Do you think the Pussycat Dolls thought they’d lost touch with their gay audience?
(watch it ALL the way through)
Pussycat Dolls: MEN Arena
29 January 2009
If there’s one thing you’d expect from a Pussycat Dolls concert it’s a performance to put most acts to shame. With their burlesque background, these five women should be able to fill a stage and excite. So what went so wrong at their Manchester ‘Doll Domination’ date that meant solo support acts Lady Gaga and Ne-Yo utterly stole the show?
Arriving astride shimmering motorbikes, Nicole and her gang took to the stage suitably attired in barely-there tartan outfits gyrating their way through much loved singles ‘Beep’ and ‘Buttons’. With furious routines, we can forgive them for lip synching but when it came to should-have-been #1 ‘I Hate This Part’ we expected a little more. That is, of course, until it burst into a hilariously over the top hi-NRG remix – a strangely fascinating tactic later employed again on the similarly slushy ‘Stickwitu’. When the mics were on there were mixed results with only Nicole managed to sounded perfect on the powerful ‘Halo’. Plus whoever thought that a segment of each member performing solo tracks was a good idea needs to be removed immediately from the world of pop.
This wasn’t the only mistake. A dull video backdrop and ungainly stairs left the stage feeling empty and flat. Despite regular disappearances, costume changes were far and few between, and save for a raunchy routine to a sultry cover of ‘I Will Survive’, the girls naughty spirit that gave them their edge seemed confined to a sequined top.
Only when the encore of ‘Dont’cha’ mixed gleefully into Robin S’s Show Me Love’ and recent single ‘When I Grow Up’ arrived, did the dolls finally seem to perform with the zest and charm we expected. Disappointing, but perhaps only because we know they can do so much better.
(Originally published at Orange, written in a nice fashion rather than my actual horrified beliefs – at one point I went to the toilet and walked back the long way just to kill some time)
For a group of dancers, turned singers, the first Pussycat Doll album had a surprising number of workable singles on it. Now back to prove it wasn’t a one-off, ‘Doll Domination’ reads like a who’s who’s of urban pop. Darkchild, Cee-Lo, Lady Gaga and Missy Elliot are just some of the impressive names that have worked on this album.
Surprisingly it’s the midtempo songs that seem to stand out. There are of course some dancefloor stompers that shine with Snoop Dogg popping up on the vocoder heavy ‘Bottle Pop’ and New Kids on the Block (!!) going space electro with them on ‘Lights Camera Action’. Unsurprisingly nothing can compete with Timbaland’s trademark clean beats and he steals the show with the hypnotic, Middle Eastern vibes of ‘Magic’.
Proving that he can do the ballads just as well, old Timba has also conjured up gorgeous 2nd single “I Hate This Part”. Bizarrely “inspired by Sting”, according to Nicole, it’s melancholic piano is haunting. Similarly ‘Hush Hush’ produced by label boss Ron Fair is an epic ballad promoting the Dolls as strong women who “never asked for help” from their men. Unnecessarily long with 18 tracks on the album, there must be some duffers and this falls mainly down to a disappointing R Kelly duet on the dull “Out of this Club”.
Closing with a cover of “Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps” as a nod to their cabaret past, Doll Domination is a surprising listen. Who ever could have dreamed they would end up being queen of the ballads?