Man, Rachel Stevens got a raw deal. Rachel was, unfortunately for her, a member of instaforgettable pop outfit S Club 7 who had all of one decent song ("Don't Stop Moving") and even that was only good for about two weeks. She eventually went on to a solo career that, criminally, didn't seem to go anywhere. She had a few sit singles in the UK and around Europe but her albums flopped and she seems to have disappeared.
I know "pop" is seemingly a dirty word when it comes to music, but some of the freshest and exciting music around is just that. I mean, how many depressed guitar players do we need, really? How many identical emo bands do we need? How many lame "crunk" artists do we need regurgitating the same tuneless dirge? Sure, we could use a few less of the nondescript pop acts, but pop music is weird in that certain acts will, somehow, flourish, when others who are making great songs will flounder. Rachel Stevens is one of the latter.
It's very rare that an artist gets not one, not two, but three downright brilliant pop treasures under their belt in such a short amount of time. All three of which would probably easily rank amongst the very very best pop tracks of the decade and that all sound like they were made in 2014, not 2004. Amazing. "Some Girls", "I Said Never Again (But Here We Are) and "So Good" are all grade A dance pop. Songs like "Crazy Boys", "Negotiate With Love", "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex" and several album tracks are just a smidge from grade A territory. How can anyone not fall for the irresistable "Hey!" moments or the deep-bass chants in "So Good"? I can understand if pop music isn't your scene, but it really frustrates me with people just dismiss this music because it's bright and bubbly and sung by a pretty woman yet they seemingly accept every depressing guy with a guitar (who probably doesn't even brush his hair, thank you John Mayer) and songs about how horrible it is to live. Yawn.
It's sad. Her Come and Get It album is a pop delight. Sure, it had a bit too much filler and it wasn't as good as, say, Chemistry by Girls Aloud, but it deserved to sell more than 18,000 copies or whatever miniscule amount it sold in the UK. That cover sleeve for "Some Girls" (left) is sort of one of the most amazing things ever, too.
So, please have a listen, they're ridiculously catchy. I know so many Americans are frightened of this sort of music (surely there are people there who like to go out clubbing and dance to, ya know, dance music?) but maybe you'll like it. Of course, if you like this then there's plenty of stuff you're missing out on. Europe and the UK are a treasure trove of upbeat musical bliss. At least people like Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse are finally cracking the big leagues in the US.
Her videos are sort of nifty too. The "Some Girls" one is delightfully crazy. The "I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)" clip is funny purely because it's the set of Bad Girls and I don't think they had a "back door". "So Good" is bland, but has some decent choreography. "Negotiate with Love" has six Rachel's destroying an ex's apartment and playing scrabble with cushions or some such.
Unfortunately there's no video for "Crazy Boys" even though it's totally amazing also.