Today’s POP RESCUE from a potentially unloved future, is the 2009 second album Wordshaker by five-piece girl group The Saturdays.
The 12 track album opens with lead single Forever Is Over which is a slick electro pop production, laced with what feels like vocal effects. There’s plenty of Spice Girls, Sugababes, and All Saints echoes here, with more than enough over-wailing Leona Lewis-esque vocals. I don’t hate this already – it’s incredibly catchy once the delicious beat comes in and the soaring vocals hit the chorus, but it is highly manufactured.
Up next is Here Standing, which begins with some gentle piano, with some nice warm vocals over the top. A throbbing bass drum arrives before a fuller beat arrives with choruses. Strings soar, and everything sounds a bit paint-by-numbers epic cinematic, the kind usually seen on an X Factor winner album – like a Michelle McManus left-over.
Third track Ego is the second and final single from this album. It begins with a wonderful set of synths over a throbbing beat and rich vocals, which remind me ever so slightly of the sound of Freak Like Me by the Sugababes. However, once the song gets going, it’s quite a nice catchy pop song, with some good lyrics.
This is followed by the nice chilled out soundscapes of No One, which is the first slow number on the album. At times, some of the vocals sound a bit wobbly, but they also sound the least affected here by sound effects. Over all, it’s a really nice song, and a great showcase for some softer vocals.
The growly synths return in One Shot – which from the outset sounds like something that’s fallen off Britney‘s Circus album. Similarly, title track Wordshaker, also feels like a Britney cast off. Both are fairly catchy, more so the latter, but both are almost unmemorable by the time you’ve moved on.
Track 7 is Denial, and we’re back to a slow ballad and unison singing again. Whilst this song has various layers of vocals and instruments, it’s not massively catchy.
Some bubbling synth guitar signals the start of Open Up, but despite the throbbing beat, i’m bored. There’s quite a lot of reminders of Kelly Clarkson here, but my patience is wearing thin.
Next up was some track called Lose Control, but to be honest I don’t really remember it.
Aside from the shouty bits, tenth track Not Good Enough, sounds really good in the verse. There’s plenty of over the top vocal range on this one, but the song itself is fundamentally really good. There’s a nice synth that lurks in the background, growling, and growing.
Penultimate track Deeper is the first to get a writing credit for The Saturdays. It opens with some piano, and there’s some nice light beats. Vocals sound almost a bit muted here. Again, this sounds like another dull Leona Lewis song.
Thankfully the ending is in sight, with 2am. Again the trance synths are back. Britney-isms are back, but to its credit, it does have a nice bass line and beat – helping to at least make it feel catchy and pacey, despite the whiney vocals. The chorus almost echoes Diana Ross and The Supremes‘ classic hit Baby Love.
At this point, I can imagine the record producers waking up, giving a thumbs up through the studio glass wall, and shouting ‘that’s great girls. now it’s home time’, and then turning to press stop on the keyboard demo.
Over all, it’s highly manufactured and bland. A little bit like a Bananarama record, I’m completely stuck at knowing which one is singing at any given time, but just occasionally there are some really nice vocals amongst the songs.
However, we’re definitely in X Factor territory, and sadly that’s means a female vocal style that’s so careful not to stray from a formulaic style.
The artwork is nice.
Where are The Saturdays now?
I can quite understand why this album swiftly fell out of the charts, and their mini album Headlines! soon followed, displacing it on iTunes. Third album On Your Radar arrived in 2011, and the group embarked on their first tour.
They released their first Finest Selection: The Greatest Hits album in 2014, again going on tour.
The five-some have had a varied continued career – including television presenting, and one, Vanessa White is also due to embark on a solo career.
POP RESCUE RATING
- POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 1 / 5
- 2009 UK CHART POSITION: #9
- POP RESCUE COST: £2.99 from a British Heart Foundation store.