Review Summary: For Tomorrow: A Guide to Contemporary British Music, 1988-2013 (Part 99)
Rachel Stevens deserved better.
After busting out of teenpop group S Club 7 with the clever “Sweet Dreams My LA Ex” she created one of the snappiest pop albums of 2003 with Funky Dory
, united the almighty British pop powers of Richard X and Xenomania for her sophomore effort Come and Get It
and was rewarded with… a debuting position of 28 on the album charts and a swift end to her music career.
Beyond the typically brutal politics of UK pop music, there’s other reasons for this. For one thing, her genius 2005 Richard X collab and smash hit “Some Girls” was appended to a reissue of the struggling Funky Dory
before being slotted onto Come and Get It
, when it really should have been used as Come and Get It
’s proper lead single. But when Come and Get It
’s first two proper singles rolled around a year after “Some Girls” they barely scraped the top 10 and Stevens’ fate was sealed.
A crying shame considering the sustained greatness of Come and Get It
. A brash, glammy, and fillerless electro-pop record, Come and Get It
shoulda/woulda/coulda been number one but as is you’re still looking at a bargain for 13 fantastic pop tunes. Understanding the talent she’s working with here, Stevens allows herself to become an Aaliyah-esque instrument, a whispery presence executing no-nonsense hooks with surgical precision. The starscraping swoon of “I Will Be There” and driving flight of “Secret Garden” are sold on the restraint of Steven’s vocal performances. “It’s All About Me” packs a brilliant flip of The Cure’s “Lullaby” into a stomping pop banger. Richard X’s two contributions “Crazy Boys” and “Some Girls” are vintage X, big nods to David Bowie and Adam Ant that still culminate in a package that feels at home on modern pop charts.
Rachel Stevens may have been forced into hiding on reality TV following Come and Get It
’s flop but the record remains a brilliant snapshot of post-Girls Aloud UK pop music. Pick up a physical copy for the cheap on Amazon while I use it to help dilute the unfortunate sausage fest that is For Tomorrow.