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The Wanted - one the more recent offerings from the aesthetically pleasing world of boyband. Their debut album (inspiringly) called "The Wanted" peaked at number 4 in the album charts, back in 2010. Their 2nd album and musical delight "Battleground" released in November 2011 features 4 released singles to date, including a number 1 hit and 2 more singles that reached the top 3 in the UK charts. With the rise of man-band Take That and the dispersal of the ballardy Westlife, comes space for a new boyband - with a bit more grrrr and a little less blaaaaa.
The Wanted comprise of 5 guys - the gormless model (Siva), the skally most-likely-to-get-an-ASBO* (Tom), the young innocent** (Nathan), the ugly one (Jay), and the bit of rough (Max). Seeing them in interview, they appear to be a-kin to a group of lads that wouldn't look out of place down the pub, fantasising about their annual 18-30s holiday. Compared to most boy bands, these are the guys that don't dance - they don't do choreography. They're too cool for school, kids.
Not ever really taking much notice of them previously, it wasn't just the fact that their album was on sale for £7 (at HMV) that I decided to buy "Battleground" - it was also based on their number 1 single 'Glad You Came' that I really liked (and found myself singing all the time). The only 2 facts I could probably tell you about them (before doing a bit of research, like all good reviewers do, or so I hear) is that they did a song for Comic Relief in 2011 and were NOT created on a reality TV show (how novel!).
The first release from the album, was actually the Comic Relief track from March2011 - which surprassed my expectations of it-must-be-crap-because-its-a-charity-song and is actually, really rather very good! The song in question, 'Gold Forever' entered number3 in the charts (unfortunately they had stiff competition from some unheard of singer called, Adele?). The song is essentially a ballard, that flirts its way into a rousing dance track. The song is about having that one time of your life that you don't want to forget, having a golden memory - a gaaawguss uplifting message, with a very catchy melody too.
Additional main players on the album are the infectious 'Glad You Came' (the number 1 single), and the catchy but-also-a-little-bit-annoying single 'Lightning' (with the cheestastic lyric "I know that it's a little bit fright-nin, we might as well be playing with light-nin" ...who didn't bring in the "how to write a good pop lyric" book to the studio that day?). Lastly (at time of writing) the 4th single from the album, 'Warzone' (does anyone else sense a militant theme here?? What brutes!) which gives us a ballard, unusually sung from the perspective of the boyband member, being hurt by a girlfriend who did they dirty on them - con-tro-ver-shalllll.
Everything about this album, from the lyrics to the album artwork, gives you the feeling that they are trying to be a bit edgy and gritty (battlegrounds, warzones, fighting) and to be honest they're probably succeeding quite well. The odd thing about that statement, is somehow they manage to present songs that sound like a post-Robbie Take That tune (one of my favourite tracks: 'Lie to Me'), as well as a Westlife-reject tune (the rather good 'Last to Know'). I was pleased there were solid album tracks. Some pop albums nowadays seem to consist of the released tracks and any old padding to flesh out an album. There is also a rather odd track 'I'll Be Your Strength' that sounds like a melange of James Morrison (spew) and a dance-mix hybrid tune. It's not unsurprising, to find out Steve Mac (who has also written for Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis, Westlife and Toni Braxton to name a few) produced and wrote a handful of the tracks and Guy Chambers (he what wrote Robbie's 'Angels') wrote a track too. Poptastic.
An absolute bummer of a track is 'Rocket', as is 'The Weekend' (they definately lost the "how to write a good lyric" book that day - lines include "Come here right now girl, I'll make you sweat like you've worked out [mmmm classy] then we'll down a drink or two, you won't know what I put you through" - see I told you there was something a bit "warlike" about them - does anyone else have date-rape date-rape alarms ringing in their heads??). If you're going to skip any songs, it should probably be those too, and honestly, they let the album down.
For playability and length - they have a fair sized one. 11 tracks in all. However, there is a special edition also available and rumours of another repackaged edition with an additional 10 tracks, to the delight of fans across the nation. If the version I'm listening to is the standard they are going for, if the price is right, I might even be tempted to get the repackaged one myself.
Whilst I have mocked and jeered my way through this review, I really rate this album. Much to my embarrasment, I have had it in my car for 2 weeks now and I'm still not tired of it - not a bad accolade in anyone's book.
*Of course, I have no evidence or reason to suggest he would get an ASBO, he just looks like he could be
the type, you know? No? Ooo get me with my judge-a-book-by-its-cover attitude.
**And he's probably the dirtiest of them all
Thanks for reading
© MarcoG 2012
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Glad You Came
5 Last To Know
6 Iâ??ll Be Your Strength
8 I Want It All
9 The Weekend
10 Lie To Me
11 Gold Foreve