Her Name Is Nicole…

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I became a fan of Nicole Schwhatchumacallit after the Pussycat Dolls placed a stronghold on the music industry as the corporate-packaged PG-13 version of Vanity and Appolonia 6. Her status as the sole audible member and the only Doll fortunate enough to have a name audiences can remember (first name anyway) has made her the most prominent member of the group. I’m not even sure if the other 4 or 40 (I can never tell how many there are) girls in PCD know their own names.

What I love about Nicole is that she managed to bounce back from her brief stint as a member of Eden’s Crush, the singing group formed on the WB’s pre-Making The Band band-making reality series, Popstars, and still enjoy a successful career in music.

You don’t know see Trevor from O-Town making waves, do you?

When I first learned that Nicole would be ditching her background for a solo(er) career, I had high hopes that she would become the 00s answer to Vanity, only more racially ambiguous and with actual singing talent.

But, I’ve been very disappointed by the Doll-less Nicole thus far.

It all started with the leak of the first single, “Whatever You Like” with T.I. The Polow Da Don produced-track originally belonged to Chilli for a song called “Straight Jack ‘Em.” The track itself sounds a lot like Kelis’ “Blindfold Me.” Two points for originality.

Then came the video, which borrows heavily from the treatment of Beyonce’s video for “Ring The Alarm.” Add one more to her tally.

First singles aren’t always a strong indicator of how an album will sound, so, still hoping for the best, I listened to another leaked track from My Name Is a Nicole…, “Baby Love.”

You are my baby love, my baby love. You make the sun come up. Oh boy (oh boy), you’re my every, everything that I could ever dream of.

I can already picture the video of in my head.

Nicole, in a flower dress sits at the table with her friends, scribbling sweet nothings about her crush on a spiral notebook. Then, as the other children finish their Lunchables, Sour Patches, and mayonnaise sandwiches, Nicole’s suitor, looking fly as can be in Osh Kosh B’Gosh, walks up to her and hands her a letter that bears his soul on wide ruled paper.

Do you like me?

Yes? No?

Circle one.

He then takes her out for an intimate afternoon snack by the swings. Or at least, that’s what she ought to be doing if she’s that dead set on sounding like a little girl.

My anticipation for her debut album didn’t grow after watching Nicole’s performance on So You Think You Can Dance?

Judging from this performance and the breakdown in her video, I think I can answer the question for Nicole.

I knew that her struggles with rhythm were carefully guised through a sea of Pussycat Dolls surrounding her, but I was hoping that her solo venture would lead to her team to find new and better ways to mask it. Her performance wasn’t that bad, actually. I think it’s great she actually sang live. I would just prefer if she didn’t bother to try and fool me or herself into the idea that she could pull of choreography. I’m fine with her standing there and looking pretty. As should she.

And finally, the album cover. For someone so skilled at portraying the role of pop sex kitten, I was expecting an edgier album cover. A friend (shameless insertion of a compliment: a gorgeous and brilliant friend), mentioned that there’s something that looks like a bruise near her right shoulder. Good eye. Bad editor.

I really hope that if it is a bruise, that it stems from an in office brawl Nicole had with the people behind the cover, the video, and the person who told her it was ok to not have seventy girls grinding around her on stage as usual.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to hold on to hope that Nicole hasn’t left the strip club for daycare.

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