British group Blue may be past its early noughties heyday, and middle-aged boybands may not rule the charts the way 1D and 5SOS do today, however, the group have managed to overcome an almost certainly fatal 5-year hiatus to re-emerge in the spotlight. They didn’t do too badly for the UK at Eurovision 2011, took part in the surprisingly successful 2013 The Big Reunion tour and will soon embark on a British tour of their own in March to launch forthcoming album Colours.
Lead single King of the World sustains a syrupy, non-threatening doo-wop vibe throughout. The plucked string bass and mellow vibe will inevitably draw comparisons between this track and Ben E. King’s legendary Stand By Me. In fact, Blue’s tribute simply flips around some of the older song’s chords and voila, there’s a ‘new’ song.
Unlike that classic however, King of the World comes off as comparatively wordy and melodically busy. Whereas Stand By Me triumphs in its heart-tugging simplicity, Blue’s latest single fails to immediately capture the imagination despite relatable lyrics about a man feeling like ‘the richest man alive’ by having a lover by one’s side. It also doesn’t help that the choruses feature some oddly wispy harmonies that make listeners ponder whether this is the same hyper-masculine boyband that delivered All Rise. The result is that the track feels a bit contrived and inorganic.
The sentiment is nice, but the delivery of the track’s message may have worked better if the arrangement was a little more original.