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A collection of fine pop, that's sadly inspired some drivel
on 15 March 2003
The entire modern template of how to build, market and develop a boyband was originated from this fivepiece, who first burst onto the scene in 1992 with their top 10 cover of It Only Takes A Minute, and quickly established their place in pop music history. This collection basically does what you'd expect, with the hits in reverse chronological order.
This does unfortauntely mean that the best tracks come near the start. Back For Good is one of the great piano-driven pop songs of the 90s, and Never Forget is nearly as good (both written by Gary Barlow himself, as with most of their big hits), two songs which cross borders to be huge in student unions, karaoke bars and retro radio alike.
In their early days they did a lot of uptempo pop, especially the covers such as Could It Be Magic? and Relight My Fire, on which 60s legend Lula guests (surprisingly, her only number 1). However, tracks like 1993 Christmas number 2 Babe showed that Gary Barlow's real strength was George Micahel style balladry, much as George himself evolved away from Club Tropicana onto Careless Whisper.
As well as the two aforementioned classics, the jazzy A Million Love Songs and the morose Love Ain't Here Anymore are worthy of a place in every collection, from casual to serious. If only Westlife were half this good.