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LABEL: A&M Records RELEASE DATE: September 15, 2005 GENRE: Pop
// review by Jeff

A lot of meow, a little bit of rowr.

I'm very much aware that the Pussycat Dolls are a fabricated product. They didn't get together in Nicole Scherzinger's garage back in 9th grade and create mediocre jams on various instruments while wishing they could "hit the big time"... and also that they could afford an amplifier. There was very little struggle involved when making a record deal, for it is clear that many gimmicks are easy to sell to record companies. And I suppose nobody could possibly deny the charms of six girls in tight clingy shorts who claimed they could be a musical group. So here we are, at the present time, with a burlesque-group-turned-singing-sensation called the Pussycat Dolls, offering a record that tells about the trials of dealing with men (or, in some cases, how they probably could live without them). It is a deep, intimate collection of songs from the female point of view and... okay, that's a bunch of bullsh*t. It's actually just a bunch of women singing pop songs about how they wish they were doin' it right now, but not with the boyfriends they have at the moment.

We start off with the song that put these ladies on the radar: Don't Cha, featuring the unnecessary rapping antics of Busta Rhymes. This song attracted much attention to this musical group with chorus lines such as, "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me? Don't cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me?" Clearly, these girls are out to bash some guy's significant other, and I deem that unruly. Where's their decorum? I'll tell you where: not here. Of course, the video that went with this song was pretty...um...graphic, with many women dancing around in their skimpy outfits and jumping on trampolines and such. I remember the first time I heard this song. Didn't care for much then, and I don't care for it much now either; the song actually sounds a bit empty -- it needs more instruments to back it up. I didn't even know this was a cover of a failed 2004 song by Tori Alamaze until I did my research. Who's Tori Alamaze? Probably a woman. Moving on...

Beep snatches Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, who seems to be dipping his hand in a million different projects at once these days, and places him in the ring between a bunch of angry gals who are ticked off that guys are only looking at their [BEEP!]. At least this song is somewhat the voice of reason, since it's in bad taste to be staring at a girl's [BEEP!] when you should be talking to her and adoring her intelligence. Well, besides the violin samples in this song, there isn't anything special to be found here either. Of course, it also became a big hit with the youth of today, as expected. [BEEP!] that. But Will.i.am isn't the only famed producer to make an appearance -- Timbaland just happened to have a day off from messing up Nelly Furtado's folksy rhythm to drop some rhymes on this record. Wait A Minute is another man-woman argument between the guest rapper and the Pussycat Dolls. Hmmm. It's only mildly catchy, perhaps because Timbaland can sing...sort of. This is one of those tracks I just skip over though. Sorry, PCD. Please try again.

Now regardless of the horrific spelling error that appears in the title, Stickwitu is decent. Nah, it's even a little better than decent. Oh, heck, I'll sing this in the shower if no one is listening. Granted, it's pop-aganda, clear and true, but there's still inklings of sentimentality in this song. The softer vocals in the first half simply add to the atmosphere of this more calming slow song. It made a pretty good splash on the international music charts, and also in my heart. Awww. Yeah, it's one of the album's highlights (and also proof that a burlesque group turned chanteuses can create something good). It's followed by another one of my preferred tracks here -- Buttons! Yay? While the single version featured the superfluous influence of Snoop Dogg, this song is clean of any rapping. Instead, it's pure sexy adventuring to a Banghra instrumental style, where I'm told frequently that I should be loosening up the buttons on the clothing of the Pussycat Dolls so that their special parts can be exposed. Yep, that pretty much covers both the song and my Saturday afternoons. It's catchy enough to keep me hooked. It'll keep you hooked! *points at you, the reader*

But wait! Now it's unclear who's going to loosen up those buttons after all, since the Pussycat Dolls then make a proclamation: I Don't Need A Man! Well, who does? Erm... anyway, this is the final song in the trilogy that gets the most personal airplay in my CD player and such. Even though the message can be taken two ways (either in favour of female independence, or possibly in favor of getting rid of all men in favour of something less troublesome, like ferns), the song still manages to share a positive vibe, as well as a danceable vibe at the same time. The video is pretty interesting to look at as well -- the Pussycat Dolls are dancing, getting ready to go out, and we see cutie Jessica getting into her nightlife pants.

Next, there's Hot Stuff (I Want You Back) which borrows heavily from music by Donna Summer and former Bananarama banana Siobhan Fahey. With a sort of '80s neo-disco feel, this song is more of less a cover song, but actually feels kind of dry compared to previous tracks. There's certainly no shortage of melodic breathing though. We then take a trip down to a little French café, where you might hear a song along the same line as How Many Times, How Many Lies being played over the old victrola in the corner. A very downtempo, subdued song, its aim is different than the upbeat nature of songs closer to the beginning of the album. Instead, we're treated to a melodramatic song which could serve more as a laidback affair. Of course, we never actually find out how many times lies are told, but I think it's safe to assume that, based on the take-no-crap attitude of the Pussycat Dolls, the most recent one will soon be the last. Yeah, that was ranting for no reason.

And from the café to the army training grounds, we have a slightly more drum-oriented song in Bite The Dust. No, this isn't a direct cover of "Another One Bites The Dust", although the line, "Another girl bites the dust," is mentioned many times. This song seems to be the Pussycat Dolls comparing themselves to other girls who are trying to steal their boyfriends; if those bad ladies try to make a move, the PCD Crew will come and get serious! Fur will fly! Arms will flail! I'll probably look for that video on YouTube! Oh... the song is interesting and empowering for ladies. Not empowering for me though. This song is followed by Right Now, a cover of the 1983 song of the same name by The Creatures. It sounds like it belongs in a Broadway musical, or at least as a live song in their stage show. It's a little out of place here, though, but it's short -- two and a half minutes is good enough.

Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go takes the old mashup by Soft Cell and updates it a good couple of decades' worth. Considering all the covers of "Tainted Love" that are already out there, nothing makes this one stand out, except that it was recorded by the Pussycat Dolls! It's cheesy fare, but hey, there are worse songs to cover. Then the album closes with Feelin' Good, a very slow, low-key little number that's been covered over a dozen times, and is included here for our listening pleasure. If you like lounge songs, you'll like this one for sure, as it's a classy outro. It doesn't really connect with me, but if I had to declare whether this song was a good lounger or not, I'd say it is.

There's a strong mix of standard pop fare, funky grooves, and enough covers to keep the nostalgic listeners happy and running in joy circles. I know this is a commercial gimmick of a group, I just know it, but there's probably enough listenable material on this disc to justify the/a price tag. It's pop for thought, and that's the bottom line. If you're looking for depth though, you'd be better off doing a 180 and just walking away.

By the way, there's only six of them.


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