Unanimously, the most popular singer from the Irish group Boyzone is lead singer Ronan Keating whose debut solo album is aptly titled Ronan. The album retains some of Boyzone's style, though it is appropriately, if not determinedly, subdued. That is a bit of a shock for a debut. Keeping in mind that Gary Barlow tried the same thing and missed the target, while Robbie Williams went all out with an egocentric rock album and became a British landmark, one would have expected a little more oomph. Ronan must not be caught up in trends. Besides, the album seems to fit his personality, which is quieter and modest compared to most boy group members. The album sports the number one European singles "When You Say Nothing at All" and "Life Is a Rollercoaster," which helped propel the album to the top of the charts for a short while. Indeed, it did not stand out as one of the great musical triumphs of the year, but it is not without charm, thanks to its sincerity. Bryan Adams provides the soft ballad "The Way You Make Me Feel," while Rick Nowels conjures up another spirituality-driven effort on "Heal Me," as well as a slightly more exciting "Rollercoaster." "If I Don't Tell You Now" is a Diane Warren-penned ballad, drippy and undistinguished, which is sadly how most of her songs are beginning to come across. Patrick Leonard co-wrote "Believe" and "Keep on Walking," both of which are unremarkable but enjoyable. "In This Life" makes another appearance (previously recorded by Bette Midler and Kathie Lee Gifford). For an album as seeping with heartfelt ballads as Ronan is, it is amazing that so many known artists came together with tunes that are so alike they sound monotonous. It really takes a few listens to bond wtih Ronan, because it is so slow. It is slow but it is also soft and tender. At certain moments it is exceptionally emotional. The splendid song "Brighter Days" is one of those moments.
AllMusic Review by Peter Fawthrop