dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Steps' Boxset 'The Platinum Collection' + Revisiting The Band's Three Studio Albums

Since November rolled around, all has been quiet on the Steps front save for the recent bit of news that something called The Platinum Collection — a boxset — popped up on Amazon UK. One would guess that this is rushed holiday season cash-in by Sony (release date: November 28), given that The Ultimate Collection topped the UK album chart last month. And, at three discs, it's probably safe to assume its the band's three studio LPs in slightly fancy (or, very possibly, highly cheap) packaging.

That's not necessarily a bad thing for all those folks who opted for Gold back in the day or The Ultimate Collection, and don't own a proper Steps album. After all, they had some pretty decent album tracks.

All you need to know:

1. Step One, 1998 — 

Solid late-'90s pure pop effort packed with decent singles ("Heartbeat," "One For Sorrow," "Last Thing On My Mind," "Better Best Forgotten") and a few standout album tracks ("This Heart Will Love Again," "Back To You" and a PG-rated cover of Sunscreem's "Love U More"). It lags briefly when the cover of Worlds Apart's "Experienced" rolls around halfway through.

2. Steptacular, 1999 —

Weighed down by snoozy ballads (including the single "When I Said Goodbye" and tracks like "I Think It's Love") and unnecessary covers of Sybil's "Make It Easy On Me" and Bananarama's "Movin' On." That said, there are a few highlights, including the singles "Deeper Shade Of Blue" and "Say You'll Be Mine," and album tracks "Never Say Never Again" and the surprisingly mature album closer  "You're Everything That Matters To Me."

3. Buzz, 2000 —

If you're going to own one Steps album, this is the one to get. A near-flawless 56 minutes of pop. The cover of Kylie Minogue's "Better The Devil You Know" and the H-dominated "Learn To Love Again (basically a knockoff of Sonique's "It Feels So Good") are the only sticking points. The rest — from the perfect singles "Stomp," "It's The Way You Make Me Feel," "Here And Now" and "You'll Be Sorry," to Lisa Scott-Lee's shining "Never Get Over You," Lee Latchford Evans' Metro-produced jam "Turn Around" and the band's finest moment, "Paradise Lost" — is criminally good, and makes for a must-have disc to have in the car at all times.

Final thoughts: if you're in completionist mode, and the above is what's truly on The Platinum Collection, there are worse ways to spend your cash. Otherwise, just pick up Buzz and Step One.

* The Steps Banterview: You'll Be Sorry  
* Steps Reunion: Watch Episode 1
* Steps Reunion: Watch Episode 2
* Steps Reunion: Watch Episode 3  
* Steps Reunion: Watch Episode 4
* Steps "Dancing Queen": Listen 



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