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After being a huge The Wanted fan for 3 months I decided to buy their very first album. I first heard The Wanted's album 'The Wanted' on the day it came out and overall I love it, all the songs are different and you really get a feel for what The Wanted's sound is like.
'Let's Get Ugly' is a song which had got my hooked from the hypnotising tune at the very beginning. This is song is also inspired by the film 'The good, the bad and the ugly' which fits the style of the film perfectly.
'Personal Soldier' is one of my favourite The Wanted songs, from the very first verse to the last chorus, it had me hooked and showed the cute side of The Wanted.
Overall this album is a pleasure to listen to, even now over a year after the album first came out. This album should be on every teenage girls Christmas list. The album is of great quality, as all the songs has a clean sound and it will be enjoyed for many years to come. A must have for any 'The Wanted' fan!
British Boy Band The Wanted have been around for a good couple of years, although it was only recently that I actually took noticed them and managed to hear their debut album.
The Wanted is the debut album from The Wanted. It was released in the United Kingdom in October 2010. The album reached number 4 in the British Album Charts. Amazon are currently selling the CD for £3.99 which I think is great value for money.
~ * Track Listing * ~
1) All Time Low 2) Heart Vacancy 3) Lose My Mind 4) Replace My Mind 5) Hi and Low 6) Let's Get Ugly 7) Say In On The Radio 8) Golden 9) Weakness 10) Personal Soldier 11) Behind Bars 12) Made 13) A Good Day For Love To Die
~ * Well.....what do I think? * ~
Now this is a catchy album; one which is definitely going to get everyone singing and dancing along. I wasn't particularly fussed about The Wanted, however after hearing this, I am now a big fan.
There are some really good songs on here. There are quite a few songs which make me go 'wow'. Ones which stand out the most for me are: All Time Low, Heart Vacancy, Lose My Mind and Personal Soldier. However, having said that, I can't say that there are any bad songs on the album. I mean, there are a couple which I am not particularly fussed over; yes they are likeable but they are not 'wow', but that's ok because the rest of the album is so good.
A lot of the songs consist of up-beat ballads, which is my favourite genre. I particularly like their up-beat ballads; my favourite one is definitely 'Replace Your Heart'.
Lots of people may find this album cheesy, but I really like it. I think that it is real 'happy' music - the kind of music you can put on and forget about everything. I find this really refreshing. I also like the fact that they are like the old boy bands but with a more modern twist.
Another advantage about this album is that these boys can really sing. I also like the fact that they take it in turns to sing, rather than just leave it to one or two.
I would definitely recommend this album!
Thanks for reading!
Xdonzx / xd-o-n-z-x
This is a review of the standard edition of The Wanted, the debut album from The Wanted (as if!) Expect to pay around £8 online or on CD for this baby.
==Who Wanted The Wanted?==
Despite the sneers of and derision of a large part of the music-buying public, boy bands have been an intrinsic part of the popular music scene for decades. Some would argue that The Beatles were one of the original boy bands, but the term is more commonly associated with groups from the 1980s onwards, when the likes of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet reduced teenaged girls to tears on more than an infrequent basis. Boy bands are arguably an essential part of musical culture. Every generation from the 1980s onwards has seemingly been defined by the prevalent boy band(s) of the era, although this slowed down in the late 2000s. Over-exposure of groups like Westlife and their general 'crooning' ways seemed to leave the public a little disinterested in the concept and girl bands like Girls Aloud seemed to take over.
In the last year or two, there has been a slow resurgence in the phenomenon, largely kickstarted by the success of JLS on ITV's X-Factor. Despite not actually winning the series, JLS have gone on to enormous commercial success and seem to tick all the boxes of their young fans. This new-age boy band approach is even more commercial than ever, and JLS have gone on to become more a marketing phenomenon than anything else. With Take That now re-formed but seen as more of a mature person's boy band, clearly smart music executives identified a gap in the market and that is where The Wanted came in.
==About The Wanted==
There's no exciting story about fate and chance that might have brought The Wanted together. The band was formed through a simple audition process in 2009 and, unsurprisingly, was entirely manufactured. The band was formed by the same team that currently produces the successful girl band The Saturdays.
The band comprises five members aged between 17 and 22. Max George (be still beating heart) is often considered to be the lead vocalist in the group (something that is not always true, as the album reveals.) He was previously in a boy band called Avenue, which made it to the boot camp stage in the third series of X-Factor. Siva Kaneswaran's exotic name is matched by his looks. Kaneswaran is of joint Irish and Sri Lankan background and featured in a TV series in 2008 called Rock Rivals but has also worked as a model. Jay McGuinness had no experience of the music scene prior to joining the band, having only studied dance and drama. Tom Parker also previously auditioned for X Factor but didn't even get past the first round. Nathan Sykes is the baby of the band at 17. Despite his age, Sykes had probably been involved in more projects than any other member of the band, including representing the UK in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2004.
