A Whole New World

Nineteen tracks. Five guys. One great album.

At nineteen tracks, Westlife's third album in as many years is easily one of their more prodigious efforts. Unlike their previous albums, though, "World Of Our Own" doesn't consist only of soppy ballads; it's also got catchy dance grooves, better lyrics and greater variety in its vocal pantheon.

The album kicks off with "Queen Of My Heart", a slow balld in the tradition the boys are well-known for; expect this one to climb rapidly up the charts, if only for the hauntingly-sweet vocals. The second track, "Bop Bop Baby", is unexpectedly pleasant; it's an up-tempo dance cut that showcases a new musical direction for the group, and one that's very welcome indeed.

"Uptown Girl", Westlife's rendition of the Billy Joel classic, is not bad either, although it pales in comparison to cuts like "When You're Looking Like That" and "When You Come Around", both fast, pacy singles that demonstrate the band's versatility and comfort with a different musical genre. Ballads like "If Your Heart's Not In It", "To Be Loved" and "Don't Say It's Too Late" demonstrate Westlife on their familiar stomping grounds, combining moody lyrics with soft vocals and slow, rhythmic harmonies - expect these to be standard fare on the music channels over the next few months.

"World Of Our Own" is worth a look-see by both Westlife fans and critics; it not only demonstrates their versatility, especially with a different musical genre, but is also one of their better efforts, and one which should spawn a well-deserved series of radio and video hits.

This article was first published on 24 Dec 2001.