Poor, poor Saturdays. Despite being pretty much the only girl-group still standing in the Wilds of Pop for years now (Parade? Girls Can’t Catch? Soundgirl? Nah, didn’t think so), they just can’t seem to catch a break. Things were looking so good when All Fired Up exploded out in a daze of heads-to-speakers-which-resulted-in-blowing-minds and calls that ‘we’re all animal’ (bagsy being an Emperor Tamarin – for the little monkey master beard obviously), storming to number three in the charts and eventually becoming one of their best selling singles. So why oh why did they not release the album On Your Radar, which is even a hook in All Fired Up for goodness sake, after that instead of waiting until the dodgy post-christmas market to release a mid-tempo ballad. A ballad. Seriously girls you’re in a girlband – dancing and singing about dancing is totally your shtick.
So now, we inevitably enter New Single Not Off the Failed Album (a.k.a. damage control) territory with 30 Days and it needs to arrive with a bang visually to secure some kind of redemption. Something new, something exciting, something which is the polar opposite of mid-tempo ballad. It’s not hard to imagine the difficult deliberations that must have happened inside Polydor HQ:
“Good morning Mr Polydor Boss-Man sir.”
“Morning. Right, what’s on the agenda for today?”
“Vocal group. Five girls.”
“There’s the Irish redhead, the blonde one, the one going out with the tall one in JLS, the short-haired one who’s been out with a few footballers and the one who can sing best but no one really remembers.”
“Got it, yes. Right, well what’s the problem?”
“We have their new single and we need a video concept sir.”
“What’s it called?”
“30 Days. It’s an uptempo about missing a loved-one who’s away for… errr… 30 days.”
“So good for the young ‘uns in ‘Da Club’ but also promoting monogamous, long-distance relationships. I like it. Well, why don’t you get them to dance or something? Girlgroups are good at that, yes?”
“Well yes, ok sir but where?”
“How about on a beach, in bikinis, in the glorious sunshine?”
“That was the video for Missing You sir.”
“Abroad then, somewhere hip like… New York!
“Higher was set there.”
“Oh, well maybe in an office. Sexy secretaries and that…”
“We did that in Notorious sir.”
“Hmm, this really is a pickle. Well, we’re on a low budget, what have we got nearby?”
“Well there’s the Polydor dining trailer out back but…”
“Perfect! Spruce it up, put them in heels, slinky dresses and no one will know a thing… And fetch me a sausage sarnie whilst you’re there.”
And so we’re left with The Saturdays go Speed Dating. In a low rent diner. Not quite the bang I had in mind but let’s give it a chance. It only takes seven seconds for the product placement to start rolling in (literally in the case of the Citroen) and it soon becomes clear that the motto of this video is – what you lack in budget, make up for in gurning. There is no end to the contortions on parade – Una’s deranged trying-to-appear-happy grins (“Help! They won’t let me leave!”), Mollie’s ‘Wait, this isn’t the Ivy” face upon entrance and Vanessa’s soldiering-through grimaces, looking like she wished she went solo whilst she had the chance. Mentions also go out to Will.i.Am taking a break from BBC’s The Voice to terrorise the girls with his green goggles/red bowtie combo, the awkward moment Frankie notices an ex in the crowd, Mollie’s expert drawing skills doing great things for the blonde stereotype and Una giving the boys hope before pointing to her recently deflated stomach: ” I’m totally available.. jks I’ve just given birth and I’m engaged. LOLZ.”
Still, the girls are trying their best and there’s some committed silent disco raving going on towards the end, even if Una is shoved behind the counter for the entirety of it (probably as punishment for committing Girlband treason – getting pregnant and that). Whether this will be enough to re-start the album campaign is debatable: no doubt there will a album re-release to capitalise on any success this single brings but I imagine they’re going to need more than another top 10 single to truly make Mr Polydor Boss-Man happy, especially when up-and-coming ladettes Stooshe and the imminent arrival of X Factor winners Little Mix will snapping at their Topshop 7-inch heels in the coming months.