Monday, October 25, 2010

Album Review: The Wanted - The Wanted (3.5/5)

Hot on the heels of their recent two hit singles ("All Time Low" and "Heart Vacancy") the UK's newest boyband serve up their much awaited debut and to much to my surprise it's a pretty admirable effort. It's a standard bag of bass-heavy pop with soaring melodies and harmonies (and some unorthodox lyrics here and there) I don't like everything, but does deliver a handful of solid tracks.

We already know about the orchestratic, violin-driven pop of "All Time Low" and the more downbeat bass-driven pop of "Heart Vacancy" so onto the third track "Lose My Mind" which serves up some mature frothy dance-pop and the unorthodox lyrics I was talking about earlier ("If heartache was a physical pain I could face it") a bit technical for a boyband, don't you think?

Next up is the 'scapey "Replace Your Heart" which really clocks in the melodic waves on the chorus. I hear it's being considered for third single, it's a good thing too--It's probably the best track on here. I certainly prefer it to the first two singles. "Hi and Low" offers up some discerning balladry, poignantly flourished with piano keys and strings. It's lovely, not a standout though. The dark "Let's Get Ugly" seems play on the unorthodox theme a bit more, shadowed vocals over clambering bass lines, peircing bursts of soundscapes in the backdrop to compliment the blackening arrangement. The melodies showcase some upturn however. "Say It On the Radio" reign in the static vocals over pounding dance-pop production in the same vein as "Lose My Mind."

Songs towards the second half aren't as good. "Golden" sounds like a retread of OneRepublic's "Apologize," but better is the pop grandiose of "Weakness" crushing bass lines in a rhythmic vein over light piano keys. It works pretty well. "Personal Soldier" sinks into deep state of generic pop. I'm not too fond of the phoned in rock-studden venture of "Behind Bars," or even more generic pop of "Made" and "A Good Day for Love to Die." The album ends on a sappy note with "The Way I Feel."

I went back and forth on wether to award this a 3 or a 3.5 but in the end the songs on the first half outweigh some of the duds on the second, The Wanted does deliver some highlights and is in fact wildly better than fellow boyband JLS' self-titled debut.

Best: Replace Your Heart, Heart Vancany, All Time Low, Let's Get Ugly, Weakness

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