This week, I find myself writing reviews of new material by artists I have never liked. Yesterday, we published a flattering review of Justin Timberlake’s new single “Suit & Tie“. Today, I find myself writing a review of the new single by Destiny’s Child – the R&B girl group that dominated radio airwaves in my college years with songs such as “Say My Name“,”Bills Bills Bills“, and a cover version of the Bee Gees hit single “Emotions“. Needless to say, Destiny’s Child were one of my least favorite memories of music from my college years. As in the case of Justin Timberlake, I found the group highly over-exposed and lacking substance for the most part (noteworthy exceptions include their fantastic cover of Bee Gees’ “Emotions” and “Free“). Given the highly successful careers of Destiny’s Child group-members Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland (the more talented one in my humble opinion!), one might wonder why there is a new Destiny’s Child single.
The R&B trio is slated to release a compilation titled “Love Songs” on January 29. The only newly recorded song on the compilation is a new single titled “Nuclear” (produced by Pharrell Williams and co-written by Michelle Williams and Pharrell Williams). Given that the song is featured on a “Love Songs” compilation, it is fair to assume that it qualifies as downtempo fare – as opposed to a club-friendly mini-danceathon. Interestingly enough, I strongly believe that the group’s musical talent only surfaced on songs like these. “Nuclear” sounds like an album track from a a mid-90s Janet Jackson album. The fact that it sounds like an album track suggests that it might not yield a radio hit for the girls but it most likely will please ardent fans that yearn for that little extra bonus. The introduction is mellow and dominated by a light string arrangement. It quickly morphs into a light mid-tempo drum beat. The song is not what one would call instant but it is quite a grower. Where it truly succeeds is in its ability to capture the great elements (lush harmonies, breezy vibe, intensely sexy “Middle 8”) of the R&B sound that dominated between the late 80s to the mid-90s. These elements seemed to have disappeared from R&B in the late 90s. I am undoubtedly pleasantly surprised by how much I like the track. While I do I think it is far from earthshattering, it is most definitely pleasant. More importantly, it might serve a purpose in terms of generating anticipation for Beyonce Knowles’ new album.
For your listening pleasure, here is a full-length clip of the new Destiny’s Child single “Nuclear” (their first in 10 years!):