10 February 2017 (released)
13 February 2017
Three years ago The Saturdays disbanded. With four studio albums under their belt, the quintet had enjoyed a ride of 6 years in the pop charts, peaking with their only #1, 2012's Sean Paul featuring What About Us. Since then Una Healy has enjoyed the early years of motherhood and a budding career as a reality TV judge on Let's Get Gold and The Voice of Ireland, while she also showcased her diving skills on Splash! However, something was missing from the equation - realising that she needed to fulfill her initial ambitions, she returned to the recording studio.
The result is The Waiting Game, which sort of picks up where her pre-The Saturdays debut, Sorry, left off. As the niece of Irish country singer Declan Nerney, and the backing singer to Brian Kennedy at Eurovision 2006, Una had already started to explore the realm of country tinged singer-songwriter before she received her pop calling. Although it would be a push to call The Waiting Game a country album, it certainly sits in a similar terrain to The Shires, which takes it's lead from the genre but delivers a pop take on the sound.
Kicking off the campaign with the Sam Palladio duet Stay My Love was a clever move in more than one way. Not only does it capitalise on the success of the Nashville star, but it immediately showcases a different side to the pop starlet. With their vocals marrying flawlessly, Stay My Love is a lilting number that is the collection's highlight.
That is not to say that the album is lacking outside of the lead single. Far from it. With the record boasting the brilliant Battlelines, which does have echoes of an Eagle Eye Cherry classic, it is fair to say she definitely has a potential international hit on her hands. While Please Don't Tell Me and the album's title track, The Waiting Game, also showcase her sweet vocals and radio friendly approach.
However, there are a few too many average songs to make this the stand out debut it could have been. Borrowing The Shires bland background stomp for Staring At The Moon feels generic and leads to the album lowlight. S.O.S may be an earworm but it is lacking the extra heart and soul to lift it to unforgettable terrain.