On the TV show there was a tremendous debate whether this should be the first single. It was the theme-tune from last years series too which meant it wasn't totally new. As the first track it seriously introduces Sanne's amazing voice. Sanne & Fanny sound wonderful together on this track & putting aside the difficulties we saw on the TV show surrounding its conception, its a bloody epic song. For sure, it never should have been picked over Girls as lead single but I think its a perfect "re-introductory" track and thus explains why this had to be the first single. Very much anthem alert! Indeed, that new Nickelodeon boyband Big Time Rush have already covered Famous. (3.5/5)
Best Lyric: Its your moment, time to own it. It’s the American Dream. You wanna be Famous!
Slight shades of Lady GaGa here. Sanne dominates on the first verse and throughout this song. Is the shape of things to come? It kinda sounds like it. We also start to hear sounds of electro-synths appearing throughout this re-invented Play. The production team behind Play have utterly vanquished any previous over-innocent remainders of their teenage body of work. Play wanna talk adult themes and use metaphors that are gloriously rude and drenched in attitude. I love the little couplet in the chorus that goes "You're a drug, and I am an addict. I know I gotta kick a nasty habit. Its in my blood. The Shots I’m takin!". Yes, they compare love to taking drugs. Totally Sweet. This symbolizes a very much changed Play. If you like Like A Drug by Kylie Minogue from her last studio album you will like this. A very strong track. (5/5)
Best Lyric: You're a drug, and I am an addict. I know I gotta kick a nasty habit. Its in my blood. The shots I’m takin!".
More very electro-pop. This kinda sounds like Daft Punk, Calvin Harris and Ke$ha mixed in with a bit of Monrose (Germany) and Kylie's Wow from X. Again Sanne dominates. A lot of studio space-age sounds mixed in with droplets of vocoder which don't take anything away from the freshness of the pop song. Its very much probably the catchiest and dirty track they've ever done. Going by the song, methinks this is a fun ode to getting potential tricks to drop their pants and grabbing that tape measure. Loves it! (5/5)
Best Lyric: “So, try you wanna your luck tonight? Well you gotta get in line!”
Oh sigh. This is actually not bad. But it stands out for all the wrong reasons. It kinda sounds like something Kelly Clarkson rejected a few years ago. Screams album filler. I'd totally understand this track if the girls had recorded an entire album with this kind of sound but the rest of album is more Ke&ha/Lady Gaga/Kylie. Guitarpop is fine. I don't have a problem with it but Not The One just doesn't sit well with the other dance-pop tracks. Its a bonus song at best. Its certainly not the one. (2/5)
Best Lyric: “Could you stop for a minute. I can’t take another second”
Musically great. Lyrically terrible. This is a kick in the head to feminists to everywhere and it makes you feel like Simone de Beauvoir did it all for nothing. Anyone studying gender politics will scream at a track like this. It is anti-women and sends exactly the wrong type of message to listeners. Remember girlbands sung about empowerment? In the realm of pop music this does its best to destroy the work of Spice Girls, All Saints, Sugababes and Destinys Child. It kinda pits women against women and suggests certain women who wear certain clothes belong to certain class of society. This recalls the judge that ruled the "provocative" clothes of the victim somehow suggested she deserved it & thus her attacker received a lesser sentence (this was thrown out on appeal). Look, I don't mean to be serious. This is just a pop record after all. But, sometimes there is a line and with this track the girls crossed it. If it wasn't for the shoddy message its a brilliantly composed song and an excellent production so I can hear why it was picked as title track. (0/5)
Best Lyric: “How can she leave the house in her underwear?!”
