Friday, June 05, 2009

Rockin' Debuts [A Retrospective] (Part Dos)

The Intro:
It's been awhile since I've done a completely arbitrary and totally opinionated (sort of) chart countdown on this blog, and with all of the potential buzzing right now by new artists with their debut singles, I figured I would take a look back at the best of the debut singles of artists in recent memory, in six painless installments (so keep an eye out). Take a look and reminisce. Part 1 is here.

#13. JoJo "Leave (Get Out)" (2004)
Watch the music video here.

It's almost hard to believe that its already been five years since lil Miss Joanna Levesque, better known to the world at large as JoJo, broke onto the scene. Back in '03, the then 12 year old JoJo was signed to Blackground Records, which is also home to the incredible (and equally young) Aaliyah. JoJo was being heralded as the 2nd coming of the aforementioned R&B goddess, and people started to believe that title when this little R&Pop jem hit the airwaves the following year.

JoJo's self-titled debut came out later that year and sold over a million copies in the United States alone. Despite the album's strength, only this and its followup, "Baby, It's You", featuring Bow Wow, saw interest at radio. Her followup album, The High Road, was released in late 2006 on the back of "Too Little, Too Late", a track that would become a hit to equal and surpass her debut, that some critics ridiculed as "Leave, Part 2".

Whatever you're feelings about JoJo, her talent and eagerness to be percieved as a real artist just cannot be denied. I first heard JoJo's voice back in late 2003 when I was a very active member of a music promotion website that sent me clips of new music to review. I had no idea who the singer was, as they sent the clips without artist or track names to not foster bias. I did know she would become something huge -- I could feel it in the goosebumps I got when I heard "Leave". She's since gone on to sell over 3.5 million albums worldwide. So here's to JoJo and her commitment to making quality pop. We're waiting for album #3, girl.

#12. Girls Aloud "Sound of the Underground" (2002)
Watch the music video here.

If JoJo accomplished a staggering amount in a short time, the five women of Girls Aloud are literal miracle workers. While it's hard to judge their popularity on a world scale, as their music has only been released to a smattering of countries (and the UK should really learn to share!), it cannot be countered that the ladies GA have proved they are much more than just a group of young women slapped together via a reality television contest back in 2002.

However, that is exactly what they originally were, thanks to a program entitled "Popstars: The Rivals". The band that became Girls Aloud faced off against an all male "equivilant" titled One True Voice. But when it came down to the wire, the girls debut single, the first in a long line of Xenomania classics called "Sound of the Underground", won the contest hands down, and a new pop revolution was born as the song topped the British charts for a month.

Since then, the girls have released a staggering five albums (plus a 'Greatest Hits' package) between 2002 and 2009, gained three more #1's and until their most recent single, "Untouchable", stumbled at the UK charts, the girls had an incomparable run of twenty consecutive top 10 singles. They have become the measuring stick that all good girl groups (not just from the UK but worldwide) strive to be, and have managed to gain legions of fans in countries where a single dollar of promotion has never been spent.

#11. Sugababes - Overload (2000)
Watch the music video here.

While Britian's other big girl group, the Sugababes, often find themselves consistently compared to Girls Aloud, it is a comparison I find someone ill founded, as at their core -- the two groups' sounds are starkly different. Nearly four years before Girls Aloud was a sparkle in anyone's eyes, Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Siobhan Donaghy joined forces to become what would become (complete with two lineup changes) Britain's "most successful girl group of the 21st century".

"Overload" is one of the handful of early singles that featured the group it it's original lineup before Donaghy left the group in 2001. She was replaced by Heidi Range, who had ties in yet another British girl group, Atomic Kitten, and the group began to see critical success with their sophomore album, Angels with Dirty Faces. Another lineup change would come in 2005, with the addition of Amelle Berrabah taking the place of Buena. However, the group, now with only one remaining original member (Buchanan), still thrives, and are working on their 7th album release due by the end of this year -- and there is every intention to finally release the the group worldwide, including to the United States for the first time ever. The first single, whose title is yet to be revealed, has already been picked and is due for radio adds shortly.

My love for Girls Aloud aside, I've been a Sugababes fan from the very start, and the progression of material since "Overload" is incredibly impressive. When the girls started, they were just 16 years old, and now -- they are delving deep into their 7th album, and have sold over five million records worldwide. I also feel that all of their albums, on the whole, are much more consistent than any other group that have lasted as long as they have. It is so strong in fact, that if you were to ask me for my favorite SB song, I just wouldn't be able to tell you, because it changes by the hour. But I will always have a special place in my heart for this stripped down vintage pop gem.


Ken said...

I have to admit that I really liked Sugababes when they first emerged into the music scene as a trio and since Mutya left i never had the will to check out their albums. I'm fascinated with Overload and I think the earlier years are much better than what they're offering now.

and yeah, the GA debut. One of the best debuts EVER.

Myfizzypop said...

i've always felt a bit snobby over acts that write their own music. I mean it just feels more 'right' for whatever reason to me. However, Girls Aloud really hit on a winning partnership early on with SOTU and it seemed right that they stick to that and not try to become writers themselves. I dreaded the day that would happen but kudos to them for knowing their strengths :)

Nikki said...

AHHHHHH! This post was all the amazing ones stuck together.

What I like so much about JoJo is that she has a heck of a lot of talent but she acts her age - you know she's not a twenty year-old. The material she puts out is so outstanding that even if it's been three years since her last album, I don't mind. I have a feeling her third album will be brilliant.

Girls Aloud really put The Pussycat Dolls to shame in my opinion. Enough said. I do love the Sugababes though, they're completely different from GA.

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