Their 21st single, the Rose is also their 14th number one.
And it's not difficult to see why. The song sticks to the old formula, in fact you'd be forgiven for thinking that the intro was going to lead into a rousing rendition of You Raise Me Up. Play them side by side, and there'll be eight Westlifers standing up for the key change together. Not to mention the harmony seems to have disappeared. Were Nicky and Kian even in the recording studio that day?
But you've heard my opinions on that song before, so let's move on.
Check out the cover, first of all. There are two covers for this, one black and one white. In this one, Nicky's jerking Mark off, except it appears the head of Mark's cock has swollen red and the shaft has shrivelled to a green stick...
Oh right. Sorry, that's a flower of some kind. No idea what kind, of course. I'm not much of a florist, me.
That was, of course sarcasm. Could there be a more cliched cover for this single? Certainly no more cliched than the video, but you've heard my ranting on that before.
The b-sides are like a continuum of quality. There's the good, the average, and the dead awful. The new BMW goes to If (originally by Bread), which is a delicately produced triumph that has the requisite emotion, but is beautifully understated. Nicky's vocals are stunning, sweet and sexy, and Mark's notes are perfection. Shane trembles a little, but we're getting used to the effects of his smoking, and it doesn't grate.
The Encyclopaedia Brittanica goes to Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, a George Benson cover and mid-tempo ballad that's good for a wistful smile and a bit of a foot-tap. The only drawback is that it goes on far too long, especially for a song that has no bridge and has an unusually long chorus. The repetition is forgivable, however, if only for the fact that they let Kian sing as well, this time, and he and Nicky are the highlight of this piece, bringing up once again the question: 'Why don't they get to sing more?' Shane and Mark are also on top form.
And then the golden dog-turd goes to Solitaire. It shouldn't be surprising - it is, after all, a Neil Sedaka song - rather it's disappointing that Westlife would stoop to such sugar-coated rat vomit. It's boring, long, and a walking (or singing) cliche. The lads sound creaky and a little squawky - the vocals should be played back to them in ten years time when they've all lost their larynxes to throat cancer - and the emotion is forced and fake. They might have been falling asleep while recording it. I was certainly doing so while listening to it.
In short, it's a take-or-leave affair, the taking of which should only be half-based on the strength of the title track.