AAAAH! Guitars re-appear but this time they're drenched in bubblepop baselines that are not so dissimilar to Blur's Girls and Boys & Shakira's Te Dejo Madrid. Both absolute power pop anthems. So whats the problem? Its the continuation of the dodgy lyrics. Throughout the track they call a women trash. Nice one Play. The middle 8 includes the lines "First, you slit your skirt up ten inches, show some skin right up to the fringes. Then you pluck your brows like a ninja. You gotta get a grip and listen to me BITCH! YOU'RE TRASH!". Well ahem. Play, do you realize what your implying when you say that? There is something called respect, sensitivity and pop conveying a sense of strength & having the ability to instill inner beauty especially to those who've low confidence. A perfect instance of that is the wonderful landmark song by Christina Aguilera & her song Beautiful. This track Trash annoys me. I love the melody. I love the singing (the vocals are flawless) but the lyrics, specifically within the middle 8, are sadly disappointing. I think I know what the girls/songwriters were trying to write about when they put together this song. They were covering ground already successfully analyzed by the pop scientist Robyn in her 2005 release Crash and Burn Girl. Trash however isn't as succinct or eloquent enough & instead emerges as rather insulting to women. (0/5)
Best Lyric: “Enough is Enough”
Second Hand Love
Phew, with Trash out of the way we’re on more comfortable ground here with Second Hand Love. Second Hand Love is an incredibly strong. The return blippy electro synths soothes pop fanciers everywhere. The Sugababes would kill for a song like Second Hand Love to get them out of their current doldrums. Again, Sanne its pretty prevalent. The best bit is the bridge “I just can’t take it” repeated twice. It’s the little things that I love. The subject of this track is about a woman’s obsession with another woman. Seeing a lyrical trend here? Yes, it would seem lyrically Play are all about making this album a pop study examining the condition of women. Which is wonderful! (5/5)
Best Lyric: “I close my eyes and I see her reflection.”
Everyone will have heard this as it’s the b-side to Famous. I think this should have been the single. In many ways the tracks Trash and Under My Skin are actually ripping the very girls that are celebrated in Girls which makes their lyrical content and inclusion on this album all the more confusing. They’ve done something miraculous with this track by using the Cyndi Lauper line from Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and updated it with a modern twist. This is fresh, contemporary and fun. Everything the new Play should be about. I love the swearing as it punches it out the spirit of the song. (5/5)
Best Lyric: “Don’t fucking over-do it! Girls just wanna have fun!”
When love is bleaching bad
The ballad. And not just any ballad. If you like Vanessa Carlton you will adore this. Strings, pianos and wonderful vocals. I have a soft spot for ballads when they’re done right and boy they’ve hit all the right notes with this pop epic. Fanny is beautiful on the chorus. Overall, we hear Sanne taking a backseat and the original members emerge as the stars of When love is bleaching bad. When the middle eight kicks in the three vocalists sing like they were made for each other. Some stunning harmonies within this song. Anais is wonderful on this song. (5/5)
Best Lyric: “If the love you have is bleaching bad, you should paint it back in all your colours!”
Wow. Amazing. This bounces up to Prince crossed over with the hit writer Jasmine Baird for similarity. The subject of Personal Victory is what pop should be about: empowerment and feeling good about yourself. Indeed within the middle eight Sanne clearly states ‘I’m never gonna let somebody own me or ever let somebody let me feel small’. Damn right girrrrrrrrrl! A brilliant album closer. 4/5
Best Lyric: “I’m making the decisions and their all mine. All Mine! All Mine!”
Consequence of You: Better than the already brillo normal version. 5/5
Famous (Electro Remix): I would of released this version. Its very good. 5/5
Famous (Dance remix): Proper Ibeefah remix! Tis a Choon! 5/5
Play are back! And Sanne’s amazing vocals are put to very good use. When the girls are good they’re very good. When they’re bad they’re terrible. There are two tracks which stink. Only two. I really I hope this sees an international release and if so those two songs need dumping. Or tucked away as bonus Itunes tracks. Seriously. They’re prickly in subject matter and sloppy in execution. In both songs, they’ve attempted to explore areas of pop covered by Robyn & Destiny’s Child (Bootylicious & Nasty Girl for instance). But you know what, Robyn and Destiny’s Child get away with it. Just. Play, with Under My Skin & Trash, completely miss the mark & sadly send out the wrong message. Serious issue aside, this is their best album to date. Their playing with the big acts now and they’re clearly ready for a fight. I totally respect that. The epic ballad When love is bleaching bad is proof of this seriousness. However, they seriously need to do something about those two songs in the middle. The album is laden with uberpop tracks that scream potential hit singles (Consequence of You, Girls, Personal Victory, Second Hand Love, Show Me What You Got). One of the party pop albums of the year. Hats off to the girls. Highly recommended.
TwitterReview: The New Play album is rather poptastical. 2 tracks are “troublesome “ though.
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PS: DSTP will be doing a competition very soon which will feature something Play-related so fans, keep an eye out in the coming days.