Following the smash UK #1, Sean Paul featuring, and generally un-Saturday-sounding ‘What About Us’, The Saturdays have brought us their new single ‘Gentleman‘. Well, they haven’t actually brought it to us; it’s leaked. Nonetheless, this means we can enjoy the song in all it’s barminess a little earlier than intended. Wonderful!
Nonsenical chants: To be honest, the whole song is a bit nonsensical. The words come thick and fast, with lyrics such as ‘he already had the milk, so why would he go buy the cow?’, and the assertion that ‘a gentleman is so 1995’ not making any sense when actually pondered about. There are nonsensical chants present and correct too, and they are scattered generously all over the song. Most notable is a repeated ‘oooh-oh’ in the chorus, but various other delights we have picked out include ‘yeah-yeah’, ‘ehhhh’, ‘WHAT?’ ‘go 90s’ and some fairly obligatory background ‘oh’s and ‘no’s.
Generic or does it sound like a The Saturdays single? It is so bonkers and barmy that it’s hard to think of any other recording artiste who would try and launch an album of the back of such a hot mess of a song. It occupies the same pop territory as ‘Biology’ by Girls Aloud. It does actually sound very Stooshe, if Stooshe had not changed their sound to ‘retro and trying-to-recreate-Black-Heart’. It doesn’t sound very The Saturdays though; probably the one thing it has in common with ‘What About Us’.
Lyrics any good? With lyrics like these, the very concept of bad and good becomes utterly meaningless. We must toss aside such notions, and instead focus on how crazy-amazing they are. A spoken list of ‘gentlemen’ is certainly the highlight of the lyrics, merely for being completely haphazard in its inclusions. Obama? A (non-specific) Jonas brother? Larry King? What do these people have in common? Otherwise, there is bad-metaphors-for-sex a go go, such as ‘I let you taste my rainbow’ and the lewder ‘you’re not a lady if you’re always on your knees’. The girls are moaning about how there are no real gentlemen left any more, and all men are cheating scum. In this way, it seems to fit in with Little Mix’s DNA. Yet three of the Sats are married/engaged/with baby, so surely they must have found gentlemen somewhere? We do like the acknowledgement of ‘Don’t get me wrong, I know that, most girls ain’t perfect angels’, because at least there is some attempt at gender-equality by The Sats here. The song’s constant assertion that things were so much different in 1995/1999 becomes tedious. What was so good about those years? Westlife?! However, this does satisfy our ‘delusional popstars’ criteria and thus if forced at gunpoint to class these lyrics as good/bad, we’d plop for 500% AMAZING.
Production: The keyboard and drum set-up in the verses sounds almost ska-like. With ‘ooh’s thrown in, it feels retro and almost as bit doo-wop. It sounds fresh but intentionally dated.
Vocal effects: The girls almost sound Ke$ha like at one point with their ‘1999’, near the end of the song. Songs like this are a shame really, because at least 3 of the girls are genuinely good singers, but this fact is hidden underneath all the unneccesary playing around that’s been done with their vocals.
Best-bit: Obvious, but that ludicrous spoken section. Yes, it even name-checks Ludacris. How ludicrous!
Pop-foolish rating: 20/10
Verdict: This song is so foolish that it feels like an assault to the ears. We think this is intentional: it’s impossible to asses whether or not the song is any good whilst so much distracting action is taking place. It’s bonkers and barmy but crucially not endearing to boot. It’s another step in the direction of The Saturdays losing any sonic-image they had built up for themselves and of them becoming even more Americanised. It also makes us worry what The Saturdays’ new album will sound like, concerned about how much of a mesh of different sonic-styles the album will be. There again, hardly anyone bought the last one so presumably the label aren’t at this point actually thinking about that. Although things might appear to the contrary, we’re not denouncing this song; quite the opposite, we’re giving it the popfools seal of approval. We’ll be dancing to this for the rest of the week now.