The Wanted - 'Heart Vacancy'
I like the Wanted. I like that they're a boyband at a time when boybands are supposed to be dead in the water. I like that the boyband they are most closely modelled on is the Take That of nowadays, which means they're also modelled on recent Boyzone, but have skipped past the dinner jackets and mountain-standing of Westlife, AND the rippling torsos and pneumatics of JLS.
Most of all, I like that they've been working with songwriters who aren't afraid to throw a few clever ideas into the mix, like that amazing "pieces/peace is" pun in All Time Low. What I'm not so sold on is this, their second single.
For starters, it suffers from being over-familiar before it's even finished playing, because it's yet another pop song which takes a fragment of melody and repeats it over a turnaround of doomy chords. For all that people like to claim that music is astonishing because there's an infinite variety of musical ideas, this one trick does seem to keep coming back with depressing regularity.
(Here's the video. It takes place in a time before popcorn.)
AND there's that really strange bit where Jay has to sing "when I-I-EE-I-YIY talk to YOU-OU-EE-OO-OO on the PHOW-WOH-EE-OWN" in a rubbery voice. It sounds stretched and snoozy...and weird
In fact, the whole song sits in a strange tempo hinterland. Too slow for that pounding bass drum, too fast to realise the ambition someone has to make it into an epic ballad. And the vocals in the chorus seem to have been left a bit messy and ragged in places, and empty in others, which is a surprise because 'All Time Low' proved that they've got some talent in the throatal department.
Also, I've heard the album now, and I can, as they say in the papers, EXCLUSIVELY REVEAL that there are better songs on it. There's one, right, which samples the theme music to the cowboy film The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, which you will probably know even if you do not know that you know it.
A challenging choice, I grant you, and not one which will meet with universal approval, but it's STILL a better idea than releasing this strange song as a second single.
Tom's Listening To says: "It is assumed that the chorus is an emotional one of course, but each singer appears to tackle it in a different way. Max, for example, looks as if each word he sings brings back memories of a lost love, while Nathan is seen leaning back and grinning throughout."
AAA Music says: "A dose of sickly sweet pop which seems to last longer on the tongue that it does in the mind. "