Lucrative careers and repeat success in pop music is highly sought after thing. Longevity is also something craved by many but delivered by few in such a fickle industry as pop music. These are things that former Westlife front man-turned solo star Shane Filan can be proud of saying he accomplished during his 15+ year career so far – and not just once.
For close to 15 years Filan and his Westlife band mates dominated the UK and Australasian charts. They racked up an impressive 26 top ten singles, of which 14 hit the number one spot in the UK and 8 number one albums (with the remaining two albums hitting number 2). The Irish outfit toured relentlessly around Europe, selling out arenas for the duration of the group’s phenomenal career – a particularly lengthy career for any past and present boyband.
When the 5 piece turned 4 piece decided to part ways to pursue solo careers in 2012, Filan was the second member (after Kian Egan) to find a solo footing in the competitive pop market. Not too longer after the group’s disbandment, the talented singer presented us with a sentimental debut package, You and Me and this month’s sees a follow up to that impressive debut with Right Here being released this week.
There hasn’t been too much promotion around the release of the musicians brand new album so it was a surprise to me – a fan of both his work in Westlife and his solo career – that brand new album, Right Here, was about to be unveiled. It may be a low key release but it’s a pretty tight and impressive one nonetheless.
Right Here follows in the footsteps of Filan’s debut in terms of style with the majority of the songs finding a slow-paced resting spot with the new collection. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily and not entirely surprising given the musicians output on his debut and his time in Westlife being centred around balladry.
The standout track within Right Here is found with I Could Be as Filan invites former Girls Aloud band member and fellow Irish singer Nadine Coyle to deliver a sweet and memorable duet which serves as the records sole collaborative inclusion. The tracks verses are slow-paced while the chorus, which is led by Coyle, is the most punchy, infectious and upbeat within the album. Both voices gel well and their Irish roots shine through the track thanks to a subtle yet effective fiddle that dances behind the musicians’ exquisite vocal.
The records title track reminds me of the singers Flying Without Wings days. The song explodes with vocal harmonies and carries a rich gospel undertone for Filan to soar over. The track showcases the musicians flawless pop oriented voice as it strolls with a piano, sways with a string section and then lifts off to deliver a gorgeous ballad in a way that only Shane Filan can. The track is absolutely stunning – a wedding song for future generations I’m sure. This leads us nicely into the following Beautiful To Me; a sweet acoustic guitar ditty that will no doubt have his female fans (and a few male fans like myself) turn instantly to putty.
Right Here gets a little country-fied with I Can’t Get Over You which sits in the latter half of the record while additions like Your Love Carries Me and Effortlessly You tug on the heartstrings and puts Filan’s romantic side into the spotlight.
The only downside to be found with Right Here, if there is one at all, is its lack of up-tempo numbers. The record is built around ballads with the exception, in a way, of I Could Be with Nadine Coyle. That being said, there is nothing wrong with ballads. As the saying goes – if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. Ballads are something that Shane Filan is a master of and it’s brilliant to have a new collection of such an impeccable standard served to us as a follow up to his debut.