Ronan Keating is the 39-year-old and main vocalist of the sensational group Boyzone who has been releasing solo albums since 2000. His latest album release Time of My Life, however, is his most authentic musical piece ever. The songs on the album are all new and original material (with the exception of the stunning cover Falling Slowly.) Six of these songs were co-written by him, and Once cast member Dan Healy. Just by glancing at the titles of the songs on the album tracklist from “As Long As We’re In Love” to “In Your Arms,” you can derive the romantic tone of the entire album. The lyrics are simple and comes directly from the heart. The songs are not overly sophisticated but yet digs deeper in its lyrical arrangements and simplistic instrumentals, leaving a powerful feeling and effect on the listener. Anyone can be able to relate to these tracks with ease and comfort. Furthermore, all of these songs are all connected to each another, illustrating who the real Ronan is today.
Like most albums, there are certain tracks that typically stand out from the rest. This is where it gets quite tricky on the album Time of My Life. There are approximately nine or ten songs that I really like and think are better than the remaining tracks. These tracks that I absolutely love are Let Me Love You, As Long As We’re In Love, Breathe, She Knows Me, Time of My Life, In Your Arms, Landslide, Keep It Simple, and Shine Like Gold. Therefore, the first eight songs are phenomenal on their own with track ten (Shine Like Gold) becoming an unexpected favorite as well. These favorites I have just mentioned are the ones that I listen to the most. Heck, all of these songs are pretty solid on their own.
The opening track and first single Let Me Love You is one of the most enjoyable tracks on the album. Before Ronan begins to sing the song, we hear pleasant guitar strings being strummed gently. This not only brings out the romantic aspect of the song but also serves as the introduction to the album’s main theme – love. Also, we can hear backing vocals “oohs” in the chorus as Ronan sings out “So let me love you, should have told you long before, now I what love is for.” Indeed, this is very catchy and the repeat of “oohs” is clearly enjoyable to listen to. The use of “oohs” in the song remind me of the similarly to Shane Filan’s solo debut album You And Me, which is heard consistently throughout his album. The music video features Ronan performing the song at the South Bank in London, England as a group of happy individuals watch him sing. Significantly, the video mirrors Ronan’s current emotional state which consists of happiness and optimism. No surprise that this is the lead single chosen. An easy decision by the Artists and repertoire division at Decca Records (A&R).
The next track and second single As Long As We’re In Love delves into some of the similar elements of Let Me Love You. This is a duet with Ronan and his wife Storm. Storm provides the backing and supporting vocals, while Ronan sticks to the main vocals. The effortless harmonizing between the two in the chorus is symbolic of their genuine, heartfelt connection with each other. This song would shed tears of a hopeless romantic as seen by these lyrics: “You will always be my one and only. Long after everything has turned back into dust. We’ll still be failing, we’ll still be standing. No one can touch us as long as we’re in love.”
Another brilliant track and the third single chosen from the album is Breathe. This track clearly is one of the most important off the album since it highlights Ronan Keating’s life journey and his fresh marriage to Storm. This is even more evident when Ronan performs this track live with all of his passion. The lyrics illustrate this: “If I could tell the younger naive version of myself. All this time I was lost. You finally found me. Oh you found me. I’m not lost anymore. You finally found me.” Notably, this song’s writing influence has been Storm all this time.
The fourth track and arguably my most favorite off the album is She Knows Me. This track is a hidden gem. I wouldn’t write this album review without mentioning this song. The song like Let Me Love You starts off subtlety with guitar strumming sounds that are redolent to the Country genre. The strings pressed off the guitar is indeed conveying country vibes in the song. Once again like many other tracks on the album, the lyrical arrangement has consistently used the same formula: simple, yet powerful. The track starts with Ronan singing “I have sung a thousand love songs. Never understood what I said. It’s not to say they were not good songs. I just didn’t know what love meant then.” The chorus is inspirational: “Let it rain on me, with you I need no shelter. I have all I need, protect us from whatever. May come to be, when I’m tired of guessing. She knows, she knows me.” The instruments, tempo of the song, and lyrics all connect extremely well to the song as a whole. This is a song, like most songs on the album, you can repeat over and over again. You never grow tired of listening to it, and you get excited to hear it once again.
