Making Your Week “Happy Go Lucky” with Steps

steps-buzz

A week ago, I started to listen to television and movie soundtracks once again. One soundtrack that I listened to was the one for Disney’s “The Princess Diaries”. One of my favorite movies and book series when I was in junior high school, “The Princess Diaries” had a pretty solid soundtrack featuring known and unknown artists like Myra, Backstreet Boys, Steps, and others. Many would remember such songs like Myra’s “Miracles Happen” and Krystal Harris’ “Supergirl!”. Who didn’t sing “I’m Supergirl, and I’m here to save the world” out loud when the movie came out?

One of the less prominent songs off the soundtrack is “Happy Go Lucky” by the English pop group Steps. Formed in 1997 by music manager Tim Byrne and the writing team Steve Crosby and Barry Upton, Steps featured five members; Claire, Faye, H, Lisa, and Lee. The group released their debut single, “5, 6, 7, 8”, a year later with some success. This techno-flavored single caught the eye of one of my favorite producers, Pete Waterman, who signed them to Jive Records in hopes to create a new ABBA. Doesn’t that sound familiar? A*Teens?

The group released more singles, a mixture of covers and originals, before the end of the millennium. The group’s most successful single was “Heartbeat / Tragedy” featuring an original ballad and a cover of a Bee Gees’ song. The single went onto be the number one single of January 1999 and charted for over thirty weeks. The group released their debut album, “Steps”, and the follow-up, “Spectacular”, while going on tour in America with artists like Britney Spears and Youngstown.

Sadly, the success didn’t last long as the band started to slip when their third album, “Buzz” was released in late 2000. Relations also became fracture with Claire and H leaving the group in 2001 as they said they became miserable. The group official split quietly after the release of the single “Words Are Not Enough / I Know Him So Well” in 2001. The split angered fans back then for various reasons including capitalizing and lying.

The group reunited in 2011 to release new music. During this time, they released an album, “Light Up the World”, and hosted a small Christmas tour. The group also appeared on various talk shows and had their own reality show, talking about the past and why did they break up. However, the reunion was short-lived as the group announced a hiatus in 2013 with many of the group’s members resuming their solo careers.

I never really knew about Steps during the whole pop band epidemic of the late 90s. All I knew in terms of pop bands was the ones featured on Disney Channel or TRL; Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Youngstown, B*Witched,  and 5ive/Five. It was when my mom bought Steps’ debut album from a thrift store during my high school days that I really noticed them. Sadly, I wished I had paid attention to them in the late 90s as they are pretty talented and buoyant group. I really like the fact that there were both male and female members with each one playing an important part in every song.

“Happy Go Lucky” plays on Step’s signature sound of bubblegum synthpop despite “Buzz” being a more mature-sounded album. I feel like the song starts off in a minor progression as the beginning is “a bit under the weather” in terms of a mood. Throughout the verse and pre-chorus, the progression somehow goes major as the chorus is a bit chipper. This cycle of sad to happy to sad keeps on going throughout the song until the ending.

Or, maybe I just imagining this?

The lyrics are a bit sad though. The character laments that she tries to pull off being happy and makes everyone believe that she is ok. However, it’s a lie. Under the emotional mask, the character is truly sad as she just experienced a break-up with a man mentioned in the song. She does her “happy-go-lucky dance even if I am foolin’ myself” in order to make people believe that nothing is wrong. “Happy Go Lucky” makes me feel a bit sad for the singer as the lyrics and melody paints the internal emotional struggle of the main character.

Even though the atmosphere isn’t so happy, the song is definitely a hidden gem in Steps’ discography. The vocals are a perfect match for the song as they aren’t too strong or sweet. In fact, this song is a perfect song for the The Princess Diaries or even anyone’s playlist as it’s an easy-listening tune. The best part for me is the chorus because it’s memorable with the lyrics, which I remember easily and sing them out loud randomly on occasion. Nonetheless, the song is a winner as it’s catchy, displays how skillful the group is with the lead and backing vocals, the lyrics’ plot, and the fervor.

Take a listen to the song below and tell me what you think.

Four Colourz – “ABCD”

abcd-fourcolourz

Long time, no see! I am sorry for not updating for a week or so. I usually curl up next to the space heater after work on very cold winter nights, unexpectedly falling asleep for long periods of time. Lame, isn’t it? This week’s weather is forecasted to be spring-like here in Japan. Maybe I will be lucky and I wouldn’t have to use a heater.

But enough of the excuses, let’s talk more about music! What do you remember about the late 90s and early 2000s in the music world? Do you remember those influx of girl groups and boy bands from every corner of the world? Ok, ok! Maybe not “every corner of the world”, but it did feel like it! With any kind of band coming from Europe, the UK, US, and Canada, you might of have felt a bit overwhelmed when choosing who to follow. I did! I always had to choose between being a Backstreet Boys fan or a *Nsync fan when discussing who my friends and I loved during lunch in middle school. Luckily, I found a loophole and admitted that I loved the bad boys from the UK, 5ive. ❤

Four Colourz is one of those girl groups.. Formed in late 1999, Four Colourz was a quartet with members Kara, Claire, Tierra and Nraca/R-Ca, They started to record their first album, “FourColourz.com”, in the early part of 2000. To promote this album, they were the opening act for the European leg of P. Diddy’s tour while releasing four singles: “Wait”, “Anything”, “ABCD”, and “Dog Me Out”. The girls found minor success in Europe, especially in their home country of Germany. But it wasn’t enough as the girls disappeared off the music radar a year after their debut. It is currently unknown what the girls are up to now; are they still in the entertainment industry or did they retire to a “normal” life?

Luckily, their music is still roaming around the internet for all to enjoy this talented group. You can hear their beautiful yet sassy voices the best in their second single “ABCD”. Although it’s a typical “pop meets R&B from those days”-type of song,  it really does fit the girls’ voice wonderfully. The magic of this song comes from the solo lines, where each girl gets to show off their unique vocals, and in the chorus parts with the girls blending together to create a unified sound. I honestly can’t choose from Claire’s sultry vocals or Tierra’s sweet ones. But, what makes it more memorable is the beat and the melody; creating a high-energy, get up and bounce jam.

If you liked Destiny’s Child, 3LW/Cheetah Girls, or Mis-Teeq, then Four Colourz is for you! With a pinch of sugar, spice, sass, and everything kinda nice, “ABCD” is an unforgettable jam that might have you arbitrary humming parts of the chorus anywhere.