Jun 15

WESTLIFE – “My Love”

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#880, 11th November 2000

westlife mylove “My Love” is Westlife in their pomp – a seventh straight number one, leaving records trailing. They were as popular as they’d ever been, which is to say, not as popular as you might think: a steady fanbase of a hundred thousand or so first week fans, but nothing in the way of crossover. Still, they sounded monolithic enough. “My Love” starts intriguingly hesitant, as if it wants to be their “Knowing Me Knowing You” – “I’m all alone, the rooms are getting smaller” (Imagine Westlife, trapped in a malfunctioning TARDIS.) Of course, that doesn’t last, and the windswept chorus of “My Love” – a de facto title track for their second album, Coast To Coast – is them at their most banner-waving. It’s confident and assured, big-chested – they know what they’re about by now, these boys. Cheiron – the jobbing end of Cheiron – are back too. A memo is sent out to stakeholders: the Westlife enterprise has considered the possibility of changing its business model for the second record, and politely rejected the proposal.

Still, change has a way of creeping up on you. The next Westlife single is the first I don’t have to write about – no, I haven’t checked what I’m missing – and so “My Love” is the first possible ending for their Imperial Phase. It almost sounds like hubris, even, though ultimately Westlife are too pleasant a thing for that. We’re halfway through. Their first seven number ones spanned eighteen months; their next seven take seventy-two. It’s a long, slow road down. And if you were to leave one Westlife single to future generations, a monument to their stolid, turn-waiting dominance, it might as well be “My Love”. The song has their strengths – they knew how to build a basic, sturdy emotional arc across a track, and how to layer on those thick-set harmonies in support of it. And in its weakness for a smarmy resolution, and its unwillingness to push its opening feelings, it has their failure to build on even that mild potential.



  1. 1
    Tom on 4 Jun 2015 #

    Is the sleeve further evidence of the risible impact of The Matrix on boyband couture?

  2. 2
    Phil on 4 Jun 2015 #

    I take it this isn’t the ‘my love’ who holds the other key – to me (clunky but oddly affecting) and does it good (beyond clunky). Let’s have a listen… blimey, what is it with these videos with dramatised introductions? see two and you’ve seen too many…

    Very bland, very competent. I quite like the chord changes in the chorus, which give it a childishly uplifting, Sunday-school vibe – not unpleasant. But I’m not going to be listening to this all the way through. Middle eight? Yes, there is one, is about all you can say… and then there’s a feckin’ key change. Be off with you! Not quite offensively awful enough for a 2, but it came close.

  3. 3
    lonepilgrim on 4 Jun 2015 #

    are they stuck in the same airport as U2? I have to say I quite like this for its celtic textures although I can’t remember the tune and feel no great desire to hear it again.

  4. 4
    AMZ1981 on 4 Jun 2015 #

    This is one of my favourite Westlife tracks; it has a bit more going for it than the plodding prior singles and I like the widescreen feel and the harmonies. But as usual with Westlife the stats are still more interesting than the songs.

    My Love actually had the best first week sale of any Westlife single to date bar I Have A Dream/ Seasons In The Sun which had the Christmas market behind it, indicating that their fanbase was growing. Given that Melanie C was insulting Westlife at every opportunity My Love ironically made it two occasions this year where they’d knocked her off the top of the charts (although I think the Spices would have preferred that to getting deposed by Baha Men as would have happened without My Love). A few weeks later Coast To Coast would crush Forever in an album chart battle, by contrast a year before Westlife’s debut album had been blocked by Steps.

  5. 5
    Mark G on 4 Jun 2015 #

    This is the only one I remember, which counts for something I guess.

  6. 6
    chelovek na lune on 4 Jun 2015 #

    This is alright, as W—life singles go, helped in part by the sense (at which the video strongly hints) that this is, at least in part, a love song to Ireland. (The slightly scary image of a near-geriatric W—life returning and “doing a Daniel O’Donnell” has just entered my mind, displacing the charitable thoughts I was having towards this song). But yes, it’s there, is not dreadful, not quite risable, and even has an appealing sing-along aspect. Almost even tolerable, 4 or 5

  7. 7
    JLucas on 4 Jun 2015 #

    Yeah this is probably Westlife’s most tolerable moment for me. It’s nicely put together – the verses could be from a lesser Backstreet Boys single, and the chorus almost hints at a discernable personality with the Irish references and soaring vocals (is this the most committed they ever sounded? It’s not much, but they do sound like they’re having fun with it).