The title track is Time of My Life. One of the tracks where it is a relatively delicate tune, but yet showcases Ronan Keating’s powerful vocal ability. The track is soft, yet holds to be powerful at the same time. His vocal skill and emotions clearly convey that he is a very passionate and experienced singer. It makes sense since he has been singing professionally for most of his life. As Elton John once said with extreme confidence in his introduction of a young Ronan Keating in his duet with him to the crowd from the MSG in New York City: “He is a brilliant, brilliant singer.”
The next track is a wedding song called Landslide. This is a song that will keep you wanting to continue listening to the rest of the album. The track is a celebration of a romantic delight between Ronan and Storm, who happens to have a writing credit on this song. The backing vocals “oo” repeated in the track are very catchy and just accompany the main and backing vocals. Great simple lyrics that emphasize that Ronan and his wife are truly happy: “You’re the perfect moment, I get to live the rest of my life. All the roads are open, now I get to call you my wife. See fairytales are real life.”
One of my other most favorite tracks is Keep It Simple. This is a beautiful, love ballad. It utilizes a slow building melody and Ronan sings very softly in the beginning but progresses with raw passion in the chorus: “I just wanna be your man. I don’t want another love. You’re the one that helped me stand when I thought about giving up. I just wanna be your man. I don’t want nothing else. So let’s keep it simple.” The song’s meaning is clear: “I don’t need much in life. With you in my life, that is all I need. All the luxuries and the lifestyle accompanied by it is unnecessary because the person you truly love and care for is all that you need. I will be your knight in shining armor so let’s just keep it simple.” Indeed, some of the most beautiful desires in life are simple. And the songwriters for this track Keating, Vettese, and Healy make it perfectly clear without adding complexity to the song’s lyrical arrangements.
An outstanding ballad track is the beautiful sentimental In Your Arms. This is a song that not only brings the warm, fuzzy feeling out of us all but also reminds us always to cherish what we already have: “There were always signs of you. Hidden in clear view. Some pieces of you scattered across the landscape. Of my life. Your eyes belonged to fragments of nostalgia. Your hands and your smile too.” This is the track where Ronan’s vocal ability stands out the most. His vocals are crisp and clear. The guitar and other instruments like the piano are played gently in the background, never interfering with Ronan’s emotional development in the song. The angelic harmonies make this one of the best and most enjoyable ballads on the album to listen. This is one of the tracks I’ll always remember in my life. I’ll never forget it.
Some songs I heard for the first time didn’t particularly elicit a positive reaction from me like Shine Like Gold. That was because I wasn’t initially “feeling” it. It turns out that this is one of those tracks that you have to listen to for a while before you could reach a final decision. Eventually, after listening to the track repeatedly, I’ve strongly grown fond of it. A song that emphasizes on the happiness that is offered in a romantic relationship. It’s a track where you meet someone, fall in love with, and never want to let go because you truly found happiness in your life now. The repeat of “We shine like gold, We shine like gold.” throughout the song is very catchy despite its continuation. Simply, this is a song where after listening, you are deeply drawn to it because it tells a story of the adventures of a couple. This is a track where it is both optimistic and cheerful. If you haven’t fallen for someone yet, you will want to after listening to this song.
Falling Slowly is the album’s last track. The fantastic vocals and harmonies blended illustrate not only the singing talent but also the technical mixing of the album. This outstanding cover version perfectly complements the ending of the album, keeping fans wanting more. It is a track in which Ronan sang in his West End debut a year ago.
The album, thus, is a deviation from the conventionally manufactured pop music that is typical today in our world to a much more intimate and genuine, heartfelt acoustic pop genre. Authenticity and originality are the strong elements in this album, making a Ronan fan like me bursting with pride.
Like every song Ronan sings, he has his own distinctive vocal and singing style which can not be replicated by anyone else. No one sings like Ronan. It is always a pleasure to go back and listen to this album. You know an album is truly great when you keep coming back to listen to it. Ronan Keating’s Time of My Life is no exception.