30 May 2012

+JMJ+

Westlife UK #1 Singles Smackdown!



This smackdown series should have occurred to me weeks ago. Heck, Westlife themselves should have occurred to me years ago. Or even just one year ago: then I could have seen them live. Posts like this are the things I do to make up for lost time because I'm pathetic.

Westlife have a record fourteen UK #1 singles--one for every year they have been together--and just two songs short of a bracket. But that's easily remedied when one of those #1 singles was a double-A-side with another song . . . and when one track that was released internationally but not in the UK would have totally been the eighth consecutive UK #1 hit if they had only made a different decision. (I know this. My name is Enbrethiliel, I travel through parallel universes, and I know this.)

I love all these songs on principle but will be happy to spend the next five or six weeks determining, in my usual scientific fashion, what the #1 single among the #1 singles truly is.

Help me pick the the eight songs which will move on to the next round in our latest tournament bracket by voting in the combox. Votes will be accepted until next Tuesday, 5 June 2011 whenever the heck I decide I have enough. =P So please keep sending your friends over to vote. ;-)

Round 1
The Swear It Again Sixteen

Swear It Again vs. My Love
vs.

Two lead singles of two very successful albums face off. Westlife had hoped Swear It Again, their first ever single, would at least crack the Top Ten. It stayed at #1 for two weeks. By the time My Love repeated the feat, it was their seventh consecutive #1 single. But is it harder to get to the top or to stay at the top?



Seasons in the Sun vs. You Raise Me Up
vs.

Now let's compare early Westlife and mature Westlife. Seasons in the Sun, a cover of Terry Jacks's English-language version of Le Moribond by Jacques Brel, features all members on lead vocals: a rare arrangement. You Raise Me Up, more of a standard now than a cover, is truer to the "Westlife formula" of Shane Filan and Mark Feehily singing the lead parts and Kian Egan and Nicky Byrne doing back up.

I Have a Dream vs. Uptown Girl
vs.

Love The 'Life, love their covers. Neither of these singles was an album track, but a song recorded and released for a special purpose. I Have a Dream was a very strategic contender for the coveted Christmas #1 spot in 1999, while Uptown Girl was the 2001 Comic Relief charity single. Now the question is whether you prefer your Pop political or pro bono . . .

The Rose vs. Unbreakable
vs.

By this time you must feel as if love songs are coming out of your ears. (A lovely feeling, aye? =P) The Rose, already a classic, tries to explain love through a litany of images; Unbreakable, a Westlife original, is a more traditional, personal serenade. And the boys may be all about their ballads, but that's all I have to say about these ones.

Against All Odds vs. Mandy
vs.

Every "Greatest Hits" collection will have its low points, and we've just reached the two blots on Westlife's record. Lazy Mariah Carey clearly didn't even bother to rerecord her vocals for this "new" version of her cover of Phil Collins's Against All Odds--and I don't believe either the sleight-of-hand music video or the rest of Simon Cowell's PR for a minute. And Mandy must be my least favourite Barry Manilow song of all time. I like Shane's voice on anything, but . . . Why, Westlife? Why???

I Lay My Love on You vs. World of Our Own
vs.

My favourite Westlife songs are invariably their upbeat tracks. They recorded a bunch of them, 90s boyband style, for their first three albums, but didn't make a habit of releasing them as singles--probably because they would have had to dance to promote them. LOL! It's not that they're awful dancers or anything . . . but there's a reason they're best known for singing on stools--and standing up for the key change! I Lay My Love on You was written by the same songwriting team that gave the Backstreet Boys so many of their highly danceable hits--and sure enough, the lads tried their best with it in the early days. World of Our Own, a later release, is performed with very simple choreography that lets their microphone stands remain their centres of gravity. That's right: play to your strengths, lads.

Fool Again vs. If I Let You Go
vs.

These two singles were the last to find partners, but they seem as perfectly paired off as those that had the pick of the lot. It's probably because they were composed by the same songwriting team. =P Let's be simple now and compare stories: do we go for the persona of Fool Again, who "should have seen it coming" and "should have read the signs" before he was made a fool of again, or the persona of If I Let You Go, who is trying to talk himself out of the equally foolish decision of "taking the easy way out"?

UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot two of their biggest hits . . .

Flying without Wings vs. Queen of My Heart
vs.

Both of these singles made my original handwritten bracket (Of course!) but were overlooked while I was typing the post up. I'm still stunned it took me so long to notice! *headdesk* Flying without Wings is one of their earliest hits, which grew into a signature song that they've performed in every concert they've ever done. Queen of My Heart is the lead single from their third album that they rarely do live . . . because it wasn't the track which they wanted released! I've listened to what they preferred, however, and it's not as good as this one. Sometimes you have to let someone else pick your hits. As in this smackdown . . . =P

I look forward to your ballots! =)

Image Source: Greatest Hits by Westlife

35 comments:

Sullivan McPig said...

This so not my kind of music, so I will refrain from picking any favorites.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Even if it gets you giveaway points on the Rafflecopter? ;-)

Sullivan McPig said...

