Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Pussycat Dolls 'When I Grow Up'

Chart Peak: 3

The Dolls made a long-awaited return to the charts with the sassy single 'When I Grow Up' which hit No. 3 in September 2008, nearly two years after their last single 'I Don't Need A Man'... The track is a tongue-in-cheek look at our fame-obsessed culture

To be pedantic, their last single before this was the download-only release of 'Wait A Minute', but nonetheless it did follow a lengthy gap. Apparently this was one of almost a hundred songs recorded for a Nicole Sherzinger solo album that was never released; she then decided this one was more suited to the group, presumably because it needed the massive artistic input of the other members?

Either way, it ended up as the lead single for the second (and, it would seem, last) PCD album and a major hit, though it seems weirdly forgotten now, possibly one of those songs that becomes a bit hit because it's a new track by a big act more than because people are really enthusiastic about it. Whilst sampling was hardly a new phenomenon in 2008, it does seem to bring some unexpected names into the writing credits on Now 71 - as well as Warren Zevon a couple of tracks ago, the rhythm section from The Yardbirds get a mention and a royalty due to the beat of this track being based on their 1966 album track 'He's Always There'. So full marks for the imaginative source material, fewer for what they do with it. I don't believe for a moment that anybody who was that cynical about fame would join the pop spin-off from a burlesque dancing franchise and the song doesn't do a lot to convince either, seeming very by-numbers with the possible exception of the bit where it sounds like they're saying "I wanna have boobies". In other words, it's cynically pretending to be cynical, and I'm too much of a cynic not to notice. Maybe if the music was any less inane or the performance was any good I might think otherwise, but I wonder whether anyone was ever expected to listen to this track without also watching the video.

Also appearing on: Now 62 (with Busta Rhymes), 63 (with will.i.am), 65, 73 (with A.R. Rahman)
Available on: Doll Domination (UK Version)

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