By Hannah Compton
It seems that not just Una has referred to releasing a debut solo album as a waiting game but her fans have too. Best known as one fifth of The Saturdays, Una has always been known amongst fans as the guitar player of the group and most likely to go solo as a singer/songwriter. Una’s fans have more than stayed loyal and have encouraged and fully supported her new direction musically – even the country genre labelling hasn’t scared them off which just goes to show how country music is becoming more acceptable in the UK and so it should.
For country music fans, we have all been eagerly awaiting this album release since her tours with UK Country duo Ward Thomas and US Country duo Maddie and Tae. Una won over the country community during those tours and her fan base has grown widely since. Her performance was very well received with an acoustic set singing her own songs to a country audience for the very first time, which must have been quite daunting. Una treated fans with a sneak peak of what to expect from her debut release with songs such as The Waiting Game, Stay My Love and Staring At The Moon, all of which are thankfully on the album.
The Waiting Game is an album that I believe will appeal to a wide range of audiences from all ages and from fans of all genres. Despite being marketed more toward the country genre, I would say that the album isn’t completely country, but then Una herself wouldn’t describe it as such, in fact she says the record is of mixed genre and describes herself more as a singer/songwriter. There are elements of country though of course, especially with the current single Stay My Love which leans more towards Irish Country mixed with folk but the album will likely sit comfortably within the pop genre as well as singer/songwriter and country.
Battlelines is the perfect track to kick start the album. It is upbeat and very catchy with a fun-lovin, easy to sing along to chorus. It is one of my favourite tracks off the album and is one I can see being released as a single. I really enjoy Una’s vocals on this song as the verse is quite hard to sing as is slightly fast paced followed by a poweful chorus.
The Waiting Game – the title track off the album is another favourite for me. Anyone who had previously seen Una live had already been treated with a live version of this song and those who pre ordered the album have had the studio version for a while. A slightly more country-folk feel to it and is a very toe -tapping track with a nice memorable melody and a catchy chorus with an anthem like bridge with nice harmonies.
Stay My Love (Feat Sam Palladio) – a beautiful ballad which is a duet with Nashville’s Sam Palladio. This song has a fair amount of Irish Country to it mixed with Country- Folk. Una and Sam’s voice blend beautifully together and they make the perfect match. This song was co- written with Amy Wadge who co-wrote Ed Sheeran’s– Thinking Out Loud. This song has an old fashioned feel to it but with a modern twist.
All You Ever Need Is Love – this song reminds me a lot of the pop music that was released in the late nineties and early 2000’s such as Ronan Keating but clearly with a female voice. This song definitely leans more towards the pop genre rather than country. It is a nice song which i think would chart well.
S.O.S – one of the most catchiest songs off the album which I had in my head for weeks. The chorus is very infectious and fun to sing along to, especially in the car really loudly ha! I think this song would make a great single as you really cannot help but sing along. It’s very much a pop song and is radio friendly in so many ways. I look forward to hearing how this song translates in a live setting.
Please Don’t Tell Me – a beautiful ballad which really shows a wider range of Una’s vocal abilities. I really love the chorus, it’s stunning in its simplicity and is one of those songs that would be breathtakingly beautiful sung acoustically. Una has put a lot of emotion into this song both musically and vocally which makes the song believable and heartbreaking.
Staring At The Moon – Una wrote this song for her daughter so she would know her mother is always thinking of her and is always near by even though she is not always with her in person. Una sang this song on tour but the studio version is even more lovely. It is a mix of folk and country with a slight Mumford and Sons feel to it. It is a passionately sweet song which pulls at the heart strings, especially if you are a parent and feel sad whenever you are away from your child. Another favourite and it makes me cry.
Alarm Bells – a fairly cheesy pop style track. The chorus is incredibly catchy. Una’s voice is great on this track but sadly, it is not one of my favourites as it too pop for me but i think it will appeal to a lot of people.
Craving You – a down to mid – tempo song which builds up in the chorus. A relatable song about being addicted to someone and not being able to let go even though you know you should. I would like to hear this song live as think it will be beautiful sung acoustically.
Out The Door – a nice folk style song with a simple yet charming melody during the verses, however, I am not too keen on the chorus as feel it has a bit of a cheesy sound which is a bit too 80’s for me. That is just my opinion though.
Grow Up Not Old – co-written with Ben Earle of The Shires. This song was bound to be good, especially with the input from Ben Earle. Much like many Shires songs, this song is well written and highly memorable with great and inspirational lyrics and a delightful melody and chorus.
Angel Like You – this song was selected for the heart rendering film Mum’s List which I still haven’t seen but intend to, even though I think I will cry hysterically. I can see why this song was chosen for such an emotionally heart breaking film. This song is a stunning, down tempo track with a gorgeous, hypnotic melody, especially within the chorus. The song has a really powerfully and moving message with lyrics that would make the hardest person fall to pieces. Una says herself how this song has helped so many people that have lost someone and listening to the lyrics, I can certainly believe that. The song is uplifting as well as being sensitive and I am sure as Una says, a lot more people will find solace within this song.
Overall, The Waiting Game is a wonderful debut to Una as a solo artist and an album you should add to your playlist. Una is a multi-talented artist who is only just beginning to show us what she is capable of. Her voice alone will entice you and her relatable lyrics will inspire and enourage many fans.
Una has so much to offer as a solo artist and I look forward to seeing her career and fan base grow and grow which it no doubt will.
The Waiting Game will be released February 10th and Una will be headlining to shows the following week and a further show at London’s Bush Hall on May 15th.
This week Una and duet partner Sam Palladio will be promoting Stay My Love. They will appear on BBC One’s The One Show on Wednesday 8th May as well as other promotional stops.
Una will also be part of this years Country 2 Country Festival on the Town Square stage. Keep an eye out for times and days.
The Waiting Game by Una Healy