Listening to Doll Domination it becomes obvious what a familiar part of the pop musical landscape the Pussycat Dolls have become in the last 3 years. A slightly risque dance tune here, a ramped up romantic ballad there, and nearly faceless vocals everywhere add up to a second album that sounds like more of the same with a bit less inspiration. The hit single "When I Grow Up" is a keeper, but it's hard to see an obvious worthy follow up here.
The Pussycat Dolls Live and Die By the Production Quality
For a manufactured pop group like the Pussycat Dolls who don't write music and don't play instruments, life or death is dependent on the quality of work from producers and songwriters behind the scenes. Too often here it feels like the tracks are phoned in by the technical crew. "Bottle Pop" seems to be trying to mine a Britney Spears "Piece of Me" groove, and Polow da Don rolls out the Nth version of "Love In This Club" on "Out of the Club."
Scattered Hot Single Material
An obvious exception to the uninspired work here is the artistry of veteran producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins. "When I Grow Up" absolutely bursts out of the blocks, and it's no surprise it landed in the pop top 10 with ease. "Elevator" is a more laidback affair, but the smooth R&B/pop groove settles in and glides effortlessly for nearly 4 minutes. The prize for left-field pleasure, although not likely a hit single, goes to the Timbaland helmed, 60's pop influenced, "In Person." However, it's easy to imagine Beyonce tearing up the studio with this track in a much more memorable fashion.
Top Tracks on 'Doll Domination'
- "When I Grow Up"
- "Whatcha Think About That"
- "Happily Never After"
- "In Person"
Are the Pussycat Dolls Past Their Peak?
After just 2 albums are the Pussycat Dolls already running out of steam as a recording act? It's hard to see where they go to make truly compelling music. The umbrella woman power theme here is too easily lost in ordinary songs and production. An occasional standout single seems well within reach, but the Dolls should not forget to focus on their dancing. It truly is their forte...and the music a diverting side project.