Saturday, August 31, 2013

7 REASONS WHY: You Should Be Excited for a Danity Kane Comeback

Danity Kane 2013: (left to right) Dawn Richard, Aubrey O'Day, Shannon Bex, and Aundrea Fimbres.
A lot more happened at this year's Video Music Awards than just the *NSYNC reunion (oh, and that Miley scandal). During the pre-show, four of the five members of Danity Kane confirmed what has been hinted at for a few months now -- that they are reuniting (sans D.Woods). Media coverage has been largely positive and if you were a fan of the fierce fivesome (the big hair! the outfits! the choreography!), as I was, I'm sure you're already celebrating. But for those of you who are unsure as to why we should get ready to let our Stan Flags fly, let me break it down for you. Here are seven reasons why you should get excited...

01. America Needs a (Grown) Girl Group
Let's face it. It's been a long time since an American girl group has been kicking ass and taking names in the music scene, basically since Diddy Danity Kane left us high and dry following two consecutive #1 albums (a feat yet to be repeated by an American girl group). Since the original cracks started to show in 2008, the majority of my attention was turned to girl groups from the UK (Girls Aloud, The Saturdays, etc. etc.) and Korea (2NE1, Brown Eyed Girls, KARA, Girls' Generation, etc. etc.). The American girl group is starting to gain traction again with the teen interest and success of boy bands, and DK will have a strong competitor this go around in Fifth Harmony. That being said -- Danity Kane was always broadcast to an older audience. Their debut single, "Show Stopper," was all about the strong female swag (before swag was swag, in the mainstream anyway) and sex appeal. Album cuts like "Sucka For Love", "2 Of You" and "One Shot" are mainstream friendly but definitely not teen idol material. It'll be fun to see some grown girls back in the game, especially for the chicks like me who are now in their 20's for DK's second go around.

02. Johnny Wright is Back at the Helm
Johnny is the man when it comes to pop groups. To be fair, some flopped miserably and remain only in our memories (Triple Image, anyone? What about One Call?). But his successes outshine his losses -- Backstreet Boys, the aforementioned *NSYNC/Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, the Jonas Brothers and Janet Jackson to name only a few. Johnny's management skills remain a touchstone of the boy and girl groups of the 90's/00's hay-day, so it bodes well that he is returning to the DK camp.
03. Mature Ballad "Ride For You" Was Criminally Underrated
A lot of people tossed DK off as an MTV novelty act in the beginning, myself included. "Ride For You" changed that opinion. It was written and produced by Bryan Michael Cox, a decorated Grammy nominee, prominent producer of the time period (see Mariah's "Shake It Off") and named by Billboard as one of the Top Producers of the 00's Decade. Rather than focus on the negative, "Ride For You" has a decidedly positive, let's-get-through-this message akin to En Vogue's "Don't Let Go (Love)" and let's the group's harmony (also grossly underrated) take center stage. Unfortunately for the ladies, it peaked in the Hot 100's lower echelons, despite being hugely popular within the fandom. Nearly seven years after its release, the song still sounds as beautiful as ever. More of this, please.

04. Stereotypes Produced the New Single
It's pretty poignant that the Stereotypes production group crafted Danity Kane's upcoming reunion single in "Rage" -- because they are responsible for the group's biggest hit in "Damaged," a killer pop song to its core that felt fresh and decidedly not cheesy (same can't be said for the video, but oh well). The robotic "Damaged" has a unrelenting, urban-influenced beat mixed with peppered in group harmony that made the song so memorable. It was also the song that broke the Stereotypes into the mainstream. Since then, their hit list has expanded to include a partnership with Far East Movement and, near and dear to my heart, Travis Garland.

05. Aundrea Fimbre's Vocal Prowess
If you watched the original Making The Band series to feature the future members of Danity Kane, odds are you were stuck on cutiepie Aundrea. She was sweet, endearing and most importantly, had serious, serious pipes (check her acapella rendition of Brian McKnight's "Never Felt This Way" from the show, although the camera-at-the-television YouTube video doesn't do her justice). While the rest of the members went their separate solo ways beginning in 2008, the noise from Aundrea was remarkably silent -- and that was upsetting, especially considering she was largely considered to be DK's lead singer and Vocal VIP. Case in point, her bridge in "Hold Me Down".

06. Dawn Richard's Creativity
Of all of the post-DK solo careers, there is no question that Dawn Richard's was the most artistic and the most exciting. Lest we forget, she was responsible for the inception of the DK name itself, after all. Dawn proved early on in the process she was creative force to be reckoned with. Of the five original members, Dawn contributed the most writing to the group brand, including one of their catalog's best in my opinion -- "Lights Out". Her solo exploits, including the fabulous Goldenheart right on through to her most recent releases in singles "Judith" and "Valkyrie" (now with remix featuring JoJo!), are proof positive that whether she's in Danity Kane or on her own, Dawn is an artist to watch. 

07. Diddy Does Not Appear To Be Involved
Diddy deserves credit where credit is due -- the training boot camp, the selection of producers and writers, and above all else, the choice of group members itself. He created a girl group that looked like America -- two black girls, two white girls and a latina, with personalities that equally covered the spectrum. The Danity Kane sound offered mass appeal but still played into the Bad Boy pocket. But as is the case with most Diddy-related projects, he himself had to be all over it (Dream also fell victim to this before them). In "Damaged" alone, his appearance serves no real purpose other than to wax poetic and disrupt the flow as the song come to a conclusion. The television series, especially towards the end of its run, vindicated the rumors of his creative dictatorship -- the main complaint echoed by all of the clearly unhappy members back in 2008. His public "firing" of Aubrey and D.Woods only exacerbated fans angry feelings at the bottlenecked DK project. Now that he is no longer involved (that we can tell, anyway), we will finally see how thing fly with Danity Kane minus the Bad Boy baggage.

1 comment:

John said...

This, this, THIS! ABSOLUTELY THIS. Sorry. And thank you for verbalizing what I've thought about Aundrea for years. The irony is that Fifth Harmony has several Aundreas vocally, but I think Danity's combo of style AND substance may work in their favor.

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