24
Apr 16

WESTLIFE – “Queen Of My Heart”

Popular25 comments • 2,013 views

#912, 17th November 2001

westqueenBack to ‘Life, back to reality. The charts’ burst of Autumnal energy fades, the novelties and classics depart, and it’s a return to business very much as usual, the first single from Westlife’s third LP. “Queen Of My Heart” sounded to me like the ur-Westlife song from when I first heard it, a merciless tramp through the now-established formula. It flirts with the sombre, at first – can this be the Westlife track where the boys are actually going to break up with their long-suffering lady? Not a bit of it: though this is a more muddled Westlife lyric than many, the initial finality turns into a very temporary break.

For those of you with less abiding interest in the Westlife catalogue, this is the one that breaks out the pipes for a nod to “Mull Of Kintyre” (mercifully its commercial legs were shorter) and, towards the end, swipes the clanging chimes of “Stay Another Day”. Neither borrowing helps the song. More tenuous sources of interest include the video: the boys offer much assurance that the memory of our love will be undying till we meet once more, protestations subtly undermined when the band are suddenly surrounded by a hundred young, partying women. And you can get some final slender enjoyment by imagining “all of these tears will be lost in the rain” as a Blade Runner reference. I’ve had hits you people wouldn’t believe. Key changes on fire at the Record of The Year awards. Stools glittering in the dark at Ashton Gate. All these singles will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

But not quite yet.

2

Comments

  1. 1
    Rufus Headroom on 24 Apr 2016 #

    Music to watch grass by. Awful!

  2. 2
    ThePensmith on 24 Apr 2016 #

    Ah. Now this single was actually from the period where I briefly didn’t mind Westlife. Largely on account of both their next bunny we’ll meet and the B-side of this which I believe was billed as a double-a-side initially but then for some reason only this one got top billing and attention – and it wasn’t this one that I cared for.

    Said B-side was of course ‘When You’re Looking Like That’, which was by the far the best thing they did in their career. It sounded like the lost great follow up to ‘Larger Than Life’ we never got from Backstreet Boys but with this big, 80’s hair rock chorus (and also makes for a great round of Misheard lyrics, as Shane Filan sounds like he sings ‘She’s a 5 ft 10 catsuit with bendy eyes’ on the intro).

    If they’d kept making more singles along the lines of that and the next bunny I’d have stayed interested. Alas they didn’t, but hey ho. I’ll always have ‘When You’re Looking Like That’.

  3. 3
    lonepilgrim on 24 Apr 2016 #

    definitely a replicant vibe to this with hints of ‘Lean on me’ in the chorus and the ‘Mull of Kintyre’ pipes swirling away – a patchwork of other peoples memories as a substitute for identity – and strangely beguiling for all that.

  4. 4
    thefatgit on 24 Apr 2016 #

    As The London Marathon is on, this is the point where Westlife draw level with Spice Girls, with Elvis, The Beatles and Sir Cliff are further along the Embankment, and within their sights.

    The song? I could imagine Bryan Adams performing this, adding some much needed texture with his voice. The boys can’t help themselves from grinding it all down to a rather flavourless lump-free paste, as they always have. (1)

  5. 5
    weej on 24 Apr 2016 #

    Sterling work getting past another Westlife number one, more effort and inspiration here than anyone responsible for making the song put in. I tried to listen but found it difficult to focus on anything much, though obviously the pipes stand out a bit.

  6. 6
    ThePensmith on 24 Apr 2016 #

    #4 – funnily enough, I can hear Bryan Adams doing this too. But at the height of ‘Everything I Do’ and its powers back in 1991 rather than the latter day stuff he did.

    Also interesting to note: this single’s parent album ‘World of Our Own’ contains a future bunny, but not one that they would record and release…

  7. 7
    Mark G on 24 Apr 2016 #

    mm, I assume they recorded it..

  8. 8
    Neil C on 24 Apr 2016 #

    On a first listen, I can’t find this too offensive, though the main interest comes from spotting the, er, “influence” of other tunes – the first two lines reminded me of the start of You’ll Never Walk Alone, and as Lonepilgrim states at #3, I’d imagine Bill Withers’ legal team were on the blower pretty sharpish when they got to the chorus.

    I refuse to believe that those girls are dancing to this song. They look like they’ve teleported in from the Setting Sun video! Albeit a slowed down version.

    Ach, I’ve heard worse… but equally, I’d happily never hear it again. THREE.

  9. 9
    Chelovek na lune on 24 Apr 2016 #

    More Celtic-sounding than usual for Westlife, too. Mawkish, plodding, drivel, really, quite possibly their worst single so far… (1)

  10. 10
    Ronnie on 25 Apr 2016 #

    Tom’s dislike for Westlife is drifting somewhere between disgust and existential despair.

