Newest Review: ... sanctuary created for her back in S Club. And that's it really. 'Relentless' is just an S Club 7 album but without any of the trademark... more
Relentless - Jo O'Meara
Member Name: blonde_girl774
Relentless - Jo O'Meara
Advantages: Great Voice and Brilliant Lyrics.
Disadvantages: Slightly Too Many Ballads?
The name Jo O’Meara may well ring a couple of bells in a few heads and quite rightly so, she first found fame back in 1999 with S Club 7 and their first hit “Bring It All Back.” Although the group was arguably a seven piece band Jo O’Meara easily made up half the band when it came to singing, having the most powerful voice of the entire group. With her previous group she received several Brit awards including Best Newcomers, Best Single and Record of the Year also. At the older age now of 26 she’s finally made the move to go solo, as have several of her other band members, and one must wonder whether the sheer strength and vitality of her voice can make her a success.
Her first album “Relentless” was released back in October 2005 and followed the release of her first single “What Hurts the Most” in September 2005. The album does consist of typical pop music, it feels quite reminiscent of some of the slower S Club 7 ballads although it does have a slightly more mature sound. In a sense we can see that since 1999 and the cheesy pop S Club 7 produced Jo has certainly changed her direction in music. Rather than producing an album full of cringe worthy, slightly too upbeat lyrics she instead has created a more developed, grown up and refined album. The album features 14 tracks in total and each is worthy of a mention.
The first track is the title track for the album, “Relentless.” It’s a smooth ballad, with some heart rendering lyrics thrown in for good measure. The opening is very mellow, allowing her voice to shine through with its slightly sexy rasping sound before moving into an angelic sounding chorus with very soft lyrics. Throughout the album she has the ability to go from quiet and soft singing to huge crescendos within a matter of seconds which really adds life and emotion to the album. This song is typically about how she can’t stop loving someone and the pain she feels is too much, “I can’t stop these feelings, tearing me to pieces, hiding everything away, but can’t you see my face, my tears are relentless.” It’s a great song to start the album off on as her voice shines through and the song is arguably quite catchy despite being a low key ballad. The second track follows on with the same sort of mood from the previous song, “What Hurts the Most” is a brilliant, emotive ballad. The song starts off fairly softly again before a huge crescendo towards the chorus which adds such an energised feel to the track. The essence of the meaning of the first track is in a sense, echoed within this one as it’s about the end of a relationship and having to watch someone walk away, “It’s hard to deal with the pain of loosing you everywhere I go, but I’m doing it, it’s hard to force that smile when I see our old friends and I’m alone, still harder, getting up getting dressed dealing with this regret.”
Next up is “Wish I Was Over You” which has a quirky, 60s feel to it almost and is much more upbeat than the previous two tracks. It’s much more reminiscent of some of the S Club 7 tracks that were optimistic, upbeat and a little too full of life. All in all it’s not a bad track despite the incessant beat throughout and the quirky “du du du” lyrics at the end of each of the chorus which give a cheap disco feel to it. The title of the track is pretty self explanatory and it is refreshing to have an upbeat track on this topic rather than the somewhat monotone ballads that are often produced, “Safe in my madness, look at me I’m dressed up messed up, and totally crumbling at the thought of seeing you here.” However I do always end up singing along to this one when I’m in my car so it can’t be that bad! “To Ease Your Pain” is next up and returns us to the slower ballads that opened the album and I have to say I was relieved. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album, it’s alluring in a non-sexy way and is sung wonderfully – I did think of Charlotte Church and some of her ballads when I first heard this. The song is about how she wants to help someone who is struggling with life at the moment, “Can’t move on if you’re stuck in the past, and now it’s time for you to let it go, but if you want to make love that will last oh baby, you know I need you to tell me so.”
The fifth song on the album is “You Didn’t Know” and again is quite a sombre ballad but if I’m honest it does sort of blend in to the previous track. It’s a sensitive and quite touching song lyrics wise but the whole mood is rather downbeat and the pace just a little too slow. At nearly 5 minutes long it does take a while to get through and doesn’t really get any better than the opening “Oh baby how can I make it up to you now, cos I feel it’s not too late to show I love you, so I guess you didn’t know cos I didn’t say.” The general meaning behind the track is quite poignant though, how someone may not know you love them if you don’t tell them – a word of encouragement for us all there! This is followed by yet another ballad “Never Felt Like This” but it’s actually one of my favourite tracks on the album. It’s sweetly sung and full of emotion and it’s actually a hit in my books, one of those ballads about love that will I will never tire of listening to, “Oh what can I do, never felt like this with anyone before, I just want to jump right in, I can’t stop no no, someone’s touched my heart, and I don’t feel like I’m drifting anymore.” Next up is “Let’s Love,” the first proper upbeat track on the album and is certainly similar to some of S Club 7’s material including “Reach” and “Natural.” It’s much more teen pop as well with simple lyrics and just a simple feel to it overall. I’m still not sure if this is a hit in my mind though, “Baby I was so wrong, I ask for your forgiveness, weak when I should be strong, now give me a chance to prove this.” “Baby I’m A Fool” returns to the ballads field but it does sound different to previous tracks. The backing music has a distinct jazz feel to it while her voice has a certain hollowness to it and leads to a welcome upbeat chorus in my opinion. It’s basically about how she’s messed up a relationship and now her man has left her, “Things I promised, birthdays I missed, so many wasted opportunities, time’s that you try, crying inside, to open up the door and get through to me.”
The next few tracks on the album all sort of merge into one another in my opinion, they’re all ballads about love that start off quietly and then crescendo towards the middle, get the picture? Track 9 is “I Believe In You” which is followed by the honestly sung “Never Meant To Break Your Heart” and then “It’s Your Love.” They’re all remarkably similar in beat, tone and lyrical meaning also yet they do have some quite emotive ideas, “Cos I believe in you, I’ll take you through your darkest hour, I have been there too but you pulled me through, I’ll do the same for you.” Track 12 brings about a change in mood and we find the optimistic and upbeat “It Felt Like Love” which is surprisingly similar to any upbeat S Club 7 song – you can even picture the dance routine as you listen! But you know what, I really like it! It’s cheerful and you won’t be able to resist humming along to it, “I know it’s wrong I’m quite aware but you’re talking straight to my heart, I know that life can be unfair and it’s tearing my world apart, but baby you can call me anytime you want you know I’ll be waiting for you.” The penultimate track is “That’s Where I Belong,” another slightly wishy washy ballad which will suit you down to the ground if, like me, you enjoy your soft ballads. Finally we reach the end of the album with “Rainbow’s End” which is quite a hypnotic sounding track that rounds the album off nicely.
So what do I think then?
I personally really like this album, despite it being slightly overloaded with ballads, she does manage to pull it off and create some truly emotive tracks. I find I have to be in the right, mellow mood to listen to this album track to track and find is immensely easy to listen to and relaxing also. If you liked the sound of her voice in S Club 7 and are fans of similar sounds to Delta Goodrem, Charlotte Church and Natalie Imbruglia then this is one you should try. The outer cover of the CD suggests she has matured since her S Club 7 days and this is certainly shown within her music. The album, on the whole, is professional and slick and in my opinion, a far better debut album than her other previous band mates. Her voice has a sexy element to it and is constant throughout; that she can sing is beyond any doubt!
Summary: The first album release from Jo O'Meara.