Wednesday, 30 September 2009

In the Mood to listen Again and Again!

When I fell in love with ITV show 'Loose Women', I was introduced to a very special lady more commonly known as Coleen Nolan. At first I didn't know who she was – I had never heard of her before – but there was something about her that I immediately liked. I was quite curious to find out exactly who this witty and entertaining woman was, and after very little searching, I discovered that she was once one of the Nolan sisters.

The Nolans first came to the media's attention in 1974, and the Irish group of singers were an ongoing success for quite a number of years, and were huge in Japan. Over the years the members changed as some sisters left to pursue their own careers, and the younger members joined (Coleen Nolan, the youngest sister, was the last to join the group in 1980). The sisters' group came to what was seemingly a final end in 1995 after many successful records and albums.

Ever since the sisters went their own ways, there was constant talk of a reunion. Though every time the subject was brought up, it was simply never a good time for anybody to make a come back. However when it was once again suggested more recently, the timing could not have been more perfect for everybody, and so for a reunion tour, Coleen, Linda, Bernie and Maureen came back together as the Nolans once again.

News of the tour spread fast and there seemed to be a wonderful reaction both from their original fans, and the newer fans they had created along the way (mainly from Coleen, I'll add). Tickets started selling fast and various new dates had to be added in order to please everybody. Now, with the tour just round the corner, kicking off on the 11th October in Nottingham, it would seem now that everybody is getting very excited indeed! To keep us all satisfied before the concerts, an album was released on the 28th September, giving us an insight to the songs that we would be treated with.

As soon as I had heard about the release of this album, I pre ordered it immediately from It only cost me £8.98, with free postage and packaging. I thought that was a fantastic price to pay for something that seemed so wonderful, I couldn't wait for it to arrive! Thankfully it came just one day after its release date, so I didn't have long to wait.

As soon as I pulled out the album from the bubble wrapped envelope, I studied the cover carefully. It definitely looked incredibly glamorous and stunning. The cover is a gorgeous silvery colour with a faint giant N printed on it. In front of this, there is a headshot picture of each singer: Coleen, Bernie, Linda and Maureen. They're dressed in black dresses with big smiles on their faces. Indeed it is very welcoming and utterly spectacular. 'The Nolans' is written in between them in a lovely gold shade, with 'I'm in the Mood Again' above it. This logo is also seen on the back, with a track list of all sixteen songs underneath.

Inside the case there is a little leaflet advertising their tour, with dates on it, as well as a little about the tour DVD that will be released in November. Before I had a listen to the CD, I had a flick through the booklet that comes with it. This just gives you a little information about each song, as well as a word from the girls. I would have liked to know who was singing each song as I later found out that it can be quite tricky to pinpoint who is the lead of X song. The booklet is quite simple though not really disappointing.

Having thoroughly explored the case, it was time to enjoy the music. Starting with track one, I was welcomed to 'I'm in the Mood For Dancing'. The Nolans first sang this in 1979. It reached #3 in the UK charts, #2 in the Northern Ireland charts and #1 in Japan. It was a huge success then, and is now likely the most loved and well known track by the Nolans. Even those who do not for some reason care for the Nolans much, you will find that they still know this song! When I first listened to this track, I about died. I was expecting pretty much the original track, so when I found that it had been modernized, I was ecstatic. It sounds a lot more 'electric', but the vocals are still just as strong and as crisp as ever. Blasting this as loud as my laptop could take it, I let it ring around me as my feet moved uncontrollably. It is simply amazing.

Filled with excitement after the first track, I headed straight for the next, being 'Chain Reaction'. I first fell in love with this song when it was sung by Steps back in the early 2000s, and since then it has become a track I listen to rather frequently. When I discovered it was on this album, I was over the moon. Now normally I find that the version of a song I first listen to is usually the best, but after just a few seconds into this song I knew immediately that this one favoured over Steps any day. Again it was quite modern and a lot more upbeat. The electric guitars are very clear in this one, and there is something about it that makes it sound slightly Christmasey. The vocals are also a lot more clear than Steps' version, and definitely a lot more enjoyable. This is a simply delightful track!

Next we come to track three, 'It's Raining Men'. There are a few songs which I simply could not live without, and this is most certainly one of them. Being the biggest Spice Girls fan as a child, I followed Geri's career after she left the band, and this was when I fell in love with this song. Again I wasn't sure if I would like this one as much as Geri's, but once again this one came up a treat. The ladies cackle almost at the beginning before the main beat kicks in, and then you can literally feel the sky splitting above you in a storm. There seems to be quite a long introduction with this one, but once the vocals begin I was literally blown away. It is truly amazing – clear and catchy and incredibly addictive.

By this point I had been reduced to tears. I am an overly emotional person in general, but listening to this album brings out so much more in me. I was ready to face track four with a brave face. 'Holding Out For a Hero' is another of my all-time favourite songs, ever since it was sung by Hayley Tammadon on Soapstar Superstar. When this one began, I noticed straight away that the main beat was not as defined as usual, a lot more blended than I had expected. Nonetheless it was amazing and when the vocals began, I could not believe just how varied and powerful the ladies' voices were. This has definitely became my favourite version of this upbeat and lively song!

The next track is 'Chemistry'. This was sung by the Nolans in 1981, when it reached #15 in the UK charts and #11 in the Northern Ireland charts. Personally I feel it could have gone a lot further – the original version from their older albums is truly magical. But if I thought that was amazing, my opinion on this version could not be described. The modern uptempo beat is simply breathtaking, and despite the echoing wonder, the vocals are still very clear and rewarding. Although the older version is easier to sing along to, this is definitely better for getting you tapping along and, indeed, up and dancing!

