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No Angels – 20

No Angels - 20

3.5

Rating

3.5/5

Flyctory.com Pros

  • A lot of nostalgic feelings
  • Still great vocal performers
  • Four new songs

Flyctory.com Cons

  • Some "Celebration Versions" are too thin
  • No song taken from "Destiny" and "Welcome To The Dance"

People thought that the five girls of No Angels could become the German Spice Girls. They became talent show stars before the biggest German show of that kind, Deutschland sucht den Superstar (German version of American Idol) has even been broadcasted for the first time. Winning the first season of the TV show Popstars in late 2000, they debuted with Daylight In Your Eyes in February 2001 – and lead the charts in all three major German-speaking markets. To make it short: the five girls were pop superstars in Germany and some neighboring countries.  A bit more than twenty years later, they reunited and come back with an album. The title is simply 20, album release is 4th June 2021.

 

No Angels – About The Artists

At the time of founding, the No Angels have been a five women pop music group. Nadja Benaissa, Lucy Diakovska, Sandy Mölling, Vanessa Petruo and Jessica Wahls have all been candidates of the TV talent show Popstars. The show has not been intended to cast an all-female group, but the jury finally went for this combo of five ladies. The preparation of the five winners to their pop career – e.g. vocal and dance coaching – have been part of the format.

The band finally could finally enforce that Daylight In Your Eyes became their first single. The song has been released in February 2001 and topped the German, Austrian and Swiss charts. The song even had a chart ranking in the United Kingdom. They published the corresponding album, Elle’ments has been released about a month later and turned out to become a massive success. The album stayed in the German charts for 74 weeks and gained a seven-time golden record in their home country, on top of a platinum record in Switzerland and Austria.

In June 2002, the second album Now … Us! came into the record stores. The single Something About Us with the B-side Like Ice in the Sunshine (a Beagle Music Ltd original) topped the German and Austrian charts. The success faded, but the third album Pure still topped the German charts and went Top 10 in the other German-speaking major markets. The pressure on the band releasing three albums in some thirty months became that high that they decided to break up quite soon after that third album and a farewell tour. At that point in time, the band has already been a quartet as Jessica Wahls left the band before.

In 2007, the band reunited as a quartet, as Vanessa Petruo decided to pursue her solo career. Jessica Wahls, however, was back in the lineup. The single Goodbye to Yesterday and the corresponding album Destiny (both 2007) did have good chart placements, but were by far not as successful as their predecessors. After Welcome To The Dance, the last studio album the band released so far (2009), Benaissa left the band as well.For the 2021 reunion, all original members but Petruo are joining forces again. Petruo is working as a scientist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

 

No Angels – 20 – Track by Track

The 20 songs album lasts 71 minutes. Four songs are new tracks – all other sixteen songs are so called Celebration Versions – or simply re-arrangements / re-recordings.

1. Daylight in Your Eyes (Celeb. Vers.)

The album does not wait and directly starts with the act’s most successful song of all times. The intro of the song feels to be familiar and overall, the new 2021 version is a bit thinner, but not that bad. I struggle with the focus away from the voices to the rhythm in the new version. I would definitely rather go for the original version, but the first song is definitely enjoyable.

2. Still in Love with You (Celeb. Vers.)

Still in Love with You has been a song on the second album of the Angels. The re-recording is giving a nice focus on the Latin touch of the song. Nice dance vibe.

3. Something About Us (Celeb. Vers.)

In 2002, the song was the last one to receive a golden record in the band’s history (in history). The new version feels a bit a softer and thus less energetic than the original. It also feels a bit weird, when they sing We belong together right from the start with one member less and two hiatuses in between.

4. When The Angels Sing (Celeb. Vers.)

You don’t need to say too much about the new versions of When The Angels Sing – the song is just too close to the original anyway.

5. Rivers of Joy (Celeb. Vers.)

Again, the difference to the original of Rivers of Joy feel marginal. The rhythm feels more present nowadays, the vocals a bit more mature. The drums distract me more from the gospel-alike character of the song than they did twenty years ago.

6. There Must Be An Angel (Celeb. Vers.)

The Eurythmics covers of course suits to the band name. I haven’t been too much of a fan of the cover twenty years ago – and higher age just did not change that. Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart just did better in my point of view.

7. We Keep The Spirit Alive

We keep The Spirit Alive is maybe the song I have been looking forward to most – simply because it is the first new song of the album. And to make the story short: it feels like No Angels. It is a good listen. And it is a nice illustration of the vocal strength of the four remaining Angels. A nice touch of 1990’s pop.

