Everyone loves a bit of dancepop. Steps were one of the big acts in the late 90's and early 2000s to release some of the big bangers that took over the dancefloor. A majority of the 00s and 10s saw the band on hiatus, but Steps has returned with a big new record Tears On The Dancefloor.
Steps has a great moodiness to them that gives their songs an awesome tone. The uplifting sounds of the synths and beat paired with the dark melodies is a great sound. That sound is established right from the start with 'Scared Of The Dark,' the big orchestral intro leading into the big dance choruses with the soaring dark melodies really setting the tone for the record early on. 'You Make Me Whole' follows up with a similar sound, the darkness still evident in the vocals.
There are a few positive tracks that do add some texture to the record. A cover of 'Story Of A Heart' by ABBA member Benny Anderson offers a brighter side that has a much more optimistic tone to it than the previous tracks. Towards the end of the record you get some sweeter sounds like 'Neon Blue,' it's piano-led instrumental offering up some bright vocals in the chorus that chants "all we need is me and you in neon blue." There's something very genuine in the delivery that makes it powerful. Closing track 'I Will Love Again' (a cover of Lara Fabian's song) has a cross between the dark and bright light. The verses are mostly dark, but the choruses are powerful as "I will love again" is belted loudly and confidently.
There's nothing particularly bad about Tears On The Dancefloor besides the lack of diversity. Each track is generally the same as far as structure goes. A few songs do have different things going on in them, but the generally structure and idea of "dark synthpop with dance choruses" are the formula for this album at least 80% of the time. The fade out of final track 'I Will Love Again' is also a pretty unsatisfying way to bring the album out, especially when it prioritizes its big choruses.
Tears On The Dancefloor is a big return for Steps, their sound modern while still offering a taste of that dark synthpop sound that dominated the radio in the late 90s and early 00s. It is a nice throwback to the times and comes loaded with some great dancey tracks.
Favorite Tracks: Happy, Scared Of The Dark
Least Favorite Track: I Will Love Again
Rating: 75 / 100
Buy or listen to Tears On The Dancefloor here: