With gillette jawlines and high street hair they became pin-ups in no time, but as pop...
Roger Kerrison 2003
It's not yet January but it seems that the New Year sales have started already. Blue are closing down their operation and all stock must go. The four lads who bought bling into the world of the British boy band are parting ways, but first there is time for greatest hits compilation entitled Best of Blue to make sure that no stock is left to fester.
In the world of boy bands, Blue have certainly lasted on the shelf longer than most. But 3 years after first storming the charts Lee, Duncan, Antony and Simon have had enough of travelling the world and cheesing onto girls at freshers' balls.
As a commemoration of their short career this collection of hits sounds similar to many other artists who have superseded them. So perhaps it is prudent that they are calling it a day and heading for the great yonder.
Blue produce their best music when they steer away from ballads and stick to their adopted US style R&B pop. There is very little rawness in their music, but early career favourites "All Rise" and "One Love" tie together well as slick slices of urban pop. Evident here is Blue's influence in popularising R&B sound in the UK over recent years.
Stand out songsinclude "Signed, Sealed Delivered, I'm Yours" -the cultured collaboration with Stevie Wonder and Angie Stone -and "Get Down On It", featuring Kool and the Gang and Lil' Kim. Both will no doubt be floor fillers at weddings for years to come.
Unfortunately there is little else on the Best of Blue which will stand the test of time: even "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word", recorded with the ultra credible Sir Elton fails to light the touch paper.And the more upbeat "Bubblin'", which is one of their better self-penned tracks, there is a feeling that the production lacks that extra little spark.
The album also includes the final single "Curtain Falls"; which with its rather unsubtle sample of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" really seems more of an after-thought than a retrospective career crescendo... The next time Blue see a curtain fall it will probably be whilst performing in panto in Eastbourne.
With gillette jawlines and high street hair they became pin-ups in no time, but as pop mimics fashion, one thing is for certain: Blue will not be next season's colour.