Urban Contemporary, 2002
Pop is dead. Long live overproduced hip-hop and bling-bling raps. Knowing where the wind is blowing, Blue wisely follows-up their debut with a more coherent and more R&B-influenced One Love. And it’s not bad at all. Boys, not bad at all, really.
The title track and first single is a formulaic song fashioned after their successful single All Rise, and while it’s catchy, it’s also too safe for my liking. It is on yell-the-house-down, guys-we’re rocking Queen-gone Phat-Pharell tracks like Riders and Ain’t Got You that these boys bring the roof down. This is let’s clap our hands, get drunk, and shag like crazy fun at its finest. But there’re also the ballads, of course, for teenage fans to weep and sigh over once they realize that shagging at concerts doesn’t lead to everlasting love. I love Supersexual – even if it dares sample Dr Dre – although the chorus that goes “We could be doin’ it, doin’ it, doin’t, doin’ it” always cracks me up.
The main flaw of this album is its ridiculous overkill of the “doin’ it” thing. I’ve never seen so many juvenile variations of the phrase “let’s shag” in an album before. Boys, it is not good when this listener rolls on the floor with laughter whenever you sing “we can be making love tonight” or “let’s make love all night” or “when we make love” or any variations of “your tight body”, “move your body”, and other mawkish nonsense.
This album is more of a West Coast R&B thing than any British sound. The singing is competent – Lee Ryan handles the bulk of the vocals and he does a more than adequate job at it – and the production is good. The tracks here are good. But the boys of Blue still sound as if they are stuck in the hierarchy between Justin Timberlake and Nelly, and I wish they’ll do something about that. Those mawkish and bad Usher-isms have to go, definitely.