13 June 2012


Westlife #1 UK Singles Smackdown, Round 2
(Revisit Round 1 to listen to the music)

How about a mini face-off, just to get the momentum going again?

Safe vs. What Makes a Man

Now that we have less than two weeks before Westlife disband forever, I find myself wondering when the writing on the wall was most obvious. Was it when they couldn't convince the recording company for whom they had been a cash cow for nine years that there should be a follow-up single to Safe . . . or was it nearly a decade earlier, when What Makes a Man became their first ever single not to reach #1 on the UK charts? (Brownie Leprechaun points to anyone who knows why the latter song makes an especially bittersweet set in their final, farewell tour!)

And before you all roll your eyes at me once more,
check out the updated Rafflecopter
on the Giveaways page! ;-)

Thanks again to everyone who voted for the sixteen singles which made Round 1: The Swear It Again Sixteen! Here are the results I owe you . . .

Swear It Again vs. My Love -- Winner: My Love

Seasons in the Sun vs. You Raise Me Up -- Winner: You Raise Me Up

I Have a Dream vs. Uptown Girl -- Winner: Uptown Girl

The Rose vs. Unbreakable -- Winner: Unbreakable

Against All Odds vs. Mandy -- Winner: Against All Odds

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

Fool Again vs. If I Let You Go -- Winner: If I Let You Go

Flying without Wings vs. Queen of My Heart -- Winner: Flying without Wings

I happen to know that someone deliberately voted for all the songs on the left. Hardly any of his picks made it. =P I hope he doesn't feel too put out.

And now we move on . . . =)

Round 2
The Unbreakable Eight

If you've participated in a Shredded Cheddar smackdown before, then you remember that Round 1 may be open to votes, but Round 2 is all on me. But while the past five (and a half) smackdowns have had results subject to the whims of Random.org (That early Predator vs. Terminator face-off, anyone?),I suddenly find I don't want to entrust Westlife's fate to them. =P Although I've loved having that one odd "dark horse" in the Final Four that throws everyone off, I recall that Westlife are breaking up in a week's time . . . and I think that the least I can do for them is to to give them a strong Final Four that will make sense to any Lifer.

Which is my long winded way of saying that I've picked the pairs as well as the winners for Round 2 and there's nothing you can do about it! =P

Against All Odds vs. Uptown Girl

This is too easy. Do I even have to explain? . . . Well, okay . . . While recording another version of Against All Odds with an established industry heavyweight (Double meaning not intended) must have seemed like a good idea to this relatively new boyband, they soon learned (I'm sure) that a duet with a singer who isn't part of your group can make it difficult to promote it. Accordingly, this single has rarely been performed live, wasn't part of either their Greatest Hits tour (although it obviously made the compilation album) or their ten-year anniversary concert at Croke Park, and now that we're on the Farewell Tour, has only the four of them singing it for old times' sake. (They sound pretty great on their own, by the way.) On the other hand, Uptown Girl has been performed live countless times, in nearly every international tour they've ever done. I look forward to revisiting it again in the next round.

WINNER: Uptown Girl--because it's not just the better single of the two, but also a darn good cover in its own right.

Flying without Wings vs. You Raise Me Up

Two really big ballads carried by the trademarked Filan-Feehily tandem. How to pick the right one? If I were a musicologist, I'd have a technically sweet answer for you now. (Some might argue that if I were a musicologist, I wouldn't even have done this smackdown.) But all I seem to have is backstory. Westlife were lucky to have a song as beautiful as Flying without Wings as an early hit; they've been singing it with pride for the last fourteen years. You Raise Me Up was more of a bonus--a "test case" single released right after Mark Feehily announced that he was gay. The 'Life worried that fans wouldn't receive either the news or the single well . . . and then the latter turned out to be the biggest commercial hit they would ever have. It's a tough choice, but I'll go with the song Feehily himself has said he could keep singing forever.

WINNER: Flying without Wings--because after fourteen years, the fans haven't tired of it, either. (One more encore, lads, please?)

If I Let You Go vs. World of Our Own

This pair is the strongest in the Unbreakable Eight because I could flip a coin to decide which one advances and have a strong contender no matter how it lands. These songs are good from the bottom up. If I Let You Go is pure 90s boyband Pop, churned out by the same songwriting team which sold songs to the Backstreet Boys. It doesn't seem like the wisest idea in the world to sound like your competition when you are opening concerts for them, but judging by how often they still perform it, The 'Life have always loved this song. World of Our Own was written by another team that specialises in boyband music: they've collaborated on singles for O-Town and Human Nature, and have, working separately, got writing credits on One Direction's first album. 

WINNER: World of Our Own--because if the last copy in the world were in a burning building, I wouldn't be any more objective than I am now, but would run the heck in to save it.

My Love vs. Unbreakable

Let's keep this simple because I'm ready to get on with my life the rest of the smackdown. I've mentioned before that I didn't warm up to Westlife until they released My Love. And I don't know about the rest of the world, but I think it's their best loved romantic ballad in the Philippines. Everyone seems to know about those blue skies and green fields. But I'm afraid that even after several months of immersion in Westlife's music, I still can't sing Unbreakable unless the track is also on. It just doesn't cling to the memory--or to the heart--the way its opponent here does.

WINNER: My Love--because it's the their only other love ballad that could rival Flying without Wings.


Sullivan McPig said...

Just because I like you so much, I'll vote Safe on the mini face-off ;-)

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks, Sully! ;-)

I hope another tie doesn't drive me crazy next week . . . Ingrid has just voted for What Makes a Man on Twitter.

christopher said...

What. Makes. A. Man.

Enbrethiliel said...


How much did it hurt you to type that? =P

Remember to claim your extra entry on the Rafflecopter. ;-)

(Why do I have a feeling that if I were telling you this to your face, I'd get swatted? Like a fly?)