Ronan Keating's greatest hits: the gift that just keeps on giving. In fact it's more than giving - this is tantamount to rubbing it in. It's like a sixteen-part Irish Tourist Board advert that's so safe you half want the peace process to break down just to provide some danger.
The record company press office urges you to start 'celebrating an incredible 10 years of Ronan'. On the basis of this collection, it's more than incredible. '10 years!' it tells us, 'can it really be that long?' Grab the anti-depressants - it is that long.
The albino everyman of pop is the oldest 27 year-old in the world. This man's sold more than 17 million albums and chooses to work with Bryan Adams: a man that's got 'Yes, I'll do it' on his answer phone. You have to question his musical judgement.
When Ronan sings a slushy love song, he certainly makes you weep. Moving? He gives you a movement alright. The upbeat songs are even more depressing. On "I Love It When We Do", he wails 'running up and down the street, hugging everyone I meet...when I've got you in my arms, can't turn off those fire alarms'. They're panic alarms, Ronan. Take a hint.
Ronan's image of an everyday lad is not rock 'n' roll. At a party he'd be the one minding the car keys and having a quick tidy up to save doing it in the morning. He'd make your Gran feel young at a wedding, personally breast feeding his hundreds of children and still finding time to wander round with a clip board and collect for charity. The trouble is he's too nice for pop as well. Not many people can sing for a decade, have huge chart success and still be instantly forgettable. He doesn't have a personality to hate -he just doesn't have a personality.
So who's this album for? I'd say anyone who wants a trip to Ireland that has all the authenticity of a theme pub in an Arndale centre. It's impossible to listen to him gnashing his (new) teeth without seeing those endless videos of Mr. Keating wearing a donkey jacket, leading a horse through a council estate. But be warned, as the album progresses you begin to add your own characters to those clichéd Irish films. First the street kids are throwing bricks, then offal, then Molotov cocktails. This is a collection for people who don't like music (expect it to go to the top of the charts.)