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Nov 14

RONAN KEATING – “When You Say Nothing At All”

Popular41 comments • 2,921 views

#831, 7th August 1999

ronan “You say it best when you say nothing at all.”

Fair enough. I can take a hint.

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Comments

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  1. 26
    Tom on 13 Nov 2014 #

    I may be overreacting – nothing could be more likely where Ronan is concerned – but the change speaks volumes about the whole ultra-safe approach: the slightest (and it’s really slight) bit of weirdness or unfamiliarity has to be steamrollered out. What possible harm could an American cultural reference have done? How many sales would it have lost? Sod all! All that would have happened is that some fans would have googled it and others would have used their imagination and maybe come up with interesting fanon ideas about some Webster guy. It’s a charming bit of detail that makes the song richer even if you don’t know what it’s referring to. So of course it has to go.

    It’s a comparison I’m loath to make because it’s such a cliche – but this really is what happens in play-safe marketinbg/advertising departments – copy combed for any hint of idiosyncracy until you’re left with perfect blandness.

  2. 27
    wichitalineman on 13 Nov 2014 #

    Imagine if Ronan had been given You’re The Tops – I wonder how many lines would have survived. “It’s in France? Can we change it to Natural History Museum?”

    The Websters change does sum up his career. I may have said it before – I always think of Ronan Keating as the Alan Shearer of pop: solid, dull, predictable, literally with a stiff upper lip; he carries himself like a police constable. Look at that cover – it looks like the national anthem is playing behind him.

  3. 28
    Andrew Farrell on 13 Nov 2014 #

    I’m by no means saying that it would be the end of the world if a song contains an obscure reference (brandishes Mountain Goats fan badge), just pointing out that you wouldn’t have to be ‘dim’ to not get it over here.

  4. 29
    wichitalineman on 13 Nov 2014 #

    I just don’t think Websters dictionary is very obscure. Maybe ‘dim’ wasn’t the right word but please don’t pick a semantic fight.

  5. 30
    iconoclast on 13 Nov 2014 #

    Too self-consciously pretty to be convincing; too unadventurous to be interesting. FOUR.

  6. 31
    AMZ1981 on 13 Nov 2014 #

    There is actually a bit more to this single than meets the eye. Firstly, Boyzone were still very much an extant band at this point and there was one more single to come before they quietly entered hiatus. Secondly, their hits compilation was in the middle of a nine week (non consecutive – a two followed by a seven) when this single was released and WYSNAA actually featured on that album, despite being a Ronan solo track. Obviously this was also featured on the soundtrack to the film Notting Hill and this could be seen as a clever marketing ploy to see if Keating was marketable as a solo act – if not the single could be treated as a one off and Boyzone could carry on as before.

    After this song entered at the top the mid weeks suggested that Ricky Martin would return for a fourth non consecutive week. Curiously Keating recovered to hold on and Martin slipped to third. Mention must go here to the song in second place – Better Off Alone by DJ Jurgen featuring Alice Deejay (often wrongly credited as the performing artist) which began a three week lock down at number two, outselling all three chart toppers concerned.

    A couple of end notes and apologies for the brackets. Firstly when Notting Hill won best soundtrack at the following year’s Brit Awards (the presentation itself famously disrupted by a face off between Ronnie Wood and Brandon Block) I remember the person accepting the award (I’m not sure who) made a catty comment about Keating trying to pass himself off as the songwriter. And secondly I can’t think of the song now without hearing this – a friend of a friend performed this straight up (ie without the comedy voice) on karaoke a few years back. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-mkDSD3TMc

  7. 32
    thefatgit on 13 Nov 2014 #

    That Stuart White fella needs a shoeing.

  8. 33
    anto on 13 Nov 2014 #

    Dreary song from a film that even now makes me wince.

  9. 34
    flahr on 13 Nov 2014 #

    Classic Singing Assembly fare (see Popular comments passim): even a choir of shrieking six-year-olds and sullen mumbling eleven-year-olds is a comfortable match for Ronan, and that combined with the immense teacher value of having the words “you say it best when you say nothing at all” available to point at knowingly meant I remembering performing this a number of jolly times.

  10. 35
    tonya on 14 Nov 2014 #

    I can’t really separate this song from Keith Whitley’s death, so I’m never not depressed by it. This was a country #1 in Christmas of 1988 and Whitley died in May 1989 of alcohol poisoning. Age 33.

  11. 36
    Steve Williams on 14 Nov 2014 #

    Seem to recall the video for this had to be withdrawn and re-edited due to its excessive promotion for Notting Hill – as well as the clips from the film they also included the line “Watch Notting Hill” on screen.

    The thing about this song I really hated was one particular moment in the Top of the Pops performance. In those days, Top of the Pops would usually film just one performance of any given single and repeat it whenever required, so if a song stayed in the chart for a bit you’d get to know the performance very well. Hence in this performance I became totally infuriated with a bit right at the end, in the penultimate line, with Ronan’s big “the smile on your face lets me knooooooooow….” note before the last line. As the audience cheered and applauded, Ronan did an unbelievably smug smirk and nod, clearly thinking “Yeah, NAILED it!”. Hated it enough the first time, absolutely infuriated by about the sixth time.

  12. 37
    Jeremy on 14 Nov 2014 #

    Ronan always was the smuggest man in pop.

  13. 38
    wichitalineman on 14 Nov 2014 #

    Boyzone are on Children In Need tonight. I’m guessing they’ll be still be there in 20 years. Built to last, I fear.

  14. 39
    mapman132 on 16 Nov 2014 #

    Seeing Tom’s initial review of this made me laugh out loud the other day – I’ve been waiting for one like this. I haven’t yet read the actual review of this and the succeeding single. The tune is familiar to me, probably from the Alison Krauss version. I actually don’t mind the song much, but there’s something about Ronan’s voice/delivery that just seems weird. And learning of the Webster switch knocks off an additional point from me, so 3/10.

  15. 40
    ciaran on 12 Dec 2014 #

    There was a version of this sung by Irish Singer Frances Black that had been played quite a lot a year or two before this on Irish Radio so was surprised that Ronan jumped on it so soon.

    Again the review of this is a bit extreme. Not worth the same mark as 911’s 1999 chart topper. A bit play it safe no doubt but hardly that offensive.5

  16. 41
    Musicality on 14 Dec 2014 #

    At the time wasn’t fussed with this but as I’ve gotten older have to say I love it. The lyrics and tone are great in this track.

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