Time to Save Our Love, the upcoming single by the former Westlife band-member, Brian McFadden, puts most other pop ballads on the radio to shame.
McFadden puts on a fine vocal performance, as his voice convincingly aches with pain and sounds surprisingly scratchy. He sounds especially vulnerable in the opening verse, where only a piano and harp accompany him.
Nevertheless, this track is more than just a tribute to Bryan Adams. Its chorus, supported by haunting strings and subdued harmony vocals, builds up very nicely. Almost every word is drawn out, allowing listeners to hang onto every note (‘lost along… the way…my LOVE’ is a highlight). This makes the chorus engaging and memorable. McFadden and company may have been inspired by legendary pop ballad songwriters such as Per Gessle (Roxette) or Pat Leonard (Madonna’s Live to Tell).
The second verse and bridge throw in some electronic production and ghostly female harmony vocals that enhance the devastating tone of the track. McFadden’s “whoos” sound out of place, but fortunately these are few and far between.
Time to Save Our Love is a compelling ‘song before the breakup song’. It actually has an engaging, catchy chorus that doesn’t go over listeners’ heads and isn’t instantly forgotten like other commercial pop ballads. Despite its moderate tempo and electronic sounds, Time to Save Our Love manages to sound bleaker than some slower, more organically produced ballads. Hopefully, this track will herald the return of the truly great pop ballad.