“Starlight” by Westlife
Anyone who is familiar with Westlife’s artistry knows that they’re about as mainstream as a major Western musical act can get these days. For example, you can listen to one of their albums alongside a child and not have to worry about any hardcore subject matter or NSFW language suddenly popping up out of nowhere.
Westlife is very family-friendly, and part of that appeal comes from the boys releasing songs like this one (“Starlight”) which relies on very easy-to-relate-to lyrics and concepts.
And by the way, “Starlight” is most simply put a love song.
That being said, now in looking back, perhaps it can be said that more current A+ list boy bands, such as BTS, were perhaps influenced by Westlife. That is to say that “Starlight” itself is very reminiscent in construction to a modern-day K-pop song. For instance, there’s the fact that, as noted earlier, there’s nothing offensive in the lyrics. But also there is like this depression/upliftment dynamic contained therein, a motif that is ever-present with acts like BTS.
But more like a true Western love song, what the thesis sentiment of “Starlight” ultimately boils down to is the vocalist being able to overcome such mental anguish due to his relationship with the addressee.
Indeed the titular “starlight” is a metaphor for something, inexplicable we may say, that he ‘can see in her eyes’ which grants him an increased hope in life. And by the looks of things, perhaps up until this point, he and the addressee have been platonic friends. But due to this individual having such an edifying effect on him, now the singer wants to take their association to a new level of intimacy.
Westlife is a boy band whose discography commenced in 1999. From the onset they proved extremely popular in their homeland of Ireland and the neighboring United Kingdom. And to date, all 11 of the studio albums they have dropped have scored within the top 3 of the UK Albums Chart (and top 2 of the Irish Albums Chart). That said, Westlife never caught on like that stateside, therefore being the across-the-pond contemporaries of the likes of the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.
Westlife started off as a band consisting of five members. In 2004, one of the group’s lead vocalists, Brian McFadden, decided he wasn’t down for the cause anymore. But considering that the others are all singers also, the group has been able to survive. So from 1998 to the present, the membership of Westlife has consisted of the following:
- Markus Feehily
- Shane Filan
- Nicky Byrne
- Kian Egan
But to note, the boys all disbanded throughout most of the 2010s, from 2012 to 2018.
Meanwhile, the song we’re reviewing today was officially dropped on 14 October 2021. It is the lead single from what will be Westlife’s 12th studio album, “Wild Dreams”. And this is actually their first to be issued under a label called East West Records, a subsidiary of Warner Records..
The last album Westlife came out with, 2019’s “Spectrum”, wasn’t a major commercial success by their standards. However as implied earlier, it did top the albums’ charts in the UK, Ireland and Scotland.
The aforementioned Filan and Feehily are credited as writers of this song. And the other authors are Daniel Bryer, Tom Grennan, Mike Needle and the track’s two producers, Lostboy and Jamie Scott.
Westlife premiered this track on a BBC Radio 2 program called The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show.