Following Boyzone's surprising career rejuvenation, frontman Ronan Keating continues to juggle his boy band duties with his increasingly prolific solo career, releasing his fourth solo album in just two years. At first glance, When Ronan Met Burt does little to dispel the criticisms that his promising early pop/rock output has given way to an unimaginative series of MOR covers albums. However, while Songs for My Mother, Winter Songs, and Duet all felt like cynical cash-ins, his eighth studio LP has a much more respectable pedigree. As its title suggests, When Ronan Met Burt is not only dedicated to lounge-pop standards of the '60s, but features the iconic Bacharach himself on his first credited studio album since 2005's At This Time. While Keating undoubtedly possesses a fine and melodic, radio-friendly voice, it's a little surprising that out of the plethora of singers Bacharach could easily have had at his beck and call, he chose an Irish boy band member, completely unknown in his homeland, to work with. Recorded with a full orchestra at California's world-famous Capitol Studios, Keating tackles the likes of Dusty Springfield's "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself," Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By," and Jackie DeShannon's "What the World Needs Now," but lacking the warmth, soulfulness, and sensitivity of the original performers, Keating fails to override the overwhelming sense of karaoke, while Bacharach's faithful arrangements hinder his attempts to make the classic standards his own. He fares much better on the lesser-known material, such as "This House Is Empty Now," a track from Bacharach's 1998 collaboration with Elvis Costello, Painted from Memory, and "Something Big," the theme tune to the 1971 Dean Martin Western comedy of the same name, which are much better suited to his slightly Americanized, gruff vocal tones. But overall, When Ronan Met Burt offers very little that would entice anyone other than loyal fans of both artists to avoid seeking out the far superior originals instead.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien