Ronan a hologram developed for promotional use by the Irish Tourist Board...

Like a hologram developed for promotional use by the Irish Tourist Board, [a]Ronan Keating[/a] has emerged from the hellspawn of Boyzone into a multimedia-malleable Everyman. Whichever project Keating involves himself with, be it television presenting, co-managing ‘Zone clones Westlife or this, his, ahem, long-awaited solo ‘adventure’, he somehow eradicates from it any traces of excitement and replaces it with smug artifice and an obsequious smirk. Gaze into his emerald green eyes and see the moneymen rubbing their hands with glee. Punch him, and your fist flies clean through. Nothing’s there.

At 23, Keating‘s a tad long in the tooth for yet more formation mincing with Boyzone. And as a father and husband he feels he can now reach out to a wider, more mature audience, one which can empathise with his heartfelt experiences and say, with a knowing wink, “Have a Guinness on us. We’ve been there too.” It’s a controversial move, but one that pales when compared to the bravery of Stephen Gately.

Still, you don’t become marginally more interesting than Gary Barlow without good reason. And ‘Ronan’ contains 14 simperingly wholesome reasons, each penned by a master of the stultifying AOR clichi, each clinically designed to cater for every aspect of his new demographic. There is good-time jacket-free rock (‘Life Is A Rollercoaster’ and ‘Heal Me’, both scribbled by ex-New Radical Gregg Alexander), there is smouldering bar-room balladeering (Bryan Adams‘The Way You Make Me Feel’) and there is, above all, ample opportunity for Keating to bleat like the blond goat of love he so painfully is. I mean, Jesus, he’s spent seven years singing exclusively about love and how it makes him feel. Is he not as bored as we are? How much love has he got?

An awful lot, it turns out. Though probably not as much as Craig David. Now there’s something to aim for.