The Wanted – Battleground

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You would have had to have been living under a rock to be unaware of The Wanted’s presence in the UK charts, after their debut single ‘All Time Low’ hit the top spot last summer and launched them into the pop stratosphere. The follow-up to their self-titled album hit the stores recently and is sure to be as big a success as their previous release.

The singles ‘Glad You Came and ‘Lightning have been circulating on UK airwaves for a while now, so you’ll probably be familiar with what to expect from this newest full-length release. The production of the record is excellent; the whole thing is covered in a thick layer of glossy sheen, vocals are pitch perfect (the beauty of modern technology) and shimmer next to the pulsating synths and dance beats. Of course this means they are robbed of all their personality and humanity, but no one listening to this will be holding their breath for a game-changing album. Simply, it’s a collection of good old-fashioned boy-band songs; albeit one with an incredibly hooky lineup of tunes.

The album opens with the two aforementioned singles breaking the listener in with something familiar, before moving onto ‘Warzone’, the obligatory dubstep track – a seemingly essential sound for any track these days with club aspirations. ‘Invincible’ carries on the club clichés with another predictable track, although with a great flow to the vocal rhythm, before leading into the song ‘Last to Know’ – an interesting track with a darker, more imposing feel that builds very well into a chorus that will be stuck in your head for days.

The two ballads on the album, ‘I’ll Be Your Strength’ and ‘I Want It All’ won’t hold your focus for long, and are sandwiched with a rather lacklustre track in ‘Rocket’ which jars and feels like it misses the mark completely. ‘The Weekend’ also feels like filler, but tenth track ‘Lie to Me’ is a complete belter, with songwriting almost worthy of the great Gary Barlow with a very Take That-esque arrangement, undoubtedly the best moment on the album and one that you’ll find yourself returning to again and again. The final track, ‘Gold Forever’, is an ideal précis of the album – a collage of the sounds that make up The Wanted, rounding off the album in textbook pop style.

One could criticise this album for being nothing more than a predictable boy-band release, brought into the 21st century with the now clichéd sounds that have defined the last few years of chart music. Instead it should be taken for exactly what it is and was always going to be: a slice of pop fun littered with hooks and drenched in that summer clubbing vibe.

Rating: 7/10

Good: Hooky, catchy songs; flawless production.

Bad: Ticks all the cliché boxes; contrived lyrics.

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