    Still a 5 at best. Missing the #1 with their next release clearly spooked them – if anything it only gets worse from here on out.

  8. 8
    Ian G on 5 Jun 2015 #

    Likewise, this is the only Westlife song I have any regard whatsoever for – still wouldn’t give it more than 5 though.

  9. 9
    weej on 5 Jun 2015 #

    *Almost* acceptable, until the acoustic guitar and the key change. Yes, a 3.

  10. 10
    wichitalineman on 5 Jun 2015 #

    The lyric recalls a song on the very first chart, Bing Crosby’s Isle of Innisfree, homesick for Ireland and far away. Westlife seem a bit happier about their lot than Bing, but it’s still an old standby of a storylineand works well enough.

    Once again, nothing like as bad as I thought it was going to be. The bridge (“oh my love…”) is rather similar to Chicago’s Hard To Say I’m Sorry, and is the best bit of the song, suggesting it could have been expanded to make the whole more adventurous.

    It’s not great, not even good, just better than I remembered (which was precisely nothing beyond a cloying dread), but it certainly has more about it than the lesser Boyzone songs. What’s wrong with it: the chorus is too obviously lighters-in-the-air, the production is way too creamy, and the details – like that horrible echo on “the rooms are getting smaller (smaller…smaller…)” – ultimately scupper the song’s stickability; it’s just so much goo.

    Cheiron. Bloody hell. They were versatile, anyway.

  11. 11
    JLucas on 5 Jun 2015 #

    Let’s not judge Cheiron too harshly. I mean, would *you* waste your A-material on Westlife?

    Remember them this way: https://youtu.be/bhWEI6-_w9E

  12. 12
    wichitalineman on 5 Jun 2015 #

    They may not be A-list but the songs (this, If I Let You Go and Fool Again) aren’t far away from Backstreet Boys material; it feels like a few Westlife buttons (one marked smooth, one marked smarm, a lever for the gear change) always got pushed and ruined the songs. Possibly this isn’t Cheiron’s fault, it might have been down to remixing, or managerial interference.

    I mean, obviously it worked, but I’d like to think these singles would have been at least as big with a little less goo and a little more go. I’m only thinking Shape Of My Heart here, not You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.

  13. 13
    thefatgit on 5 Jun 2015 #

    “Forget this, we could be walkin’. I’m going”. Yes, you will be, Bryan! You will be.

    It’s this one. Of course, I could have not bothered to remind myself of “My Love” and bashed out a couple of sentences about Flora spread too thin on toast and the inevitable key change, and wouldn’t be too wide of the mark. Move on.

    But…this isn’t entirely hateful. Daniel O’ Donnell territory, without doubt. I can see entirely why some would find comfort in their brand of bland. Cheiron abandon their usual sensibilities for…well is there anything noticably different from any other ‘Loife song? No exciting departure from the usual formula as far as I can tell. (2)

  14. 14
    Shiny Dave on 5 Jun 2015 #

    This isn’t the last time homesickness will be the framing device for homily in a Westlife bunny.

    I have a place for this (and a lot of other Westlife) in my life, believe it or not – but even that is a function of its astounding non-features, its soothing predictability exactly what I need at times when I’m drastically overstimulated. (Although even then, this week I’ve had it worse than ever and I’ve turned elsewhere.) The album title being contained within the lyric rather than in a song title is surely the only thing that Westlife and Alanis Morrisette have ever had in common (besides both having albums with such titles that fall under the scope of TPL).

    Actually this one’s almost hilarious because it’s a big fistpump of a chorus, WITH A KEY CHANGE, and it actually sounds too exciting, too… Cheiron pop?… for itself. Perhaps it sounding so desperately Cheiron is why it’s also the only Westlife song to be number one in Sweden…

    This is the only non-cover bunny off this album! When we next hear an all-new Westlife song, it’ll be track 1 off the next one.

