Lionsgate, the studio that gave us Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and the Saw movies, is branching out into music — and if you read those words and guessed that the new label wouldn’t be bothering with pain-in-the-ass stuff like artistic perspective, songwriting talent, or musical chemistry, you can go ahead and pin a gold star on your forehead. Or take two, actually, and stick one over each ear, because unless you’re desperate to hear the synthed-up preenings of one more pre-fab vocal group (this one assembled by the artist formerly known as Vitamin C), you’ll want to block out the sound of the Stunners.
They’re plenty cute, but the Stunners say their name is supposed to be a reflection of their desire to stun people with their songs. Hats off to their ambition, but their self-titled EP isn’t anything you haven’t already heard countless times — and with more memorable melodies and more imaginative production, too. Think of the Stunners as a late-aughts version of late ’90s teen-pop also-rans like B*Witched — it’s fine as far as this flavor of canned plastic pop goes, but it’s really hard to imagine even a precocious 13-year-old buying too heavily into mechanized fluff like “Dancin’ Around the Truth” or “We Got It.” It sounds, appropriately enough, a lot like the kind of music you might expect to hear during a club or concert scene in a movie without a big enough budget to pay for the songs of a well-known recording artist — which should lead to a bright future for the Stunners in Lionsgate’s many direct-to-video titles, but not so much on the pop charts.
The Stunners’ bio claims their music is influenced by artists as disparate as Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Fiona Apple, the Dixie Chicks, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. If that’s true, whoever produced this EP has done a masterful job of erasing all traces of those influences, replacing them with the blandly glossy, mind-numbingly competent sound that record company executives everywhere seem to think leads to instant success. Nothing against Allie, Hayley, Lauren, Marisol and Tinashe — they seem like perfectly nice girls — but I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that they (and the tween-targeting suits who greenlighted this mess) will be quickly stunned into silence.
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