The 411 are the best failed four piece girlband in the R&B genre of the noughties (poor Clea). Things started out so well for the band, with Ashanti-penned first single On My Knees going Top Five and more importantly being a good song. As a side note, it’s one of those songs that is not what you think it’s about aged nine isn’t it (Touch My Fire by Javine and I Said Never Again by Rachel Stevens also fall into this category). Anyway, their ‘big’ single Dumb is one of the best forgotten gems of the noughties (along with When I Lost You by Sarah Whatmore), and does still sound quite current in that it sounds like a poptastic version of Alunageorge. That was all good but it all went a bit tits-up with then their album didn’t go Top Forty, which was a bit shit because they got dropped :(. They split and reformed and split again, which suggests that the world doesn’t really care but if they can top Dumb then a comeback would be nice.
All six of Samantha Mumba’s singles here in the UK went Top 10. She even had a hit in America. But she disappeared in 2002, only coming back to appear in a few films and for an ill-fated stint on Dancing on Ice (she only lasted three weeks which doesn’t sound too bad but Aggie of Kim and Aggie-fame lasted four). Regardless of this, she had some ‘bangerz’ back in the day, including I’m Right Here which is about how hard it is to find a good man (we all feel you Sam). Her peak was Gotta Tell You though, which is so good that they released it again in 2008 (it did really badly though so we’ll skate over that if you pardon the pun). She kind of made a comeback this year but a) it was only in Ireland and 2) the song was no Gotta Tell You. It’d be nice if she made a proper go of it again, but only with a song as good as Gotta Tell You and that doesn’t mean releasing it a third time.
Faces of Number 171 hit and failed Eurovision anthem Big Bro Thang Big Brovaz were good before they released the Number 171 and failed Eurovision anthem Big Bro Thang, weren’t they? They had seven Top 20 singles, and Top 10 album and even a spot on the soundtrack for Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (ok so it’s hardly The Great Gatsby but whatever). Their greatness perhaps is best shown in the video for Baby Boy, which is comedy at it’s finest (01:24 in particular is lol-tastic). However, their finest hour (or three minutes and forty seven seconds to be precise) is Favourite Things, which does what JLS failed to do, turning a song from The Sound of Music into an urban club bop. The video has the men donning some serious guyliner/Y shadow (gettit cos the Y chromosome ‘lol’). They split after failing to do Eurovision, but Nadia and Cherise went on to become Booty Luv who were legitimately brilliant. Big Brovaz have reunited and split again since, but it would’ve been good if the rumours were true and they were doing The Big Reunion, but instead we’re getting Girl Thing. Oh well.
The world needs another Rachel Stevens album. Yes, even more than the world needs a follow-up to Hilary Duff’s magnum opus Dignity. The two Rachel Stevens albums are both fantastic, with the second in particular being a masterclass in ‘uncool pop that is totally cool’ (see Kiss by Carly Rae Jepsen and Music To Make Boys Cry by Diana Vickers). The first was good nonetheless, with Sweet Dreams My LA Ex being the Britney Spears reply to Cry Me A River that never was (no it actually was written about that situation and was offered to Britney). Her best Some Girls was her only number one, but that really is a modern pop classic so well done the record-buying public. Undoubtedly her greatest achievement was winning ‘Most Fanciable Female’ for two consecutive years at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party, as well as a Rear of the Year award. She hasn’t released anything in a while, but has been in the studio in recent years, so it’d be nice if something got released. Even just because she worked with Richard X. Everyone loves a bit of Richard X, no?