All done play­ing with Dolls

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

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

★ ★ ★

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