Sunday, September 28, 2008

Album Review: Pussycat Dolls - Doll Domination (3/5)

Three years after their fantastic debut and the Pussycat Dolls are back with their second album, Doll Domination, and the results are somewhat lackluster. Their last album, PCD, was a very good introduction, admittedly a tad messy because of its genre hopping--it had the fiery, flirtatious lead single "Dont Cha" the melodic ballad "Stickwitchu" but also incorporating elements of rock; the medley "Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go" and jazzy Broadway style numbers "Right Now" and "Feelin' Good," It was a scattered acquired album, but it was an enjoyable scattering.

Doll Domination, falls short on its diversity within its body of work. This time the dolls are more based around R&B and contemporary pop--not really exploring (or re-exploring) any new horizons, which is an okay thing--some of my favorite albums of the decade have been nothing more than joint R&B and pop efforts. There are a couple tracks on the album that are actually pretty good, but as an overall project just doesn't work.

The best track on the album is a song called "Happily Never After" produced R&B singer, Ne-Yo. It's a nice acoustic styled pop number, taking obvious influences from Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" or a more slower version of Chris Brown's "With You." Lead singer, Nicole Scherzinger sounds really good on here. The piano riffed, down tempo club number "Out of this Club" is pretty nice number, produced by R. Kelly. I espcially love its chorus ("let me take you out of this club I wanna be with you").

The hardlined, piano backed "I Hate This Part" is another fantastic, more serious pop number and the jaunty, indian influenced "Whatcha Think About That" Featuring Missy Elliot. I also like quite a bit. Aside from a few other just-past-decent tracks, that's were the credibility ends.

I was a tad skeptical about the albums lead single "When I Grow Up" at first I thought it was cheap retread of "Don't Cha" but now it's grown on me quite a bit--It's still not that great though. For the most part--if you take away the great pop songs the album delivers--it does the foolish thing of indulding in too much generic R&B, which is what indeed drags down the album. "Take Over the World" and "Magic" are good examples.

Rapper Snoop Dogg makes an appearence on "Bottle Pop" possibly the most ridiclous song I've heard in awhile. It's just awful.

The hugely dramatic "Halo" should've been the gem of the album, but it wears itself out too quickily, partly due to the fact it lingers on for nearly 6 minutes. Anything worth giving credit for is featured in the first half of the album, saying the second half of the album was lackluster, would be an understatement, the album does go on for too long (a lengthy 16 tracks).

The best track on the second half is the haunting old school Destiny's Child styled R&B flavored "Hush Hush." I guess the jaunty "Elevator" is pretty good too. The album closes with "I'm Done" an empowering piano ballad, surprise surprise, with Scherzinger taking lead vocal.

Doll Domination is indeed a disappointment and it seems the Pussycat Dolls won't be avoiding the dreaded sophomore slump--along with my disappoint (and plenty other critics too), the album is set for a poor performance commercially.

Best: Happily Never After, I Hate this Part, Out of this Club, Whatcha Think ABout That, Hush Hush, When I Grow Up

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