The band's debut album was released in October 2010 and has seen reasonable success in the UK album charts, peaking at number four thus far. Arguably, after just two singles, the band wasn't really established enough to command the sort of sales that other boy bands might have collected. It's worth bearing in mind that by the time JLS released their first album, the band had had significant exposure on the X Factor TV show. The understated arrival of the album betrays a very strong debut, however, with a few surprises and an appeal that probably goes beyond the average boy band sound.
When you scan through the list of writers and producers involved, it's quite lucky that the album turned out quite as credible as it did. Whilst the writing and production credits read like a who's who of popular music, there was always a risk that the album would have a very diluted sound. Steve Mac wrote and produced the debut single '''All Time Low''', but his work history includes extensive involvement with the likes of Boyzone and Westlife. There is no gap in the market for another Westlife, so it's credit to Mac that he produced something a little more credible for The Wanted. Likewise, tracks on the album come from writers and producers like Wayne Hector, Cathy Dennis and Taio Cruz. It's fair to say, therefore, that The Wanted have cast the net wide and have attempted to produce an album that is as appealing as possible.
Generally, this is a pretty successful venture. Whilst the album is unlikely to convert devotees of rock music and thrash metal to this kind of sound, the fact remains that this goes beyond the usual remit of a boy band. It doesn't seem quite as over-produced as the likes of JLS, for example, whose music is targeted at a very young demographic. This album has a rather more mature sound to it, maintaining JLS's slightly childish 'bubble gum swing' at a distance. The thirteen tracks included here span a reasonable variety of styles. Never venturing far from the mainstream, there are some slower ballads (as to be expected) as well as more up-tempo numbers and even a few tunes that push things more towards the mature pop/rock sound that Take That has commanded. Importantly, this album doesn't *feel* like a teenager's album and has much more going for it.
==Sounds and Influences==
Vocally, it's Max George that dominates the album. That doesn't necessarily mean that he has the best voice but he has the most distinctive voice. He seems to take lead vocals on many of the tunes, but the other guys aren't just relegated to backing singer roles. Indeed, Tom Parker also leads a number of the tunes here and this helps give the album its versatility. Traditionally, one vocalist largely dominates boy bands. Robbie Williams and Mark Owen may have had increasing presence within Take That's music over the years, but it has always been Gary Barlow that led most of the songs. Similarly, it was Ronan Keating in Boyzone and it doesn't really matter who leads in Westlife because they all sound exactly the same. Here, here's some flexibility, with five male vocals that sound distinct enough from each other to give each band member an identity. Lead song All Time Low is a good example, with each of the bad members taking a line or two at a time in each of the verses.
It's quite difficult to say who seems to influence The Wanted. In many ways, the answer could be 'nobody' because the album is such a manufactured product there seems to be little room for the boys' musical tastes to get involved. If a listener believes that All Time Low sounds as though it might have desires on a Coldplay song, that's nothing really to do with the band after all. Image-wise, The Wanted are playing the game quite shrewdly, maintaining an indifferent kind of sexuality that makes them appeal to teenaged girls and gay men in equal doses. Of course, they sing about and of girls but there isn't an obvious 'gay one' to draw endless, dull speculation. That kind of broad-based nonchalance carries through to the music here. These songs are radio-friendly, car-friendly, pub-friendly, gym-friendly and (in some cases) club-friendly in a way that few other artists can match. Notably, in fact, that kind of appeal is really only matched in the modern market by The Saturdays, the female equivalent of the Wanted boys.
That doesn't mean that this is a particularly ambitious album. The Wanted may stray away from cliché, but that doesn't mean that the recipe is entirely re-written here. Heart Vacancy might have a slightly more up-tempo approach to the traditional boy band ballad, but as its heart that's exactly what it is. It's more the arrangement behind the song that stops it falling into Westlife territory but it's worth remembering that it's only about two steps away from that at any time. There's a tendency for the album to wash over the listener after a while too. Most fans will almost certainly have individual tracks that stand out, but as a product in its own right, this album fails to really jump out and grab the listener's attention. In fairness, it's more the fact that it is actually a little less cheesy than other boy bands that makes The Wanted more striking, as opposed to a catalogue of superb music. It's all unquestionably safe. Sometimes, given that the album is about five hot, young men you do wonder whether they couldn't try to be just a little edgier.
==The Good, The Indifferent, The Ugly==
All Time Low probably remains the album's stand out track. The dramatic string introduction suggests something epic about this song and the unusual vocal arrangement commands attention. All Time Low is arguably *too* strong for the rest of album, threatening to over-shadow everything else. Heart Vacancy is a welcome enough ballad, staying the right side of insipid whilst still sounding sincere and maintains that lyrical quality that makes All Time Low seem a bit different. Lose My Mind, the third single, has been compared to both Kings of Leon and Coldplay, but is very much a watered-down version of either, if at all. It is, nonetheless, a strong single and a good departure from the first two. It gives Tom a chance on the lead vocals for a start, but also pushes the concept of a boy band song a little further too. The Wanted works best when it showcases, epic, larger scale material. There's nothing to be gained from downplaying this band's sound.
