Genuinely the perfect concoction of old, new, live and studio - the absolute best of the last ten years!
The story of the origin of The Vamps is a long and complicated one, where we saw the beginnings of labels and managements finding their talent doing covers on YouTube – something still commonplace today on TikTok. It’s been ten years since The Vamps got going as a band and their latest release commemorates the old and the new, their live set and their studio sound – all to combine into a perfect reflection of the last 10 Years.
The album can sort of be split into three sections – a section we’ve heard already – seven songs tracing the last ten years, hits and hidden gems from the first four albums. Then, in my opinion, the crowning jewel – the demo of Part of Me – from fifth and latest album Cherry Blossom. Then to close, four tracks from said album, that were recorded live on their Cherry Blossom Tour of last year.
I think overall the album really encapsulates both what it means to be a fan of The Vamps, as well as how the boys see themselves – an historic band with hits, with a killer live set and fantastic penmanship as shown by the demo (and how much it varies from the final version). So while yes, they spent most of their ten years on the road and pushing hit after hit – they spent time too crafting their art as they went along too. It is the Vamps, through ant through,
The first seven studio songs chosen were first single Wild Heart, along with hidden gems and fan favourites from their first album, Meet The Vamps, She Was The One and Risk it All. I think they genuinely capture that younger sound of The Vamps while showing off the sonic diversity they had even at that age. They only include the title track from their sophomore album Wake Up, and this makes sense, seeing as commercially it produced fewer hits than their debut. However, as a fan, it feels like an in-joke. We’ve tried countless times to get them to push the album more in a live setting, but the proportion of hits to fan favourites on tour is always funny, but seeing as they are a band with a bit of a household name, there’s need to cater to the wider audience. From double album Night & Day they chose All Night – the song that put them on the EDM map; as well as my personal favourite Same to You and Just My Type – another big song, that pulled them back out of EDM into a more mature sound for the second half of the album. These three choices are interesting as two out of three are lead singles and the third is a little-promoted regular album track – but as part of the collection of seven songs, it uniquely showcases the way the sound and maturity of The Vamps progressed through the first four albums before you’re launched into new versions of the album 5 tracks. It’s a nice little pocket-sized way to enjoy The Vamps.
Next comes Part of Me – Demo and upon first listen,I couldn’t recognise it at first. There is very very little similarity between the two versions except for the chorus melody and lyrics. But the production is entirely different and each verse is lyrically completely different, the bridge is much more instrumental than the much more produced Cherry Blossom version. Which, of course – is the beauty of a demo; it’s the first thoughts of a song. The two songs could have been released as a part one/part two double single situation and they would still be able to stand alone. I love the way the song progressed from a demo to a final mastered version and I think it is a testament to how hard the boys worked on the album and at their craft to take a song from one place to somewhere completely different.
I won’t go into much detail on the last four songs but I genuinely just want to commend the boys for how genuinely incredible their live set is. They write their music to play it live, and so the translation between studio and live is always beautiful. They always manage to take elements from the studio and change them up for live settings, adding drum solos or changing up the structure. Hearing new songs live is always so exciting because there’s the curiosity of how is this going to translate. They picked songs Married in Vegas, Nothing But You, Would You? and Chemicals, three of which were singles – and so it’s going down the same path of pushing the bigger songs but also shedding light on theirs and fan favourites. I think they were fantastic choices to show off the way they were able to translate a pandemic-written album to a live setting!
Talking of live shows, the boys are on their Greatest Hits Tour later next month, and I’m catching them in Brighton. I’m excited to see the setlist, see how reflective of this album it will be and generally pumped to see them live to celebrate their incredible legacy.
10 Years of The Vamps is out now via Universal Music, check out their nostalgic video for 2014’s Wild Heart here!