I honestly thought the Young Divas' debut album was the gayest thing I had ever heard. An endearing collection of camp pop classics ("Gloria", "Woman In Love", "What A Feeling" etc), the album struck a chord with homosexuals and bored housewives across Australia and became an unexpected double platinum smash hit. Twelve months have passed since then and the band has undergone some cosmetic changes. Ricki-Lee Coulter left the band to pursue a solo career and was replaced by last year's Australian Idol runner up, Jessica Mauboy. The line up might be different but end product is very much the same. The girls have delivered another fabulous album of reworked gay classics. The critics will deride their lack of development and credibility but I applaud the young divas for serving up another feast of the low brow magic. The rest of the world can have Girls Aloud and the Sugababes, I'm more than satisfied with our local superstar girlband! Here is my track by track review:
Got To Be Real - 9/10
Few songs make you want to get up and dance more than Cheryl Lynn's "Got To Be Real". As such, Cheryl's much loved disco classic is the perfect opening track for "New Attitude". The divas make it blindingly obvious from the very first song that the album's one and only objective is to get you out of your seat and "Got To Be Real" conveys that message in great style. Disco purists will be horrified by the trashy rap but I think it works wonderfully. It's complete inappropriateness renders the song even more camp if that is even possible.
If I Can't Have You - 8/10
The nod to disco continues with a dashing and surprisingly faithful cover of Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You". The song is a welcome blast of pure pop but the girls bring nothing new to the track. In fact, their version is virtually interchangeable with Kim Wilde's 1993 version - only with better vocals. Expect this to be a party favourite over the Christmas season.
Turn Me Loose (Ft. Savage) - 9/10
The first single from the album is a sublime dance cover of Loverboy's "Turn Me Loose". It will be interesting to see how the song performs on the charts but download sales have been promising. "Turn Me Loose" is the divas' biggest concession to current music trends with its slight urban edge and hilarious rap. It might sound like a mess but "Turn Me Loose" works surprisingly well. The vocal performance is particularly impressive.
I Can't Wait - 10/10
The Young Divas pillaging Stevie Nicks' back catalogue should be wrong in so many ways but "I Can't Wait" is a blistering work of pop brilliance. Stevie's original is one of my favourite songs. The inspired mix of guitars and synths was so far ahead of its time that a modern remake feels almost appropriate. I'm not sure what Stevie would make of this version but I love it. "I Can't Wait" works remarkably well as a dancefloor anthem and the surprisingly sleek production distinguishes the track from the rest of the album. Exquisite!
Jump (For My Love) - 9/10
Just when you think "New Attitude" couldn't possibly get any gayer, the divas ramp up the camp factor with a fabulous cover of The Pointer Sisters "Jump (For My Love)". It's hard to destroy pop as perfect as this but it is possible as Girls Aloud proved with their lifeless destruction of the track. Thankfully, the Young Divas show this classic the respect it deserves and serve up a glorious slice of trashy fun.
Love Will Lead You Back - 8/10
I still can't believe that the girls cover Taylor Dayne twice on the one album. That fact alone should be enough to convince most gays to buy "New Attitude". The first Taylor Dayne interpretation is "Love Will Lead You Back". As the only ballad on an album of upbeat dance anthems, "Love Will Lead You Back" makes a welcome change of pace and allows the girls to show off their big voices. Taylor would be proud.
Chain Reaction - 10/10
After a short romantic breather, the divas return to their bread and butter. A camp as tits cover of a gay classic. This time around the lovely ladies give Diana's "Chain Reaction" a makeover and deliver one of the album's highlights. After hearing Steps' abysmal cover I always thought "Chain Reaction" was one of those songs that shouldn't be fucked with. I'm happy that the divas have proved me wrong. Absolutely epic.
New Attitude - 10/10
The title track is a delicious cover of my favourite Patti LaBelle song. "New Attitude" was fierce in 1985 and the song is still a knockout more than 20 years later due to some snappy production and inspired vocal performances by all four divas. I hope this irresistible call to the dancefloor is considered for a single release at some stage.
I'm So Excited - 8/10
Few songs recall the 80s quite like The Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited". The original is one of my all time favourites and the Young Divas show the song the respect it deserves. However, I can't help but feel some of the original's magic has been lost in the manic production of the divafied version. Not as good as their version of "Jump" but still a treat.
Tell It To My Heart - 10/10
I have a feeling someone in the Young Divas camp is a massive fan of Kelly Llorenna. Firstly the ladies follow in Kelly's footsteps by covering "This Time I Know It's For Real" on their first album and now update another classic that has previously received the Llorenna treatment. Taylor Dayne's "Tell It To My Heart" obviously lends itself to trashy club queens with big voices and the Divas turn in a stunning performance that will have Kelly and Taylor scratching their weaves in astonishment. This is a blast of pure poptastic fun and hopefully a future single.
Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man This Christmas) - 10/10
The Young Divas meet The Weather Girls and campy brilliance ensues. The Weather Girls' "Dear Santa" is the gayest Christmas carol ever recorded and it somehow feels appropriate that the torch has been passed to the Young Divas. Fuck "Silent Night", "Dear Santa" will be pumping out my stereo this holiday season.
There's nothing new about the Young Divas' attitude on their second album. Considerably more money has been spent on the production and artwork (I LOVE the cover!) but the formula hasn't changed a bit. The songs are still all cover versions of much loved pop classics. Some might call the album artless. I call it smart - and fucking entertaining! "New Attitude" is released on November 26 and belongs in every poof's collection. Pre-order your copy from Chaos, Sanity or iTunes.