Are you telling me you rather have a false score than no score? ;-)
Because I'd just be chosing at random if I did

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Not totally at random . . . You will also be guided by my eloquent, if all too short descriptions of each track. ;-)

Or you could flip a coin. We've been friends long enough for me not to mind. LOL!

Sullivan McPig said...

Ok.... You asked for it ;-)

Swear it again
Seasons in the sun
Uptown girl
Unbreakable
Mandy
I lay my love on you
If I let you go

And I'm not telling how I decided which to pick :-p

cyurkanin said...

It's been a tough process of elimination but I think I've finally got my list:

Swear it Again
Seasons in the Sun
I Have a Dream
The Rose
Against All Odds
I Lay My Love on You
Fool Again
Flying without Wings

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Thanks to both of you! I know this wasn't easy . . . ;-)

Sullivan McPig said...

Ok... My last pick is.....
Queen of my Heart

Can i go listen to some Industrial now? ;-)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Surely! You've earned it, Sully. ;-)

Your annoying former student :) said...

I'm really more of a BSB fan but... here are my picks.

My love
Seasons in the sun
Uptown girl
Unbreakable
Mandy
I lay my love on you
If I let you go

Your annoying former student :) said...

I forgot Queen of my heart. :)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Thank you so much, sweetie! =)

Paula ;) said...

baah, I'm really an NSYNC fan, but here are my picks:

My love
You raise me up
Uptown Girl
Unbreakable
Against all odds
I lay my love on you AND World of our own **they're my favourite Westlife songs, so I'm picking both XD
If I let you go
Queen of my heart

Sarahbotbonkers said...

I absolutely love Westlife back when I was a kid. Like really! I have all their songs memorized.

So here's my picked:
My Love
Seasons in the Sun
Uptown Girl
The Rose
Against All Odds
I Lay My Love On You
If I Let You Go
Flying Without Wings

Spacetraveller said...

Hello Enbrethiliel,

My first time here!
My favourite one is 'I have a dream' (I know, I know).
Choices 2 and 3 are 'Uptown girl' and 'Fool again'.
Next, 'If I let you go' and 'Queen of my heart'.
Then 'Mandy', 'World of our own' and 'Unbreakable'.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Paula -- I see I should have done a Boybands Smackdown instead. LOL! But MTV kind of covered that last month. =P Thanks so much for your votes!

Sarah -- Congratulations for being the first actual Westlife fan to cast a ballot! LOL! I really appreciate it. Thanks!

Spacetraveller -- It's so great to see you! =D Just wondering: were you already familiar with most of these songs or did you have to listen to them? (I'm wondering because you're the kind of lovely person who would listen to them all if a friend invited you to a smackdown of songs you didn't know!)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

To anyone who may be auditing this (LOL!):

I noticed the "double" votes in Spacetraveller's ballot and e-mailed her to tell her she had to cut some songs and love some others. She replied through e-mail that her choices are:

I Have a Dream
If I Let You Go
My Love
You Raise Me Up

Spacetraveller said...

Haha,

Thank you for your nice words...hey, it wasn't that hard to listen to Westlife songs...they have good voices, and in some of the videos you get to see them too...what's not to like...
:-)

christopher said...

Wow, you ended up with a lot more voters than I thought you'd have after the slow start :) Go LEFT!!! LOL

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Spacetraveller -- If you ever do a smackdown for a band or artist I don't know, I promise to listen to everything! =)

Christopher -- Given that they got 85,000 to fill up Croke Park, I should actually be getting more. =P Let's wait a few more days, shall we? LOL!

Evie said...

OK, I remember listening to Westlife when I was a kid :D I definitely remember some of these songs, although I can't say that I know all of them... but hey, this is fun! So why not :)

Here are my smack down winners:

Swear It Again
You Raise Me Up
I Have A Dream (I hated Uptown Girl with burning fierceness:P)
Unbreakable
Against All Odds
I Lay My Love On You
If I Let You Go (I was totally obsessed with this song!)
Flying Without Wings

There! These songs bring back memories hahah, what inspired this post? :) You should do a post on No Mercy next time haha :)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

No Mercy?!? LOL!!! Believe it or not, one of their songs randomly popped into my head just last night and I went to YouTube to relive some more 90s memories. I wasn't a huge fan of theirs, though. =P

To answer your question, this post was inspired by their looming breakup. They're on their farewell tour right now and will disband in about two weeks. =(

Thanks again for voting! =D

Now if only I could get more fans to show up . . . *schemes*

ShaneFilan Angels said...

Well, here my picks..
-My Love
-Seasons in the Sun
-Uptown Girl
-The Rose
-Mandy
-World of Our own
-Fool Again
-Queen of My Heart

#Filangels

Anonymous said...

My Love
You Raise Me Up
Uptown Girl
Abstain
Mandy
Abstain
Abstain
Abstain

HAHA! I don't know most of these songs! LOL!

-Montito

Anonymous said...

