'Ghetto Romance' is the first new single from Damage in 3 years but this Top 10 track has certainly been worth the wait... Since they joined Cooltempo Records in Summer 1999 the boys have been busy promoting their new material - they appeared at the Notting Hill Carnival last August and following a personal invitation, supported Mariah Carey on her European tour in January.It's pretty unusual for a boyband to resume their career after a break of that length, or more to the point to be able. A very few have been able to come back when they've been away long enough to count as a nostalgia act (though nowhere near as many as have tried) but to resurrect an ongoing career after such a break is all but unheard of. Damage were perhaps fortunate that the enforced hiatus in their recording career (due to insolvency of their previous record label) enabled them to reposition themselves as something much closer to the serious RnB act they obviously always wanted to be, the sort of thing their original fans might have grown into in the meantime. Perhaps it helps as well that the boyband image, or at least some versions of it, is less stigmatised among that audience than among rock fans, for example.
From the title upwards, 'Ghetto Romance' is a more grown-up product than their earlier work, courtesy of writers and producers Tim & Bob. I admit I hadn't heard of them before but they have a pretty lengthy CV of mostly American pop-RnB hits around this time, and as with some of the Swedish productions earlier on the album this delivers exactly what was required for a comeback single with ruthless efficiency. There's no real concession to the band's nationality or identity, just a pure blast of chunky, priapic but somehow not very sweaty RnB. It's not really a crossover record to be honest, but I can recognise how it plays to the demographic it was designed for.
Also appearing on: Now 35, 36, 37, 48, 49
Available on: Original Hits - Top Of The Pops