Westlife. Love them or hate them, and they are many in each camp, their sales stats make for envious reading for even the most ardent of rock bands. Over 44 million records sold worldwide, 14 UK Number 1 singles, the first and only act in music history whose first 7 singles all went in at number
1, countless sell-out arena tours all over the world... We could go on, but I think you get the picture. June the 23rd of 2012 will see the Irish boy band play their last concert as they all go their separate ways following a hugely successful 14 year career.
Love Them Or Hate Them?
Understandably, these four (originally 5) handsome young lads from Ireland have had generations of girls idolising them from day one. Coming with the tag of Boy Band though, brings the obvious perils. For every adoring female is a resentful male. But what is it about this type of band that brings so much 'Hatred'?
I'm a heterosexual man and there are many type of genres of music that I wouldn't choose to listen to, but I don't go out of my way to criticise them. Yet it seems with boy bands and Westlife especially, it isn't just a difference in music taste that people have, it is a loathing of it.
I, myself, would count myself as a Westlife fan. I have enjoyed their music from the start. For me, it started as an envious enjoyment of the music. 'Swear It Again' was a huge smash hit in the summer of 1998. At a time before music downloads and countless music channels, the song was played
continuously over the airwaves. At that point, I was a 14 year old school boy who was standing by watching my 14 year old girl friends go crazy over this 'hot new boy band'. Most of my friends seemed to go down the route of resenting this band because of everything that they had and were achieving. I'm not narrow minded enough to think that they must have secretly loved them, because of course people have different tastes. But as I say, 'hating' a band is on a different level to not just appreciating their music.
So, what does cause the dislike? The individuals in the band are all decent lads, who stay out of the headlines and shy away from the world of celebrity. Compare to Take That, for instance, and there seems to be many more male fans who are happy to attend their concerts and say they are closet fans. Take That though, have had much more controversy in their time, and have managed to sell less records globally. Indeed, Gary Barlow is an impressive music writer, but the early days were full of cover versions. But were the closet Take That fans so vocal in the mid to late 90's? I certainly don't remember them being so. Perhaps the reason was that when they reformed a lot of fond memories were brought back to light from our younger days. So, maybe Westlife will gather more fans as the years without them roll by.
The Music Will Live On
As I said earlier, I have been a fan of Westlife’s music from day one, and will miss their music. So it’s not ‘cool’ to listen to them or admit it, but I’ve never been ashamed. And who says what’s right? I have many fond memories of the songs, and they all relate to a period in my life where big events have happened for me. The music isn’t offensive; it’s melodic and never seems to get outdated. One of my favourite songs is ‘If I Let You Go’. This was the bands second ever single, and even now I never get bored of hearing it. There aren’t many bands who can boast such an impressive career, and I don’t think that their music will really be recognised for just how good it was, until the Westlife story is over.