Five: Kingsize

BMG Entertainment International

For such a good pop album, it’s a shame the band is no longer. You heard right. The superboy band Five has disbanded. Here’s the lowdown:

“Abs Breen, J Brown, Ritchie Neville, Scott Robinson and Sean Conlon made the announcement to their fans simultaneously via their official website and on MTV. The decision has been made jointly by the band following lengthy discussions this week.

Five said: “We’ve matured and developed massively as a band over the last three and half years and have also grown as individuals. As the band has got bigger on a global scale the commitment levels have had to increase and that at times that has been hard on us all. We felt that we had reached a point where we could no longer do justice to our fans or to each other and when that happens, it really is time to call it a day.

We want to say a massive thank you to all of the Five fans who have got us to where we are today — we will miss you all”.

If you are familiar with the pop world, you’ll know they couldn’t compete with media hoars Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync, the two top selling boy bands for the last couple of years. But Five’s first album, self-titled, from 1998 brought about a lot of attention and a superhit “Everybody Get Up”. The album had its moments and they were no worse than Backstreet or Justin Timberlake . . . I mean, ‘NSync. And they had more R&B and hip-hop nuances than the Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync combined, which by default should have given them more street cred.

As with most boy bands, their first foray into the pop world is practically embarassing. The pubescent grabs at their teeny crotches, the talk of getting down to biz’ness with their lady, oh please. But with ‘NSync’s latest hits, “Pop” and the new “Girlfriend”, pop is evolving into a unapologetic movement where technologic sounds and alterations are expected and trying to be an “artist” is for the lame. While this riles most of the music world, their music is getting better and dare I say it, catchier. Five knew this from the start and certainly capatalized on it with this album, Kingsize .

“Let’s Dance (Radio Edit)” relies on the overused voice alterator that is now de rigeur in pop and once Cher, Madonna and Aaron Carter took a hold of it, there was no turning back. But the song has an early Will Smith — style rap and is expertly layered, leaving the listener dancing, whether you want to or not.

Funky and almost cute (because they are so young), “Lay All Your Lovin’ on Me” uses ACDC’s “Back in Black” guitar riffs to sing over. It is raunchy and sexy, without being David Roth grotesque. And we all know that riff. Guaranteed — you will be playing air guitar within two bars.

Again using a sample, the main theme from Grease by the Bee Gees, “Rock the Party” will do well on the dancefloor. Even if you don’t like the original song, these boys sing and rap over it enough that it is more about them than the song. Something that can be rare when relying on well-known samples.

“Hear Me Now” is raw and uses a heavy electronica base. It is a good song until they get to the chorus line, “I tried to call you but you wasn’t around”. Ugh.

Their slow songs leave much to be desired, but it is geared to the young girl crowd, so if you are under 20, these are made just for you.

Craig David is brilliant and this is not meant as a slight to him, but track 10 “Something in the Air” sounds like one of his. Go ahead. Listen to it and tell me differently.

Even as purely boyband that “Breakdown” is, it is catchy. And there’s a hint of Nelly in there, which gives it a nice hook.

Even though Five has disbanded, there is one thing you should know. They rock. And they rocked more than the Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync. They are funky and poppy and never claimed to be more than that.

You’ve got to love them for that. And for “Everybody Get Up”, “My Song”, “Lay All Your Lovin’ on Me” . . .

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