“Why are people ashamed of pop?” wonders Mollie, one of ‘five-woman whirlwind’ The Saturdays on the group’s website. “Everyone’s taking themselves so seriously at the moment.” But fear not, Mollie and co are here to bring some “much needed, shameless fun to the charts”.
Now the last time I looked, the charts had been dominated for much of the past half-decade by such promulgators of glum introspection as Girls Aloud and Sugababes – and so they damn well should be. But let’s chalk these grand words from the female five-piece up to marketing hubris.
The Saturdays have spent a year in record company development, buffing them up into a band to rival Girls Aloud on the pop playing field. With the songwriters and producers who have worked with Pussycat Dolls and Rhianna, they certainly have the tools at their disposal. And with two ex-members of, er, S Club Juniors they are no novices to the gruelling carousel of promotion.
So far so good for injecting some shameless fun into the charts: and indeed debut single If This Is Love is a jolly blend of techno, disco, and dance similar to the likes of Girls Aloud and Robyn. The track is uncomplicated and upbeat, and just begging for dance routines to be formulated in teenagers’ bedrooms the nation over. As is current single Up, a slick and sassy number baring more than a passing resemblance to Rhianna’s poppier moments.
Amid the quite standard pop fare there are two clear highlights. Keep Her is a tough, empowered, admonishment of a cheating ex “You can keep her, because I don’t want you”. The smoky lead vocals complemented by some neat harmonies. Work is a pumped, muscular R&B track, which stands head and shoulders above many other tracks. Issues, for example, is like the Pussycat Dolls’ drearier moments, redeemed only slightly by the line “Me and my heart we got issues; I don’t know if I should stab you or kiss you”.
Other notable moments on Chasing Lights include the slick R&B ballad Fall, a vocal showcase, Why Me Why Now, one of the better pop moments, and the title track, which although pretty standard pop bilge, sounds curiously like the theme tune to Dawson’s Creek.
With a slick album of mostly passable and at times really rather good pop, The Saturdays’ main problem is that people aren’t actually ashamed to like pop anymore. People love pop. From Pussycat Dolls via Annie to Take That there are myriad superior pop acts to choose from. Chasing Lights is no poor showing, but it does little to pick The Saturdays out as anything much more than Girls Aloud Junior.