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23rd November 2015

Album: Shane Filan – Right Here

The Westlife singer’s solo album is firmly in the middle of the road

Released on 25th September 2015 by East West Records


I would never call myself a Westlife fan, but I have no objection to their music; I wouldn’t leave a room if it came on. On these terms I agreed to review ex-member Filan’s second solo album: Its tracks might not blow me away, but I probably wouldn’t find them objectionable.

My prediction turned out to be more or less correct. Nearly every one of the songs, on its own, I could listen to with no complaint and, maybe even some enjoyment. However, ten in a row is hard work. I listened while working, and every now and then would sit up and think, is this a new song or still the last one? I really don’t know. That’s how similar they are. The one song I really don’t like is ‘I Could Be’, his duet with Nadine Coyle, which feels like a bad Irish Eurovision entry: stereotypy Celtic music mixed awkwardly with pop and meaningless lyrics.

That being said, finding really deep lyrics anywhere on the album is pretty hard. Before listening, I flicked through the album notes and randomly selected a lyric to see how uninspiring it would be. It was, I kid you not: “Remember when we watched the sunrise, The nights we’d lay beneath the stars?” (from ‘Beautiful to Me’). Oh, Shane.

I’m not slating this album. There is a large demographic whom it will appeal to—those who like cheesy, simple love songs with a folksy influence. The fact that Westlife did so well demonstrates that this demographic exists and is large. Additionally, there are a few songs that I may return to. The title track is quite nice and could possibly pass for a Take That effort (which is a compliment; I’m not a great Take That fan either but at least Mr Barlow can write songs). ‘Your Love Carries Me’ sounds like a hundred other songs, ‘You Raise Me Up’ especially, but is very listenable. One other thing: Filan sings with feeling. He really seems to mean every word, even when the words have little meaning, and his earnestness considerably lifts this album as a listening experience.

Right Here will be a dream for some people, and I can imagine very painful listening for others. Just don’t expect to have your outlook on life transformed.

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