News of the bands reunion set the blogosphere ablaze. It was initially reported that Steps would only be reforming for a television show documenting what went wrong ten years ago, with the possibility of a one-off charity gig to excite all four of their remaining fans. “Great!” we all cried “more car-crash TV to remind us that there are indeed people more hopeless than us.” Twitter was ablaze. Heat had a field day. Twenty-somethings all over the country laughed derisively. It was madness.
Sadly, this miniscule fame injection seems to have gone to their heads, which is unsurprising really considering that after the split two of the members faded into obscurity and the remaining three embarked on ill-advised solo careers that earned them little more than scathing reviews and a nomination on the 100 worst Britons poll. The deluded idiots – anyone disputing this should remember that member H’s initial stands for ‘hyper’ – have managed to convince themselves that there is a genuine gap in the market for their special, special brand of squeaky bubblegum pop and have announced a reunion tour. Brilliant.
Lisa Scott Lee has been quoted as saying “Times have changed, but we are in a recession and Steps' music was very light-hearted and fun, so there could be a place for that in today's society.” Because obviously what a country stuck neck-deep in financial crisis, three wars and record levels of youth unemployment needs are five twerps in dodgy sateen flares with no musical talent to speak of prancing around covering BeeGees songs. Christs’ sake, we’re depressed enough already without the increased risk of being subjected to H’s gurning mush every time we turn on our TV.
It begs the question: who exactly are Steps reforming for? It certainly isn’t for the new generation of tween pop consumers, who aren’t exactly a discerning bunch but demand at least a shred of musical credibility from their cheese-pedalling idols. Even the Biebster (for all his many flaws) gained kudos from Usher - It’s hard to imagine a similarly respected Brit muso singing the praises of 5,6,7,8. And it’s not for the oldies, who couldn’t stand them in their “heyday” let alone now. I once witnessed a slightly vintage gentleman actually shudder involuntarily when he passed a Steps poster. The elderly are easily annoyed as it is – a dented can of kidney beans can set your average pensioner off on a 30 minute rant about how much better things were in the days of yore – so parading this band of demented, fame-hungry has-beens across the media at the current rate is irresponsible and quite frankly, cruel.
No, their target audience must be the unfortunate generation who grew up with their music during the late 90’s – also known as the decade that taste forgot. Unlike Take That, who inexplicably matured along with a loyal band of diehard fans, Steps were always one of those groups to whom you could dance sarcastically at school discos but feign half-hearted enthusiasm on receiving their album for Christmas. Pop music today is in better shape than it’s been for a while and these days it’s considered acceptable to listen to the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff ‘ironically’, but it’s still generally acknowledged by everyone in the world ever that buying a ticket to see Steps is akin to social suicide. Seriously, you’d be better off admitting to your friends that you’re a fully paid-up member of Family Radio and donating your life savings to their billboard campaign.
It gets better - Steps are hitting our very own Motorpoint Arena in April. It’ll be surprising if they end up holding on to that venue, as finding 7,500 people willing to shell out more than a fiver to see them sounds like quite a tall order. In the meantime you’ll find me feeding my ears into a high-speed blender; confident in the knowledge that April 13th really will be the day that music died. Over and out.
I know it's not a style post, but I had fun writing this in class!