Let's Get Ugly sounds out as one of the more innovative sounds on the album. For a start, it cunningly samples from the western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly but is a funkier, more R & B driven sound that much of the rest of the album. Overall, it's a slightly contrived effect, but in the hands of the right DJ, this could be a monster.
Most of the rest of the album is likeable enough. Songs like Replace Your Heart are nice enough but don't really make the same sort of connection as the three lead songs. Indeed, Replace Your Heart has whispers of the Backstreet Boys about it, a sound that the bad would do well to stay away from as it has dated terribly. Say It On The Radio is rather odd (why would you try and persuade somebody to dump you on the radio?) but has an addictive sound that really makes best use of Max's voice. Weakness also has that faint whiff of Coldplay (you could imagine Chris Martin singing this). Personal Soldier is stuffed full of musical and vocal military styling but sounds a little contrived for it. You can almost imagine what the five of them would be doing on stage for this one. Made is a little non-descript for a Taio Cruz song and surprisingly not as club-oriented as you might expect.
Some of the album is a little excruciating. Penned by Greg Laswell, Hi & Low is arguably one of the more credible on the album but suffers from a rather insipid sound and a plonking piano arrangement that doesn't really go anywhere. Golden is a bit painful too. Max gets a bit carried away and tries to cover too much range vocally and it's all a bit off-putting. There are excruciating bits of songs that are otherwise OK, too. Jay gets a terrible solo in the middle of Heart Vacancy where he appears to be trying to sing with his foreskin caught in his zipper. Likewise, lyrically, some of the songs leave a little to be desired. In All Time Low, for example, the boys profess just how strong their love is because they'll do anything if they're 'late for work, a vital presentation.' Such commitment!
Certainly not the most credible or revolutionary album of the year, The Wanted is, however, an appealing and likeable debut. The group's appeal is broader than most other boy bands on the market and although the album is certainly tame, there's a likeable aloofness about these five guys that makes them infinitely more appealing than the likes of Westlife and JLS. Boy bands really need to look good, move well and sound OK. The Wanted capably ticked those three boxes.
Now when a new boy or girl band comes on the market I normally don't really show much interest, my years of singing along to cheesy pop tracks where teenagers barely into puberty talk to heartbreak and every lasting love are long gone... except for when I'm alone in my car or having a shower and then absolutely anything goes in terms of singing! However when I heard The Wanted's first single on the radio I was strangely taken in by it and ended up downloading it when I got home, the fact that one of the members is rather easy on the old eye (despite being hardly out of nappies) obviously helps somewhat too. They're a five piece, British Irish boy band who were put together by the same person who put the girl band The Saturdays together. They released their first single back in the summer and it went straight in at number one, their second single came out a couple of weeks ago and went straight in at number two... another Westlife in the making I hear you say? Well arguably they could end up being as popular as Westlife but thankfully there's something a bit edgy about them, and they luckily don't look like choir boys!
"All Time Low" is the opening track on the album and it's very much a modern pop track, but rather than sticking to the sickly sweet sentiments which would see them swaying along and clicking their fingers in time to the music on stage, there's a certain edge to this track and some quite firm dance beats underneath which could easily make this a favourite in the clubs. It's a really catchy track with some great backing music, it's all about getting over a relationship and it does seem like the boys have got quite an accurate idea of heartbreak, "praying won't do it, hating won't do it, drinking won't do it, fighting won't knock you out of my head." This is followed by their second single from the album which is entitled "Heartbreak Hotel." As the title suggests it's about heartbreak but unfortunately it doesn't have the same upbeat feel as the previous track, it's much more of a ballad that will no doubt ensure it's played forevermore by thousands of teenage girls! The lyrics are strangely hypnotising and it's beautifully sung, arguably they're not the best singers in the world but if you look at the current music charts it's clear that talent isn't really the most important factor anymore, pretty much anyone can be a pop star (Jedward???)!
"Lose My Mind" is probably the most Westlife sounding track on the album, it's firmly encased in the typical boy band feel but there is something a little different here - it's a bit more upbeat and just sounds more modern than your usual boy band stuff. It starts nicely between the calming sounds and softly sung lyrics before moving into a faster and more passionately sung chorus. The song also shows the boys' intellectual abilities, they even manage to get a bit of scientific logic into this track, "If heartache was a physical pain I could face it, I could face it, but you hurt me from inside my heart, I can't take it, I can't take it." Next up is "Replace Your Heart" which seems to be rather similar to the previous two tracks, it's another love ballad which luckily does have a little bit of oomph and attitude to it... but it's strangely similar to the other tracks. "Hi and Low" is the fifth track on the album and from the opening five seconds you can tell it's a bit like déjà vu (I bet you're wondering how I made it to the end of this album... I am too)! The only thing that makes this stand out is that it sounds a lot more mature than this band's typical sound and it's much more ominous and slower than the other tracks, it's not a bad one but it just never really gets going in anyway. The choir like performance in the middle of the chorus isn't great either!
