Frankly and slightly shamefully, before I knew Girls Aloud, I knew The Saturdays. I specifically remember downloading their album one cold December night while I was in college in Tallahassee. I couldn’t believe what I heard. It was legitimate ear glitter, and not the Ke$ha type. I was instantly mesmerized and couldn’t get enough of Chasing Lights. They were a smash in the UK, and I wanted them in the US like something fierce.
After 5 successful singles and stellar album sales, the Sats came back for round two, and this is where they developed their bad habit: the wrong first single.
Forever Is Over is completely great in its own right, but I just didn’t understand where they were going with this sound. It was the complete opposite of Chasing Lights. It wasn’t the glitter-pop they became known for. It was Kelly Clarkson reject realness. Literally!
“Forever Is Over” was originally written for former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson. One of the Sats, Mollie King explained to the Daily Star how the group came to record it instead: “We heard the song playing while at our record company and went into the office where James was talking to the head of the label. We said: ‘We have to have that song!’ Then we found out that Kelly Clarkson was fighting for it but he gave it to us.”
FIO charted respectfully, No. 2 on the UK charts; however, the rest of the album came and the sound was completely different than what FIO presented. Wordshaker was released in October of 2009 and charted at No. 9 in the UK. It was their second top 10 album, and frankly, probably their best.
The album took a crazy turn after its release. Ego was released as the second single and became one of their bestselling singles. It peaked at No. 9 on the charts; however, as soon as Ego came and went, so did the album. Though there was plenty of single material on the album (see: Here Standing – would’ve been perfect as a Christmas Single!, One Shot, Wordshaker, Lose Control, Open up à over HALF the album!) the rest of the tracklist was relatively ignored when the label tried to save the Sats from dismal album sales and created an EP/turned full album, Headlines.
Though I’d say Headlines did an amazing job at saving the Sats sales trajectory, it ignored so many of the great songs on Wordshaker. Wordshaker was shunned by the label and removed off every streaming and digital music platform. It was Headlines or bust. Granted, I am forever grateful for Headlines because it gave us the Sats only version of Higher, which was released as the second single off the EP (after they released the wrong first single for the second time, Missing You) with a feature by the omnipresent (at the time) Flo Rida.
Wordshaker is a mystery to me. It got some of the strongest reviews of their career and provided so many gems to dance too and enjoy. Still to this day, the material is some of their strongest and would compete well with the current musical landscape.
When asked to clarify why the sudden shift from Wordshaker to Headlines, the following explanation was given:
“To be honest, we took a break at the beginning of the year and within that time, we went to the studio loads and did some really, really cool stuff. We weren’t really supposed to be releasing anything til next year but we couldn’t wait, so we decided to do a mini-album instead.”
So essentially, Wordshaker was released in October of 2009, Ego was released in November; and Headlines followed a short 10 months after. Wordshaker was then pulled from digital platforms.
Luckily, some amazing activists trying to save our ears from the drudge that keeps being released by the current crop of “artists” worked their magic to get Fascination Recrods to gift the world with Wordshaker. Not only is it available in their native UK, but it’s available worldwide. What a triumph for mankind.
I’ve been telling everyone, and will continue to tell everyone, about their magical sophomore album that deserved so much more attention than it got. Frankly, The Saturdays never got the recognition they deserved. They released some of the strongest pop music that’s been released throughout the ten years of their existence. Starting with Chasing Lights, all the way to Living For the Weekend. I think it all comes down to their management and the improper usage of the first single.
Wordshaker is back in our lives though, so let’s bask in that glory while we wait for more…