Steps - Light Up The World (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
TWO things go against Steps’ comeback album. First and foremost, it’s a Steps album. And second, it’s a schmaltzy Christmas and Winter-themed collection of songs.
As comebacks go, this has to rate among the most unnecessary. I struggle to recall the name of a single Steps record and their new offerings (mostly cover versions) mostly succeed in ruining the memory of those.
A good Christmas album (and let’s face it, there aren’t that many) should get you bouncing up and down. It should really be lively for most of the time, barring any Bing Crosby moments.
Steps, though, have opted for the serious approach. From the get-go, the laboured doo-wap of History Is Made At Night, this requires an effort to survive.
Of the handful of upbeat moments, Joyous mixes the sentimental lyrics (“all the time, I’ve been building my castle of love”) with some cheesy electronics to create some predictably sickness-inducing levels of nausea.
While with new song Light Up The World, they’re clearly aiming to inspire Take That fans, while adding a touch of Bond in some of the instrumentals. It’s manipulative to say the least and so not euphoric despite of its intentions to the contrary.
Of the more serious, or ponderous, cover versions, there’s an over-cooked take on Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s Dionne Warwick hit A House Is Not A Home (with manipulative use of strings), and a similarly overdone version of Sarah McLachlan’s When She Loved Me (originally taken from Toy Story 2) that ends up as just plain depressing.
Christmas standards such as Please Come Home For Christmas, with its bluesy vibe, and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, with its smothering sense of good intent, merely drag the album down still further and undermine your own sense of good-will.
Light Up The World is a pretty dark experience.