Ronan Keating

Songs for My Mother

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Hoping to capitalize on the surprising success of the recent Boyzone reunion, Ronan Keating's fifth studio album, a collection of songs dedicated to his late mother, goes back to basics following the disappointing sales of 2006's Bring You Home. Considering that his solo career started so brightly with the infectious guitar pop of "Life Is a Rollercoaster" and "Lovin' Each Day," it's rather disappointing to see how lazy and uninspired this decision is. With just one original composition, the dull acoustic ballad "This Is Your Song," Songs for My Mother relies heavily on the kind of limp, lifeless cover versions that Westlife, his managerial protégés, have made a career out of. Of course, Keating is not exactly a stranger to covers. Only a handful of Boyzone's singles were original material and several of his solo hits have been cleverly chosen interpretations of lesser-known U.S. country hits. But the majority of tracks chosen here are unimaginative to say the least. The Bob Dylan classic "Make You Feel My Love" was only recently tackled with far more aplomb by Adele, "I Believe I Can Fly" and "Suspicious Minds" are overplayed karaoke staples, and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" has already been covered by everyone from Matchbox Twenty to Ashley Tisdale. But even when the album does stray into less familiar territory, on the traditional folk songs "Carrickfergus" and "The Wild Mountain Thyme," it's hampered by Stephen Lipson's bland, insipid production, which makes it hard to distinguish one track from another. Songs for My Mother only confirms the belief that Keating has given up on being a relevant chart force and is now content to make records purely to be given as presents for Mother's Day.

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