Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and last year’s announcement of a Pussycat Dolls reunion tour immediately took us back to the mid-2000s; when pop was in its X-rated-electro-thumping phase, and lightning-paced dance routines were favoured over live vocals. We’re talking Justin Timberlake’s Sexyback, Nelly Furtado’s Maneater, Cascada.
Pussycat Dolls were brief but blazing leaders of this movement, and last year’s reunion performance on The X Factor was a brilliant reminder why: a medley of their hits accompanied by ferocious moves, fireworks and actual waterfalls from the TV studio ceiling, ending with a brand-new song called React.
Intentionally or not, everything about the rollout since has had an air of the early noughties about it; React wasn’t available to stream or download after the performance, fan-made artwork was being touted as the real thing, and a rough demo of the song surfaced online earlier this year as fans grew impatient waiting for its proper release. All are pretty much unheard of in 2020, but the nostalgia of it all somehow made it feel right.
Update (Feb. 7): React is now out! Watch the video below:
React is finally released this Friday (Feb. 7), and true to recent form, it sounds like Pussycat Dolls have picked up exactly where they left off 2009. It’s a relief to be honest, as any attempt to fit in with the current pop landscape would have felt futile. That doesn’t lessen the fact that React is a proper, Pussycat Dolls banger.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: the song is sung entirely by Nicole, save the occasional background coo from the rest of the Dolls. Otherwise, it’s sultry, suggestive lyrics. It’s heavy, electro-filtered huffing. it’s a strutting, hair flip-invoking, chorus. A big vocal moment from Nicole towards the end wouldn’t have gone amiss, but otherwise, it’s joyous, pure pop nostalgia.
React is released February 7. Tickets for Pussycat Dolls' UK arena tour are on sale now.