Westlife has taken the world by storm much in the same manner as did their predecessors Boyzone and Take That. Under the tutelage of Ronan Keating (from Boyzone) and his manager, Louis Walsh, five handsome and, most importantly, talented young men were assembled and groomed to create this debut. The album itself is well-sung, but all too similar in its final output. Mostly comprised of ballads whose theme is the obvious sort (i.e., love gained, lost, and pleaded for), the hooks are infectious and several tracks are destined for recurrent radio status in the not-too-distant future. This pared-down collection of songs from their multi-platinum worldwide smash release is much more palatable than its original incarnation, which ran a lengthy 17 tracks. The gems and solid compositions are what their American label has presented. Every song is well-produced and well-placed in the set; as mentioned, each track is perfectly executed. This assemblage is a worthy complement to the listening pleasures of anyone enjoying the likes of today's most popular boybands (e.g., Backstreet Boys, Five, N'Sync). The album overall can be characterized as sometimes bland but unforgettable, with the standouts "Flying Without Wings," "I Don't Wanna Fight," and "Swear It Again."
Jaime Ikeda, Rovi