The Saturdays have gradually become the laughing stock of pop, a baby-making conveyor belt with all personality dissolved in a series of EDM bangers. They lack the tunes of Girls Aloud or the zany character of the Spice Girls. They may have begun their career with a colour scheme and funky haircuts, but this soon became identikit hair extensions and electronic beige.
That said, ‘Finest Selection’ proves that they’ve had a pretty decent time of it since their debut album ‘Chasing Lights’ in 2008, with just as many hits as misses. Their best work hasn’t always translated into chart success however, the twenty tracks collected here juxtaposing for instance 2013’s terrible What About Us (their second number one) with some under-appreciated gems such as their debut single If This Is Love, Work (one of their best tracks that criminally under-performed in the charts) and impassioned ballad My Heart Takes Over.
There are some huge pop tracks here, from the Flo Rida featuring Higher, to the massive chorus of Ego, the fizzing Up, the club-pop of All Fired Up (“keep me on your raduh”) and recent single Not Giving Up. In close proximity, though, many of the uptempo EDM tracks bleed into one another (Notorious and 30 Days included). Even the best of the best can sound forgettable.
It’s for this reason it’s such a shame that some of the more recent, personality-filled tracks failed to reignite their career. Yes I’m looking at the weird and wonderful Gentleman (“I let you taste my rainbow, you could at least be faithful”) that’s almost so bad it’s good, and the 80s pop of Disco Love. They prove that the girls are far better than the EDM fodder they mostly served. In retrospect, the more stripped back tracks rank highly in their oeuvre, namely the soaring Forever Is Over and the excellent Missing You (their best track, no question).
Indeed, looking back their best period was undoubtedly the ‘Headlines’ album of 2010, with its string of hits: Missing You, Ego, Higher and Forever Is Over. ‘Chasing Lights’ may have been a strong debut, but let’s forget the twee Issues. And the less said about Just Can’t Get Enough the better, here included as a final, token effort.
‘Finest Selection’ does include a couple of new tracks, which fit neatly into their current EDM mould: What Are You Waiting For?, the clichéd 808 and the bland piano-led Walking Through The Desert (the end of their career?). The album would lose nothing if they’d been omitted.
So what’s next for the girls? Family life, more babies and, for Frankie, a slot in the next series of Strictly. The Saturdays are unlikely to have cultivated any solo careers (in music at least) but they’ve spawned some decent pop over the years. This is the only album you’ll need.
* Forever Is Over
* Disco Love
* Missing You
Listen: ‘Finest Selection’ is available now.