The Wanted EP: Track-By-Track Review

68 Billboard Rating

A Top 5 hit on the Hot 100. Millions of YouTube views and screaming American fans to match them. Mobbed live performances, a "Glee" re-interpretation and, yes, Billboard cover and Q&A appearances. The Wanted were already very real stars here in the United States before their self-titled debut EP was released on Tuesday (Apr. 24), thanks largely to the hit single "Glad You Came," which leads off this 10-track effort. "Came's" success was fueled by great songwriting and five fleshed-out personalities to bring it to life: Max, Jay, Siva, Nathan and Tom don't exactly reveal their multi-faceted personas on their lead U.S. single, but each member establishes himself as more than just a smoldering guy whose shirt you'd prefer to see off.

The Wanted Live Q&A: Watch It Again! | The Wanted Cover Story

So, is the rest of "The Wanted" EP more than just window dressing for "Glad You Came"? Like One Direction's other songs compared to their cheeky, brilliant single "What Makes You Beautiful," nothing on The Wanted's debut U.S. EP comes close to "Glad You Came," but the extended play contains a number of fine-tuned melodies that could succeed the group's latest radio hit, including their next single, "Chasing The Sun." Songs like "Lightning" and "Satellite" offer more perky adrenaline, while "Warzone" would make for a killer change of pace if it ever receives a single push stateside. And "All Time Low" and "Heart Vacancy," already worn-out hits in the U.K., rightfully get a chance to shine in the States. Ultimately, "The Wanted" stands as a well-timed introduction before the group presumably presents a more cohesive front on its debut U.S. album. Will your universe be the same after hearing "The Wanted"? Sure. But you'll be glad you… oh, you know what we're getting at.

Which songs on The Wanted's new EP are worth repeated listens? Here's our track-by-track breakdown of the boy band's latest effort.

1. Glad You Came - The Wanted's stateside smash is light on thoughtful lyrics and heavy on sun-stroked sounds and body-moving refrains -- and rightly so. As potent on its 100th listen as it was the first time.

2. Chasing The Sun - Another dance floor scorcher, with the club scene depicted as an endless paradise. The hook here isn't as immediate as "Glad You Came's," but could become a smash hit in its own right.

3. All Time Low - One of the Wanted's biggest (and earliest) overseas hits still serves as a mission statement, and demonstrates the quintet's chemistry by giving all five ample room to shine.

4. Satellite - Another racing club track, with the boys proclaiming, "I don't want to come down/I just want your love now!" after comparing themselves to the title subject. The percussion snaps and synthesizers throb on this giddy cut.

5. Lightning - If "I know that it's a little bit frightening/We might as well be playing with lightning" isn't a fantastic way to convey the magnetism of a first kiss, we don't know what is. The song's lyrical concept saves it from an unmemorable backing track.

6. Heart Vacancy - The verses are hit-or-miss (props to Tom and Jay for the harmonizing in the second one), but when that chorus builds to a melodic breaking point, "Heart Vacancy" is filled with a gooey warmth that's hard not to embrace.

7. Gold Forever - "Tomorrow's coming, but this won't change/'Cause some days stay gold forever," Max croons on this slick ballad-turned-rave-up. The strings add gravitas, and the boys have fun with the arrangement.

8. Lose My Mind - Is anyone else reminded of Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" by the mid-verse "oh-whoa-whoa's"? A solid showcase of the group members' respective vocal qualities, but not the all-around winner here.

9. Warzone - Easily one of the most well-written cuts here, "Warzone" dismisses the light mood of songs like "Chasing The Sun" and gives the Wanted lads their own "What Goes Around…"

10. Rocket - The Wanted guys aren't satisfied with the status quo -- they want to touch the sky. Maybe "Rocket" isn't the song to get them there, but as an optimistic closer, the track offers a preview of even greater ambitions before their debut U.S. full-length.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print