Thursday, July 09, 2009

Saturday B-Side Blues

Let it be said, my love for The Saturdays 'Chasing Lights' will never be denied.

Especially now in a post-"Untouchable"-and-'Catfights...' world, for a little while at the least The Saturdays always seemed like they could be Brit girlpop's new savior (so much so that a million new British girl groups came crawling out of the woodwork with material that sounds strikingly Saturday. We're looking at you, Girls Can't Catch). I will go on the record to say I would have prefered "Lies" or "Set Me Off" as a single rather than "Issues", but overall, all of the promotional choices The Satz have fulfilled have been rather exciting to me.

I know there is a large portion of The Saturdays fanbase who wait on pins and needles for b-side material, something I was never much interested in until The Satz were first introduced. In America, single releases are not nearly as big an event as they are in the UK (and the rest of the world, really), and the use of a b-side track has pretty much all but fallen to the wayside in popular music.

Still, after I first heard "If This Is Love", I began my long withdrawl for Satz material, and the leaked releases of "Set Me Off", "What Am I Gonna Do?" and, best of all, "Not Good Enough", were what fueled that fire as I waited (rather impatiently) for the full album. "Crashing Down" was a bit of a let down cover b-side to "Up", but the emergence of "Beggin'" as a b-side to "Issues" (which originally -- before hearing the cover -- I thought was an awful idea, releasing two ballads in one package) was as far opposite as possible. Their cover of the Four Seasons' classic has become my reigning favorite version of the song (with MadCon's cover coming in a close second), and is arguably my favorite Saturdays song, period, if not for the sole reason that it proves these chicks can sing.

"Golden Rules" (the b-side to "Just Can't Get Enough") was one of those songs that once again separated the fanbase down the middle. Some loved it, some just loathed it. I was somewhere in the middle, indifferent, and definitely hoping for something more like "Not Good Enough" (heck, or even "Not Good Enough" itself) as the b-side to "Work".

However, the b-side for "Work" has finally made itself known, and it will be known as "Unofficial." The name is appropriate, as I feel it feels like an 'unofficial' Saturdays track.

Just from the first 30 seconds, I got the b-side blues. The omnipresence of that drum back beat is beyond irritating, so much so that at first I thought I had started another song playing at the same time accidentally. It doesn't fit, and it is distracting from the girls vocals, which, it just has to be said, aren't really up to snuff in this track. At best, it sounds like a demo, turned in as the real deal.

"Unofficial" is one of those songs that sounds like the producer, in a lame attempt at sounding both trendy and original at the same time, throws everything possible into a track, without letting the song develop on its own. In this way, it reminds me a ridiculous amount of thePussycat Dolls' "bonus" track off 'Doll Domination', "Painted Windows" (despite coming from the usually amazing mindset of Rodney Jerkins), in its attempt to throw everything including the kitchen sink into the track. The lyrics alone aren't half bad, and the song would have been just fine thank you without the production hysteronics, and an arguably good balance to the frenetic electro that is "Work".

With that said -- it's not bad. It is The Saturdays, after all. It would take a huge debacle of a mess for me to not listen to it at all. But considering "Work" was one of my absolute favorites, I was hoping for so much more.

I try to tell myself that b-sides aren't supposed to be ridiculously epic, because if they were, they wouldn't be b-sides. But after such highs, it's sad to see a group with so much talent take the easy way out.

1 comment:

John said...

I actually REALLY like "Unofficial", and in the current UK climate, I think it could actually be a single in its own right. Or maybe I'm jonesin' just as hard for new Satz material as you are!

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