Dirrrty Pop Review: BWO – Halcyon Days

I was extremely excited when this CD arrived in the post this morning as I’d received no e-mail telling me it was on its way. After a few listens I can safely say it’s brilliant, with several songs reaching the absolute height of BWO aceness as seen on such tracks as Conquering America and Sunshine In The Rain on Prototype. There are a few songs that aren’t quite up to the standard of the extremely consistent quality of Prototype, but they are as I said few and could be growers – it’s very rare that I stick to my opinions of an album as made on first listen.

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I said, click it!

1. Chariots Of Fire
Kicking off the apparent Ancient Greek theme of the album, this is one of the most pure-pop songs BWO have ever made and extremely catchy.

2. Temple Of Love
It may not have won Melodifestivalen as it so very much deserved to (see the post about this song a few below this one) but this has been an absolute pop triumph for me, my favourite song of this year so far and it’s going to take

3. Will My Arms Be Strong Enough
Despite it being a ballad and therefore not what BWO are known for, I think this is the best of the new unreleased songs on the album. In sound it is timeless, and could be a hit at any time in pop history. The songwriting is absolute excellent here, and shows, if we didn’t know it already, that Westlife really have no need to exist when someone who doesn’t normally do ballads can do this well in the genre. This is up with the greatness of Backstreet Boys or Will Young ballads.

4. We Could Be Heroes
This is set to be the next BWO single and although I don’t love it quite so dearly as the previous track, it’s another great ballad in a similar vein to BWO’s huge hit Open Door, so I think it’s going to be another success and perhaps another no.1 for the group who are quickly becoming one of Sweden’s favourite musical acts.

5. Juggernaut
This song is the most similar of the album so far to the songs on Prototype, with a very fast pace, a repetitive chorus and plenty of “ohhh”s and “oooh”s.

6. Hanging On The Phone
This one has some amusing rhyming pairs such as “hyper” and “decipher”. The song has a typical BWO melody, but is a little less forceful than usual, giving a nice summery feel. This definitely sounds like something I’d find at the end of a side (always the best bit) on one of my pop compilation tapes from the late 90s – I can particularly imagine someone like Kavana or 911 releasing it.

7. Angel Of Night
This is kind of a ballad but not as slow as tracks 3 and 4. It’s probably the weakest track so far but by no means rubbish, the chorus is dramatic-sounding and catchy too, while the song as a whole has grown on me since the first listen so you never know, it could be a future favourite.

8. I Keep Walking On
This again sounds like a pop flop of the late 90s but that is no insult. It’s jolly and catchy but probably not going to be anyone’s absolute favourite track – however, that only says how good the other tracks are.

9. Marrakech
I slightly embarrassingly didn’t know where Marrakech was before getting this CD (I had to look it up on Google just for peace of mind), but if BWO like it I’ll have to go! The chorus involves a lot of sing of “Marrakeeesh!” and Marina does a great talky-bit, proving she will be a huge loss to the world of pop if she ever leaves.

10. Obsession
This is a cover of my favourite song released by Alexander’s old band and the one that made him a star, Army of Lovers. This version is modernised and is one of the best songs BWO have done. I’m sure if BWO covered other songs they would be great but I can’t really imagine it (and what is the point when you have such an amzing songwriter as Alexander in your midst?), so a cover of a Bard classic is perfect.

11. Crystal Odyssey
I really love this track, which is a bit dancier than your average BWO song and would be great down the discotheque! It’s also another one that will help me with my Classical Civilisations revision, or at least I can pretend it will since it shares part of its title with the epic poem we’re studying. Listen out for fab sound effects including the old Popjustice favourite, sirens!

12. Haunted
I’d already heard this one when I sneakily downloaded it from Catchy Tunes of Sweden and it’s another that I really like, also sounding much like the Prototype songs. BWO may have broadened their sound on this album but they’ve not lost anything of their old sound in the process, mixing their old style with a new more mainstream one, both of which are fantastic and combine to make an utterly acetastic CD!

I won’t review the last few tracks because you should already know them by now as they’re the last 4 singles from Prototype.

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