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Album Review: The Saturdays – Living For The Weekend

Photo: Fabulous Magazine

Give them the benefit of the doubt, okay? I know ‘On Your Radar’ wasn’t the best pop record in the last decade, but it did contain some of their biggest bangerz (thanks to Miley for that new bit of pop vocab) – ‘All Fired Up’ and ‘Notorious’ remain sensational. The rest? Well, it’s alright to listen to on a lazy weekend, I suppose. Now we’re onto the next era – ‘Living For The Weekend’. So far, so bad. The title isn’t exactly lifechanging, nor is the artwork very fitting (the energy levels are criminally low, though to give credit where it’s deserved: the hair is top notch). Throw into the mix the fact that The Saturdays have never had a properly trouble-free campaign since their debut record and it’s all a bit up in the air. Thankfully, it’s being lead by one of the best pop songs of the year ‘Disco Love’. So it isn’t all bad.

But it isn’t all good either. The quality range is enormous. For every ‘Disco Love’ and quirky ‘Gentleman’, we’re dealt with a song like ‘Lease My Love’ which features a bored-sounding Frankie taking the intro and a chorus that doesn’t really go anywhere, sounding tired after just a few repeated plays. Future singles are all taken care of though- ‘Leave A Light On’ is a brilliant Saturdays ballad that will continue their run of top 10 hits. It doesn’t suffer from being too cliche and never verges on boring thanks to it’s great production. ‘Not Giving Up’ does what ‘On Your Radar’ did with it’s infectious blend of explosive dance-pop – it seriously lacks personality but given club support, should succeed.

The further you delve into the record, it becomes clear what a mixed bag it really is. ‘The Problem With Love’ does everything the girls wanted their last record to do – it’s sharp and sinister strings power through to the memorable chorus, but it’s all about the verses and their ingenious use of repetition. Meanwhile, ’30 Days’ (who can remember that one?) got quite a pleasant review from myself when it was released, but I cant help but feel I was too kind to a song that really didn’t deserve to be granted anything but album track status. ‘Somebody Else’s Life’ has also been given a bit of hype thanks to it’s acoustic version being released and included on their US TV show. It really is another dud though – quite enjoyable for the first handful of plays but not something you’ll be coming back to very often. ‘Don’t Let Me Dance Alone’ has a non-event as it’s main chorus, despite boasting a vastly superior hook in it’s verses and intro. Then, just when you want to give up, along comes Diane Warren slowie ‘You Don’t Have The Right’. It’s defiant and has beautiful strings underlining the verses, making it one of the best ballads the girls have put their name to.

I’m all for The Saturdays, believe me. The five girls are instantly likeable, talented enough to hold up the project and thanks to years of going at it, they’ve attained quite an enviable position towards the top of the girlband roster here in the UK. But complacency is a very cruel thing and it’s been slowly killing the band off since the career highlight that was the Headlines campaign. They don’t write much of their own material, so little blame can be placed on them. They do their job, they sing quite well and dance on primetime TV etc etc  – what more can you ask? The team behind The Saturdays are the ones stuck in the rut. Not enough promotion, not enough killer material. It’s not about being the next Girls Aloud or the next Spice Girls, but it is about taking your career to the next level. Between them, ‘On Your Radar’ and ‘Living For The Weekend’ contain enough gems to unleash an amazing album, but in between all the filler and songs that even the girls themselves have probably forgotten about, it’s all too middle-of-the-road. Massive support for the highlights on ‘Living For The Weekend’ and a couple of good singles are still to come, but for a band so far into their career, it really should be much better than this.

Photo: Fabulous Magazine
Words: Simon McMurdo

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