Sometimes pop music is about the surprise and excitement of an act exploding out of the traps and being amazing from day one.
Which brings us to Parade, the girlband who somehow had a Top 10 hit with 'Louder' last year.
PROBLEMS WE HAD WITH PARADE:
- The music wasn't up to much. 'Louder' was alright, but second single 'Perfume' was a waste of everyone's time.
- The styling and imagery seemed like someone put 'GENERIC GIRLBAND' into Google images and sent the results to a 3D printer. We didn't really see what the point was. And we like The Saturdays.
- Basically the whole Parade 'thing' seemed a bit joyless and lacking in spark.
PROBLEMS WE DIDN'T HAVE WITH PARADE:
- Everyone who met them or had anything to do with them said that they were a great five-piece. Some of those people admitted that the band just needed a sense of identity, which is usually what labels are for.
Well you don't need to worry about the label not having a decent handle on things any more, because the band have Parted Ways With that label, Atlantic.
That's usually the part where they wheels start to come off, isn't it? One member leaves, the band make various noises about things being fine, a new member joins, another member fucks off, recording sessions are discussed, a series of encouraging but ultimately pretty vague tweets leave fans expecting something soon but that 'soon' never becomes a 'now', and after about 18 months the whole thing grinds to a boring and frustrating halt.
Unusually, Parade have kept at it and the lineup is intact. When you hear the music they've been recording, you'll realise why. The new music's worth sticking around for.
They've got a new song. Well actually they've got lots of new songs. We met up with them in the backroom of an east London 'boozer' last week and they played us some of them. One of them's about a crap experience they had in LA, recording their first album, when they arrived in a studio and a producer told them: "dance for me". That was a low point, but the song it inspired is a new high point. Another song called 'Chaos' is rather jolly too. Over the last several months the band have been working with the notoriously choosy MNEK, plus Ed Drewett, K‑Gee and Fred Ball.
The big one at the moment, though, is a track called 'Light Me Up'.
They've done the song with Tim Powell, whose work most of you will know due to it being virtually every single thing in Girls Aloud's back catalogue, but he's got Sugababes, Saint Etienne, Paloma Faith and Pet Shop Boys in his discography too. Anyway the point is that 'Powello' knows one end of a decent song from another and both ends of 'Light Me Up' have AMAZING written on them, like an extremely good pop version of seaside rock, although seaside rock with 'AMAZING' written on one end would have something more like 'GNIZAMA' written on the other. But the point stands, 'Light Me Up' is a bonafide cracker.
Here are three important points regarding 'Light Me Up'.
1. It's like 'Lucky Star'-era Madonna with a girlbanded-up, post-DJ Fresh production sound, a sensational chorus and a very silly but very fun dubstep gloomwobble breakdown. Basically, it's brilliant.
2. The song starts off well enough but it really explodes into the chorus with "you've gotta, you gotta… You gotta light me up, I'm not feeling that romantic boy but if you think you're worth it light me up". There's also a bit that goes "you gotta smoke me like a cigarette and keep me burnin', burnin'". We're not sure how the 'set fire to one end of me in the same way you would one of those tasty cigarettes' message will go down with people in charge of putting things on the radio but that is for someone else to worry about.
3. It's the Number One single The Saturdays will probably never have.
You'll be able to hear 'Light Me Up' on August 1.
Here's a teaser video the band have put online. The music on it is not 'Light Me Up' which is a bit confusing but it's important to keeps fans on their toes.
The footage is old stuff, but it's funny how less tragic the whole thing looks when you know they've got incredible music up their sleeves, isn't it?
EDIT: Here's a clip of 'Light Me Up', which the band have just uploaded. It's a bit teasery so you don't get the full effect of the song but you can tell it's not mid-tempo and that's a good start.