Atomic Kitten - Love Doesn't Have To Hurt (Innocent/Virgin)
UK release date: 31 March 2003
It's been more than a decade in cat years since the pop classic Whole Again made the Kittens a household name, and it shows. Over this time the fallout from that career-defining song has mostly settled to the ground, and now the Atomic trio need a powerful new single to get them primed for 2003. Unfortunately this isn't it.
Written by the Bangles' Susannah Hoffs and the megahit team Steinberg and Kelly, the best thing about Love Doesn't Have To Hurt is its lyrics - they hold interest and exude integrity. However the music itself - although catchy and enjoyable - just isn't star material. It is B-grade and contains none of that special spark found in some of the Kittens' previous releases.
Listening to this uninspired track one gets the feeling that Tash, Lil and Jen are about to encounter a central truth of pop music - the light that shines twice as bright burns half as long. The time is coming for inevitable lower chart entries, splits, and attempted solo careers. Bless them for the joy they've brought us, but Atomic Kitten may soon be stepping aside to let the next generation through.