No we’re never ever gonna let you down
You make us feel like queens without a crown
With you – we keep the spirit alive

No, we’re never ever gonna let you go
We’re sisters within our hearts deep in our souls
It’s true – we keep the spirit alive.

8. All Cried Out (Celeb. Vers.)

The accentuated All Cried Out has been one of my No Angels favorites during the peak time of the ladies’ career. Two decades later, there are rhythmic and atmospheric elements in the background. Again, they rather distract me from the lovely rhythmic collaboration.

9. Someday (Celeb. Vers.)

Again, I struggle a bit with the arrangements of the songs. These ladies were strong on the microphones. But nowadays, the drums are just taking away too much of their vocal magic. I am not angry, but not that happy.

10. Mad Wild

New songs, part 1: while the first track had a lot of 1990’s pop in its spirit, Mad World feels modern (maybe not a 2020’s, but at least a 2010’s pop song…) I definitely prefer We Keep The Spirit Alive over this one, but it is not a that bad one.

11. Washes Over Me (Celeb. Vers.)

This ballad has been part of the Pure album in original. It is the first Celebration Version I in fact did not have in mind as an original. What in 2003 has been an acoustic guitar ballad is a piano song now. Sometimes, the sound of the keys feels a bit too intense. Not necessarily a song I would favor on 20.

12. Feelgood Lies (Celeb. Vers.)

Feelgood Lies was a third spot German single charts in October 2003. The 2021 version of the song spreads some of the vocal power. Some magic is missing, though.

13. A New Day

The third new 2021 has a lot of good elements: power, rhythm, a nice speed, good vocal power. The base ingredients are really good, but the overall musical dish is a bit too tame. I am missing catching elements, something exciting or powerful.

14. Faith Can Move a Mountain (Celeb. Vers.)

There are a couple of Celebration Versions of song, which as an original did not have a major commercial impact. One of them is Faith Can Move a Mountain. There has been a reason that this song did not make it to a single of the debut album – and the reason is still valid. It just does not have that matical touch of other No Angels songs.

15. Cold as Ice (Celeb. Vers.)

The fifteenth song is another non-single track of the Elle’ments album. It is by the way not a cover of the Foreigner song. The song is not too bad, though, as it comes with nice multi-vocal harmonic elements.

16. Love You For Eternity

The final five tracks – and the last new one. The song is a slower one (I first felt it could be a Christmas track – but the kitsch feeling faded quickly). My second favorite regarding the new No Angels singles – the chorus is just a nice vocal collaboration.

17. Cry for You (Celeb. Vers.)

Fun fact about this song (another Elle’ments one): the songwriter of this one has been Thomas Anders, the better-singing part of Modern Talking. For the 2021 version, the band stripped the song down from 4:50 minutes to 3:39 minutes. Another rather slow track, which I feel has more potential than it is actually showing.

18. No Angel (It’s All In Your Mind) (Celeb. Vers.)

After a couple rather average songs on the album, another really catching one. Not too surprisingly – the song has been the last Number One songs of the quintet in their home country in the band’s history so far (released in April 2003). Nice one.

19. That`s the Reason (Celeb. Vers.)

The closing track of Elle’ments is a lovely ballad, which again is a bit distorted by too strong rhythmic elements. The vocals feel slightly weaker than in 2021, but it is still a nice emotional song.

20. Still in Love With You (Acoustic Celeb. Vers.)

The album closes with a nice acoustic guitar version of Still in Love With You. Even in that softer style, the song still keeps its beautiful Latin spirit. Thus, the closing track of 20 is definitely giving a musical good-bye to the listener with a positive touch.

 

No Angels – 20 – Spotify

Here is the No Angels anniversary album on Spotify:

 

 

No Angels – 20 – My View

I am not sure if the No Angels chose the right concept for their concept for their concept. Maybe just going for five to eight re-arrangements could have been a wiser choice. You automatically compare the 2021 versions with the original. As many songs were great sales, you typically have thoughts, memories, feelings about the original. Thus, the new version needs to be special, better. Quite some Celebration Versions fail in that regard, I feel. One reason to me is that it is completely ignoring the Destiny and Welcome to the Dance album. Having sixteen good songs out of three album is a challenge even the German pop super-girls of the early 2000’s cannot fully manage. Out of the new songs, We Keep The Spirit Alive is definitely the best one.

 

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