“Even when they’ve got your most desperate interests at heart, this is still a chance for the four of them to show off”
Digital Release: November 6, 2011
Physical Release: November 7, 2011
It’s remarkable how much you can tell about an act from their fans. Hop over to YouTube, and on say, The Killers’ videos, there’ll be some bitchy comments about how they aren’t as good as they used to be, the occasional comment suggesting otherwise, and some sarcasm-fuelled rant at both these groups of people. A mere glance at an act like JLS’ video comments is really rather amusing in comparison. They’re the kind of videos were you’ll find teens and pre-teens spreading “the awkward moment…” comments; or the chain comments where everything results in the death of anyone who doesn’t re-post said comment to X number of videos within X number of minutes from the moment of reading; and of course, the incorrectly-spelled “marry me” swoons from the teenyboppers. Indeed, fans are invaluable resources, particularly in the wake of a fresh new song from one of the UK’s most expendable and profitable exports.
A new JLS song is something of a health check for the music industry. It doesn’t matter how badly or successfully certain albums or singles of new or even established artists are selling: if JLS – already steaming onto their third album – can keep on selling unimaginative chunks of pop pap diluted with the occasional tossing out of some reedy-voiced piano balladry, then all is stable for a good few months. Chuck in a spot of live performance here and there, a sliver of self-promotion and an obligatory X Factor performance slot, and there’s nothing to worry about because in the world of teenagers at the age where they can happily motor through life without much of an idea of how to wisely manage their money, there’s always someone to buy JLS songs.
And the latest offering from the X Factor alumni is what looks to be the first of the winter ballads of 2011. Scarves and ear-muffs at the ready, this is the kind of song that you can snuggle up to when you realise there’s no-one but a mug of hot chocolate and no-brainer TV to keep you comfort when you’re all alone. Pleasant as that may sound, listening to ‘Take A Chance On Me’ is a much less enjoyable affair. It’s almost as if the sentiment is only felt by those singing – which incidentally, appears to only be Aston – it’s plodding piano track and colourless harmonies struggle to sound convincing and genuine. What aims for shoulder-to-cry-on ends up sounding like a heavily-contrived spiel consisting of tired-out promises and sledgehammer flippancy.
Even when they’ve got your most desperate interests at heart, dear JLS fans, this is still a chance for the four of them to show off. Sure, there’s no parading of pussy waxed six-packs or needless backflips on a beach, but the jarring vocal ostentations on the bridge alone are enough to drive away any softer sentimentality in the wake of their carelessness.