Album Review

The Wanted "The Wanted"

Chad W. Lutz
UK quintet The Wanted comes bounding through the airwaves with the release of The Wanted EP. Enjoying some rather serious popularity over the last few months on the heels of the hit single “Glad You Came” (3:18), The Wanted released a collection of its greatest hits-to-date on April 24, 2012, marking a U.S. and Canadian debut. Already the album has sold more than 30,000 copies and peaked at number 7 on the Billboard 200 and 8 on the Canadian Albums Chart.

So what makes a band that seems about as special as any other pop act at first glance? For The Wanted, it appears to be the fusion of classic elements of British pop music with an energy that pops as much as assumed genre. Hit single “Glad You Came” serves as a prime example of the fusion of different elements which have led to the success of the group. The lyrics are catchy, the rhythm is wild and fierce, and the melodies are intoxicating. The opening bars to “Glad You Came” lend to fellow UK super act Coldplay and cascade into an all-out techno-pop dance explosion.

Musically, The Wanted sound like newborns. Without a single acoustic instrument detectable at any point throughout the EP, The Wanted relies heavily on synthesized bells and whistles which drastically takes away from the album and produces nothing more than barely palatable audio soup. After the first few tracks, The Wanted EP becomes repetitive, if not monotonous. The boisterous voices of the vocal super group lose out to the overly domineering and, at times, oppressive backing tracks. The only exception being the sixth track on the album: “Heart Vacancy” (3:43), which slows down and better showcases the vocal range and talents of the group.

It will be interesting to see in the coming months just how well The Wanted fair in the American and Canadian markets. Fellow dance-popper “All Time Low” (3:25) has shared similar popularity with “Glad You Came” recently, but it’s an understatement when I say it’s just too early to tell what impact and staying power, if any, The Wanted will hold with American pop lovers. Aside from these two songs, most of the album sounds like an overdose on pop crack (snap), which may take away from the longevity of the band. I feel like picking up an instrument might put the band to better use. But that remains to be seen. As for now, I would probably chalk the seven-track EP up as “unwanted” and leave this one for radio play.