By Geoffrey Rowlands
Boy band comebacks are not all as successful as Take That.
Members of Blue spend more time on reality TV shows than in the music charts.
Despite all of the money Backstreet Boys have earned from their Las Vegas residency, they have not had a significant hit single since Incomplete peaked at number 13 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 2005. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, lead single from DNA, the group’s newly released ninth studio album, stalled at number 63.
Hopes were high though for Irish quartet Westlife to experience a hugely successful comeback. Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Shane Filan and Mark Feehily have enjoyed a blaze of publicity while promoting Hello My Love, their first single since 2011’s Lighthouse.
Initial response indicated the group would achieve enormous success. Their song shot straight to number one on the iTunes chart in more than 15 countries and was listed in the charts of over 50 nations.
But this immediate enthusiasm did not continue. Instead of topping the official UK singles chart or at least finding a place in the top five, Hello My Love debuted at a surprisingly low number 13.
While this is a perfectly respectable and successful chart position, the amount of media exposure afforded to Westlife and their comeback single made number 13 a big disappointment. They didn’t even top the chart in their native land. Despite her single having been in the chart for 13 weeks, Ava Max’s Sweet But Psycho still kept Westlife from the number one spot in Ireland.
So, it is not a Take That-like comeback after their near seven-year hiatus. But things could have been worse. Hello My Love may yet top the Irish chart, though there seems little prospect of a number one in any other country.
Their as-yet-untitled comeback album will be released later this year while the 12 dates on Westlife’s British and Irish concert tour sold out so quickly that additional demand has led to the schedule being extended to 32 shows. These concerts will be followed by more gigs throughout the world.
“Of course it would have been nice to get another UK number one,” Kian stated. “We had seven successive UK chart-topping singles and 14 in all so we’d love to have more. Hopefully, we will. But if our new single doesn’t reach number one, the demand for our concert tickets clearly shows the fans are still interested in us.”
“We’ve had so many people from all over the world asking us to perform in their country,” Nicky added. “We’re in Singapore this week and we are determined to get to everyone eventually. We will perform for all the people in every country that wants to see Westlife at some point. We won’t step away from this until we’ve managed to tour the world.”
“We will get through so many airports on our tour,” Mark smiled. “Places like Hanoi and Manila are definitely on the list. There will be so many firsts for us. We really can’t wait to get on stage all over the world.”
Although the boys insisted they were still great friends when Westlife split up in 2012, admissions were subsequently made of friction and arguments within the group.
“You get that kind of thing among any group of people who have been together for such a long time,” Kian remarked. “What arguments we might have had were really something and nothing, no big deal. Everything is behind us now anyway. We’re having a great time being together again as friends.”
While their comeback single may not have fared quite so well as the group might have hoped, Westlife see their return to the music scene in terms of a five-year plan.
“We haven’t actually put a time frame on anything,” Shane stated. “But we did look at the amazing success Take That have had in their second time around and that’s the kind of thing we’re aiming for but over the course of several years.
“We have people like Ed Sheeran and Steve Mac writing our new material so we’re creating credible new songs, not just rehashing our old hits. We might not become as successful as in our earlier career but that wouldn’t be for the lack of trying or because we didn’t have great new songs.”
Fans were excited by the virtual ABBA project. Digitally created avatars of the group members would perform ABBA’s classic songs plus two new tracks specially recorded for the show.
ABBATARS was originally scheduled to premiere on television either late in 2018 or early this year before embarking on a world tour. But news now comes that unforeseen complications have caused the enterprise to be delayed.
“Everything was up and running smoothly when the announcement came out,” said ABBA’s Benny Andersson. “But then it didn’t run as smoothly. We are still trying to establish the agreement that needs to be done to be able to continue. We are good. It’s the other side. It’s not our doing.”
Although Benny revealed no specific details, his words suggest financial rather than technical issues have created the problem. However, there is optimism that everything should be worked out as is reflected in Benny suggesting the possibility of another new ABBA song.
“We did the two new songs (I Still Have Faith In You and Don’t Shut Me Down) to put them in the show. But they will now have been released before the show launches so we should really do another new song for the show. “I haven’t spoken with the others about this but I think they will approve. We all had such a good time recording the first two new songs. It was like no time had passed rather than 35 years. We were having fun and happy so I don’t think anyone would object to repeating what was a joyful experience.”
How long the AABATARS show might be delayed is another matter. Six to eight months has been mentioned though this is pure speculation. Any further developments will be reported here in due course.
It is five years since Scottish singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nina Nesbitt issued her debut album. Peroxide was a collection of new material and old songs from previously released EPs. It hit number one in her native country and reached number 11 on the official UK albums chart.
Singles success has proved more elusive. Just two have made the UK top 40. The most successful was Stay Out. The title-track from a 2013 EP, the song peaked at number 21.
Nina has changed record labels and issued three more EPs since her debut album was released. She is back now with her second album, The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change, which is set for release on February 1.
A number of tracks have already been made available as official or promotional singles. Only Somebody Special broke into the UK top 100 but Taylor Swift added The Best You Had to her Favourite Songs playlist on Apple Music while actress Chloe Grace Moretz wrote of loving the song on her Twitter account.
Colder has recently been issued as Nina’s next official single. The accompanying video is the latest to be posted at www.youtube.com/user/ninanesbitt. Videos for the other four album tracks previously released as singles can also be found here along with a range of other postings covering everything from playlists of her old songs to a series of spoof comedy videos.
Former Fifth Harmony singer Lauren Jauregui has made an inauspicious start to her solo career. Despite co-writing and performing as a guest artiste on singles by Marian Hill, Steve Aoki and Ty Dolla Sign, the only track on which Lauren guested which made Billboard’s Hot 100 was Halsey’s promotional single, Strangers. Even this just reached number 100.
Lauren’s debut solo single, Expectations, received positive reviews but made no impression on the charts. She said of the track; “I feel like the context and mood of it is a really great introduction to the world that I’m about to give people.” Sadly, not too many were particularly interested.
Perhaps there will be a better response to her newly released second solo single, More Than That. Lauren co-wrote the song nearly three years ago. It was inspired by the ancient Greek deity goddess Aphrodite.
“She is about love, connection with pleasure and self. That was really important to me. More Than That is a sassy song about flirtation but sticking to my own guns and not giving in to the flirtation.”
The song video is posted on Lauren’s own page at www.youtube.com/channel/UCztlt79t8cvrtLpnoIXz2Pg Also here are the videos for Expectations and Strangers plus All Night, her single with Steve Aoki. There is also an audio posting of Back To Me, Lauren’s song with Marian Hill.
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