The Saturdays

Wordshaker

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The Saturdays have actually made it to a second full-length record, a trying task for many budding pop groups. This is even more true for an all-girl group, whose first album, Chasing Lights, directly competed for radio airplay against the towering success of Girls Aloud and the Sugababes. Even so, the frothy electro-pop sounds that adorned the Saturdays' first album managed to keep them on the radio for a solid year, giving listeners four Top Ten singles in just one year: "If This Is Love," "Up," "Issues," and "Just Can't Get Enough." Chasing Lights perfected the generic pop-dance record, and made the Saturdays genuinely competitive in the current music market. Their follow-up record, Wordshaker, does much of the same, combining aggressive basslines and vocals that are a pinch of prowess and two cups of liquid shimmer, and the content is still strong. The constant pop grind running through the album is all rise, and it's no surprise that the ladies' best records are the glossiest and most geared for the club floors. Their follow-up album is full of bite-back dance songs with equally compelling content; "Ego" is lethal for its hook and lyrics, which chop down a man to his proper size, and "Wordshaker" has a truly deadly beat that suggests that these girls aren't too happy with their man's "lies." Not to mention, the catchiness of "Open Up," "Lose Control," or "Not Good Enough" can't be denied; the latter is the kind of midtempo smash pop artists only dream of recording. However, the album's other tracks just lack the necessary originality; the lead single "Forever Is Over" and "One Shot" seem too Americanized, drawing influence from producers like Timbaland or Darkchild to create pop/rock hooks that just dull the sparkle of this band. Not to mention, the album's speckling of ballads seems to slow the album's process -- which is surprising, because Chasing Lights' slowest numbers were as compelling as the dance tracks -- and often feel like second-rate versions of what the girls have already recorded ("Here Standing" could be interchanged for "Why Me Why Now," same for "Denial" and "Lies"). The only slow track on the album that stands out is "Deeper," which was actually co-written by each member of the group, and is the first vague sign of creative independence from these ladies. Ultimately, this sophomore sampling does a brilliant job of keeping this pop group afloat as pop singers, but it doesn't do enough to make them definitive, which was the Saturdays' biggest challenge going into this record. Even so, the Saturdays have still given us at least four radio singles that should match the success of their debut record, and that seems to be their goal for the time being.

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