My Love
You Raise Me Up
Uptown Girl
Unbreakable
Mandy
World of our own
If I Let You Go
Flying Without Wings

THERE! It's been edited! :D

-Montito

Sofie said...

My love
You raise me up
Uptown girl
The rose
Against all odds
World of our own
If I let you go
Queen of my heart


OMG! Finally someone who appreciates Westlife like I do!:)
I SO LOVE THEM.:)
Great blog post!;)

MrsDarwin said...

Alright, I'm doing this just for you, and I'm going to go entirely on intuition and your descriptions (read: without listening).

Swear It Again
Seasons in the Sun (because I don't like You Raise Me Up)
Uptown Girl (because Ioan Gruffud was in the video)
Unbreakable (because I don't like The Rose)
Mandy (this was tough, but I don't like Mariah Carey)
World of our Own
If I Let You Go
Flying Without Wings (because Christopher picked it)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

ShaneFilAngels -- Thank you for your votes and for all the retweets! I'm still a bit sad that most of the Lifers who come here from Twitter are too shy to vote, but having you here means a lot! =)

Montito -- No one is allowed to abstain! ;-) Thanks for being a good sport.

Sofie -- Thanks, sweetie!

Mrs. Darwin -- Oh, if you only knew why Christopher picked Flying without Wings . . . =P

I think a lot of the commenters you recognise are just here for me, too, whether out of love or out of pity. (LOL!) Thank you all the same. =)

MrsDarwin said...

I want to change my vote -- I went and watched both You Raise Me Up and Seasons in the Sun, and I've got to go with You Raise Me Up. This one's for merit. You Raise Me Up is not a song I particularly love, but this is a competent rendition, and Seasons in the Sun is pretty jejeune.

Now I'm going away before watch anything else and have to reassess all my picks.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Mrs. Darwin -- I don't want to seem like an enabler or anything, but if you want to reassess them all, you're totally free to do that, you know. =P

* * *

A new friend on Twitter (which could describe all my Lifer friends, LOL!) had trouble voting, so I told her she could tweet me her ballot instead. And her picks are:

My Love
Seasons in the Sun
Uptown Girl
Unbreakable
Mandy
World of Our Own
If I Let You Go
Queen of My Heart

She is @Girlytanaya and here's the link to her tweet.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Another Twitter friend, @pricie2 has just voted for the following singles:

My Love
You Raise Me Up
Uptown Girl
Unbreakable
Against All Odds
World of Our Own
If I Let You Go
Flying without Wings

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

MrsDarwin said...

I hope you know how much I love you, that I'm actually listening to a boy band for you. To help me reassess, I have Eleanor, Julia, and Isabel here voting with me. Their general criteria was that a song needed to have "rock guitar" to pass muster.

My Love
You Raise Me Up
Uptown Girl (this was a universal favorite -- everyone yelled "Play it again!")
The Rose
Against All Odds (this was a hard one -- certainly the nadir of the contest)
World Of Our Own -- this was a universal favorite, though the girls all liked I Lay My Love On You as well.
If I Let You Go
Queen of my Heart -- these may have been big hits, but we didn't like either of them.

Eleanor:
My Love
Seasons In The Sun (they all say that the guys in the Seasons in the Sun video look like Draco Malfoy)
Uptown Girl
Unbreakable
Against All Odds
World of our Own
Tie: Fool Again and If I Let You Go
Flying Without Wings

Julia:
My Love
Seasons in the Sun
Uptown Girl
Unbreakable
Against All Odds
World Of Our Own
Tie: Fool Again and If I Let You Go
Flying Without Wings

Isabel:
My Love
You Raise Me Up
Uptown Girl
Unbreakable
Against All Odds
World Of Our Own
Tie: Fool Again and If I Let You Go
Flying Without Wings

Evangeline said...

My picks... :)

1. Swear it Again
2. You Raise Me Up (definitely cannot leave this out)
3. I Have a Dream
4. Unbreakable
5. Mandy
6. I Lay My Love On You
7. Fool Again
8. Flying Without Wings (my favorite among all)

Lesa said...

Not my cuppa but I listened to a bit of all but one--- it wouldn't play.

My love
you raise me up
Uptown girl
Unbreakable
mandy
world of our own
If I let you go
queen of my heart

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

The poll is finally closed! Thanks to everyone who participated! =D

Mrs. Darwin -- You have no idea how humbled I was when I read that you played all sixteen songs for your daughters. If you do your own musical smackdown, I will listen to everything!

I find it so interesting that your girls liked Fool Again and If I Let You Go equally well. It had the least number of votes in the smackdown until they came along and liked it as much as its opponent. Did they say why they liked it? (Its poor performance has really surprised me, by the way. Neither song is a favourite of mine, but I would have picked the former over the latter.)

Evangeline -- Thanks for participating! I appreciate it. =)

Lesa -- You made it in just the nick of time! =D It's fantastic to see you, by the way. Have I told you lately that I've missed you? ;-) Thanks a lot for voting.