Steps were only signed for one single - with good reason, for '5,6,7,8' was shit of the very highest order. Since then the terms 'Steps' and 'shit of the very highest order' have become virtually s
There was once a time when pop bands simply appeared on the chart radar
without TV shows, without big-name managers pulling in favours, without
following a blueprint of what had come before, and without going down the
dumper almost immediately.
The last known sighting of such a band was in November 1997. Steps were only
signed for one single – with good reason, for ‘5,6,7,8’ was shit of the very
highest order. Since then the terms ‘Steps’ and ‘shit of the very highest
order’ have become virtually synonymous, which isn’t quite fair. Steps have
released bad singles (‘Chain Reaction’ is, controversially, almost
impossible to dance to; ‘Say You’ll Be Mine’ is just rubbish), but those are
the troughs and the peaks on this album are stunning additions to the canon
of pop songwriting. The ‘Gold’ title is shamelessly modelled on Abba’s own
hits compilation. Abba should be flattered.
Compare this to the forthcoming All Saints singles collection (a paltry ten
songs) and the true meaning of a greatest hits emerges. Here there are hits:
of the 20 tracks, 15 are Top Five singles, and three of the rest are
previously unreleased. Here they are great: ‘It’s The Way You Make Me Feel’
is one of this decade’s best pop songs. But more than that, here is a
snapshot of a band whose future is as bright as its past. Steps could split
tomorrow – as they sing themselves, after the love has gone, only fools carry
on – but, crucially, they don’t need to. Which makes ‘Gold’ rather special.
Fact: Steps are the most successful British pop act, unleashed without the
aid of a safety net, in recent memory. Fact: They’re also the best.
Possibility: They’re also the last. And no, that’s not a cause for
celebration. It’s a tragedy.