April 21, 2024

Cleopatra - Steppin' Out (2000)

*Canadian pressing. 
Contains 13 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: R&B
Label Number: 2 84052

© 2000 WEA
Still all under the age of 20, the three Higgins sisters who perform under the name of second oldest sibling Cleopatra have come a long way from Manchester on their second album. With 1998's Comin' Atcha!, which featured three top five hits in the U.K., they were part of the teen-pop wave started by the Spice Girls two years earlier. But though they got some attention in the U.S., including a Top 40 entry for "Cleopatra's Theme," the American market didn't quite know what to make of a black trio that didn't sound like R&B. Steppin' Out answers that confusion by moving the group in an R&B/hip-hop direction without sacrificing their teen-pop approach. Employing a variety of production teams including Cutfather & Joe, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and recording at various U.S. and U.K. locations as well as in Norway and Denmark, Cleopatra has come up with an album of 11 potential singles, most of them in a familiar dance-pop style. "Nobody Said," the lone holdout from Manchester writer-producers Tim Scrafton and Kenny Hayes, is a ballad containing self-help advice, while Jam and Lewis' "Who's Your Woman," anchored by a striking single-note keyboard pattern, has an inventive sound. But for the most part, whether they're in Scandinavia, England, or America, the trio is singing harmless romantic pop (typical titles: "Take Me Now," "Come and Get Me") over light dance tracks. The weak spot is actually the vocals. Even though their mother Christine is credited with "additional vocals" on every track (she even gets her own section for her thank-yous in the characteristically lengthy acknowledgments section of the album's booklet), the sisters, led by Cleopatra herself, are not distinctive singers capable of giving this trite material any depth or particularity. In 1998, you had to say that Cleopatra was no Spice Girls; in 2000, you'd have to add that they're no Destiny's Child, either.

 tags: cleopatra, steppin out, 2000, flac,


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