FOURTEEN YEARS AGO, on the 9th of March, 2004, Brian McFadden’s departure from Westlife was announced at a press conference in Dublin.
At the time, Brian said that he was frustrated that he could not commit 100% to either Westlife or his family life with Kerry Katona and their daughters, so he had to make a decision and chose to take a break from music.
Children on the comments section of BBC Newsround debated how this would affect Westlife’s future.
12-year-old Katie from Liverpool wrote:
I think this is one down and some more to follow in Brian’s footsteps. It will not be long until Westlife are not so big and new bands will take their place. I hope Brian has a great time with his family.
11-year-old Tiffany from Somerset did not think it was a good idea for Brian to spend time with his family:
I think Brian has done the wrong thing. I think he should come back and be a member of Westlife.
And Charlie, age 10, from Goring-by-Sea was pretty ruthless:
I think that Westlife will be lucky to last another month. I mean look at the past, when Paul left S Club they split up. When Geri left the Spice Girls, they split up. It’s just the past all over again.
Well, Charlie, you better eat your words. Because Westlife lasted another 7 years without Brian McFadden.
Six months after Brian left Westlife, he began his solo career.
Brian’s first single was ‘Real to Me’, and the music video featured two Brian McFaddens. You may well have forgotten that this song exists. The first was the “old Brian” who wore sunglasses and went on tour and was too cool to look at people.
The second Brian, was the “new Brian”. The Brian who had scruffy hair and wore a parka.
New Brian catches old Brian spying on him, and decides to run across the city to confront him.
The wardrobe for this video was shocking.Source: BryanMcFaddenVEVO/YouTube
Shortly after this song was released, Brian McFadden signed copies of the debut single in Woolworths in Reading, wearing this Kurt Cobain t-shirt. Make of that what you will.
Real To Me was then followed by his second single, Irish Son.
This video opens up with Brian McFadden drinking a coffee in the early hours of a school morning at one of Dublin’s most well known dogging spots. We won’t ask why. However, we will ask why he’s drinking from a glass mug at a coffee shop that’s clearly only fit to be a takeaway.
For some reason, a woman has decided to take a detour in order to bring her son out to Bull Wall before school. And doesn’t she only get a puncture? Serves her right. We then learn that Brian McFadden is actually a taxi driver. So humble compared to who he was six months ago, when he was in Ireland’s biggest boy-band.
Anyways, this woman decides to load her son into Brian McFadden’s taxi, while slipping Brian a €20 note and presumably some instructions on where her son needs to go. I’m not really sure why she didn’t join her son, but whatever.
The little boy picks his nose and wipes it in the door of Brian McFadden’s car, while Brian tries his best to drive the fare up. He goes from Bull Wall to Eden Quay to the back of Stephen’s Green/Hume Street and then to an unidentified school. The child probably would have made it to school more quickly if he stuck around with his mam.
While this completely absurd situation unfolds, Brian McFadden’s really sticking it to the Catholic Church with his lyrics. He sees a teacher outside the boy’s school and sings out the car window to him:
Go hit me now that I’m twice your size / We brushed off the accusations and bowed before your lies. This is the city that raised me / with the religion they gave me / Now I’m old enough to know my own mind.
Once Brian drops the kid off at school, he picks up a priest in his taxi and appears to be on a mission to make the priest as uncomfortable as possible. The priest tries to ignore him, and sits in the back reading his bible.Source: BryanMcFaddenVEVO/YouTube
Then, Brian picks up a family of four and lets them all sit in the back without their seatbelts on. At this point, I can’t help but feel concerned that he’s not qualified for this job, so I have run his plate numbers through TFI’s license checking system online.
Uh oh. By the end of the music video, Brian picks someone else up in his taxi and we get a glimpse of the back of his taxi plates. It has a completely different number to the one at the front (5389). Very dodgy.
The next single from Brian’s debut album was ‘Almost Here’, featuring Delta Goodrem.
We all know what happened next. Brian McFadden left Westlife to focus on Kerry Katona and his kids. Then, the man who had hated the spotlight, launched his solo career, met Delta Goodrem and decided it was time for a divorce.Source: BryanMcFaddenVEVO/YouTube
There’s nothing really remarkable about this video except for the fact that Brian and Delta pretty much had the same haircut.
The fourth single from this album was ‘Demons’ and this was where he began to lose traction.
There’s a good chance you have never heard this song. You’re not really missing out on much.Source: BryanMcFaddenVEVO/YouTube
Over the next six years, Brian McFadden released two more albums.
We’re not going to go through every one of those singles with you. We’ll skip straight to 2011 song ‘Just The Way You Are (Drunk At The Bar)’, a song that made headlines for all of the wrong reasons.
Many people believed this song was about date-rape, and Brian had to make a public statement on Twitter to clear up confusion.
For the record, I wrote this song about how I love it when Delta has a drink (which is very rare) and she’s dancing. My new song is a tongue-in-cheek song about how I find it cute when a girl gets drunk, I am not promoting date-rape.
The song opens with a banjo solo over a dance beat and the lyrics “I like you just the way you are, drunk as shit dancing at the bar / I like it and I can’t wait to get you home so I can do some damage.” There was no need for this song to ever be made public.
It really doesn’t help that it was released with a mugshot of the singer.Source: briandailycom/YouTube
We would love to check in with those kids from BBC Newsround to find out what they think of the trajectory of Brian’s solo career fourteen years later. 11-year-old Tiffany from Somerset was probably right when she said “I think Brian has done the wrong thing.”
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