Single Review: The Wanted – ‘Lightning’

“Not so much the shock of a bolt of lighting as a miserable little wheeze from a clogged-up exhaust funnel”


Digital Release: October 30, 2011

Physical Release: October 31, 2011

Back in the days when Take That, Westlife and Boyzone were every girl’s/woman’s pop pin-up the era of the mighty force that were boybands was in full swing. Four or five boys in a group, each with cutesy looks and average voices enhanced to produce a decent tune was the typical line-up, with only one or two who could actually hold a single note whilst the others were merely dancing support. It was the norm, and the nation fell for it. During the early 90’s when smiley, uniformly dressed post-pubescents ruled the charts, the radio was amok with paper-thin voices and lyrics about holding on forever and staying another day. But all of a sudden, during the late noughties, interest dropped away. Those boybands has all grown up and there was no fresh blood rejuvenating the niche. That was until JLS and The Wanted popped up. And now that boybands are all cool again, what with One Direction joining the fun a number of X Factor rejects looking to get their own record deals, it takes a lot more than five goons in a group singing a few harmonies to get much blood pumping. Now that the market is already practically saturated, it becomes much harder for boybands to stand-out amongst others.

The Wanted, for all of the duration of début single ‘All Time Low’ showed bleak promise. Diamonds in the rough – very rough – ‘All Time Low’ wasn’t half bad, save a few cringe-inducing lyrics about vital presentations. The Wanted admit they cannot dance, so already they’re not your typical all-singing, all-dancing perfect package. It seems they’ve opted to take a more musical stance and combined hi-gloss beats and synths with your average boyband lyrics. There’s a problem with this though, and that’s that Geffen Records have given the job of one guy to five of them. And with only Max having a distinguishable voice (and only because his anguished delivery resembles that of a someone suffering tonsillitis), a lot of weight is therefore dumped onto the musical aspect. Unfortunately for The Wanted, they’re very hit and miss with this; more often miss than hit. ‘Lightning’ has everything a single from The Wanted should have and very little else. The lyrics are absolutely laughable, that the link between love and playing with lightning is made. It appears to have been whipped straight out of the air and instead any number of other hastily-written similes could’ve been used: sky-diving without a parachute, parading through a Matador arena in bright red, or pissing on an electrified fence, even. And whilst the verses are happy enough to skip along to a seductive bassline, the chorus jumps into all-out generic boyband pop pap quickly followed by a by-numbers, Calvin Harris-esque electropop interlude, delivering not so much the shock of a bolt of lighting as a miserable little wheeze from a clogged-up exhaust funnel.


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