The Danity Kane Saga is a sad one. The girls release their reunion-but-final(-probably) “DK3” album today, an album that nearly didn’t see the light of day. Danity Kane’s entire existence as a Girl Group has been filled with drama, and this blog post is partly a review of the new album, but mostly a summary of their demise their reunion and their second demise. It’s a frustrating thing because the girls had such talent and so much potential, but ego’s and BOYS and other things doomed them from the start.
In the early 2000’s, Reality TV was all about finding the next STARS. “American Idol” was the assembly line type way of finding a star, but Diddy’s “Making the Band” (after the ill-fated first season that gave us O-Town) was different because he took his time to filter out the hardworking contestants that exhibited star quality. Da Band, a Hip Hop/R&B group, was created on the first season but their second season showed how quickly money and fame go to people’s heads, so his disbanded the group.
His next try was to find the next big Girl Group. After three seasons of rigorous auditions and recordings, Danity Kane released their self-titled debut album in 2006 which hit #1 in it’s first week.
The girls had a big debut performance in Central Park in 2006, and there was no question after watching them live that all 5 girls HAD IT. Aubrey, Aundrea, Dawn, D Woods and Shannon had the drive, the talent, the voices, and the charisma to carry this group a long way. Well, at least that’s what me and many other fans thought. Yes, their team made some questionable choices as far as singles and styling, but DK showed so much promise and delivered some really good music.
By the time their second album “Welcome to the Dollhouse” was released in 2008 (another #1 debut), the unity within the group had taken a dip. The girls separated themselves into little groups, and one meeting took the group down. From my perspective, the demise of group came from Aubrey. Her post-fame surgery was going overboard, and her ego was inflating out of this world. She also began to resent group member Dawn, who was handpicked by Diddy to join his Dirty Money outing. Aubrey’s smart mouth in that final meeting must have been Diddy’s breaking point and he ended Danity Kane.
In the years after, Dawn joined Dirty Money and released two independent EP’s and a full length album. Aubrey went the typical fame-whore route and settled on Reality TV with her own ill-fated show and a turn on “Celebrity Apprentice”, a show that displayed her smarts but also an evil side. D Woods became a go-to singer/actress for traveling plays, while working on her solo material. Shannon and Aundrea worked on music but stayed out of the spotlight.
In 2013, the girls excited ALL of their fans with an official announcement of their reunion. Though D Woods was missing from this reunion, most of the DK fans were really pleased to see this talented and upbeat group get back together. And the four girls seemed excited as well. Not even a full year later, Aundrea announced she was leaving the group to focus on family, she had become pregnant and couldn’t carry on with the rehearsals and touring. That was the beginning of the end for them and their reunion (and to me, they should have called it quits when she left because Aundrea was always the STAR of the “MTB” series and a fan favorite. She was the underdog during auditions and we ALL rooted for her and smiled heartily whenever we saw her on stage living her dreams). After Aundrea left, their lead single “Lemonade” made ZERO waves on the charts, and shortly after that, the reunion was officially over due to a physical altercation between Dawn and Aubrey.
This fight and the death of the group was not surprising given Aubrey’s antics that have been caught on film, so you can only imagine how bad she was off camera. All blame aside though, the group just couldn’t pull it together long enough to deliver the new album as a united front. But because the girls knew their fanbase was so strong, they decided to go ahead and release the album, which is available today.
The album, “DK3”, is about as inventive and creative as it’s title. It’s a fairly decent album overall, with a few standout cuts from the 10 tracks available. The lyricism is pretty much basic, but the production on each track is refreshing. It’s the Hip Hop/Electronic/Pop sound that worked so well on “Dollhouse”, but in a way the sound is more scaled back and simplistic. It’s not as over-produced as some of the “Dollhouse” tracks and it works perfectly, especially on the mellow track “Roulette” and the sexy and laid back “Tell Me”. There’s a good number of uptempo dance stuff like album opener “Rhythm of Love” and my favorite track “Bye Baby”, the more Urban tinged single “Lemonade” and “All In a Day’s Work”.
The flaw in this album for me is it feels like something is missing. There’s no real collective feel to the album, and there’s not a real statement from the group of what this album is supposed to represent. This is probably because the album is incomplete. I don’t know how far they were in recording, but it almost feels like they just stopped their sessions and put whatever was finished on the album. I may be wrong, but the album doesn’t feel like an ALBUM (if that makes sense), it feels more like a fan-composed playlist.
Of course me and all the DK fans are happy the girls decided to release the album, now we don’t have to wonder what might have been. And at the end of the day, it’s worth a purchase. The girls still have it, the backing harmonies and melodies are impeccable and are evidence of the amazing vocal skills they’ve always had. I have gripes (don’t the melodies on “Pieces” remind everyone of Aaliyah’s 2000 “I Don’t Wanna”) but overall it’s an entertaining outing, an appropriate enough end to a group that could have gone so much further.
Grade: B- Best: Bye Baby, Roulette, Rhythm of Love