METRO PLUS

Back to the blues

A BOY band (oh no, not again!) named "Blue" released a debut single, All Rise, and people thought it was another gang of college dropouts forming an original (!) music band with some mediocre music and cover versions of some popular songs. But listeners were in for a surprise when the album occupied the number-four position in the UK charts and stayed put for 10 weeks. All Rise became an anthem across college campuses and radio channels, and soon entered the charts in India too. The next two singles - "Too Close" and "If You Come back" - became popular as well. The boys were noticed and are nominated for the Best Band category in the MTV Asia Awards. They have survived, despite tough competition from Westlife and others.

So, what makes them stand out? Well, the classic Rhythm & Blues touch with a tint of rap and a lot of pop material (hardcore pop, not chocolate-box pop). Blue has once again surprised listeners the world over by releasing its second studio-album, One Love, (Virgin Music, cassette, Rs. 135) in quick succession. It has already entered the bestsellers counter in many a music outlet chain. A lot of hype around the lead single "One Love" was already created, thanks to the slick video released in advance and a lot of airplay through the radio stations.

The four London-based boys, who make up "Blue", are Antony (Antony Daniel Costa), Duncan (Duncan Mathew James), Lee (Lee Ryan), and Simon (Simon Webbe). The four boys, who were a part of their college bands, came together and "out of the blue" and formed "Blue".

Well, it sure does make you wonder why they had to come up with such an (un) imaginative name. But, on second thoughts, one wonders, what's in a name, anyway, it's the music that counts.

One Love has 15 tracks, which sound pretty similar to their previous works, but at the same time, each track makes for some unique listening. The first single, "One Love" has soppy lyrics but this one has an anthem-like feel to it, with its catchy intro music and some powerful vocals. MTVIndia.com describes the song as "hot, strong, and catchy", while the song "Riders" is supposed to be "fast and furious" - very true.

Compared to other boy bands, these guys are definitely more mature when it comes to lyrics and vocals. "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" featuring Sir Elton John is also written by him and adds a lot of superstar power (in the words of MTV) to the album. "Flexin" has some DJ-mixing and scratching while "Privacy" and "Without You" impress you, but for no special reason.

All in all, it is a mature effort by the "blue" boys.

A. VISHNU

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