B-Sides & Rarities

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Released as an exclusive through the now defunct Woolworths store to coincide with Boyzone's surprise 2008 reunion, B-Sides & Rarities could fall foul of the Trades Descriptions Act, such is its misleading title. Indeed, only their straightforward cover version of Enrique Iglesias' early hit "Experiencia Religiosa" (retitled "Mystical Experience"), which appeared on 1997's "Baby Can I Hold You Tonight," and the tribal ballad "Let the Message Run Free," the B-side to Bean soundtrack number "Picture of You" that they performed at the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, can convincingly fall under that category. Indeed, none of its slim track list could be classed as a rarity, having all previously appeared on various singles and compilations, while their wealth of original B-sides like "Close to You," "Should Be Missing You Now," and "Get Up and Get Over" are entirely ignored in favor of pedestrian remixes of some of their biggest hits. The soppy ballad "Key to My Life" is given a much-needed makeover with the pulsing Euro-house beats and echoing vocals of the "Unlocked Mix," but Steve Jervier's mix of "Coming Home Now" turns one of their better pop songs into a limp slice of watered-down R&B; number one "All That I Need" doesn't translate to squelchy techno, despite the best efforts of Phil Da Costa's "Oxygen Edit," while Love to Infinity's "Megamix" lazily shoves generic four-to-the-floor beats over "You Needed Me," "No Matter What," and "When the Going Gets Tough," in a mash-up that appears to have been knocked up in about two lackluster minutes. Elsewhere, the "Alternate Mix" of their rendition of the Bee Gees' "Words" sounds identical to their original, as does the "Radio Edit" of "So Good," which only seems to be here because the band have disowned the track from their accompanying Back Again...No Matter What Greatest Hits. With their Irish boy band charms back in vogue, B-Sides & Rarities should have been the ideal opportunity to present all their lesser-known work to fans old and new, but instead, it's a poorly executed and hastily assembled cash-in which, despite its title, offers nothing that isn't already out there.

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