Some were skeptical when Danity Kane announced they were reuniting last year. Some were skeptical when it was announced only 4 members were coming back. Many were super skeptical when rumors speculated that member Aundrea Fimbres was pregnant. Many were skeptical when it was announced they were moving forward as an independent act. Some of that skepticism was swept aside when the quartet started performing live. But then, the skepticism came back when Aundrea (many of whom speculated to be pregnant) announced that she was leaving the group to start a family. Messiest. Reunion. Ever.
But that was only the start of the messiness. Dawn, Aubrey, and Shannon continued on as a rebranded ‘DK3’, and looked to be stronger (And sexier) than ever as a trio. That stage performance was epic. There new songs were super catchy. But then, songs had to be re-recorded because Aundrea, undoubtedly the best vocalist, was gone from the group. Certain group members started to grow jealous of others. Some members (Dawn) were getting more song placement because they were better singers,writers, and performers than the others. Egos came into play. Sneakiness came into play. Aubrey and Shannon allegedly started taking meetings and booking recording sessions without Dawn, in efforts to gain control of the situation, take her vocals off of tracks, etc. And once Dawn got wind of the situation, shit hit the fan, punches were thrown, statements were leaked by TMZ, charges were being pressed, and the messiest reunion of all time was finally over. Kind of.
Though things ended on a super sour note for the three girls, they (or at least Aubrey & Shannon) ultimately decided not to waste the album they had pretty much finished, and today, it was released for Danity Kane’s die hard, core fanbase. There’s been no promotion, no radio tour, no press releases, just music. DK3, ladies and gentlemen.
All of that Love & Hip Hop-style drama aside, the DK3 album actually delivers something somewhat solid. DK3 (the group) teased fans early on with the super hard urban-pop banger “Lemonade”, and that set the tone for what was known as the DK3 era. Then came songs like “Rage” and “Rhythm of Love”, which were much more dance-pop-rock oriented. These 3 songs came before the group disbanded. In recent weeks, we heard “All In A Day’s Work”, which is super sloppy in it’s arrangement. Seriously, why is Aubrey singing the first verse, and then repeating the 1st verse as the second verse? No lyric changes or anything. Then, FINALLY, a true gem emerged in the (SURPRISE!) Dawn Richard-penned “Tell Me”. Ironically, Dawn penning this song and me naming it one of the album standouts go hand-in-hand, but nevertheless, it is definitely a standout. Dawn & Shannon vocally shine on this super sexy, synth-filled R&B jam. The harmonies are to die for, and the girls really brought the sex appeal.
“Tell Me” flawlessly transitions into “Two Sides,” another standout which just so happens to be written by Dawn Richard. The song is more of an acoustic, harmony filled mid-tempo record that tells the story of failed relationships. You can’t deny Dawn writing abilities, even if you try your hardest (looking at you Aubrey). “Two Sides” definitely something fans would really appreciate seeing live, but as we all know, chances of that are slim to none.
The album then retreats back to the dance-pop-rock sound for “Secret Lover” and “Roulette”, both of which are very 80’s inspired tracks. It’s almost as if this album was meant to be very urban at one point, but some people weren’t happy with being too urban so they slapped on some pop songs at the end of the recording process. The album’s not as cohesive as it could have been, which kind of throws me off.
The last two songs then go back to the more urban, R&B side. “Pieces” is the slowest moment on the album; a slow R&B jam that once again, the girls shine on vocally. And the last song we’ll ever hear Danity Kane together on, is ironically entitled, “Bye Baby”. The song has a more groovy, Justin Timberlake/Pharrell vibe, and the girls sound amazing on this one as well. Something about urban-pop IS Danity Kane. It just works. Always has.
Their sound was always best as urban-pop, so I don’t understand the reason that half of this short, 10-song album is missing that. Maybe that was Aubrey and Shannon’s problem with Dawn. Maybe they thought their ‘Bad Boy’ sound was too urban, and wanted this album to be more pop since they had control. And maybe Dawn (and Aundrea) wanted to stick with what fans knew. It’s all speculation at this point and I could go on and on with scenarios, but I would’ve appreciated this album more if it was more cohesive. The second is much stronger than the first half, and there are some strong gems on here. “Tell Me”, “Two Sides”, “Pieces”, “Bye Baby” are all top-notch records. “Lemonade” is great. “Rhythm of Love” is pretty good. But overall, they could have and should have delivered a better album to bid farewell with.
In the end, it’s not about what I think with this one; it’s only up to the fans, because they are the only reason these songs were even released. Danity Kane always should have and always could have been bigger and better than they were and are. But forces outside of music have always drawn them apart. As Dk5. As DK4. And as Dk3.