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PLASTIC DOLLS OR GROWN WOMEN?
Recently I reviewed the 2006 debut album by Danity Kane, who fast became the largest girl group in the American chart with the self-titled release topping the Billboard and selling into platinum figures. March 18th 2008 marked the release of the follow-up Danity Kane album, 'Welcome to the Dollhouse'. And whilst you may think DK would stray away from the realms of anything plastic, considering they were created on Puff Daddy reality television show, 'Making The Band 3', the album artwork shows the five girls in angelic white outfits that presents them in manufactured beauty more stunning than any plastic Barbie doll.
Danity Kane's first album for me was a satisfactory achievement, and as you can see from my five-star rating, 'Welcome to the Dollhouse' includes all the progression I asked for to prove that they did have the ability to be an international success. I am also sitting here listening to their brilliantly produced second album with a side plate of words, as I suggested that DK could not reach any success without the backing of a reality television show. Whether or not they have a camera crew following them as they appear on 'Making The Band 4' creating a superb second album doesn't matter, because the point is they have created the album of the year thus far. And just a day after release, sale success cannot deminish the joy to the ears that 'Welcome to the Dollhouse' awards you.
"THE SUCCESSORS TO THE GIRL-GROUP THRONE VACATED BY DESTINY'S CHILD" - THATGRAPEJUICE.NET
01, Welcome to the Dollhouse ft. Diddy (Intro) (0.46) - 2*/5
02, Bad Girl ft. Missy Elliot (4.01) - 3*
03, Damaged (4.09) - 4*
04, Pretty Boy (4.00) - 4*
05, Strip Tease (3.15) - 2*
06, Sucka for Love (2.56) - 3*
07, Secret Place (Interlude) (1.16) - 2*
08, Extasy ft. Rick Ross (4.36) - 3*
09, 2 of You (3.53) - 4*
10, Lights Out (3.25) - 2*
11, Picture This (Interlude) (1.14) - 2*
12, Poetry (4.42) - 5*
13, Key to My Heart (2.29) - 3*
14, Flashback (Interlude) (1.13) - 1*
15, Is Anybody Listening (3.27) - 5*
16, Ain't Going ft. Day26 & Donnie J (3.12) - 4*
Due to the album being brand spanking new, there is only one single released at the moment, and that is 'Damaged'. The single was actually choosen by the fans, in one of those interactive ideas that is designed to improve popularity of the group, and of course incorporate aspects of popular culture like MySpace - the site the poll was situated. 'Damaged' had an instant likeability factor that its opponent, 'Pretty Boy', didn't. Although having pretty much worn out 'Damaged', I have grown fond of 'Pretty Boy' after giving it another try. 'Damaged' did receive a vast majority on the poll though, so if their fans turn on the track then they have no one to blame but themselves. Currently 'Damaged' has only peaked at #109 on the US Billboard, however is expecting to rise due to further promotion. Danity Kane's only previous single releases have been 'Show Stopper' that peaked at #8, however follow-up 'Ride For You' only peaked at #78.
'Do you got a first aid kit handy?' as Danity Kane need a man that is going to be patient and help them fix their broken hearts, as the one before has left them damaged. Phew, that will come as a relief to those who were worrying this track could be about some sort of car crash. Whilst 'Show Stopper' was a track of female independance, 'Damaged' is the first up-tempo release they have produced about any sort of reliance on men. Whilst 'Ride For You' was a brilliant track in its gentle nature, you can truly tell that DK have grown up with 'Damaged' and they are not afraid to shout about it. Afterall, four members of DK are already in their mid-twenties, whilst Shannon is twenty-seven, and you would expect some maturity.
"LIKE POETRY, YOU'RE HIDING BEHIND THE WORDS YOU SPEAK, CHANGING THE WORDS OF THE STORY" - DANITY KANE
Once again Danity Kane's management team have realised that the more tracks you throw on an album, the more likely people are to pick up copies of the album to get their moneys worth. Continuing a similar theme to their first album, they have also thrown in the use of interludes - three interludes break up the album this time, and for the most part they are as good as interludes could possibly be. I would go as far as to say that the interludes are better this time around, yet are still beaten by the use on 'Future Sex/Love Sounds'. What was a welcome addition was the use of an introduction, and you would not be surprised to hear that the man that choose the stars of the band (P Diddy) gets his voice in on this. "These girls had a dream to make music and entertain, they go by the name, Danity Kane." This is a little wearisome, yet the best introduction I have heard recently.
Danity Kane would need that five-star track to make this album the standard they need to go international, and luckily it has two. Both are down-tempo tracks, and were produced by the team of P Diddy and Mario ("I Don't Wanna Know") Winans, 'Poetry' and 'Is Anybody Listening?' Yes Danity Kane, plenty are going to be listening. Not to sound that they do not have some fast-beating, heart-racing tracks that perform. For once a track that features Missy Elliot I actually like, 'Bad Girl'. And '2 of You' sounds like it could have been something off Britney Spear's last help (think "Cold as ice, hot as fire,") - because a man has got Danity Kane 'going' so much that he must be some sort of double-man. Are they sure there wasn't two of them? 'Ain't Going' completes the album perfectly and shall be also featured on Day26's debut album, the track is the theme song to 'Making The Band 4'. Please think about promoting Danity Kane in the UK, a combination of their two albums would have people thinking they are the next 'Spice Girls', - definitly an R&B Girls Aloud.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Welcome To The Dollhouse - Danity Kane & P. Diddy
2 Bad Girl - Danity Kane & Missy Elliott
4 Pretty Boy
5 Strip Tease
6 Sucka For Love
7 Secret Place
8 Ecstasy - Danity Kane & Rick Ross
9 2 Of You
10 Lights Out
11 Picture This
13 Key To My Heart
15 Is Anybody Listening
16 Ain't Going