Review Summary: A different direction after 10 years?.... Hardly but still one of their better efforts.
Much before the release of Where We Are, the members of the band couldn't get enough of telling everyone that finally this album will mark a variation from their earlier works. Though after being reduced to a quartet the guys have mostly sung covers and some pretty forgettable original compositions, I was still interested in hearing the so called variation.
However after going through all the tracks in the album I can easily say that Westlife has played it safe (like always) and targeted their old fan-base and have hardly tried to target a new audience.
It is conspicuous on the first track itself that a cover-free album will remain a distant reality as Shane Filan starts off with Chris Daughtry's 'What about now'. Like always Nicky and Kian are not given any lines to sing, which is the case with every song on the album.
What about now is hardly impressive as there is no change from Daughtry's original work. It seems as if the voice modulation has also been copied bit by bit from Daughtry. However this song is followed by 12 original songs which consist of some of the better works by the quartet.
'How to break a heart' talks about walking away from a broken relationship and is unlike any of Westlife previous songs with an interesting chorus.
Mark Feehily walks away with the honors in Talk me down with strong vocals. This song is a grower but after 2-3 listens one begins to appreciate Mark's effort in it.
'The Difference' comes as a whiff of fresh air. Lyrically it is not much ( like almost all the songs on the album) but the use of instruments especially the drum in the second stanza and perfect piano playing is music to the ears. This is one of the strongest single materials and will definitely give the boys their next number one.
Another stand out track is 'I'll see you again'. This is dedicated to Nicky's father who had an unfortunate demise earlier this year. It is bound to strike a chord with anyone who has suffered a similar loss and also with those who can empathize with them. Possibly the longest ever westlife song, the song succeeds in creating the kind of atmosphere it hopes for.
The other songs are just like their old works. The collaboration with Backstreet Boy AJ Mclean fails to create any spark.
'As love is my witness' is similar to 'I Do' from their last album and is a typical Wedding song.
'Another World' tries to be grand but fails and is reduced to the filler status. 'Reach Out' could have been better if Shane Filan hadn't tried to experiment much in it.
Overall the album is certainly a notch above Westlife's previous efforts but as I said before they guys have played it safe. Maybe trying a few new things is the best option before them if they ever want to succeed in the US market.