Track six is one that took me a while to get used to when it was sung by Amy Winehouse. 'Valerie' was never a favourite song of mine, however now my opinion has taken a complete 360 turn and has become one I have listened to many times within twenty four hours! It's a lot more upbeat and full of energy than any other versions I have heard, yet the vocals are a lot more gentle and mellow. They blend well together to create this perfect song. It;s amazing to sing along to and clap your hands while your feet do the grooving! This is now one of my favourites on the entire album.

'I Don't Feel Like Dancing' is the next track we come to. I thought it was quite bizarre to have this on the album, given the title of the first song on the CD, though I did not knock it for a second. When the song was sung by Same Difference on the X Factor I began to like it for the first time, and now I love it even more, all thanks to the four lovely ladies. Their version is a lot more upbeat and lively than any other I have heard, with perfect vocals which I can actually understand, which is more than I can say for any other version! Despite the song's title, this definitely makes me want to get up and dance!

Half way through the album we come to 'Gotta Pull Myself Together'. This is another track which was previous sung by the Nolans, this time released in 1980. It reached #9 in the UK charts and #8 in Northern Ireland, as well as becoming their first Australian hit reaching #3 in their charts. I must say, there is no surprise that it did so well – it is a truly wonderful track. At the beginning of this track it is almost unrecognisable, it is incredibly different to the original. However when the sisters begin to sing it is clear that you are listening to the same song, simply modernized. I adore this, always have, and find that this new version is easier to sing to. It is also a little more lively and a good song to move to.

Track nine is one that I have never liked when it was sung by Duffy. 'Mercy' irritated me, but when it was sung at Jane McDonald's concert earlier this year, it grew on me slightly. Now, thanks to the Nolans, I like it a lot more! It has an amazing drum beat at the beginning, complete with a less nazal “yeah yeah yeah”. It is still quite upbeat though not as much as some of the other songs, and thankfully the vocals are a lot clearer too. It is a little delight and definitely one I enjoyed a lot more than I had expected myself to.

The next track is one that I was so surprised to find on here. When I saw 'The Promise' written on the back of the cover, I didn't for one minute expect it to be the same song that was sung by Girls Aloud. However, upon listening, I discovered that it was the very one. I didn't think it was one that would be sung well by the Nolans, but I could not have been more wrong. It is simply delightful, slightly different and more harmonised than Girls Aloud's version. I think I might just prefer Girls Aloud's version by a fraction, but this is still an utter delight!

'So What' is the song we next come to. This is one my younger siblings love, and although I had never been completely fond of the song myself, I was still looking forward to having a listen. My reaction to this song was completely out of character for me. The second the first beat kicked in I found myself on my feet and jumping around like an absoulte maniac – complete with air guitar. There was something so incredby powerful about the song that it literally threw me up from my seat. It is definitely one that will be added to my 'exercise' playlist – I just cannot stop moving when its on! I really must have looked like a complete twat – thanks for that, Nolans!

Track twelve, 'Crashing Down', gave me time to relax a little more for a few seconds with its slightly more easy introduction, but within ten seconds or so the strong beat that had my feet tapping struck again (at the very least I am going to be a lot fitter thanks to this album!). The original version of Crashing Down , released in 1982, was a lot slower, that's for sure! This is a simply wonderful version, again more electric and modern, with an amazing tempo and upbeat rhythm.

There's something about 'Attention to Me' that always sets me off in tears, and having calmed down since the last episode, this one did reduce me once more. I love the original version by the Nolans – it was released in 1981, reaching #9 in the UK charts and #5 in the Northern Ireland charts. It has always been quite an upbeat song, but now it was out of this world. The introduction was completely different – I didn't recognise the song until the vocals kicked in. It is a wonderful track and although I think I prefer the original, it is still an incredible song.

'Eternal Flame' is a song I adored when Atomic Kitten were peaking, but I had somewhat gone off it since then. However the Nolans re opened my eyes to the song with track fourteen, and once more I adore it. Surprisingly, their version is not as 'tinny' as Atomic Kitten's version, but is a lot more mellow and gentle. It is a proper love song, not as 'pop' as I had expected, and indeed a lot more challenging to sing. Though I simply love it again, and this is definitely the better version!

The second last track is one I had not heard before, going by the name of 'Giving Up,Giving In'. Naturally I was not sure what to expect from this one, but straight away when it began to play I was won over by its intoxicating beat and catchy rhythm. The vocals are superb and I am sure I will latch onto the lyrics in no time thanks to the fact that they are incredibly clear. I have a feeling this is going to be one song that I will come back to again and again.

Finally, we come to track sixteen, which is 'I Will Survive'. Whenever this song is played anywhere, I want to cover my ears. I used to like it but then it became too much of a hype and it seemed to be played everywhere none stop. No offence to the Nolans, I was not particularly keen on this track, but that is purely a dislike with the song itself. Though I will admit, it is superbly sung here and it definitely as a more exciteful beat than usual. This track is not for me, but in general it is well sung. The more I listen to it I am warming to the song, I cannot deny that. I think in time I will learn to love it again, all thanks to the lovely Nolans.

I can do nothing but praise this album. There is not a single fault I can find with it. It looks amazing, and has the perfect amount of tracks, each one sung to perfection. It is the most amazing feel-good album I own in my collection, and I am amazed with the fact that the majority of the songs I already had on my laptop, perhaps by different artists, but all the same. They must have read my mind and created this album for me (!). I cannot thank the Nolans enough for creating this – it is just what I needed to cheer me up (despite the fact that it made me cry!). It is truly wonderful, and now I am even more excited for the concert! So What, I am not keen on one track, but I Will Survive! Please just have Mercy, as I'm in the Mood For Dancing and I want you to pay a little Attention To Me!

Amy x

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