Welcome to the Dollhouse (Opening) – Yeah, I saw that coming. The spin of a key, the music box playing, and the omnipresent Diddy announcing the return of Danity Kane. No surprises here.
Bad Girl (ft. Missy Elliot) – We already got the clip of this song, but hearing it in full only adds to its craft. Dark synths tripping on top of a nice, chugging beat. And don’t forget those vocal stutters! The surprise here was the collaboration with Missy, which seems to set the hottest songs on pure fire. Best line:”I–I can be your addiction / If you want to get hooked on me.”
Damaged – Such an addictive song. “Do–do you, got a first aid kit handy? / Do–do you know how to patch up a wall?” With all this talk about addiction and brokenness, I’m beginning to wonder if Danity’s preparing a concept album about the trials and tribulations of the medical industry. Whoops, sounds like an obnoxious Puffy interjection in the final bars of the track. He’s like a dog marking his territory, I swear to God.
Pretty Boy – It still comes off like a Janet Jackson album track, which isn’t exactly a criticism. There’s nothing too special about the sound, however. The girls float above a ’90’s-centric scrambled synth beat with plenty of scratching. It’s a fair dance track however, and I doubt that it would be ignored on the dancefloors.
Strip Tease – It comes out like Justin Timberlake producing a modern cabaret filled with beat-boxing, an orchestral swell, and a crucial sting of electro in between the chorus lines. As I’ve said before, it’s “Buttons” with a (second) slap on the ass.
Sucka For Love – Nice, disjointed slider of a song, playing with the tempo and never settling upon a speed for too long. It’s not all that far from Annie’s “Fool For Love”, though it’s probably the title playing with my mind.
Secret Place (Interlude) – They’ve got a secret place. The title could write the song itself. WE GET IT. You’re inviting us all to your respective vaginas. I’ll take a rain check, thanks. Features some surprisingly ranged vocals hanging out all over the place, considering it’s just an interlude.
Extasy – Uh ohhhh. It’s one of those beats. Glossed trip-hop after the rapper’s introduction. Sounds like every Mariah Carey song released in the past three years interlaced with a superior backing track. The song brings Kylie‘s bonus track “Slo Motion” to mind.
2 Of You – That came out of nowhere! This is—this is–this sounds like a Girls Aloud track! Even the lyrics adhere to the Girls Aloud Golden Rule of Nonsensicalness: “Boy, you’re so hot / There must be two of you / Boy, you got me having breakfast in the afternoon”. The beat is disappointingly minimal, compared to what could have been. I am always one for handclaps, but I consider them to be the ultimate accessory, not the main course! This song demands and deserves a driving guitar riff, or even some more synthesizers. The sign off is brilliant, as well. What a kiss-off track!
Lights Out – This one’s relentless! Sounds like Nelly Furtado‘s “Maneater”-lite, with tons of vocal play. It’s great fun to hear the “Turn off the lights / And see if you can get into my dark side” This song is obviously about anal sex.
Picture This (Interlude) – Vocals about emotions. Serves as an optional come down from “Lights Out”. Skip.
Poetry – Ah, yes. Heard this one too. A nice power ballad that wouldn’t perform too poorly on the stage of this year’s Eurovision. It’s all nice and flowy, and probably sounds nicer in HQ. Required “Ladies Represent” portion of the song begins at the 4:00 mark for all interested parties.
Key To My Heart – Oh, Aubrey, why you so metaphorical? The song’s a bit literal…they’re looking for the lost key to their hearts. I’m not sure what the goal is here, because I can distinctly hear the wannabe-stomping beat in the chorus, but the verses are distinctly trip-hop-pop only. This is a skipper.
Flashback (Interlude) – Well constructed backing track, a very industrial, clunking rhythm. The song was probably once a full track that was considered too weak, and probably so.
Is Anybody Listening? – Another mid-tempo shiner. Probably the most mellow track on the album, with a lovely ambient composition. The girls ask, perhaps ironically, if anybody’s listening throughout the track. This move would be career suicide if the album’s lead-off tracks weren’t so hot. Thankfully, somebody’s going to be listening, girls.
So, that was the new Danity Kane, and I’m shocked at how quickly I lost myself into the album. Considering the loud buzz of breakup rumors last year, I’m more than impressed to hear how well they’ve managed to bring their sound to the next level. Their vocals are certainly on point throughout the album, and more cohesive than the first release, though there were no stand out moments here either. Not that it’s a problem with girl group tracks…we wouldn’t want anyone getting all the shining bits of a song every time, now would we?
As a whole, the album tracks share a warm, glossy retro-synth sound and tempo-challenging construction, allowing the album to flow well and keep the booty swaying with confidence.
For a limited time, I’m offering the entire album, thanks to a web-rip from BMK Forums.