They’re the all-conquering Irish boyband that parted ways in 2012. But earlier this week, Westlife officially confirmed their reunion. On dates that have yet to be revealed, Nicky Byrne, Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily will embark on a tour and release new music. The cantankerous Brian McFadden won’t be involved.
The group achieved a lot during their original run, although they never got round to taking on Eurovision. But, of course, Nicky Byrne made a stab at it as a solo artist for Ireland. However, it wasn’t to be. His 2016 entry “Sunlight” was eclipsed by its rivals, finishing a lowly 15th in an 18-song semi.
Their fondness for cover versions might have earned them a reputation as professional karaoke artists, but Westlife’s back catalogue includes a significant amount of original material too. And we’re certain that most of it would have fared much better than “Sunlight” in a competitive environment. Here’s five that we think would have slayed at Eurovision.
“Flying Without Wings”
Arguably their signature single, “Flying Without Wings” was the song which established Westlife as one of the biggest pop acts of the late 90s and early 00s. The soaring ballad achieved sales of over 400,000 in the UK alone while also denting the charts in Ireland, New Zealand and much of the Nordics. It is typical Ireland at Eurovision, and would fit in nicely alongside the country’s septet of winning entries. The music video even sees the lads hark back to Johnny Logan’s heyday with all white outfits. And as Russia’s Dima Bilan and Azerbaijan’s Eldar Gasimov will attest, an all white aesthetic can still amount to a winning formula in the 21st century contest.
Cheesy or not, songs brimming with patriotic pride are a common occurrence at Eurovision. It might not reach the nationalistic highs of “I Love Belarus”, but Westlife’s ode to “the land where the fields are green” can only be about one place. However, the love for “My Love” is universal — it was the band’s first video to surpass 100 million views on YouTube.
“When You’re Looking Like That”
It happens every year. Fans, particularly those from Ireland and the UK, watch as their favourite entries become massive hits everywhere except in their own country. But this phenomenon isn’t unique to the song contest. In 2001, the bona fide bop that is “When You’re Looking Like That” was huge in Asia, Latin America and most of Europe. Yet the British and Irish markets mostly slept on the track. And just when you though the scenario couldn’t be more Eurovision, the band even recorded a Spanish version.
“World Of Our Own”
At Eurovision there’s nothing like a bit of dress-up to spice up proceedings. And the further removed the costumes are from the lyrical content the better. The “World Of Our Own” video saw Westlife take on the role of suave mobsters as a selection of sexy women hunted them down. The song itself was an infectiously upbeat pop number. Eurovision missed out!
“Bop Bop Baby”
Lyrically and musically, “Bop Bop Baby” isn’t up there with Westlife’s finest. But it can’t be beaten on the camp factor. A narrated prelude takes us to a time when “men were still men, women were still virgins and sex was still sexy”. Apparently this time was medieval France. In the music video we see the quintet break out of prison to rescue a woman on her wedding day. They achieve this by cartwheeling down the church aisle while wearing flouncy shirts and singing the lyrics “bop bop baby”. Lativa’s Wolves Of The Sea can’t compete.
What do you think? What other Westlife songs deserved to go to Eurovision? Let us know in the comments below.