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Westlife Unbreakable - Greatest Hits Review


BBC Review

They know how to ham it up for the ladies and are masters of the sentimental power...

Jacqueline Hodges 2002

Only Westlife could stretch the definition of greatest hits to its full potential. For four years now the band has stolen the hearts of our nation's youth, clocking up a record-breaking eleven number 1 singles and 3 multi-million selling albums along the way. With recent single "Unbreakable" topping up this total, there seems no end in sight for the unprecedented success of these Irish boys.

Unbreakable (the album) is a chronological showcase of their career to date. From debut "Swear It Again" and the karaoke-favourite "Flying Without Wings" to the Cliff Richard cover and forthcoming single "Miss You Nights", the Westlife formula is blatant. They know how to ham it up for the ladies and are masters of the sentimental power ballad, smouldering sincerity and well-rehearsed harmonies.

Maybe it's just that they offer a change in tempo to the staple of the bands' fodder but Westlife sound at their best when they loosen their hips and rock out a bit. "World Of Our Own" is a stormer of a pop song and goes at least some way to excusing their more painful moments, such as "What Makes A Man" and the weedy "My Love".

"When You're Looking Like That" (despite sounding like the illegitimate child of A1 and Boyzone) gives fans the chance to stop sobbing into their Nicky pillows and tap their feet for a moment. Westlife however know their place in pop and the 6 new tracks featured here all show a lean further and further towards more grown up songs as their audience matures and the lure of the US market beckons.

Greatest Hits have a habit of being a final nail in the coffin for many a band before them (remember Steps and Five?), but there still seems to be enough steam in Westlife's engine to keep them going for a while yet.

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