samedi 24 janvier 2009

Perfect Pop on Saturdays

Although I have bought their album when it was released (on 27th of October 2008 in the UK) and it hasn't left my CD player ever since, I didn't manage to write down a review of it on my blog. Tonight is saturday night and it's perfect time to take the time and help you discover the magic pop of The Saturdays with the Chasing Lights full review.

The Saturdays have been marketed by their record company Facination records (home of UK PopStars Girls Aloud and affiliated with Polydor / Universal) as the New Girls Aloud. They supported the superstars in their latest tour to promote their first singles and their album has been certified gold now with 3 UK Top10 hit singles.
The Saturdays are a 5 piece girlband consisting of two former S Club Juniors/8 members, über-cute Frankie Sandford & vocal talented Rochelle Wiseman, along 3 other girls, Vanessa White, Una Healy and Millie King.
Their sound is a lot more electro-dance oriented pop than the dance-rock oriented pop of Girls Aloud so their only common points are the number of members of the bands and their record company.

1/ If this is love 9/10
Co-written and produced by R&B-pop hit-makers Cutfather & Joe, their first single borrows heavily from the Yazoo Situation 80's hit with the melodic line repeated all along the track with new melody & lyrics leading the song into an uplifting dance-pop song that was perfect to introduce the band and marks their sound territory with an instant appeal. It peaked at #8 in August in the UK Charts so the girls had their chance at releasing more.

2/ Up 10/10
It was in October that their even better new single, Up, reached the #5 UK charts place and it was total injustice it didn't get to #1. Penned by another hitmakers' team, swedish Quiz & Larossi, Up had a chorus you can do nothing but sing along to. The music was all electro & bouncing with full vocals and memorable video clip. It is a track that will stand the test of time for sure!

3/ Keep her 6/10
Next track is a good electro-R&B song with strong vocals and raw synthé sounds, a favourite amongst fans, but not for me. A strange Track3 placing for a good album filler...

4/ Issues 9/10
"Me and my heart, we got issues... Don't know if I should hate you or miss you..." goes Issues' chorus and it's time for the first mid-tempo of the album, written & produced by Carl Sturken & Evan Rogers. It is their third single and the January charts peak gave the girls their best entry with a UK #4 this time. The video shows the girls in some winter beach & cosy house, with bad weather & grey atmosphere that fits the melancholic song very well.

5/ Lies 9/10
The tempo is speeding it up again with the following track to reach its climax with the "All you ever told me is lies" fantastic catchy chorus. This one is another contender for a single release but nearly 3/4 of the tracks could be... Some said this album was their Album of the year for 2008. I can't help but understand why each time I'm listening to it.

6/ Work 10/10
Second best song of the album after Up, Work is a full on rhythm R&B piece of art, your head can only nod in rhythm with, and the one that Beyoncé would kill for, and has been reported as their fourth and forthcoming single. Put that song on a turntable, pump the volume to the max, put your hands in the air and sing along in rhythm ; Work is pure raw energy !

7/ Chasing lights 9/10
Time for another mid-tempo beautiful ballad that has given its name to the album and could easily be another single. Then again, you can't help but sing along the "Go on, go on, go on" chorus lines with passion. Penned by Chris Braide with a girl that is, as named in the booklet, the group's sixth member, Ina Wroldsen, lyricist of all the songs but three on the album.

8/ Set me off 7/10
Still electro sounding but rather more a R&B thing, Set me off is another perfect album filler, but not the one that sets my heart on fire, penned by the same producers as Keep her & Lies.

9/ Fall 10/10
Led by a piano intro that immediately calms down the tempo, Fall is the true romantic masterpiece of the album, the kind that would be perfect for a single release around the 14th of February if you know what I mean... Another highlight for the girls with very strong vocals and beautiful harmonies.

10/ Vulnerable 8/10
The rhythm speeds up a little with Vulnerable but we're again in the mid-tempo pace with a soulful R&B approach. Arrangements are inventive and the song is another addictive one.

11/Why me, why now 8/10
Originally a demo by Alex Cartana, Why me, why now tends to extend the Saturdays' musical territory with a more pop-rock approach, always with soul and bits of electro. Girls Aloud could have easily made this song theirs for sure, although not a Xenomania song.

12/ Up (Wideboys remix edit) 10/10
The album ends with a remix of the leading single, done by much in demands garage first, now electro mix-wizzards Wideboys. Their remix adds electro sounds & uplifting loops that put even more energy in Up.

I personally think the Moto Blanco radio remix of If this is love should have been included as well as it added something to the original. The Yazoo sampled track became a full on disco-house winner but hey, if I did it for my digital home-made album, you can do the same correction to your own album.

I shall then talk about The Saturdays singles B-sides as, for now, every single release has seen a new song added to the single's CD.
What am I gonna do was a pleasant pop song but I understand why it was only put as a Bside to If this is love. Same doesn't apply though to Crashing down, a cover of The Nolans produced by ex-PWL remix team Jewels & Stone that is only available on the Up single. The track is a pure electro-disco stomper and I can't understand it hasn't been featured on the album!!! Like most of previous Jewels & Stone collaborations with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, their tracks are hidden to the mainstream public and I still wonder why as they bring out the best of the artist they work with... For Issues, The girls covered the Four Seasons hit Beggin' in an accoustic way, surfing the wave after the previously covered hit version by Madcon.

Now for Work, I assume we will get another new track, maybe some unreleased material from the album sessions like Not good enough (nice mid-tempo that has leaked in low quality) or Believe in me (still to hear) or maybe a brand new song. Release date has yet to be confirmed but I can't wait !

I hope you've been teased enough by this review to give The Saturdays their chance but I still add some 7digital samples (where you can buy it on 320kb mp3 for less than £5...

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