  11. 11
    cryptopian on 25 Apr 2016 #

    This song goes down the route of hanging all its interest on the chorus. As with every single song that does this, it means the verses are incredibly tedious, and given that we’re not starting with the most exciting of choruses in the first place, we’re definitely in trouble. We’re treated to a few other missteps along the way. I particularly noticed the two non-rhymes in the chorus (away/eternity, rain/again – Westlife opting for the Chris de Burgh method of having two words that can rhyme, but choosing not to).

    The only bit of musical interest in there is running the chorus into a fifth line with different phrasing, acting to break up the monotony. That’s the saving grace that gives it a 2, rather than a 1.

  12. 12
    Phil on 25 Apr 2016 #

    The singing’s awful. Well, there’s one decent voice in there – the guy who took the second verse (Brian?). But the first verse was an ordeal – that guy’s voice is dreadful; halting yet cloyingly sweet, puppyishly ingratiating. It sounds as the voice coaches had worked with him until they realised he was never going to be a singer, then carried on working with him until he could produce that “ah, listen to him, he’s so young he can’t even sing!” sound. Awful. No wonder they seem to do most of it in five-person unison.

    The song’s awful. I wouldn’t mind it being a patchwork of references – bad poets borrow, good poets steal – if it wasn’t a patchwork of really obvious references done really badly. It usually perks me right up when I hear pipes – I even enjoy MoK for those all-too-brief periods when you can hear the droning of the pipes without the droning of Macca – but on this track I don’t even think they used real pipes.

    The lyrics are awful – it’s worse than a break-up song, it’s a “cheerio, I’m off for a bit now, because I’m as free as a bird, right, and like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone till November, but you’re really nice and it means a lot to me, so I’ll give you a shag next time I’m around, OK?”. Only sung as if it was good news. Which it isn’t (hey, my boyfriend’s leaving me but he says he really likes me and he’ll come back at some point in future, maybe!) – unless she was sick of him, of course.

    And the video’s… oddly interesting. Following #8 I watched Setting Sun & this back to back, and there are definite similarities between the relevant sections – enough to cry ripoff, I think. I wish they’d gone the whole hog and put Brian’s grandma and granddad in rocking chairs in the middle of it all – it would have summed up WL’s appeal.

    Overall, really offensively mediocre. I’m reluctant to go as far as 1, but not very reluctant. I’ll say 2.

  13. 13
    Rory on 25 Apr 2016 #

    With my head full of Prince, I couldn’t help reading “ur-Westlife song” as “yer Westlife song”. As in “ur Westlife song is pretty feckin’ awful”.

  14. 14
    JoeWiz on 25 Apr 2016 #

    I THINK this is the worst of all the Westlife number ones.
    It’s almost morbid in the way it ambles towards its end – there is literally nothing here, just a a way to fill 3 and a half minutes of silence with a way to generate income.
    Bad, bad stuff.

  15. 15
    Shiny Dave, logged out on 25 Apr 2016 #

    I had this down as their other Irish homesickness homily from the opening and the instrumentation, but it obviously goes slightly different places.

    It’s honestly, in my opinion, trying to be interesting. The lyric is not as clear as on earlier songs, it’s the first Westlife single in 3/4, and the opening verse is an awful lot lower than most modern pop music (no wonder the singer sounds awkward at times in it). Of course, that turns out to be a front for copy-pasting it an octave (?) higher to fire up the momentum for the second verse. Bunnying, but this isn’t the last time that we will meet that trick from a boy band, or even a Cowell project boy band, and when we do, that one surely won’t get a 2.

    I’m far too tolerant of this kind of sweeping symphonic balladry, so I’d actually go as far as a 4. I probably shouldn’t.

  16. 16
    James BC on 25 Apr 2016 #

    First number 1 to start with a Q!

    No I haven’t listened to it

  17. 17
    JLucas on 25 Apr 2016 #

    Not much to add really. This is the point when Westlife really started to feel like they were phoning it in. Swear It Again had been a modest hit in America (#20 on the Hot 100), but they never cracked that market again and by album #3 they’d clearly given up trying.

    They had no major competition this week, but a few noteworthy singles charting lower down…

    In at #6 was a hastily-recorded cover of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Goin’ On’ featuring a host of US stars including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Mary J Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Nelly Furtado, Gwen Stefani, JA Rule and, inevitably, Bono. It sounds exactly as you would expect.

    Two places below that, the final top ten appearence to date for Cher, with the surprisingly understated ‘The Music’s No Good Without You’. Its parent album ‘Living Proof’ was very much Believe: The Sequel, and a crashing flop despite being heavily promoted at the time. Personally, I really like the song, which is so heavily processed that Cher sounds like a world-weary robot throughout.

    Speaking of world-weary robots, way down at #25 Daft Punk were charting with ‘Harder, Better, Faster Stronger’, a song that proved to have a much longer shelf life than just about anything charting above it.

    Oh and The Strokes also cracked the top 40 for the first time with ‘Last Nite’, riding on a monumental wave of hype that seemed to see them on the front cover of NME every week for about 2 years.

