously close to Westlife territory and to many Blue fans, the most important thing about them was that they were not as bland as Westlife.

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