Watch out: here come Pussycat Dolls, hell bent on world domination. Everyone’s favourite pop burlesque troupe returns to bother the world’s teenagers with their teasing dance routines and less-is-more dress sense.
Relax, we are here to talk about the music. After all that is what the Dolls are all about, isn’t it? Three years on from the chart-topping PCD the Los Angeles-based quintet are back, and boy have they been busy.
Clocking in at an eye-watering 18 tracks (some versions extend to 22), Doll Domination was recorded with a crack list of session producers whose head count almost equals the running time. The best known of them, Timbaland, is all over the album like a rash, lending proceedings his trademark commercial thwack.
That is because Doll Domination is an album built to demand, which also explains its excessive running length. Running the gamut of contemporary dance, R&B and electro mores, it is a case of overloading the audience’s senses in the hope that one or two tracks might enjoy the success of the previous album’s megahit single, Don’t Cha.
Sadly, that Cee-Lo penned slice of pop genius looks likely to stand as the Dolls’ finest hour. Very little on offer here even comes close. R Kelly does a fine job on the slow jam Out Of The Club while the Chase N’Cashe-helmed Love The Way You Love Me hits a slinky groove right from the start and refuses to let up.
That’s about it for the highlights. This is an album that reels off one clunker after another. Lead single When I Grow Up would embarrass Paris Hilton, but sets the template for the rest of the album. Identikit urban beats, sleepwalking guest parts from Snoop Dogg and Missy Elliott, and lyrics that might as well have been written by a sophomore student on a weekend bender for all the depth on offer.
Saving the worst for last, the Dolls return to their burlesque roots for an excruciating cover of the Latin pop oldie Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.
It is worth noting that Nicole Scherzinger, the lady on the arm of a boy racer by the name of Lewis Hamilton, is thrust into the spotlight on this album, singing lead vocals on every track. The most notable contribution the rest of the group make is posing seductively on motorbikes on the album’s cheesy cover image. Don’t discount the much-delayed Scherzinger solo album hitting the shops before too long.
Doll domination? Don’t count on it. Unless a couple more of these tracks manage to repeat the success of When I Grow Up and stick on commercial radio, this is an album heading straight for the bargain bins. File under ‘dispiriting’.