Blue - Colours

by Jessikah Hope Stenson

After Roulette, Blue’s first album as a reformed band, I was expecting the same electronic and over-the-top pop feel. This seemed to be Blue’s way of claiming that they hadn’t changed during their ten year hiatus between releases. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the maturity of Colours.

King Of The World, the lead single, is catchy and upbeat, yet with a noticeable sense of age compared to previous singles. The music video demonstrates the typical Dad-dancing that is filtering into Blue’s sound. As Blue are entering their thirties, this style definitely suits them and shows the hard work that they put into Colours; this album is sure to be more successful than their last.

Across the original tracks, Blue’s effort to delicately compose each song is distinctly visible. Home incorporates subtle drum beats that make the song slightly addictive. Plus, although the lyrics are not at all artistic in Nothing Like You, the vocal melodies cause it to stand out as a well-written song. Each band member has weighty involvement, granting the track the power to leave such an impression. Also, Flashback presents Blue’s well-known ability to perform slow ballads while Special confirms the R&B / Pop talent that laid the groundwork for their career. Special also identifies that, although many artists assume that strings can only be used in songs depicting misery, Blue are evidently part of the undersized group that can manipulate violins as a positive addition.

As well as six originals, Colours includes four cover tracks. The loyal version of If You Don’t Know Me By Now demonstrates Blue’s soft spot for the 70s, suiting their harmonies perfectly. Therefore, it’s without doubt that Blue’s covers will be popular with their main fan-base: middle-aged women. Other covers include: You’re The Only One, I Don’t Want To Talk About It, and Hang On In There Baby. These tracks blend into the album, scattered between original songs. Aside from my longing for Blue to have written these songs themselves, it’s got to be admitted that they were excellent choices to cover.

Many of Blue’s current fans will enjoy the band’s spin of these covers; they stay true to the band’s original style, and it’s pleasant to hear this alternative instrumentation across the album. I Don’t Want To Talk About It opens with a guitar riff that complements Lee Ryan’s voice harmoniously, while Hang On In There Baby includes keys and trumpets - instruments that Blue have rationed in their previous releases. However, by including these dated covers and adopting a sound that resonates with the 70s, I doubt that Colours will gain Blue much interest outside of their current fan-base.

When listening to the album in its entirety, Colours sounds like a cross between Take That and Michael Bublé, incorporating graceful harmonies and stunning high notes throughout. In addition to this, it’s noticeable that the original songs are the strongest, most likely because the quirky nature of the band members is most evident. However, it’s disappointing that the structure of these originals are so limited. Each song begins with a solo in the introduction, followed by harmonies in the chorus, and Lee Ryan’s high note approximately three minutes in. As pleasing as this structure is, it’s disappointing that Colours lacks variety from a band that is so clearly capable of it. Nonetheless, Blue have recorded a collection of songs that function elegantly as a complete piece of work.