Tuesday, 9 February 2010

2001 Westlife: Queen Of My Heart

First single from the (then) new Westlife album, I can say upfront that 'Queen Of My Heart' does a few things very well. For one it does a good job of laying down fly paper enough to capture the listener early doors with an easily followed melody thread that you just know is leading to a chest baring chorus of eternal love with no loose ends flapping. But these are good traits only in the context of snaring an audience not renowned for their fondness of surprises and 'Queen Of My Heart's carefully plotted progression cloaks it in a paint by numbers predictability that leaves precious little emotional manoeuvre for going outside the lines. In fact, it feels like a song that's never been touched by human hands and was instead constructed by robots selecting the appropriate components from a carefully numbered library database.

And what a lot of components there are: heartfelt yearn #3, peeling bells #7, massed voices #2 &11, by rote "This memory will last for eternity, and all of our tears will be lost in the rain" lyrics of epic yet ultimately hollow grandstanding #38 - oh yes, the team behind Westlife knew their market well and they go for its collective throat like vampire starved of blood; 'Queen Of My Heart' has all these and more, each piling on top of the next like a card sharp's expert shuffling until the (essentially) slight ballad beneath gives up trying to be heard over that cheating dealer's attempts to make it more substantial than it has any business being and lets the force of that imposed bluster alone fill its sails and carry it. Which is more than enough for the average fan to get misty eyed over. But for those of us not already seduced by the charms of five Irish pretty boys, there's nothing in its safety first, vacuum packed sterility that's going to convert, particularly when that plastic packaging is out of all proportion to the contents its keeping in check.

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