What to make of Nicole? After fronting pop powerhouse Pussycat Dolls, it seemed inevitable that one day she would end up leaving them behind, since she practically did all the singing. So it certainly wouldn’t be out of the question to imagine a successful solo career in the future for her. But this so far remains tantalisingly out of her grasp for now.
Things were looking decent in the UK at least. PCD had a string of big hits, and indeed “Poison”, “Right there” and Enrique duet “Heartbeat” had made a decent impact, and “Don’t hold your breath” managed to surpass modest expectations to give her a solo #1. The album performed decently across Europe, even if follow-up singles “Wet” and re-release lead single “Try with me” struggled to make an impact.
However it’s the USA that she seems to be hellbent on breaking, which makes it all the worse for the lack of progress she’s made there. “Right there” just managed to get into the Billboard top 40, but the albums remains conspiciously unreleased there. She won “Dancing with the stars” and landed the X-Factor USA judging gig, but after lukewarm reactions and a quite spectacular meltdown when she sent home bratty devil child Rachel Crow, she left the show. Consolidating her power base in Europe, she’s joining the UK X-Factor panel next season, which as Kelly Rowland learnt might get some goodwill, but not necessarily a hit album.
Within all this drama, I feel like a good song has dropped down the cracks and been missed. She performed it on the UK’s X-Factor last Autumn, but it never really took off anywhere. “Try with me” starts off with an angsty scene after a breakup, with Nicole begging the guy to pick up the pieces with her and give the relationship another go.
Her voice is as strong as ever, and can pick up some really great notes among the euphoric trancey production. She can come over as a bit humourless and robotic at times, but Nicole really has some passion in this one I think. The breathy vocals at the start are a bit affected and artificial, but when she gets into the meat of the song, it’s pretty great. I don’t see a good reason for this to flop (and take the re-packaged album “Killer love” with it), I guess it just got lost in the big Christmas releases.
I think retreating back to the UK for some more brainless dance anthems is a good idea for Nicole right now. She’s wisely followed the trends and largely abandoned the R’n’B scene for a dance sound as so many have, so that’ll be good for a while until the Guetta bubble finally burts. God knows Europe needs some fun right now, and there’s plenty of money to be made with a hit single across Europe these days…