Life in Boybandville is such a simple affair isn't it? Everything is always either black or white; love is always on the menu, always eternal but the main course is invariably split between the joy of being in it or the pain of falling out of it. There's never the shade of grey of cinema and a meal or a nice walk on the beach; it's always the language of extremes and usually with some blissful Arcadian paradise just out of reach and hinging on a simple 'if only' to bring it within your grasp. 'If You Come Back' is typical market pleasing fodder of the latter variety. And by 'typical' I mean that it's nothing we haven't heard before - boy misses girl and wishes she would come back to him. Plus ca change.
Well it might be a simple enough concept on paper, but this is Boybandville and listening to 'If You Come Back' is a bit like watching a bad metal guitarist gurning through some whammy bar solo as if every note were being torn from his soul by invisible demons who then jabbed him in the eyes with their pitchforks for good measure. Blue wail and moan through their "and I swear if you come back in my life, I'll be there till the end of time" promises like the lads done wrong they pretend to be, but it's all effort wasted I'm afraid; no amount of window dressing is going to disguise 'If You Come Back's shameless referencing of Take That's 'Back For Good'.
From the "back to me, back to me, back into my life" stabs of backing vocal on the chorus to the cluelessly half baked 'it's not you it's me (but it's really you)' grovelling on "so if I did something wrong please tell me I want to understand" and "maybe I didn't know how to show it, maybe I didn't know what to say", this is Gary Barlow's song almost down to the name, albeit fitted out in false nose and beard of a spare urban R&B groove. That, at least, makes it more street edgy than the more formal shirt and tie traditionalism of Westlife, but the copycat pilfering undoes the good by a ratio of about ten to one, meaning what you gain on the swings you lose on the blatant plagiarism.