Like modern day Brady Kids with less attitude, the fresh-faced, pan-European S Club 7 make the type of pop music that is enjoyable only accompanying a profoundly stupid TV show. Luckily they have one, on the Fox Family Channel. There’s a cheeky delight to hearing lines like “When the world leaves you feeling blue / You can count on me / I will be there for you” when it helps kick dreamy Paul back from amnesia in time for commercials. But without TV, this music is a little dull. You’ll find no boundary pushing Britney Spears-style pedophile baiting here. Everything is by the book. Bad grammar may be the S Club’s only vice. Oh and they use the word “ass” sometimes. You’ve been warned.
Mostly the S Club 7’s producers (too numerous to name here) are content to peruse the history of pop music, using whatever suits them. Love Train and The Colour Blue are reminiscent of ABBA. Reach is, to put it kindly, an homage to the Supremes and Holland-Dozier-Holland. The album opener, “Natural”, just is “Hit Me Baby One More Time”—no bones about it. The fact that the band is managed by Spice Girls impresario Simon Fuller should surprise precisely no one. Mostly, 7’s best moments are courtesy of S-Clubbers, Bradley and Jo. His New Jack lover-man performance on I’ll Keep Waiting is every bit as good as the stuff the guys in N’Sync and Backstreet Boys do. Her channeling of a Swedish pop diva on Color of Blue is uncanny. Or maybe these songs were all sung by studio pros. In the world of teen pop, nothing is as it seems. At least, let’s hope not.