"Let's Get Ugly" definitely wins the award for the track with the strangest name on this album and also for the strangest opening... it starts with the opening music from a western shoot out scene! Peculiar? Yes, very! It sounds strangely old fashioned as well, like something that the Backstreet Boys may have come out with over a decade ago... it's certainly not a hit for me. It's followed by "Say It On The Radio" which has the same old fashioned, techno feel to it... almost from a time when attempting techno was considered relatively "cool." It's one of the more upbeat tracks on the album and it could possibly be a hit as a club remix but for me it's just not a great track really and it's one that I do tend to skip. "Golden" is the eighth track on the album and it reverts back to the somewhat safer ground of the traditional boy band ballad. Now I have to be honest and say that I really do like this track, yes it is quite emotional and weepy sounding but it's sung beautifully with a really emotive chorus, "And we try and we fall and we live another day, and we rise like phoenix from the flames, and it burns but it turns out golden." Yes the lyrics are a little mushy at times but despite that I do like this track, it has a very Christmas feel to it too.
"Weakness" is a fairly decent song but like so many tracks on this album it doesn't really make an impact and therefore isn't really memorable. It's a little more upbeat than the previous ballad and is about how a girl can be a guy's weakness and therefore make him do anything she wants him to... boring! It's followed by "Personal Soldier" which starts off a bit like a marching practice with the lyrics "left, left, left, right left" but I do actually like it once the singing begins. It's got a very relaxed and slightly indie feel to it, it sounds like something that Arctic Monkeys may have produced in their earlier days although with slightly less cheese in the chorus I would have thought. "Behind Bars" is the rather ominously titled eleventh track on this album (yes you do get your moneys worth in terms of quantity on this album, I'm just not sure about quality) and it's accompanied by a suitably eerie opening. It does get going although the eerie under beat remains throughout but unfortunately it just sounds very "teeny bopper-ish." The album seems to be a mixture between more mature sounding tracks that do actually sound quite good and distinctly amateurish tracks that sadly show just how inexperienced the boys are at this moment in time.
The penultimate track is "Made" and it's a bit of a disappointment once again, it just sounds like something that Justin Beiber would come out with... yet without that extra dose of cheese on top. Luckily the album then reaches its end with "A Good Day For Love To Die" which is probably one of my favourite tracks on the album, and no it's not just because it's the last one! It's got a much more relaxed feel to it and I can't understand why this track wasn't placed earlier on the album. It's not a brilliant track but it's not bad in comparison to the rest of the album. It's catchy and it's not sickly sweet either, "We've run out of time, it's over I'm over this life, I'm running dry, I'm out of here, out of your life." Overall I've got rather mixed feelings about this album, there are a couple of good tracks that do stand out (most notably the singles they've chosen to release so far) but there are an awful lot of poor tracks amongst the few gems. The whole feel of the album is rather amateur-ish and yes, I know it's their very first album and they're relatively young, but in today's music scene you need to release something a bit more successful in order to survive in my mind. Westlife did alright by sticking to the heartfelt ballads but that was a long time ago!
I did wonder if The Wanted were so called "puppets" in the music world due a large amount of these songs having been written for them, and it would seem that I might be right from what I've seen. Arguably they can sing, not amazingly but yes they can sing, but I think in this music world that we're in at the moment it takes more than being able to string a few notes together. There's nothing brilliant about this album, there's nothing that really made me stop and thing "This is amazing," it's just lacking that wow factor in my opinion. I'm going to be really cynical now and say that The Wanted's target demographic are teenage girls and yes, due to their cheeky looks they're probably going to have a massive fan base. Sadly I won't be joining that fan base, maybe at the ripe old age of 25 I'm just too old for this sort of thing now! I felt that their sound was somewhere in between JLS and Westlife in a weird way, they did have a certain edge at times but they weren't really in the same arena as JLS who are very current. I'm giving this two stars and I think I'm being more than generous with that offering. So in conclusion pre-teens and teenage girls will absolutely love this sort of stuff, but if you're any older it's really not your cup of tea!
Thanks for reading.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 All Time Low
2 Heart Vacancy
3 Lose My Mind
4 Replace Your Heart
5 Hi and Low
6 Let's Get Ugly
7 Say In On The Radio
10 Personal Soldier
11 Behind Bars
13 A Good Day For Love To Die