Release Date: 05.31.99
by: peter naldrett
Ever sine they first gyrated their hips on Ireland's Late, Late Show in 1993, Boyzone have been marketed as a cool, sexy boy-band, but to be fair they have stood the test of time longer than most. And since their debut six years ago, they have sold a staggering 10 million albums, which is more than can be said for fade-away groups such as Backstreet Boys and New Kids On The Block.
As you might expect from a cheesy boy-band, much on the compilation is good-for-nothing pulp, especially the dreadful romantic harmonies on "All That I Need" and "I Love The Way You Love Me." But there are lighter, higher moments on By Request that rescue it from a dying a painfully quick death.
Keep an eye out for the tacky-but-cheerful "Picture Of You" and the well produced cover versions of "Words" and Comic Relief's "When The Going Gets Tough." Other recognised biggies include "Father And Son", "Key To My Life" and "Love Me For A Reason", but on the whole they will not stop this album from being a boy-band bible for the teenage disciples.
But that should take nothing away from frontman Ronan Keating, who has made a quite remarkable professional career on the back of the band's success. Apart from just recording his first solo single, he has also presented the MTV awards, the Eurovision Song Contest and BBC programmes. Maybe he is trying to carve out a life for the inevitable high profile split that hits all boy bands in the end, no matter how long they stay together.
Despite the huge increase in musical respect now afforded to the band, it wasn't until they walked home with the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for "Picture Of You," that they were notably evolving and taken seriously by their peers. There are plans to commit the Boyzone story so far to film this year and a new deal with Mercury records should ensure the bands attempts to crack America are well supported.
They are also embarking on a greatest hits tour this summer, which kicks off in Brighton. The tour travels all around Britain, including Wembley, before moving on to Europe and featuring a spectacular open-air gig at the RDS in Dublin to celebrate the album launch.