Review

Eurovision vets Jedward were once again competing in the pop competition in 2012, right around the time their third album, Young Love, appeared in the summer. Despite its youthful title, Jedward exhibit some signs of maturity on this tight pop album although, to be fair, the slightly subdued tone could be due to the slightly tentative nature of producers Duck & Paddy and Trinity Music -- Deekay and DBH also helm some cuts -- or the band's creeping exhaustion. Jedward aren't quite men yet not quite boys, and the music is similarly caught between two worlds, touching on traditional Eurocheese and modern dance-pop. The best parts of Young Love arrive when all involved throw both of those concerns to the wayside and just make chewy bubblegum. Those are the cuts that stick -- the opening "Waterline," the big-booted thump of "What’s Your Number," the Brit-pop skip of "All I Want Is You," the Farifisa-spiked beach pop of "A Girl Like You" -- and they could have been given different arrangements in any era from surf to glam to Total Request Live and been hits. Of course, it would also have helped if Jedward were just slightly more charismatic -- now that they're not ridiculous, they're settling for workmanlike, which means they can't rescue the bland product from its textureless self but they don't stand in the way of the really hooky, trashy, irresistible pop that peppers this album just enough to give it some spice. So call it a draw: at its best, Young Love has the best music Jedward have yet made but none of that is really their fault. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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