Westlife

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Westlife was the band that everyone loved to hate, except those who bought enough of their albums to give them seven number ones from nine releases. One album per year from 1999 to 2007, all released in November and every one of them giving their public exactly what they wanted, and Back Home is no exception, 12 new songs, nine of which are heartfelt ballads, with only the uptempo numbers "Something Right," "The Easy Way," and "Pictures in My Head" to break up the melancholy. But the one time Westlife did attempt to change things was when they released Allow Us to Be Frank, a swing album in response to the most popular week on Pop Idol as the young contestants crooned their way through big band numbers and Robbie Williams's successful album Swing When You're Winning, and for Westlife, it didn't really work, becoming only their second album not to top the chart (the first being their debut, before they had really got into their stride). Opening Back Home with the Michael Bublé track "Home" gives it a contemporary feel, although in the hands of Westlife it's just yet another big ballad. The two other covers on Back Home are versions of Lonestar's "I'm Already There" and Brandy's "Have You Ever," both of which are turned into Westlife-style numbers to mold in with the originals, which also sound like slushy romantic ballads written to order. Westlife may go on for another ten years, but their original fans who would have been preteen at the time of the debut album would be 20 years old at the time of the release of Back Home, but in 2007 they either showed no signs of changing their allegiance or their daughters were already beginning to see the attraction.

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