By Madiha Yameen
Josh Cuthbert, the best looking member, had to sacrifice his year round tan for their second studio album called “You Got It All” which makes them scarily sound like Backstreet Boys of ‘98. This 15 track album is like an evolution of the band Union J. They have improved their sound and worked on their vocals… there’s no sequel to ‘Amaze Me’, sadly, but that’s okay because they are some priceless ballads in it. The 15 track album debuted at number 28 on the UK Albums Chart, selling 15,000 copies on its first week. The boys revealed that they felt there was pressure on them to match the huge success of One Direction, as Louis Walsh had expected them to have a number-one single. Here’s the review of the sophomore album of the boys, George Shelley, Josh Cuthbert, JJ Hamblet and Jaymi Hensley.
“Tonight (We Live Forever)” kicks off with pumping beats and party vibe. It’s a track which reassures you ‘it’s all good’. A really fun track with stadium chorus with group “Ohh.” 15 August 2014 is the date when TWLF was released as the first promo single of the album. Cuthbert stated on its release “It’s finally the sound that I think suits us. We’ve gone back to our roots”. We definitely feel it’s not hard to be transported back to the boys’ first performances on The X Factor when listening to the track. The message, “boys just want to have a party.”
“You Got It All” has Nasri Atweh, the mastermind behind Justin Bieber, David Guetta, Shakira, Cody Simpson, Cheryl Cole, , Jason Derulo, and Akon, Pitbull, Christina Aguilera, Chris Brown, Big Time Rush, Michael Bolton, Peter Andre, , Jay Sean, Vanessa Hudgens (well, there are a lot of names) which helped perfect this tune which is a very catchy one. Released on 28 November 2014 as the album’s second single this ballad makes you think “Backstreet Boys”. 2 days later, the band released a version featuring Brit boyband The Vamps, which is just simply lovable. It’s a simple song with minimal music and beautiful words. It’s all about loving the girl who has everything a boy needs. After the collaboration with The Vamps, Union J and the said band would be touring together.
“All About a Girl” kicks off with the sound which got me thinking about “Oh Cecilia” from The Vamps. Its one of the song which is written by the whole band. The “You Yous” add a fun element to the song. It has the same kind of “Woah Woahs” like TWLF. The vocals are fresh and entertaining talking about a lovesick boy with the same story: been to London and China but hasn’t met anyone like ‘a girl’.
“One More Time” begins with breaking glass with Jaymi’s voice. Has about same kind of chorus like TWLF, seems like Cuthbert really meant it when he said TWLF is their real roots. It’s a party track which celebration vibe to it. The starting makes it standout. With its funky bass line, you can’t help but dance and it certainly wouldn’t go amiss on a party playlist. It has the signature Union J sound.
“Together” is the track which kicks off with rap like vocals from Josh and its one of the best one from the album. The boys wrote this track which has one of the powerful choruses. Josh mostly sung this one with his killer harmonises, “Because we are young, alive, crazy/ And it’s beautiful to feel alright/ Knowing no one needs to fall in love tonight/ The good times have only just begun.” They also give references of Katy’s Teenage Dream and Taylor’s 22. It’s one of the standout tracks with killer vocals.
“I Can’t Make You Love Me” begins with Jaymi, preceded by George. Josh joins in with the most beautiful chorus of the entire album. It’s a beautiful ballad, a song about understanding you can’t make your heart feel/ something that it won’t”. It’s one of the two cover from the album, written by Mike Reid for Bonnie Raitt for her album Luck Of The Draw (1991). I loved the boys’ version best.
“She’s In My Head” is a loud and fast track which is not a standout one. It has a fun vibe and lyrics about a girl who just can’t leave the boy’s mind even for a second. It’s like a fun version of Where Are You Now (Union J album 2013).
“Midnight Train” starts with a Christmassy type music. It has a One Direction-y type chorus. So many examples and personifications are used, the poetry is great like the chorus. The song with hand claps and bells is about a girl who is faraway and the boys are on the midnight train to catch up with her. As the song ascends it gets more catchy and lovable. It’s evident that Josh dominates most of the songs, like this one.
“I Love to Watch You Sleep” is a mellow ballad with, I’m guessing, George on the front. This track has acoustic guitar, and nothing else, sweet and played down vocals with melting chorus like “And I hope that you are dreaming of me/and I hope that I am the one you see/ and I hope that we can live this dream forever/ ‘Cause where you are, where I’m meant to be”. The sole writer behind this Diane Warren, the mastermind behind Celine Dion’s swoon-worthy songs. Ends with ‘la da da da’.
“Central Park” is inspired by Hey There Delilah, I guess. It has the lyrics which every girl would like to hear, “Heart shaped bubble above my head/ The things I should’ve said, you never knew.” This song should have been released as a single first it’s so powerful. The ending rap-stanza is totally Plain White T’s HTD. CP has a little old-country sound which is so attractive with acoustic guitar. Chorus goes like “I’ll make my way back to Central Park/ Trace the pieces of my broken heart/ Like I’m chasing down a fallen star to where you are/ I’m held together by your memory.”
“Girl Like You” start is like a little The Vamp-ish, of course company effects. Jaymi starts and Josh follows the lead. It has vocals like a rock song but it’s a pop through and through with electric guitar and sharp vocals dominating the song. Concept is how a girl like her can be ruling the dirty mind of the boy. The song is written by Oh! Hush who writes songs for Disney stars. “YOLO” is a shadow of other songs on the album with elements of rock. George starts but Josh sings most of the song. George Shelley was the only one on the writing board. It’s not a standout but it’s a good song. I guess JJ is thinking about making into rapping biz as his singing in almost every song contains a little bit of rapping.
“Get It Right” written by George and other professionals starts with Josh on the vocals. It has loads of ‘hey, heys’ and sudden tune changes. It’s like most of the other songs on the album. This cheerful track is bound to uplift your spirits and stadium chorus will surely get to you. With lyrics like “Don’t forget we’re making history/ Promises are built on what we dream” this song is made for games and school sports days. We’ll be hearing it soon in school games, I’m sure.
The title “Song for You and I” made me imagine a mellow and lovely ballad but it’s a total opposite. With metaphors and amiable lyrics the song has pumping beat and the sudden slow down of music. I had hard time learning it’s a breakup song as it goes like “But I won’t forget the day you left and said goodbye/ I let you go, that’s when I wrote the song for you and I.” Not a standout but still endurable.
“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”, which is a bonus track, originally by Meredith Willson is one of the most beautiful songs of the album. With its cheerful spirits, crystal clear vocals, the ups-and-downs in the singing and adorable lyrics make it a must listen. The live version is even better than the recorded one.