All done playing with Dolls
TRANSFORMING group success into a solo career must not be as easy as it looks.
That’s the challenge for Nicole Scherzinger, former leader of burlesque pop act The Pussycat Dolls. To get to this point, it’s been a rocky road.
A few years ago she wrote a solo album, but the singles flopped and the record was shelved. Some of the music eventually became a band project. But now she’s having another crack at it.
The album flits between lyrical themes of sex and love. Musically, there’s a familiar mix of one-third ballads and two-thirds club bangers.
Poison opens with a heavy synth riff, a solid club thump and squiggling electronic textures. It’s a bad-girl empowerment anthem that would stand up against most of her past work.
Killer Love follows a similar musical structure, hard hitting but pop friendly. Lots of bedroom eyes happening in the lyrics. It sounds like a hit single, ready and waiting.
The pace slows for a couple of modern ballads Don’t Hold Your Breath and Right There. Don’t Hold Your Breath is a kissoff to a former lover, perfectly showcasing a different side of her vocal abilities – sweet and delicate.
R’n’B tune Right There surprises with an almost reggae vocal delivery from Scherzinger and a tidy cameo by rap star 50 Cent talking some freaky business.
Piano ballad You Will Be Loved has a gag-worthy bit of yodelling going on. Who’s idea was that? Awful. It ruins an otherwise nice tune.
Wet is a return to the album’s opening one-two punch, dark, sweaty, energetic club music. Scherzinger turns up the raunchy levels to 11. It’s easily one of the album’s strongest songs.
Has this topped the charts yet? Bet big bucks that it will.
Club Banger Nation does exactly what it says on the tin – tight rhythms, big bass, massive attitude. A party starter.
Easily the biggest shock of the album is the down-tempo duet with Sting, Power’s Out. They have great chemistry and play off each others vocals nicely.
Hitmakers The-Dream and Tricky Stewart gave the duo a beautiful backdrop to weave their magic over. A surprise highlight.
Looking back at The Pussycat Dolls, it was always the Scherzinger show. Her bandmates were glorified back-up dancers/ singers who looked good in Latex skirts and towering heels.
Maybe Scherzinger should follow Billy Corgan’s lead and reclaim the old band name as her own. She was always the Dolls’ drawcard.
NICOLE SCHERZINGER Killer Love
★ ★ ★