20 years since they popped up on our television screens with the ridiculously cheesy ‘5,6,7,8’, Steps are back with a brand new album! ‘Tears On The Dancefloor’ is the bands first studio album of original material since 2000’s ‘Buzz’ and is preceded by current single ‘Scared Of The Dark’.
I’ve always wondered what a Steps album would sound like in todays market. Would it sound incredibly dated and out of place or would they bring it right up to date while managing to retain their unique appeal? In reality, it’s a bit of both.
The album contains 12 tracks in total, 10 original songs and 2 remixes. The album opens with the current single ‘Scared Of The Dark’ which even after hundreds of plays, still has that magic. From the anthemic string production to the euphoric chorus, Scared of the Dark is the perfect song to relaunch Steps in 2017. It sounds modern, the girls really get to show off their voices and it all still sounds distinctly Steps. It’s the perfect comeback single.
‘You Make Me Whole’ is that pop bop that you listen to while the sun is setting in Ibiza. It’s a big pop dance number that I can see filling up the clubs across Europe this Summer. And then there is ‘Story Of A Heart’ which is the planned second single. Written by Benny and Bjorn from ABBA, this is Steps does ABBA. It sounds distinctly like ABBA from the gorgeous lyrics to the glitzy production. It’s very chilled, very poppy and a really good fit for Steps. I initially didn’t like this on first listen as I felt it sounded too much like ABBA but the melody has me hooked now. It’s the perfect bridge between old Steps and new Steps – both nostalgic and current.
‘Happy’ is the first misfire on the album. I quite like the melody in the verses but the production feels lifeless and the chorus just feels a bit flat. This sounds like a leftover from ‘Buzz’. ‘No More Tears On The Dancefloor’ takes us back to the more pop disco sound which is where I think Steps really excel in 2017. While I’m glad that most of the album is sung by the girls, it’s nice to hear H and Lee solo here. Like ‘Scared of the Dark’, No More Tears of the Dancefloor really comes to life with the chorus with the incredibly catch chorus. It’s super infectious.
‘Firefly’ follows the sound of ‘You Make Me Whole’ but throws in a Kylie Minogue Light-Years vibe. I really enjoy the harmonies on the chorus here. The one thing I am a complete sucker for is a soppy girly mid-tempo ballad and Steps have scalped me with the gorgeous ‘Space Between Us’. The production is just absolutely gorgeous and I really enjoy Lees voice on this. It’s surprising that I enjoy the boy led tracks most. The chorus and the production really reminds me of another song but I can’t put my finger on it right now.
‘Glitter and Gold’ is probably my favourite of the more dancey tracks. The production reminds me a little bit of ‘You’ll Be Sorry’ and late 90’s dance pop but the melody is a lot stronger here. The chorus was ingrained in my brain after the first listen. What I’ve really enjoyed about this album is how a lot of the songs start quite mellow and then build up to a big anthemic chorus. This is ‘Neon Blue’ – lovely harmony driven verses with a big poppy chorus. Closing track ‘I Will Love Again’ is Steps going for a big cheesy finish. It’s 90’s Europop realness with Claire’s signature adlibs. It’s a great closer.
When Steps first came back together for their reunion tour, I wasn’t sure whether a new album would work. Not only does it work, it works incredibly well and is exactly what we need in the charts right now. The charts are filled with bland, uninspiring music from the likes of Ed Sheeran, Adele and Shawn Mendes. We are in desperate need of FUN music and Steps have once again filled that void. ‘Tears On The Dancefloor’ is a great return to form for the band and here’s hoping it’s the start of many more albums to come.
‘Tears On The Dancefloor’ is available to buy and stream now.