Today I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the JLS album, unimaginatively titled JLS, in the post to review. I wasn’t particularly excited about hearing it, but perhaps I should have been – there are some great pure pop boyband songs here. Even one that sounds like Ultra! After the disappointment of the Taio Cruz album, his boyband pals seem to be making up for it with their own album. My all time no.1 boyband, the BSBs, could have done with some of these songs on their latest CD, actually.
The album begins with the two singles, which are followed by three songs which, although far from awful, are exactly what you’d expect from a JLS album. They are similar to, but weaker than, the singles. One is clearly a Taio Cruz creation, but not as good as his own hits, although the chorus is cute and catchy. However, these tracks are followed by a lovely song called Close To You, which had been described as Backstreet Boys-esque. Whoever made that comparison must not have been a big BSBs fan, as it sounds a lot more like Ultra or A1 to my ears (with a hint of Chris Brown’s With You), while later tracks on the album such as Don’t Go, Kickstart and Only Making Love sound a lot more BSB to me. Only Tonight is probably most comparable to Blue and contains the great lyric I used for this post’s title. And then there’s One Shot, which even JLS haters need to give a listen to, if only for the fact that it’s basically a rave ballad with lyrics inspired by Blazin’ Squad.
From Close To You (track 6) onwards the album grows into quite possibly the best boyband album since V’s 2004 release. There are several songs, particularly Private and the aforementioned BSBs-esque tracks, which are total RedOne wannabes. I’m pretty sure Red hasn’t worked on this album, and there’s no RedOne tag at the beginning of any of the tracks, but he has certainly been an inspiration for much of the album. Perhaps they can do some Darin covers on the next one!
Having listened to the album the whole way through, I’ve gone back to those first few tracks, and they are sounding much better now I’ve got into the (Jack the Lad) swing of it! I would actually go so far as to say that there is not one bad song on this album! The whole thing is great! It’s been a long time since I’ve heard an album by a major artist which I can say that about. I would definitely say that they’re a contemporary version of Blue, with an album full of light, pleasant R&B-pop which won’t change the world but will give a bit more meaning to the lives of a nation’s worth of teenage girls. I know very well what it’s like to really love a boyband, and although I don’t feel toward JLS as I did to the BSBs or even to V, I can see that many young girls (and boys) will get that feeling, and JLS are doing a very good thing by allowing them to experience it.