Love is... is vanilla. From the cute boy and girl kid cartoon on the cover to the choice of songs - there's no crushing darkness, just achy breaky yearning, a dash of squidgy lust, and lots of wistful, crushy meanderings, emanating from sugary voiced popsters like Natasha Bedingfield, Katie Melua, Dido and Norah Jones.
You'll find a smattering of rock among the folksy soul flavoured pop radio tracks, like Maroon5's faintly sinister "She Will Be Loved" and Blink 182's unattractively adolescent "I miss you". But where there's pain to be felt, it's always sugar coated.
The songs seem to be chosen to distil the need to be loved, the hope of love, the longing, rather than states of comfort or the pain of loss. Will Young's unutterably sweet voice singing "Friday's Child" (doesn't he sound more and more like Mick Hucknall by the minute?) sums up the spirit of this compilation - you get to keep the sweetest singalong love songs of this year's radio, without the horrible ads, forever.
s on radio, there's some repetition. Many of the songs on this collection will probably appear on others by EMI that you may already have, like Grammys 2005 for instance. Read the track listing carefully before purchasing.
If you have a low saccharine tolerance, you'll probably find the last three tracks - by James Stewart, Dunkan James & Keedie, and that recently revived 80s zombie of romance Richard Marx - eminently skippable.
But that's the joy of CDs, right. You can skip the bad bits. And overall, Love is... 2005 is another above average, 20 track treat for those who like their musical romance less bitter, more sweet.
- Jean Barker
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