Simon Cowell may be releasing the James Arthur album this week but you suspect he’d far rather have The Wanted on his label.
Although the ever more successful boy band never actually came through X Factor, they feel as if they should have: they are its spiritual product. Originally assembled from auditions, they have excised all traces of authenticity or originality from their music in their cold-eyed quest for global success.
Their two previous albums went platinum here, America is starting to yield to their calculated assault – including an E channel TV reality show – and Word Of Mouth will doubtless continue their relentless, remorseless ascent.
They’re certainly leaving nothing to chance. Having assembled a usual-suspects cast of chart-topping writers and producers – Dr Luke, Steve Mac, Steve Robson – they have also ensured that this utterly generic dance-pop album has something to appeal to every radio-station programmer, every demographic.
There is the party anthem (We Own The Night), the mope-rock epic (Show Me Love), the Glee-targeting chart-topper (Walks Like Rihanna), the floor-filling rave-pop track (Summer Alive) and the breathless love song (Could This Be Love). Each one is dispatched with clinical precision, maximum efficiency and a complete and total lack of soul.
It’s pop for pre-teens, for the easily impressed, and for those who are too credulous to know any better. The bland leading the bland. Inevitably, it will do incredibly well.