New Popstars 2 Album Uneven, But Still Recommendedby Lisa Jacobs -- 07/10/2002
The two words that best describe the new album from Popstars 2’s Scene 23 are “uneven” and “cheap.”
Let me start off by saying that I’m a fan. I love the first Popstars album by Eden’s Crush and I really like the individual members of Scene 23. But this record is half-assed. I paid $11.99 on sale at Best Buy, and I got robbed. It’s worth about half of what I paid, mostly because of the “filler” material included on the record. The CD-ROM stuff is okay, but putting songs by R. Kelly, Mariah Carey, and Joe on an album that’s supposed to showcase Scene 23? Come on! Plus, I already have those songs on other albums. Why should I have to pay for them again? Then there are the stupid audio cuts from various parts of the show. Kids saying, “I wanna be a Popstar” over and over again before a song is not my idea of entertainment.
So, what about Scene 23? I think my main problem with the band starts way back before they were formed. How many bands do you know have male and female singers harmonizing together? None. Do you know why? Because male and female voices rarely harmonize well together unless you plan it really well or they are related by blood somehow. It was just a bad idea from the start to have a boy/girl group. Then, on top of that, the person who picked the members of Eden’s Crush and organized them, the brilliant David Foster, was nowhere to be seen this season. They had a choreographer, a music executive, and a songwriter pick the members of the group, with what seemed like no regard for basic harmonic structure. Everyone knows that in a harmonic group, you need a bass, alto, tenor/soprano, etc. In Scene 23, there is no bass at all, Monika and Laurie sound exactly like one another, and Donavan’s voice is so obviously a lead voice that it takes away from the group’s sound. Plus, with the departure of Moi, the boy/girl ratio is lopsided, and you can hear it. The girls bury the guys and you can’t hear Josh at all.
As for the seven original songs by Scene 23, they’re okay. First is “He Said She Said” that the members learned while auditioning. And frankly, I liked the versions sung by the members who got cut better than the one done by Scene 23. It’s okay, except for the balance problems I mentioned before. Donavan dominates, and then when you hear someone else sing lead, it’s jarring.
Second is “The Greatest,” which was one of the songs played during the show’s bumper. I like this song, but it would have been better if only the girls sang lead. Third is the single, “I Really Don’t Think So.” I really like this song and was playing it over and over in the car. It’s catchy and the vocals blend well – probably because Donavan doesn’t sing any leads on this song. Donavan can sing, but really should be a solo artist. He takes away from the group, and this song is a perfect example of how much better the group is without him.
Fourth is a really good cover of Debarge’s “All This Love.” It’s smooth and mellow. Fifth is “What She Got,” co-written by J Chasez of N’Sync. It’s okay, but it sounds like Donavan singing with some background chicks. Sixth is “Another Night,” which is kind of boring and repetitive. More Donavan and girls that all sound the same. The last of the original songs was co-written by Donavan and is called “Respect Me.” It’s better than most of the other songs on the album, and is just another indication that Donavan should go solo and write his own material like Prince.
In conclusion, it may sound like I’m not a fan and that I don’t recommend this album, but I am and I do. If you like the show, it’s a must-have, but be warned: it’s full of filler and not anywhere near as good as Eden’s Crush’s album.
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