beating tom to the punch…on his own blog, no less! but keating is a little too foreign for my blog, so here we are.

anyway, young ronan is embarking upon a solo career as you might’ve heard. aiding him in this quest is gregg alexander, better known as the guy in the hat from the new radicals. alexander disbanded that “group” when he decided that he wanted to make his living as a producer. with what will surely be the undeniable success of this record, he’s certainly on his way. it seems like a relationship that will prove beneficial to both men: alexander gets fame and fortune for his half and keating gets a gem of a record like “life is a rollercoaster” for his work.

and a gem, it is. if you’re like me, the words “ronan keating solo record,” are enough to fill your heart with utter dread, but you have nothing to fear, really. before i get into it any further, let’s get out of the way: the lyrics are dire. as tom pointed out to me, “you almost got us punched in a fight” is indeed a line in this song, and “life is a rollercoaster, just gotta ride it” isn’t the most profound statement you’re likely to hear this year. but if you’re willing to dismiss a song on lyrics alone, well, then, you’re not very pop to begin with, are you? (that
said, the closing repeat to fade sounds like “don’t bite it…”; if this is the case, we’re venturing into very strange n.w.a. territory here.)

alexander’s production style is very recognizable: cooing backing vocalists who sing things like “hey baby” and “hey sugar” without a trace of irony; a super glossy m.o.r. sheen; and details on top of details. it’s extremely smooth and eminently listenable — if alexander worked in the 80s, he’d be rich beyond his wildest dreams and his music would be used in every teenager coming-of-age flick. it’s gorgeous stuff and absolutely made for headphone listening (check out the guitar that comes in at the 2:30 mark). for his part, keating does his very best not to be irritating or loathsome, and whaddya know, he succeeds. he’s never
been a bad vocalist, per se, he just tries too hard sometimes: on “life is a rollercoaster,” though, he’s just along for the ride. (groan)

as far as i’m concerned, the record isn’t about keating — it’s all alexander. in the press release that announced the new radicals breakup, he described himself as a mutt lange-type looking for his shania twain. in the unassuming guise of ronan keating, perhaps he’s found his muse. while it’s not on the level of “you get what you give,” “life is a rollercoaster” remains great, if inessential stuff. and even if you don’t agree, you have to admit: it sure beats the hell out of stuff like “when you say nothing at all.”