Want It? You Bet I Do: A Fanboy's Latest Obsession

Jan 1, 2007 (Updated Jan 2, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:most entertaining record of 2006, lyricism is stronger than anticipated, first half of CD, Aundrea

Cons:end of CD isn't balanced, a few duds, don't hear from some girls that often

The Bottom Line: Aundrea, Aubrey, D.Woods, Shannon and Dawn fuse together to form....DANITY KANE.

“He picked my band. He…he picked my band.”

I couldn’t believe it. I mean, these reality shows never turn out in my favor, at least with the eventual winners (I’m looking at you, America’s Next Top Model), so I was truly expecting there to be at least one or two bad apples. But...he picked my band. All five members. All five. That’s all I could say after watching the selection on top of the MTV building in Times Square. I had hated past incarnations of the series but I’ll be damned if he finally did something right.

Oh, you must be wondering what I’m talking about. Danity Kane is the product of Making the Band 3, helmed by Sean “Diddy” Combs, who strung fans of the show along for multiple seasons, all in search of an illusive girl group to take over the world. Or at least grab what fans TLC and Destiny’s Child had before their eventual demises. After O-Town and Da Band both weren’t worth the time, cost and embarrassment endured, I didn’t expect much out of the third edition, even after it was announced that Diddy would be searching for a girl group. From the very first episode of the very first season, I was hooked, to say the least, culminating in the orgasmic jot that was the second season finale. Oh, and there was a third season about some album or something.

After heaving scoured multiple music stores for several months, I was finally about to snag a copy of this record. The first thing I noticed was how superb the ballads were, which is unusual for anything Diddy or Bad Boy Records has a hand in. Produced by 2006 MVP Timbaland (seriously, did this man do anything wrong in the past twelve months?) Right Now is just sex on a stick but done in a very exotic, tender manner. Over a bed of hushed production, tribal-ish thumping drums and light keyboards, this slow winding slow jam may be a bit heavy on the faux orgasms but is just as heavy on quality vocals and intensity. Second single Ride for You gets my vote for song of the album. While it’s not exactly groundbreaking material (a piano-laced “thug ballad” that’s a result of We Belong Together’s domination a few short years ago), it’s undeniably beautiful. Bryan-Michael Cox gives the girls an understated, sparkling track to sing on, which best suits Aundrea, resident lead vocalist whose heart is as big as her (oh-so-fabulous) hair. The harmonies are top notch while the ending ad libbing seals the deal. One of the very few songs on here not featured in the show, Stay with Me is a heartbreaking listen, the altogether glum and painfully yearning vibe very affecting. It’s one of the more adult listens, plenty of emotions coming through the pensive verses. It’s a worthy listen, if just for the flat out gorgeous climax. Think Ride for You with darker influences and a lot more pessimism.

Another thing I noticed was the uptempos at the beginning of the record, all three very high quality, especially for a debut. The theme song to their series, One Shot may very well be the most infectious listen on here, thundering claptrack and slightly silly siren included. It’s pure attitude, lots of fun and a good synopsis on who Danity Kane is, as a group. Heartbreaker sexifies things a bit by way of a quality production from Jim Jonsin. With a stuttering guitar riff (a’la Like I Love You) and delightfully cocky vocals, its an entertaining track with cleverness hidden underneath. Currently the ringtone on my phone, the fantastically catty Want It (which is in a similar vein to the previous track) happens to be one of those songs you can hear and can’t help but move. While the lyrics may read a bit too ghetto for the group (a common problem throughout the record), everything’s very tongue-in-cheek and done with a wink.

Capitalizing on one of the more polarizing trends happening in urban music (“snap” music—think Lean With It, Rock With It or Do It To It), lead single and future strip club anthem Show Stopper definitely whet my appetite for the record, a hip hop-leaning winder with an anthemic hook. With more distinctive vocals and a slinkier vibe, its sexiness doesn’t overpower it, it enhances the entire atmosphere. While others seem to disagree with me (or am I disagreeing with them?), I do enjoy Hold Me Down, a Rodney Jerkins produced uptempo. There are a few vocal oddities on here, admittedly (his arrangement apparently didn’t take all five group members into account, let’s say), but it all gets made up for with that pounding bassline and feel good hook. Heavily featured on the show, bonus track Sleep On It is a song that I know I shouldn’t like as a reviewer (it’s a little undercooked) but one that I love as a fan. Actually featuring decent vocals from all five girls on this Scott Storch-produced bouncer is a highlight in and of itself while the hook will stick to your ribs, the southernness of the production sticking out.

They absolutely ruined Touchin’ My Body on the transition from the show to the record. With horribly distorted vocals and a much too busy arrangement (listen to it and count the number of elements and beats per minute with me, will you?), it is just too messy for comprehension. Some tempo problems occur while I wonder who thought it was a good idea to put echo on the background vocals. Back Up doesn’t work as well on the record, either, but it’s still a listenable track. This sassy little TLC-type teaser (read the lyrics) with the explosive percussion and preening production is good but nothing memorable, nothing that will distance the group from everyone else in pop music. Speaking of nothing memorable, here we have Ooh Ahh and Press Pause, two tracks that serve no real purpose. The first is a much cleaner than expected, relatively catchy glider with a spunk lyric; it suffers from severe overproduction and the fact that it sounds more like an interlude than the interlude that precedes it. It is followed by perhaps the most perplexing listen on the record. With dashes of glittering production elements, golden acoustics (that sound like a harp) and whistling synths, it’s a song that you won’t really know what to do with. Honestly, the interludes before and after these songs are better and more worth your time.

So, I really do enjoy this record. It’s a solid blast of spunky hip pop with a little soul mixed in. While it seems the producers are trying their best to give them the densest, most hard-to-hear-them tracks, the girls do manage to overcome it. Their vocal talent and chemistry may be questioned more often than not, but I feel that, with time, they will grow into a true vocal group. Fans of the show will be able to relive some memories through this record, as nearly every song was featuring on it, in some way or another. However, one thing remains. They’re ten times better than O-Town and Da Band.

Great Music To Play While: begging MTV to show a marathon of all three seasons

Pay Attention To: Ride for You, Stay with Me, Right Now

Drift Away To: Touchin' My Body, Back Up, Press Pause

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