    Tom doesn’t want to hear the non-bunnied single off this album, “What Makes A Man,” and he’s right to avoid it – it really is as bad as “non-bunnied Westlife single” implies, a fourth-rate Boyz II Men that flirts with so-bad-it’s-good territory but isn’t sufficiently interesting for that. I’d be preparing a 1 for it if it’d been bunnied.

    What’s interesting is that only the UK and Ireland got that as the next single, everyone else seemingly got “I Lay My Love On You” which is more Cheiron-by-numbers. They then also got “When You’re Looking Like That” which also didn’t get released in the UK and is also Cheiron-by-numbers; hilariously this means a song using imperial measurements in the first line (specifically, the height of the woman being objectified in the song) was only released in countries using the metric system.

    Hmm. UK and Ireland get the gloopy ballad, everyone else gets something that at least sounds like the rest of the charts even if it’s second-rate. Westlife were clearly locked in at this point – already! – as purely a group of balladeers in their native British Isles markets, and sold quite differently elsewhere; the public gets what the public wants?

  15. 15
    wichitalineman on 6 Jun 2015 #

    Steady Dave, you’ve almost got me looking up Westlife album tracks on youtube.

    When You’re Looking Like That is a terrifically clunky title, reminiscent of Elton John’s I Don’t Want To Go On With You Like That.

  16. 16
    katstevens on 6 Jun 2015 #

    With that, Tom has caught me up! I will be doing all their singles (eventually), including number 2s…

  17. 17
    Tommy Mack on 7 Jun 2015 #

    With my arrival at university, UK #1s apparently took a rapid nosedive in quality, as if anticipating the dreariness and disappointment of three years at Imperial College…

  18. 18
    Paulito on 8 Jun 2015 #

    @Wichita: in fairness to Reg, the actual title is “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That”, which looks slightly less clunky. As I recall, it’s a decent enough tune in the “laid-back boogie” mode he employed so often before his output completely descended into po-faced stodge.

    As clunky titles go, it’s hard to top “What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes At Me For?” (although, as sung by Emile Ford at least, it’s actually a great line).

  19. 19
    Mark G on 8 Jun 2015 #

    Although John Lennon had it as “Marijuana make those eyes at me for, Boy?”

  20. 20
    lmm on 8 Jun 2015 #

    Funny that I remembered When You’re Looking Like That as one of their best – it had an energy that was lacking from the others. And you’re telling me it was an album track over here? Bah. I blame my fannish cousin.

  21. 21
    Ni xon on 9 Jun 2015 #

    Big URL on the front cover there, is that a first…? If so, that might be the most exciting thing about the record.

  22. 22

    A surprisingly potent legacy… not really a laughing matter though.


  23. 23
    wichitalineman on 15 Oct 2015 #

    Poor lads. What’s the legality on this? I imagine there’s nothing Westlife can do, but you think these groups would actively protest that their music is being abused in this way.

  24. 24
    Kinitawowi on 16 Oct 2015 #


    It tortured the rest of us so it can torture Afghan prisoners too…

  25. 25
    Tommy Mack on 16 Oct 2015 #

    #23: Chad Smith from RHCP objects in the article albeit in a meely mouthed ‘i can’t imagine anyone not enjoying our music, even under torture’ fashion. I suppose with groups like Westlife, they think it unwise to draw any further attention to negative associations with their music whereas the rock/metal lot are more comfortable ‘doing politics’ (where doing politics = saying you think torture is bad on your twitter feed)

  26. 26
    Tom on 17 Oct 2015 #

    WESTLIFE SPEAK! (About the torture case) And, er, yeah, not a great moment for the lads, you’d have to say. http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6730926/cia-torture-songs-aclu-suleiman-abdullah-salim-westlife-bob-marley

  27. 27
    weej on 17 Oct 2015 #

    Christ, you’d think a media professional of any stripe would be trained to be a little less Alan Partridge in 2015, let alone one who’s been in the business for nearly two decades.

  28. 28
    MUSICALITY on 24 Apr 2017 #

    This was their biggest global hit Worldwide and a huge hit across Africa. It’s endearing but very syrupy also and over done in it’s sentiment.

  29. 29
    Joeboy on 9 May 2020 #

    great piece of music from this group.

  30. 30
    Gareth Parker on 31 May 2021 #

    Sorry lads, but another chore to get through. 2/10 would be my score.

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