  18. 18
    Kordian86 on 25 Apr 2016 #

    Hello there, Poptimists! Long-time lurker (a year already?), first-time poster here. And what could be better place to start than the moment when I jumped ship Westlife?

    Yep, I was sorta Westlife fan at 15. Why? Because Westlife songs I knew from the radio were poppy enough for me to hum along and the band was never overplayed in Poland (maybe Uptown Girl and girl-named Bunny were but I forgot). My particular favorite was I Lay My Love on You (I had funny feeling when I discovered that quite popular new-wave/AOR German band Freiheit recorded cover titled Wachgekuesst, meaning Awaken by the Kiss), I also wholeheartedly agree with ThePenSmith on WYLLT.

    But this one was too cloying for me. I missed their next Bunny but I must note relatively huge airplay for Bop Bop Baby in local stations in my corner of Poland.

    PS. I wil try to comment regularly but I really discovered pop music in full more than one year from here…

  19. 19
    Andrew Farrell on 25 Apr 2016 #

    #17: we covered What’s Going On back at Bob the Builder – it really isn’t hastily recorded.

    #18: Hello Kordian!

  20. 20
    Chelovek na lune on 25 Apr 2016 #

    Currently second from bottom on the Populist Popular Vote Bottom 100! Above only “Long Haired Lover From Liverpool” and “‘….Grandma”. Which sounds about right.

    Joining six other Westlife singles in the bottom 100….

    And for good measure 1st from bottom (which is “…Grandma”) on the standard deviation chart too….

  21. 21
    AMZ1981 on 25 Apr 2016 #

    We’re already into what could be called `mid period` Westlife. Personally I always felt that their early singles (up to Fool Again) were their most uninspired and at least on Queen Of My Heart there is a bit more seasoning rather than a verse plod chorus plod.

    A few things mitigate. By this point Westlife were an established act and they were giving their fanbase what they wanted. The non fans might not have liked it very much but they weren’t asking us what we thought. Given that a fair few boy bands had come unstuck trying to go indie you can’t blame Westlife for playing it safe.

    On the stats side Queen Of My Heart was Westlife’s ninth number one which put them ahead of Take That as the boy band with the most chart toppers, a record they hold to this day.

    #17 Jlucas – I hate to be a clever clogs but the Strokes first hit in July with Hard To Explain. They’d never get better than number 5 (in a quiet January chart) but perhaps they ushered in a strain of American indie that led to a 2006 almost bunny and a 2008 actual bunny. But even thinking about the Strokes makes me wonder where the hell my twenties went.

  22. 22
    Tommy Mack on 1 May 2016 #

    I love the eagerness with which Tom’s following the Bladerunner tangent, eager to write about anything other than Westlife.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard this and I’m in no hurry to do so. I once decided to ‘do’ the whole of Popular, listening to each track in reverse chronological order, rating and commenting in real time. Unfortunately, Popular was covering 1999 (the year, not the, sadly still unbunnied Prince song) at the time and I think I got through about six songs before boredom set in and I decided I really should do something better with my day off.

    #17/21: I adored The Strokes* back then: back in spring I’d bought their Modern Age EP (which was basically their demo rush-released by Rough Trade and featuring an early version of Last Nite) and then the Hard To Explain/NYC Cops AA-side. Much of my NYC summer holiday that ended in and on 9/11 was spent trying to discover the carefree hedonistic bohemia promised by their clipped, twitchy noo-wave ear-worms and nerd-hipster posturing. I didn’t get to catch them in NYC but I did see open-air concerts by The White Stripes (on the cusp of fame), Living Colour and, oddly enough, Asian Dub Foundation. (I did hang out with actual, real-life New York Hipsters in the cafes and bars of Brooklyn, performing at open mics because the bar operated an honesty box so I, then 20, could drink without getting ID’d)

    *Every time I find myself talking about a white male guitar band on a non-related thread, I imagine Tom, Sukrat et al sadly shaking their heads but I hope it’ll pass this time as this is Westlife who are being usurped and The Strokes’ early singles really were great pop. Their debut album Is This It was a bit of a let-down I must say and from then on, they were just another OKish indie band who’d failed to live up to their promise but for a few months it really did feel like fun.

  23. 23
    Kinitawowi on 13 May 2016 #

    “But not quite yet.”

    Indeed, as one of the Westlifers aims for (and misses out) on an ESC 2016 slot…

  24. 24
    CriticSez on 18 Aug 2016 #

    I’m quite partial to a few Westlife songs, but this is just EMPTY.

    THREE.

  25. 25
    MUSICALITY on 24 Apr 2017 #

    Boring however quite interesting as a #1 in that for first time in quite a while genuine boyband challengers Blue had come up to the top spot against Westlife.

    This song going to #1 proved (unfortunately) they weren’t being jostled out of pop’s penthouse just yet from most credible threat yet.

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