Usually when a band reforms we get a half-arsed tour (or not, in the case of Bros) and it’s all ‘thankyou very much and good night’ before you’ve had time to remove your glow-in-the-dark bunny ears.
Not so for Steps, who are not only embarking on a huge arena tour later this year, but have also gifted us with a brand new album.
It’s Claire, H, Faye, Lisa and Lee’s first album of brand new songs since their 2000 opus ‘Buzz’ and quite how we’ve all managed to get by without a Steps album in all that time is baffling, quite frankly.
So ‘Tears On the Dancefloor’ is not only long overdue, but a sight for sore pop eyes in these days of Beige Sheeran.
But was it worth the 17 year wait? In a word, yes (and then some). Here’s our track-by-track review...
‘Scared Of The Dark’ 5/5
You’ll know this one already. A 10/10 stone cold banger and the perfect choice for first single to reintroduce Steps back into the pop fold - as well as winning over new fans.
‘You Make Me Whole’ 4/5
The second taster track released ahead of the album’s release is another slice of perfect pop and the most current sounding song on the album. Special mention for the lovely atmospheric intro and bridge’s repeated refrain of ‘I will be, I will be, I will be there when you need me’. Niiiiice.
‘Story Of A Heart’ 5/5
Bjorn and Benny of ABBA wrote this but unless you’re a die-hard fan of the Swedes, it’s unlikely you’d have heard the original by the Benny Andersson Band (listen above). It’s classic ABBA though and Claire and Faye prove they’re more than a match for Agnetha and Frida in the vocal department.
The verses are very reminiscent of Royksopp and Robyn’s collaboration ‘Monument’ (specifically the Inevitable End Version, for all you music nerds out there). Or to put it another way, if ABBA reformed in 2017, we’d imagine this is the sort of melancholy sad banger they’d be recording. High praise indeed.
‘No More Tears On The Dancefloor’ 4/5
Darren Hayes of Savage Garden fame penned this and he’s managed to come up with the song on the album that’s closest to the original Steps sound (despite the fact it’s essentially a cover version of Anders I Fahrenkrog’s single). It’s also the first time on the album that we get to hear the boys take on any of the lead vocals. Even Lee gets a whole verse to himself - and pulls it off too. Well done Lee.
The most ‘meh’ song on the album and the first slight lull in proceedings. It’s not terrible, but pales into comparison to some of the other dancefloor fillers.
‘Space Between’ Us 3/5
This is very much the boys’ song, with Claire, Faye and Lisa just providing background vocals. It’s also one of the least ‘Steps sounding’ songs here. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and it’s good to see them mixing it up a little bit.
‘Glitter And Gold’ 4/5
One of the most ‘Euro’ songs on the album, which had us getting all misty-eyed for the times we used to twirl around gay dancefloors to Inferno’s ‘From Paris To Berlin’. Now we’ve essentially got an updated version of that classic sad banger.
‘Neon Blue’ 5/5
This starts off sounding like something off Adele’s last album but the piano intro soon turns into classic Steps. Or Kylie. We think this would make a good single.
‘I Will Love Again’ 3/5
Claire really gets to show off her killer set of pipes on the soaring chorus of the album’s closing discotastic track, which will be played in gay discos and hen parties across the land for years to come. Right, we’re off for a lie down.
Overall verdict: 4/5
(Almost) all killer and (virtually) no filler, Steps are officially back to save pop.