JLS release their self-titled debut album
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By James Christie
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Tuesday, 10, Nov 2009 11:21
Epic, out November 9th.
In a nutshell...
Boyband, R 'n' B, samey, cheesy, feel-good
What's it all about?
The album contains 13 songs, made up of a mixture of R 'n' B, soul and pop music and opens with their two recent hits - number one single Beat Again and recently released Everybody in Love.
Who's it by?
JLS are best known as coming second in 2008's X Factor show to Alexandra Burke. However they have since burst onto the music scene with their hit single Beat Again, showing coming first isn't always best. The band - made up of four twenty-something boys from London - came together in Summer 2007 after band member Oritsé Williams wanted to try and create a 'supergroup' combining the elements of all the greatest boybands. The group's name stands for Jack the Lad Swing, said to be a mix of their cheeky personalities and the US music genre that inspired some of their favourite bands. The boys have already released two songs from this their debut album with positive results, just highlighting how popular they already are.
As an example.
"London, Paris, Tokyo. Thinking of you wherever I go" - Close To You
Likelihood of a trip to the Grammys
This album will probably be successful, but with the likelihood of most of the people buying it being fans from X Factor or young girls - i.e. more typical boyband fans. The boys show promise and have already won a MOBO award, however whether this album will win any is debatable. Perhaps if the group went down more of the R 'n' B route and less boyband, things would be looking far more positive for them on the awards front.
What the others say
"JLS might not have taken top prize in X Factor but they seem to have learnt that the music business is a marathon not a sprint, making one of the best R 'n' B flavoured pop records of the year. It looks like being the first of many." -Play.com
"It sacrifices any shred of soul in favour of regulation boy-band blandness... of the anonymous anaemic pop R 'n' B realm. Even when they do muster a catchy chorus...the homogenous production stamps out any vestige of this likeable quartet's personality." - The Scotsman.com
So is it any good?
When Beat Again came out I must admit I was impressed by JLS, finding the track catchy and with a good R 'n' B feel to it. Due to this, unfortunately, I was expecting big things from this album, something different and not your typical cheesy chart offering; I was wrong.
The album opens with Beat Again which works well as an upbeat opener, however their second offering in the charts and on the album Everybody In Love was perhaps a sign of things to come - cheese. This song does remind me slightly of the boyband Blue and admittedly is quite catchy - if it led onto something different the album might even work, but what you are left with is more and more continuous boyband, cheesy, samey songs.
Don't get me wrong, the album is feel-good and doesn't have lots of lyrics telling of tear-jerking sad romance stories, but when a band burst back after losing X Factor and seem to offer something different, it is surprising what makes up their debut album.
Keep You and Heal This Heartbreak are however two songs which work well - with a good beat, an electro-pop feel to them and exuding a bit more life. You start to get a sense of perhaps who JLS want to be and what they could offer if they weren't being manufactured into a run-of-the-mill pop-chart boyband setup.
Close To You, Crazy and Kickstart are all of the same vein, with lyrics such as "...kickstart the drama... you know you can't break my armour", making the listener laugh rather than sing along.
Due to the nature of the music the album does start to feel a bit repetitive and is filled with far too many slow songs. Even when the tracks try to add a bit more excitement all that seems to happen is a bit of a dance beat or electro music being added, which then results in the samey impression you were getting before with the slow songs.
It's a shame, if the boys could stand their ground and move away from the boyband route and really create something original I've no doubt they could be a success, but churning out manufactured template style boyband songs just isn't going to do it for anyone other than standard pop fans and young schoolgirls. Perhaps their mentor on the X Factor, Louis Walsh, has had too much of an influence on them and led them away from R 'n' B and down the road of dance routines and cringeworthy lyrics.