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Westlife have always been appalling – and not even in that fun, guilty pleasure way. They make earnest ’90s crooners like All 4 One sound veritably punk. One of the great atrocities Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh have inflicted upon music, the Irish-based boyband has made a career primarily out of covering bland ballads we didn’t like the first time we heard them. Think it’s not possible for Barry Manilow‘s “Mandy” to be any more treacly and insipid? Witness Westlife’s version and be amazed. The fact that American listeners have repeatedly rejected their sappy stylings simply speaks to our good taste.

Well, the Westlife boys are going around thumping their chests, rearing for a catfight with, wait for it…the newly reformed Spice Girls. You may have heard that the new Westlife album and the Spice Girls’ comeback CD were scheduled to drop on the same day, November 5th. This set up a repeat of 2000’s face-off between Westlife’s Coast to Coast and The Spice Girls’s Forever, which Westlife won handily by a factor of 3 to 1. The Spice Girls have since moved their release date to November 12th. Interviewed by The Mirror at the Pride of Britain Awards, Westlife singer Kian Egan calls the Fab Five’s move cowardly:

Kian, 27, who was there with his stunning fiancée, ex-Hollyoaks star Jodi Albert, added: “We would take great pleasure in beating the Spice Girls – especially Mel C. because every time she opens her mouth something mean comes out.”

“Our album’s good, we’ve worked hard on it and it would have been good to go head-to-head with their one.

“As far as we were concerned we were going up against them and we were up for it. But then they suddenly changed their minds. They’re running scared.”

And Shane [Filan] added: “We hear they were worried and they’ve changed the date. I hope they haven’t, it would be a good match.

It would be good for pop music. But we are already one up on them.”

The only thing that would be good for pop music is Westlife’s immediate disappearance from it. And LOL at widdle Sporty Spice hurting Kian’s widdle feewwings. Anyway, in 2000, the Spice Girls were on their way out, Forever was their last proper album, and Geri Halliwell had already quit the group. It was hardly a fair fight, up against Westlife’s second album.

That’s not to say that Westlife doesn’t have a large following. There are millions of girls and grannies who worship them. But I truly believe that, with the massive publicity surrounding their tour and renewed fan fervor, the Fab Five would blast those pretty boys back to Sligo. That would be a victory for pop music, no doubt.

In other news:

  • Radiohead has sold an estimated 1.2 million downloads of their album, In Rainbows. Gigwise notes, “Even if every person who downloaded the album paid just 10 pence, the band will still rake in a massive £120,000. That figure is likely to be higher, with many speculating the average figure will even out at around the £1 mark.” Meanwhile, Stereogum has what I’m sure is the final word on the album.

  • Madonna has reportedly severed ties with Warner Music and signed with concert promoter Live Nation for a $120 million recording and touring deal.
    (Daily Mail)
  • Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil had a stormy row at a party over Blake’s flirtation with model Lily Cole, reports The Mirror. How did Blake allegedly respond? He walked out, with Lily by his side.
  • The Sun‘s Victoria Newton declares that “the spirit of the old Pete [Doherty] he left in rehab has infested the beehive of Amy Winehouse.”
  • Eric Clapton says Mick Jagger nicked his bird back in the ’60s. Clapton pleaded with Jagger, “Please Mick, not this one. I think I’m in love.” Haha…and he wonders why his girlfriend left him.(Digital Spy)
  • An excerpt form Clapton’s autobiography, in which he talks frankly about his son Conor’s death – the tragedy that inspired his hit, “Tears in Heaven.”
    (The Times)
  • Marianne Faithfull has revealed she has Hepatitis C.(The Sun)
  • The Cribs are set for a North American tour.(NME)
  • George Harrison becomes the final Beatle to have his solo work offered on iTunes…could the full Beatles catalog be far behind?(BBC)
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By Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks is the founding editor of Anglophenia.