“Comes across as different for the sake of being different, rather than trying to branch off into something that could be extraordinary”
Digital Release: May 22, 2011
Physical Release: July 26, 2011
It’s remarkable to think that The Saturdays are already on their third proper album release despite only being on the music scene since Fascination Records strung them together through casting calls back in 2008. Following ups and many more downs, including Fascination going bust and still failing to get that UK #1, despite one of the most desperate attempts of recent times, the five girls are moving swiftly away from the mis-step of the ‘Wordshaker’/‘Headlines!’ era and onto album number three, kicking it all off with a slight change in musical direction as well.
Starting off with a squeaky, nigh-on painful auto-tune introduction, Mollie King warns us she’s a “gangster on the dancefloor”, before a mix of beats and synth that would make will.i.am turn green with envy joins the party. After a few verses stutter past without much of a lasting impression – not a surprise to be honest, with lyrics such as “I’m like-I’m like-I’m like this beat, yeah/Crazy and infectious”, you can’t really blame this one on the listeners – the girls then enter what sounds like the bridge, with some vocal riffing (if that “Oh-oh-ohhhh-oh” is actually one of the girls), but it seems they’ve forgotten to add a chorus, meaning the crescendo in what was supposed to be the bridge experiences one huge deflation and delivers nothing but disappointment.
‘Notorious’ tries too hard to be taken seriously – a bit like ‘Work’ from their first album, then – when most of The Saturdays’ back-catalogue consists of fun, sunshine pop hits like ‘Up’, ‘Higher’ and ‘If This Is Love’, ‘Notorious’ feels like a stern-faced storm cloud raining down on any fun in it’s attempts to show The Saturdays as a “credible” act, when there’s really no need.
And whilst ‘Notorious’ goes out of it’s way to be different, a Top 40 filled to the brim of same old, same old, American artists and trashy, ten-a-penny dancefloor hits means the girls’ attempts at variety should be greatly appreciated, but you get the impression ‘Notorious’ is only different in accordance with what The Saturdays are used to, and comes across as different for the sake of being different, rather than trying to branch off into something that could be extraordinary. In the bigger picture, ‘Notorious’ sounds like many songs currently in the Top 40, so whilst it’ll nicely slot into it somewhere high up (that is, if the fragmented release doesn’t stunt it’s peak, which it will), it’s harder to take them seriously now than when they were peddling middle-of-the-road pop and singing lyrics like “I miss missing you”.