Most helpful critical review
Pretty Chuffin' Decent
on 23 January 2015
The Pussycat Dolls are really the ultimate in manufactured pop acts, although the way they've been manufactured is slightly different. Rather than finding a name for a group and fitting people in with that name or picking people on a TV show and then moulding them into a group, with The Pussycat Dolls the name came first. They started with the name, famous in the US since the mid 1990s as a group of women who frequently performed at the Viper Rooms in Los Angeles, a club owned by Johnny Depp.
Even before the name was used for a pop act, they were already famous, having from time to time contained some of America's greatest singers and actors, even if only for one performance. Could the girls selected for the pop group of the same name be as good or become as famous as those in the club act?
In terms of quality, the album is very up and down. Strangely, instead of a group that has to use cover versions to improve an album as their own material isn't strong enough to carry it, the opposite is true with "PCD", as it is the cover versions that come closest to letting the album down. Fortunately, these tracks are in the minority, despite there being several of them and within an album that plays for 15 tracks and for 54 minutes, there is more than enough decent tracks to make up for the odd aberration.
This isn't my preferred kind of music, so I wasn't expecting much from this album. That's possibly the best way to come at it, as I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. Sure, there were some dodgy moments but generally I did enjoy the album. Admittedly, it's not the ideal album for home listening, as it's more of a club sound, but that could make it perfect "getting ready" music before a night out.
In many ways, The Pussycat Dolls are the R'n'B equivalent of Girls Aloud. They've been chosen to be in the group and they've been handed a bunch of songs to sing. In both cases, the music was very much with the times, with Girls Aloud's debut album being mostly heavy pop, which was a major sound at that stage, and this being predominantly R'n'B, which is popular now. In the case of both groups, I enjoyed what they put out a lot more than I ever expected to. And, as with Girls Aloud, with the sound being so contemporary it will date fairly quickly and will be at best charmingly retro in a few years from now.
For the time being, however, this is a perfect slice of today's music. So if you've heard any of the singles and enjoyed them, it's worth picking up the album as you'll get a lot more of the same and a few other things as well. If you're into the R'n'B scene generally and don't mind it with a touch of pop to go with it, then this could be worth taking a chance on if you can find it cheaply. Or if you're just after something to get you picked up and in the mood for a night's clubbing, it would be pretty good for that as well. Just don't expect too much and you'll find an album that at least meets your expectations.