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The Saturdays - 'Just Can't Get Enough'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:27 UK time, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The SaturdaysComic Relief singles are weird things. Getting the balance between the comedic nature of the venture and the seriousness of the causes it supports always seems to be an issue; obviously serious child poverty or the care of Alzheimer's sufferers are not topics traditionally matched with a "SMILES, EVERYONE!" pop banger but at the same time, the point of Comic Relief is essentially to do just that. Which leaves popstars having to straddle a chasm between sharp reality and pop fluffiness with enough charm to encourage people to rush out and buy their record.

Equally, if you're thinking "ooh, Comic Relief: who's a band that likes a good laugh?" You might well think "well those Saturdays seem pretty upbeat" but probably not "Depeche Mode, they're always a giggle." So this is a song of difficult balances and strange dualism. A song about charity and jollity and, uh, pretty ladies in their underwear?

You can watch the video here

I love Depeche Mode, for the record, and fully believe they have earnt a place as a classic group but that doesn't mean their songs can't be covered by the Saturdays. Basically, if you know the original at all, this is 'Just Can't Get Enough' by Depeche Mode with added modern pop production values, so the beat is bigger and there's some searing bits of distortion and everything is cranked just a little bit louder; rather as I imagine the original was meant to be, had this kind of thing been possible at the time.

And the good news is, it works. It's tongue-in-cheek comedy, if there's any involved in the creation of the record itself and they sound like they're enjoying themselves but it doesn't descend into idiocy or clumsy quasi-parody. The original song was self-aware and playful and this cover is, too, successfully navigating the Comic Relief Single Dilemma without descending into tastelessness or ending up boring and preachy.

It's jolly and it doesn't take itself too seriously but in a sort of polite, limited manner that prevents it becoming awkward. I'm generally not massively down with polite limitedness in pop, but there are some circumstances where this is obviously the correct way to go, particularly after the whole spectacle of the X-Factor Finalists' version of 'Hero' still haunting us with its overblown arrogance and general lack of taste.

Although the Saturdays suffer from a general lack of charisma in their voices (not just on this track but on their otherwise above-average album) this song happily compensates for that by having one of the most memorable hooks of all time. Although the vocal of the song is largely unmelodic, so there's no opportunity for 'clever' singing, the girls manage it well and their voices don't end up drowned in the general mix.

It sounds so good, in fact, as a modern girl group song it's hard to believe it hasn't been covered by one before. Normally a band releasing a cover version would lose marks from me, simply because I think it's fairly lazy and it's difficult to assess a cover version without referencing the original but since cover songs are often a charity single staple and I know from a 30-second clip that the B-side might well be the best song the Saturdays have ever got their mits on, this gets out of jail free.

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: March 2nd

(Hazel Robinson)


  • Comment number 1.

    Good review but you have brought up an excellent point about cover versions. Some artists back catalogue is so sacred that it just cannot be covered. However, they tend to be the artists that are covered the most (Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Beatles etc etc).

    Surely the point of a cover is to re-work the original in your own style. The worse covers are those that just rehash the original so it sounds just the same.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think it's a poor cover. They are not great singers, and they have ruined the original song for me. They are just being latched onto at the moment because their is a gap in the music market for British girl bands - everyone is getting a little bored of Girls Aloud.

    And as for being the official Comic Relief song then that is just a bad choice. I'd prefer it to be 'Islands In The Stream' from Gavin and Stacey. The concept and video is more comical than a bunch of girls running around in their underwear.

  • Comment number 3.

    i think in the past alot of pop groups have murdered covers, but i think the Sat's have done a good job on this one


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